Micro-Satellites Could Find Next Earth, Help Mine Asteroids

A new kind of satellite measuring just four inches on each side could help NASA find nearby planets similar to ours as well as examine asteroids for deposits of rich mineral resources.

What's the Latest Development?


A crack team of MIT students and engineers have designed and built sophisticated satellites just inches in size to help astronomers locate Earth-like planets. Called CubeSats, each satellite measures just 4 inches on each side, making them small and light enough to piggyback onto other payloads. For this reason, and thanks to the satellites' innovative design, NASA has already given the project a launch date. The satellites "will look at one star at a time, hoping to see a tiny wink when an otherwise invisible planet blocks the star's light as it moves through its orbit."

 

What's the Big Idea?

The search for Earth-like planets intensified this week when astronomers announced they had detected the first infrared light from the so-called super-Earth, a planet roughly twice the size of ours in the constellation Cancer, just 40 light years away. Another feature of the CubeSats' design is a combination of star-tracking and telescopic technologies. "Planetary Resources, she says, the company that wants to mine asteroids, is looking for a space telescope to identify good prospects, and the new camera might be ideal for that purpose."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

10 books to check out from Jordan Peterson's 'Great Books' list

The Canadian professor has an extensive collection posted on his site.

Jordan Peterson with Carl Jung and the cover art of Jaak Panksepp's 'Affective Neuroscience' (Image: Chris Williamson/Getty Images/Big Think)
Personal Growth
  • Peterson's Great Books list features classics by Orwell, Jung, Huxley, and Dostoevsky.
  • Categories include literature, neuroscience, religion, and systems analysis.
  • Having recently left Patreon for "freedom of speech" reasons, Peterson is taking direct donations through Paypal (and Bitcoin).
Keep reading Show less

26 ultra-rich people own as much as the world's 3.8 billion poorest

The Oxfam report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency."

Getty Images and Wikimedia Commons
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new report by Oxfam argues that wealth inequality is causing poverty and misery around the world.
  • In the last year, the world's billionaires saw their wealth increase by 12%, while the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet lost 11% of their wealth.
  • The report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency." We explain what Steven Pinker's got to do with it.
Keep reading Show less

Should you invest in China's stock market? Know this one thing first.

Despite incredible economic growth, it is not necessarily an investor's paradise.

Videos
  • China's stock market is just 27 years old. It's economy has grown 30x over that time.
  • Imagine if you had invested early and gotten in on the ground floor.
  • Actually, you would have lost money. Here's how that's possible.