What happens when a planet has no star? The recent discovery of an exoplanet wandering the galaxy on its own prompts many intriguing questions: Where did it come from? How did it form? And is it even worth considering the possibility that it might be habitable? Radek Poleski, one of the astronomers who made this discovery, joins Mat Kaplan in this week’s Planetary Radio to discuss the rogue planet and the exciting possibilities it might hold. Pictured: An artist’s impression of the gravitational microlensing effect that allowed Poleski and his team to find the free-floating planet. Image credit: Jan Skowron/Astronomical Observatory, University of Warsaw.
The dust is settling in the aftermath of the U.S.’s 2020 election season. What does it mean for space? The latest article from Planetary Society chief advocate Casey Dreier explores some broad implications for NASA’s overall direction and, in particular, consequences for The Planetary Society’s 3 main areas of interest: planetary exploration, the search for life, and planetary defense.
Our holiday gift guide is here! With the help of our members and readers like you, we’ve put together a gift guide for people who love space. Whether you celebrate a gift-giving holiday or are just always on the lookout for fun space stuff, check out our list of cosmically cool clothes, jewelry, toys, books, and more.
Mark your calendars for the 2029 asteroid Apophis flyby! On 13 April 2029, a near-Earth asteroid named Apophis will pass as close as 30,600 kilometers (19,000 miles) above the Earth—closer than geostationary communications satellites. Fear not—we know that the asteroid won’t impact our planet. But this event will create unprecedented opportunities to raise public awareness of the asteroid threat. Planetary Society chief scientist Bruce Betts and chief advocate Casey Dreier presented a paper on this opportunity at last week’s Apophis T-9 Years workshop.