The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is pleased to confirm the dates for the next Canadian Space Exploration Workshop (CSEW 2016): November 24-25, 2016. The Workshop will take place in downtown Montreal; however, the final venue has still not been confirmed. We are very hopeful that you will be able to attend and request that you save the dates in your calendars.
The theme of the workshop is “Canadian Space Exploration: Science and Space Health Priorities for 2025 and Beyond”. CSEW 2016 will provide the opportunity for you, our stakeholder community, to directly engage in the process of renewing the CSA’s space exploration science and space health priorities as described in the final report produced following the 6th Canadian Space Exploration Workshop (CSEW6).
The 7th annual Planetary Science Short Course will run August 29 to September 4 2016. Topics to be covered include origin of the solar system and planet formation; planetary interiors; planetary surfaces; astromaterials, planetary atmospheres; astrobiology, and exoplanets. Details on the course can be found here.
Image: NASA, artist depiction of the TRAPPIST-1 system, from NASA article.
NASA continues to search space for rocky planets orbiting nearby stars with the Kepler Space Telescope. Two such planets found by Kepler orbit the star TRAPPIST-1, a brown-dwarf 40 light-years from Earth, lie just outside the ideal "Goldilocks Zone" where water can exist in liquid for on the planet’s surface.
On Earth we are familiar with the Water Cycle, a process which defines all life here. But what if there was a similar cycle for other liquids - like methane perhaps? We may be a step closer to finding out. ESA has confirmed that the Cassini has found oceans and lakes of pure methane on its surface. Scientists had previously thought that sunlight would break down the methane, making for bodies of a mix of hydrocarbons, but this does not seem to be the case. Radar scans have mapped the northern hemisphere, which is dotted with these bodies of methane and seems to suggests at a complexe liquid system with methane wetlands, methane sludge ocean beds, a Methane Cycle, and even a climate influenced by this cycle on Titan. The Methane Cycle in particular allows for organic compounds to disolve. All these could result in an environment that is able to create life, but like as we cannot image; based on and composed of methane rather than water. One thing is for sure, there is a lot more going on on Titan than its simple appearance would have you believe.