Miniature satellites are increasingly a big deal, and for good reasons: they’re not only less expensive and easier to deploy than the giant satellites of old, but can cover wider areas. And the White House wants to give them a helping hand. It’s launching an initiative that will foster small satellites with the resources they need to flourish.
There are an estimated 700 million trillion terrestrial planets in the observable universe. Among them, Earth may very well be one of a kind according to a new study from Uppsala University in Sweden. Astronomer Erik Zackrisson and his team have been running computer simulations to model all of the terrestrial planets that are likely to exist in the universe. The probabilistic exoplanetary statistics that they’ve gleaned from these simulations could potentially upend the Copernican principle and will soon be published in The Astrophysical Journal (it’s currently up on arXiv).