NASA Astronaut Christina Koch’s maiden voyage in space will extend for almost double the scheduled duration. She is now set to stay on International Space Station for a total of 328 days.
This is the next step in the study of the effects of spaceflight on the human body and mind, and it’s likely a result of the declaration of Vice President Mike Pence to return to the Moon by 2024.
The Kepler-47 Twin Star-Twin Planet Solar System now shows another planet; Kepler 4d is 7 times larger than Earth with a 187-day year. The two stars orbit their common center of gravity every 7.5 days.
The discovery drives two take-home messages: there’s a tremendous diversity of planetary system configurations and our solar system is far from typical – most star systems in our Milky Way are binary star systems.
Turning to the night sky highlights this week: Mars is visible in the west after sunset; the moon meets Jupiter Tuesday morning and Saturn Thursday morning one hour before sunrise. Venus and Mercury are low in the east at the same time.