Shooting for the Stars (and damage of doing so)

Shooting for the Stars (and damage of doing so)

We now know that our nearest stellar neighbor may harbor an Earth-like exoplanet. The Breakthrough Starshot initiative plans to get spacecraft there in only 20 years. However, the “empty” space between us and our nearest star is not completely empty, and the material in the path of these spacecraft may have catastrophic consequences for the mission.

Dust Does Not Follow Gas

Dust Does Not Follow Gas

Molecular clouds, where new stars are born, are made of two components: gas and dust. The gas is mostly hydrogen, and the dust is made of elements crucial for forming planets and people, like silicon and carbon. Today’s paper shows that these two components behave very differently in a simulated molecular cloud. This could have exciting consequences for the growth of dust and the formation of stars and planets.