Living through a smart phone

Slowly but surely we are turning into a society where if you do not have a smartphone you are at a disadvantage. There are several examples of this:

  • Car parks which only accept payment via an app.
  • Restaurants and pubs who want you to order via your phone
  • Transport services which make purchasing and using tickets more cumbersome (train, etc.)
  • Bank loans which are only available via an app
Read more  ↩︎

Signing files using GPG

I sometimes cryptographically sign documents by using GPG. I do this as a way of showing that the document was really signed by me and that it has not been modified in any way. Placing an image of a hand written signature into a document gives a false sense of security as anybody can then replicate your signature.

Read more  ↩︎

CHEOPS and PLATO at a glance

PLATO and CHEOPS are two European Space Agency missions aimed at characterising exoplanets.

CHEOPS is an S-class mission (small mission in ESA’s science program) which aims to characterise exoplanets already known to be orbiting around nearby bright stars. CHEOPS will target Earth- to Neptune-sized planets.

Read more  ↩︎

An open, borderless, decentralised, trustless space object catalogue. Possible or wishful thinking?

A real problem in the space situational awareness community, is the lack of a shared validated catalogue of known space debris. This holds back progress in a wide range of areas from operations to fundamental research.

Could an open, borderless, decentralised, trusteless space object catalogue be the solution? If so, how could one ensure the catalogue was tamper proof?

Read more  ↩︎

How is the PLATO exoplanet mission different from TESS?

The PLATO mission will monitor the brightness variations of more than 200,000 stars to look for planets which transit their host stars. TESS will also utilise the transit technique to focus on targeting bright host stars, to look for Earth-sized planets. It is thus not surprising when people end up thinking: why launch two space-based exoplanet spacecraft to look for Earth-sized planets?

Read more  ↩︎

PLATO and the search for planets in the habitable zone

One of the key scientific goals of PLATO is to detect terrestrial exoplanets in the habitable zone (HZ) of solar-type stars (up to orbits of one year), and characterise their bulk properties to determine their habitability.

Earth remains the only known example where life has successfully emerged, and we can’t yet say what conditions are most suitable for life. We use the HZ as a tool to determine which planetary targets are most likely be habitable and to support recognisable life. After all, life that more closely resembles life on Earth might be easier to identify.

Read more  ↩︎