All Things Space

Last issue I spoke about Scotland entering the Space Race, with Virgin looking at opening a commercial Space Port in the Highlands. I’m not going to go over that again, as you’ll have already read the article (and if not, why not?). Since then, I’ve found out that this isn’t the only only Scottish Space Stuff™ going on. The first satellite to be built in Scotland is due to launch next year!

Dubbed Ukube-1, the device is intended for testing new technologies in space. Made up on 3 10cm3 cubes, originally enough called Cubesats, Ukube-1 is being built just round the corner (more or less) from our beloved Union, in the West of Scotland Science Park in Maryhill.

Over 600 Cubesats have been launched so far, and Clyde Space, the makers of Ukube-1, have made components for over 40% of them.

But that’s not all! Clyde Space, along with Strathclyde University’s Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory recently won the ‘Space Oscars’ for their work. These prestigous and sought after awards were presented at the UK Space Conference in Warwick last year. Go Glasgow!

So what’s next for Scotland? Will we one day be commanding the bridge of a Starship with the Saltire emblazoned on the side? Who can say, but should this occur, it looks like scientists may have found our home away from home: Recent research has found that Titan, one of the moons of Saturn, experiences rainfall like Earth. So far, these are the only two places we know of where rain is thought to occur. Of course, it only rains once every 1000 years or so on Titan, and the rain is liquid methane, but it’s a start. Titan also boasts temperatures of -179C, so don’t forget your jacket.

If you are looking for something a little more hospitable, there is always Gliese 581C, a mere 20 light years away. Declared to be a ‘Second Earth’, Gliese 581C sits in the Goldilocks Zone (not too hot, not too cold) of Gliese 581 in the Libra constellation, and sees average temperatures of 0 to 40C. Given it has the perfect conditions for life as we know it, in my mind this means one of two things. The prospect of aliens, or a perfect spot for New Scotland. Lets hope that your favourite fast food joint will still deliver there.

[Kenny Anderson]

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