Archive for the ‘Space’ Category

Virgin Galactic flight sends first astronauts to edge of space – successfully. Are you looking, Elon?

Virgin Galactic completed its longest rocket-powered flight ever on Thursday, taking a step ahead in the nascent business of space tourism. The two pilots on board Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft Unity became the company’s first astronauts. Virgin Group founder Richard Branson was on hand to watch the historic moment. “Many of you will know how important […]

FYI: NASA has sent a snatch-and-grab spacecraft to an asteroid to seize some rock and send it back to Earth

NASA’s mission to send a probe to an asteroid, dig up a chunk, and send the material back to Earth is now half-way complete. The agency says its OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has reached its hunk-of-rock target after a trip lasting two years and two billion miles. The spacecraft, technically the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, […]

China Set to Launch First-Ever Spacecraft to the Far Side of the Moon, try to grow plants there and listen to radio waves blocked off by the moon

Early in the New Year, if all goes well, the Chinese spacecraft Chang’e-4 will arrive where no craft has been before: the far side of the Moon. The mission is scheduled to launch from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan province on December 8. The craft, comprising a lander and a rover, will then enter the […]

Rocket Lab’s Modest Launch Is Giant Leap for Small Rocket Business: BTW it didn’t blow up, Elon!

A small rocket from a little-known company lifted off Sunday from the east coast of New Zealand, carrying a clutch of tiny satellites. That modest event — the first commercial launch by a U.S.-New Zealand company known as Rocket Lab — could mark the beginning of a new era in the space business, where countless […]

China produces nano fibre that can lift 160 elephants – and a space elevator, better batteries?

A research team from Tsinghua University in Beijing has developed a fibre they say is so strong it could even be used to build an elevator to space. They say just 1 cubic centimetre of the fibre – made from carbon nanotube – would not break under the weight of 160 elephants, or more than […]

NASA and Google using AI to hunt down potentially habitable planets

Astrobiologists are mostly interested in rocky exoplanets that lie in the habitable zone around their parent stars, where liquid water may exist on its surface. NASA’s Kepler spacecraft has spotted a handful of these in the so-called Goldilocks Zone – where it’s not too cold or too hot for life. As such, a second team […]

This Solar System Catalog Could Be Key to Finding an Earth-Like Exoplanet

By searching for the telltale, periodic dimming of light from distant stars, astronomers can spot orbiting exoplanets tens to hundreds of light-years away. But how do they know what these bodies look like? Perhaps they first try to imagine how the planets in our own Solar System might appear to a faraway alien world. A […]

Blue Origin pushed its rocket ‘to its limits’ with another succesful high-altitude emergency abort test

Update July 18th, 11:35AM ET: Blue Origin pulled off another successful test launch today, landing both the New Shepard rocket and capsule after flight. The company ignited the capsule’s emergency motor after it had separated from the rocket, pushing the spacecraft up to a top altitude of around 74 miles — a new record for […]

Newly Discovered ‘Asteroid’ Is actually two orbiting around each other

Near-Earth object 2017 YE5 was first spotted by astronomers at the Oukaïmeden Observatory in Morocco in December of last year, but virtually nothing about it, beyond its presence, was known. In June, the object made the closest approach it will make to Earth for the next 170 years, allowing scientists to take a closer look. […]

Astronomers discover 12 new moons orbiting Jupiter – one on collision course with the others

One of a dozen new moons discovered around Jupiter is circling the planet on a suicide orbit that will inevitably lead to its violent destruction, astronomers say. Researchers in the US stumbled upon the new moons while hunting for a mysterious ninth planet that is postulated to lurk far beyond the orbit of Neptune, the […]

The Discovery of Complex Organic Molecules on Saturn’s Moon Enceladus Is a Huge Deal

Using data collected by NASA’s late-great Cassini space probe, scientists have detected traces of complex organic molecules seeping out from Enceladus’ ice-covered ocean. It’s yet another sign that this intriguing Saturnian moon has what it takes to sustain life. If life exists elsewhere in our Solar System, chances are it’s on Enceladus. The moon features […]

Yes, Pluto is a planet

But the process for redefining planet was deeply flawed and widely criticized even by those who accepted the outcome. At the 2006 IAU conference, which was held in Prague, the few scientists remaining at the very end of the week-long meeting (less than 4 percent of the world’s astronomers and even a smaller percentage of […]

Many Satellites run Windows 95 – and are ripe for hacking

Hundreds of multi-ton liabilities—soaring faster than the speed of sound, miles above the surface of the earth—are operating on Windows-95.They’re satellites, responsible for everything from GPS positioning, to taking weather measurements, to carrying cell signals, to providing television and internet. For the countries that own these satellites, they’re invaluable resources. Even though they’re old, it’s […]

Gaia creates richest star map of our Galaxy – and beyond / Gaia / Space Science / Our Activities / ESA

ESA’s Gaia mission has produced the richest star catalogue to date, including high-precision measurements of nearly 1.7 billion stars and revealing previously unseen details of our home Galaxy. A multitude of discoveries are on the horizon after this much awaited release, which is based on 22 months of charting the sky. The new data includes […]

India completes its GPS alternative, for the second time

India has successfully conducted the satellite launch needed to re-construct its Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS). The Indian Space Research Organisation’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C41 ascended on Thursday, April 12th. Atop the craft was a satellite designated IRNSS-1L, the last of seven satellites in India’s constellation of navigational craft. India understands that satellite […]

Center Of The Milky Way Has Thousands Of Black Holes, Study Shows

The supermassive black hole lurking at the center of our galaxy appears to have a lot of company, according to a new study that suggests the monster is surrounded by about 10,000 other black holes. For decades, scientists have thought that black holes should sink to the center of galaxies and accumulate there, says Chuck […]

India: Yeah, we would like to 3D-print igloos on the Moon

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to build igloos on the Moon with a view to creating an Antarctica-like outpost. Dr Jitendra Singh of the Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Space gave the response to a question (PDF) asked in the Indian Parliament by Shri Suman Balka last week, a member […]

SpaceX blasted massive plasma hole in Earth’s ionosphere

A SpaceX rocket ripped a humongous hole in Earth’s ionosphere during a launch in California last year and may have impaired GPS satellites. The Falcon 9 rocket was blasted from Vandenberg Air Force Base on 24 August last year. It was carrying the Formosat-5, an Earth observation satellite, built by the Taiwan’s National Space Organization. […]

ESA builds air-breathing engine that works in space

The European Space Agency has hailed the successful test of an air-breathing engine that works in space. The engines don’t need the oxygen found in air to burn. Instead, as the ESA has explained here, the idea is to collect air, compress it, give it a charge and then squirt it out to provide thrust. […]

SpaceX Roadster skips Mars, steers to asteroids, central core booster explodes

During a press conference after liftoff, Musk said it was dicey whether the second stage would power up at all. The fuel could have frozen, the oxygen boiled off, or the avionics failed, as the rocket spent more than five hours in our planet’s high-radiation Van Allen belts before firing up. Usually spacecraft punch through […]

Japan successfully launches world’s smallest satellite-carrying rocket

KAGOSHIMA – Japan successfully launched on Saturday the world’s smallest satellite-carrying rocket following a failed attempt in January last year, the nation’s space agency said. The rocket about the size of a utility pole, measuring 10 meters in length and 50 centimeters in diameter, lifted off from the Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture and […]

Exoplanets from another galaxy spotted

The Kepler Space Telescope has found oodles of exoplants, but now astroboffins have spotted the first exoplanets outside our galaxy. A group of astroboffins from the University of Oklahoma has become the first to demonstrate exoplanet observations in another galaxy – one that’s 3.8 billion light years away, or one-third of the distance across the […]

NASA’s Long Dead (since 2007) ‘IMAGE’ Satellite is Alive! – how satellite hunters go to work.

Over the past week the station has been dedicated to an S-band scan looking for new targets and refreshing the frequency list, triggered by the recent launch of the mysterious ZUMA mission. This tends to be a semi-annual activity as it can eat up a lot of observing resources even with much of the data […]

Our Solar System is an exception: most planets have more regular spacing and sizing

They found that planets in the same planetary system have correlated sizes. “Each planet is more likely to be the size of its neighbor than a size drawn at random from the distribution of observed planet sizes,” the paper said. If the system contains three or more planets, the planets are also more likely to […]

Bacteria found on International Space Station may be alien in origin, says cosmonaut

Bacteria found on the outside of the International Space station could be alien life, according to a cosmonaut who has visited the satellite. Spacewalkers regularly take samples and materials from the outside of the station when they head outside for what are officially called “extravehicular activity”. Those samples are then taken down to scientists on […]

 
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