A new definition would add 102 planets to our solar system — including Pluto

Pluto fans are attempting to reignite a contentious astronomy debate: What is a planet? […] Is Pluto a planet? It’s not a question scientists ask in polite company. “It’s like religion and politics,” said Kirby Runyon, a planetary scientist at Johns Hopkins University. “People get worked up over it. I’ve gotten worked up over it.” Read more about A new definition would add 102 planets to our solar system — including Pluto[…]

Temperate earth-sized worlds found in extraordinarily rich planetary system

Astronomers have found a system of seven Earth-sized planets just 40 light-years away. They were detected as they passed in front of their parent star, the dwarf star TRAPPIST-1. Three of them lie in the habitable zone and could harbour water, increasing the possibility that the system could play host to life. It has both Read more about Temperate earth-sized worlds found in extraordinarily rich planetary system[…]

Our galaxy is being pushed towards Shapley attractor from Dipole repeller by gravity flows

The presence of a large underdensity, the dipole repeller, is predicted based on a study of the velocity field of our Local Group of galaxies. The combined effects of this super-void and the Shapley concentration control the local cosmic flow. […] Our Local Group of galaxies is moving with respect to the cosmic microwave background Read more about Our galaxy is being pushed towards Shapley attractor from Dipole repeller by gravity flows[…]

Galileo satellites experiencing multiple clock failures

The onboard atomic clocks that drive the satellite-navigation signals on Europe’s Galileo network have been failing at an alarming rate. Across the 18 satellites now in orbit, nine clocks have stopped operating. Three are traditional rubidium devices; six are the more precise hydrogen maser instruments that were designed to give Galileo superior performance to the Read more about Galileo satellites experiencing multiple clock failures[…]

Orbital ATK air launches Pegasus XL CYGNSS

Our Pegasus rocket successfully launched NASA’s Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) from our L-1011 Stargazer aircraft this morning at 8:37 a.m. EST, and completed payload deployment at 8:52 a.m. To learn more about the CYGNSS mission, visit NASA’s blog here. About the Mission The three-stage Pegasus XL will be used to deploy eight small Read more about Orbital ATK air launches Pegasus XL CYGNSS[…]

Hubble detects giant ‘cannonballs’ shooting from star

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has detected superhot blobs of gas, each twice as massive as the planet Mars, being ejected near a dying star. The plasma balls are zooming so fast through space it would take only 30 minutes for them to travel from Earth to the moon. This stellar “cannon fire” has continued once Read more about Hubble detects giant ‘cannonballs’ shooting from star[…]

China Confirms Its Space Station Is Falling Back to Earth

In a press conference on Wednesday, Chinese officials appear to have confirmed what many observers have long suspected: that China is no longer in control of its space station. China’s Tiangong-1 space station has been orbiting the planet for about 5 years now, but recently it was decommissioned and the Chinese astronauts returned to the Read more about China Confirms Its Space Station Is Falling Back to Earth[…]

Rosetta catches dusty organics

Rosetta’s dust-analysing COSIMA (COmetary Secondary Ion Mass Analyser) instrument has made the first unambiguous detection of solid organic matter in the dust particles ejected by Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, in the form of complex carbon-bearing molecules. While organics had already been detected in situ on the comet’s surface by instruments on-board Philae and from orbit by Rosetta’s Read more about Rosetta catches dusty organics[…]

Bigelow Aerospace and United Launch Alliance announce plans for inflatable space station modules

The volumes will be based on the Bigelow Aerospace B330 expandable module with the initial launch to orbit in 2020 on ULA’s Atlas V 552 configuration launch vehicle. The B330 will have 330 cubic meters (12,000 cu ft) of internal space. The craft will support zero-gravity research including scientific missions and manufacturing processes. Beyond its Read more about Bigelow Aerospace and United Launch Alliance announce plans for inflatable space station modules[…]

Stephen Hawking and a Russian Billionaire Want to Build tiny Interstellar Starships

Last year, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence got a major boost when Russian billionaire Yuri Milner unveiled a $100 million effort to scan the skies for radio and light signals emitted by aliens. Not content to simply sit tight and wait for ET to hail us, Milner now plans to build interstellar spacecraft. Yes, you Read more about Stephen Hawking and a Russian Billionaire Want to Build tiny Interstellar Starships[…]

NASA announces that Pluto has icebergs floating on glaciers of nitrogen ice

The most recent finding from New Horizons show that ice bergs have broken off from the hills surrounding the Sputnik Planum, a glacier of nitrogen ice, and are floating slowly across its surface, eventually to cluster together in places like the Challenger Colles, informally named after the crew of the space shuttle Challenger, which was Read more about NASA announces that Pluto has icebergs floating on glaciers of nitrogen ice[…]

Event Horizon Telescope reveals magnetic fields at Milky Way’s central black hole

If the black hole is spinning, it can generate strong jets that blast across thousands of light-years and shape entire galaxies. These black hole engines are thought to be powered by magnetic fields. For the first time, astronomers have detected magnetic fields just outside the event horizon of the black hole at the center of Read more about Event Horizon Telescope reveals magnetic fields at Milky Way’s central black hole[…]

Satellite wars – an analysis of the arms race in space

Satellites are being weaponised, with the anti-satellite missles, manoevering satellites that can hit other objects and satellites that hack into feeds, giving false information to the receiver. Countriies have been holding on to a balance for ages, but in the last 10 or so years, countries have been gradually upping their game. Source: Satellite wars Read more about Satellite wars – an analysis of the arms race in space[…]

NASA Orders SpaceX Crew Mission to International Space Station – glad I’m not one of those astronauts riding a rocket known mainly for exploding

NASA took a significant step Friday toward expanding research opportunities aboard the International Space Station with its first mission order from Hawthorne, California based-company SpaceX to launch astronauts from U.S. soil. Source: NASA Orders SpaceX Crew Mission to International Space Station | NASA

Galaxies formed just after Big Bang viewed

Observations by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have taken advantage of gravitational lensing to reveal the largest sample of the faintest and earliest known galaxies in the Universe. Some of these galaxies formed just 600 million years after the Big Bang and are fainter than any other galaxy yet uncovered by Hubble. The team has Read more about Galaxies formed just after Big Bang viewed[…]

NASA’s Kepler Mission Discovers Bigger, Older Cousin to Earth

NASA’s Kepler mission has confirmed the first near-Earth-size planet in the “habitable zone” around a sun-like star. This discovery and the introduction of 11 other new small habitable zone candidate planets mark another milestone in the journey to finding another “Earth.” The newly discovered Kepler-452b is the smallest planet to date discovered orbiting in the Read more about NASA’s Kepler Mission Discovers Bigger, Older Cousin to Earth[…]

US Space Resource Exploration and Utilization Act of 2015

Basically the US is saying that it’s the wild west out in space: if you can get there, you can mine your asteroid. Any asteroid resources obtained in outer space are the property of the entity that obtained such resources Source: Text of H.R. 1508: Space Resource Exploration and Utilization Act of 2015 (Introduced version) Read more about US Space Resource Exploration and Utilization Act of 2015[…]

Spaceship Two breaks up in flight

The spacecraft broke up after being released from a carrier aircraft at high altitude, according to Ken Brown, a photographer who witnessed the plane breaking apart. One pilot was found dead inside the spacecraft and another parachuted out and was flown by helicopter to a hospital, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said. Friday’s flight marked Read more about Spaceship Two breaks up in flight[…]