Data from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket could help NASA’s future Mars missions

(Thermal imagery of the SpaceX Falcon 9 first stage performing propulsive descent – Photo Credit: NASA)

Supersonic retropropulsion data, and thermal imagery, obtained from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on its descent after it launched from Cape Canaveral is being analyzed by NASA as it may provide critical engineering information for future missions to the surface of Mars. Continue reading

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NASA astronauts perform second spacewalk in two weeks

(Wiseman and Wilmore camouflaged against the station’s exterior – Photo Credit: Alexander Gerst/ESA)

Two NASA astronauts completed a 6-hour, 34-minute spacewalk on Wednesday, replacing a failed power regulator and relocating equipment on the station’s exterior to begin setting the stage for a reconfiguration of the orbiting complex to accommodate future commercial crew vehicles. Continue reading

NASA TV to broadcast Russian International Space Station spacewalk

(Max Suraev (left) and Alexander Samokutyaev (right) will perform the spacewalk – Photo Credit: NASA)

NASA Television will broadcast live coverage of a six-hour spacewalk by two Russian crew members aboard the International Space Station on October 22nd, with coverage scheduled to begin at 1pm GMT (9 am EDT). Continue reading

Images of the Day: 16/10/14

(Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ/Arizona State Univ)

NASA’s Opportunity Rover captured a number of stunning panoramas showing “Wdowiak Ridge”, pictured here from the left foreground to the centre, as the Mars Exploration Rover’s Pancam looked northward. The rover’s tracks are visible to the right.  Continue reading

NASA/ESA research discovers slow-growing galaxies can offer a window to the early universe

(Sextans A, a small galaxy involved in the research – Photo Credit: ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech/NRAO)

A new study from the European Space Agency’s Herschel mission and NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) has made some of the most accurate measurements yet of the meager rates at which small, sluggish galaxies create stars, helping researchers figure out how the very first stars in our universe were created. Continue reading

Hubble Space Telescope locates 3 potential Kuiper Belt targets for NASA’s New Horizons mission

(An artist’s impression of a Kuiper Belt object (KBO) – Photo Credit: NASA/ESA/G. Bacon)

The Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered three Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) that NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft could potentially visit after it flies by Pluto in July 2015. Continue reading

Image of the Day: 15/10/14

(Photo Credit: NASA/SDO)

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, watches the sun at all times from its orbit in space, and it recently captured this intriguing image showing active regions on the sun combining to resemble a jack-o-lantern’s face (an appropriate coincidence considering the upcoming Halloween holiday). Continue reading

Inflatable module to be added to the International Space Station in 2015

(Artist’s concept of the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module – Photo Credit: Bigelow Aerospace)

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station will soon attach an addition to the orbiting complex: the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), which will become the first privately-built space habitat to be added to the ISS when it is transported to the station sometime next year. Continue reading

MAVEN mission collects first data from the Martian upper atmosphere

(Artist’s concept showing the MAVEN spacecraft orbiting Mars – Photo Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Centre)

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft has provided scientists with their first look at Mars’s complex atmosphere, producing an array of ultraviolet images of the tenuous oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon coronas surrounding the Red Planet. Continue reading

Image of the Day: 14/10/14

(Photo Credit: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA)

The European Space Agency’s Philae lander recently snapped this great “selfie” of one of Rosetta’s 52-foot-long (16-meter) solar arrays while Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko hovers 10 miles (16 kilometers) away in the background. Continue reading

Secretive X-37B military space plane set to land this week

(X-37B pictured on the runway – Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force)

The U.S. Air Force’s mysterious X-37B space plane, dubbed the ‘mini space shuttle’, is rumoured to return to Earth this week, possibly as early as Tuesday, after 22 months in orbit on a secret mission. Continue reading

European Space Agency create ultrastable adhesive that could revolutionise space missions

(GOCE, a ESA instrument that prompted the exploration of new adhesives – Photo Credit: ESA/AOES Medialab)

A new ultrastable adhesive, identified through European Space Agency research, could be the key to securing and solidifying the stability of large telescopes, instruments and antennas operating in space. Continue reading

NASA finds widespread evidence of young lunar volcanism

(This feature, known as Maskelyne, is one of many newly discovered young volcanic deposits – Photo Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has gathered strong evidence that the moon’s volcanic activity slowed gradually instead of stopping abruptly a billion years ago. Continue reading

Met Office opens UK’s first space weather forecasting centre

(Solar flares, like the one pictured above, will be just one of the space weather phenomenons monitored by MOSWOC – Photo Credit: NASA/SDO)

The UK’s first space weather forecasting centre has opened. The Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre (MOSWOC), created in response to solar storms being added to the British Government’s National Risk Register (NRR) in 2011, will provide an operational prediction service and deliver an early warning system in the event that a series space weather event poses a threat to the country’s critical infrastructure. Continue reading

Image of the Day: 12/10/14

(Photo Credit: NASA)

International Space Station Flight Engineers Reid Wiseman (right) and Barry Wilmore (left) are pictured preparing for their 6 ½-hour October 15th spacewalk. The two astronauts set up their spacesuits and tools in the equipment lock of the Quest airlock, while Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency, who is coordinating spacewalk activities from inside the station, joined Wiseman and Wilmore for a review of spacewalk procedures. Continue reading

NASA prepares fleet of Martian orbiters and rovers for comet flyby

(Click here to view a larger version of this image – Photo Credit: NASA)

NASA’s extensive fleet of science assets currently orbiting and roving Mars have front row seats to witness a once-in-a-lifetime comet flyby on Sunday 19th October. Continue reading

After a 40 year search, have astronomers finally found a Thorne-Zytkow object?

(The Small Magellanic Cloud, pictured here, is the location of the potential TZO – Photo Credit: ESA/Hubble)

A strange hybrid star, known as a Thorne-Zytkow object (TZO), has for decades simply existed as a theory. It was first proposed by physicist Kip Thorne and astronomer Anna Zytkow in 1975 and had since been cited as simply a myth, until now. Continue reading