Space News, updated every weekday
Here on Earth we enjoy the nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere we’ve all come to know and love with each of the approximately 24,000 breaths we take each day (not to mention the surprisingly comfortable 14.7 pounds per square inch of pressure it exerts on our bodies every moment.) But every breath we take would be impossible (or at least quickly […]
What an awesome photo! Italian amateur astronomer Rolando Ligustri nailed it earlier today using a remote telescope in New Mexico and wide-field 4-inch (106 mm) refractor. Currently the brightest comet in the sky at magnitude 6.5, C/2014 E2 Jacques has been slowly climbing out of morning twilight into a darker sky over the last two […]
GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER, MD – The huge Sunshield test unit for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has been successfully unfurled for the first time in a key milestone ahead of the launch scheduled for October 2018. Engineers stacked and expanded the tennis-court sized Sunshield test unit last week inside the cleanroom at a […]
As Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring inches closer to the Red Planet, NASA’s taking steps to protect its fleet of orbiting Mars spacecraft. On October 19, the comet’s icy nucleus will miss the planet by just 82,000 miles (132,000 km). That’s 17 times closer than the closest recorded Earth-approaching comet, Lexell’s Comet in 1770. (...)Read the rest of […]
If youâ€™re like us, you mightâ€™ve looked at a globe of the Earth in elementary school long before the days of Google Earth and wondered just what that strange looking figure eight thing on its side was. (...)Read the rest of Having Fun with the Equation of Time (1,000 words) Â© David Dickinson for Universe […]
If you spent 120 days cooped up in a small habitat with six people, what’s the first thing you’d want to do upon emerging? Celebration would likely be one of them, and you can watch the festivities as the HI-SEAS crew leaves their Mars simulation later today. The broadcast takes place between 2 p.m. EDT […]
From his perch aboard the International Space Station, Alexander Gerst took this photo this week and said he could spot explosions and rockets in the blackness below. The location made him realize things were grim: it was over the Gaza and Israel region. After the photo went viral on Twitter (it’s been shared nearly 40,000 […]
Zoom! This video brings you up close to a region where a bunch of stars are being born. This new video from the European Southern Observatory shows a so-called an HII region made up of hydrogen gas, which is a common feature of nurseries. Another famous example is the Eagle Nebula’s Pillars of Creation. (...)Read […]
The Milky Way measures 100 to 120 thousand light-years across, a distance that defies imagination. But clusters of galaxies, which comprise hundreds to thousands of galaxies swarming under a collective gravitational pull, can span tens of millions of light-years. These massive clusters are a complex interplay between colliding galaxies and dark matter. They seem impossible […]
Remember during the government shutdown when it looked as though a NASA Mars mission would be delayed? Launch preparations continued because delaying the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft — which could have pushed its window back by years — would cause “imminent risk to life or property”, administrator Charles Bolden told Universe Today […]
The environment can produce sudden shocks to the life of our planet through impacting space rocks, erupting volcanoes and other events.
The online Slooh community telescope will host a free, live webcast of the annual Delta Aquarid meteor shower on Monday night (July 28), and you can follow it along at Slooh.com or here on Space.com. The webcast begins at 10 p.m. EDT (7 pm ET/0200 GMT).
Stargazers often overlook six minor meteor showers in the northern summer, but these celestial fireworks displays can be must-see events. Here's Space.com's guide to the minor meteor showers of Summer 2014.
A volunteer crew of mock Mars explorers emerged from their Martian habitat Friday (July 25) after four months living inside a dome atop a Hawaiian volcano. See how the HI-SEAS 2 mock Mars mission crew lived and worked on a 'Red Planet.'
One of the greatest pleasures for summer stargazers is viewing the splendor of the Milky Way. Despite the fact that we live in this vast island of billions of stars, most inhabitants of Earth have never seen the clouds of our Milky Way.
Fix your gaze upon the moon.
The countdown has begun for the liftoff of a space shuttle from Houston â€” and you are invited to take a front row seat. On Aug. 14, Space Center Houston's shuttle replica, the "Independence," will be hoisted by crane on top of NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircr
What was your favorite space news story of the last week?
From a look again at the first footprints on the moon to the ISS view of Gaza, don't miss these amazing space images of the week for July 26, 2014.
This NASA-produced video combines a greatest hits retrospective of past spaceflight with suggestions of humans-to-asteroid and Mars missions, plus animation of a yet unbuilt heavy lift launch vehicle.
A Russian space capsule carrying a package of biological and materials research specimens, including geckos and plant seeds, has stopped responding to commands from Earth, the Russian space agency announced Thursday (July 24).
When we were asked to design a new science-fiction entry in the "Sid Meierâ€™s Civilization" series, it was one of those amazing moments when we realized we were going to have the chance to combine a love of game design with a love of science and space.
The latest installment in Sid Meier's Civilization series takes mankind in search of a new home after the collapse of modern society on Earth. Pre-order the game here.
The Hubble Space Telescope is an amazing example of space engineering that for nearly a quarter century has been a vital research tool and public relations boon for astronomy. As such, it is due time for a LEGO model of the observatory, fan Gabriel Russo
German astronaut Alexander Gerst reflected on the grief he felt as he saw signs of the deadly Israel-Gaza conflict from the International Space Station.
Curiosity has just crossed out of its landing ellipse, the 12- by 4-mile(19 by 7 kilometers) zone targeted for its August 2012 touchdown and is now moving toward an increasingly challenging landscape called the Zabriskie Plateau.
As the world celebrates the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11's giant leap to the moon, some people are eyeing the celestial body's bounty of resources. But it's unclear at the moment who is allowed to extract and profit from the moon's resources.
Using observations by NASA's Kepler and Spitzer space telescopes, researchers determined that the exoplanet Kepler-93b is 1.48 times the size of Earth, allowing scientists to conclude that the planet is very likely composed of iron and rock.
Is the moon made of green cheese? Is it a hollow spaceship? Apollo 11 helped put these and other ideas to rest.
Mercury and Venus will star in an early morning meet-up with the moon Friday (July 24). Both planets can be seen low in the east-northeast roughly 45 minutes before sunrise.
The Hubble Space Telescope has created the most detailed map ever of the star-filled halo encircling Centarus A, the closest giant elliptical galaxy to our Milky Way galaxy. The map reveals a surprising amount of heavy metals along the halo's outer edge.
The cloudier an alien planet is, the closer it can get to its star and still remain potentially life-friendly, researchers say. See what it means for life on planets even as hellish as Venus.
It's commonplace to practice spacewalks underwater, but the latest crew living in an underwater lab plans to introduce a twist: a 10-minute communications delay with mission control.
NASA's STEREO spacecraft captured imagery of recently discovered Comet Jacques on its nearest approach to the Sun as the object was moving at over 110,000 miles per hour. The comet can be spotted in the pre-dawn hours.
Imagery from the Rosetta mission has been used to create a visualization of periodic comet 67P/Churyumovâ€“Gerasimenko. The probe insert itself into orbit around the comet in the first week of August 2014.
Scientists with the Hubble Space Telescope are hosting a webcast to answer questions about how NASA and the European Space Agency's huge eye in the sky works.
The probe is 125 times smaller than its target, comet 67P/Churyumovâ€“Gerasimenko. Rosetta will come within 62 miles of the surface in the first week of August 2014.
DigitalGlobe released satellite images of the Malaysian Airlines MH17 plane that was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17.
NASA's Apollo 11 crew returned to Earth as heroes at the end of their successful manned moon landing mission. See how Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins splashed down in the Pacific Ocean and returned to the United States.
"One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." That sentence, uttered by NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong from the surface of the moon 45 years ago, signaled the dawn of a new age.
Astrophotographer took this image of the moon, Venus, and the Pleiades on June 24, 2014 from Tucson, Arizona.
While the Apollo 11 landing was on the cutting-edge of technology in 1969, today it's a demonstration of how much could be accomplished with so little.
The United Arab Emirates has announced plans to launch a mission to Mars by 2021. A first for the Arab world, the mission and accompanying Space Agency are a big deal for the UAE â€“ scientifically and politically.
Russia launched a robotic ship on an express delivery run to the International Space Station today (July 23) to bring fresh supplies to the crewmembers on the orbiting outpost.
Scientists are still debating whether NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft is in interstellar space, but a new study outlines a test that could definitively show where the far-flung probe is on its journey out of the solar system.
As fighting continues in Israel and Gaza, astronauts living aboard the International Space Station can see signs of the deadly conflict from space.
Hubble Space Telescope scientists are going to explain how they use the huge eye in the sky during a live chat Thursday (July 24).
Photographs taken by ISS astronaut Alexander Gerst show the waging war on the Gaza strip and Israel. Gerst says "My saddest photo yet. From the International Space Station we can actually see explosions and rockets flying over Gaza and Israel."
The United States is outsourcing space exploration to other countries, something that should be a cause for concern.
U.S. President Barack Obama welcomed Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collin, the two surviving Apollo 11 astronauts, to the White House yesterday (July 22) to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the first moon landing.
NASA's first Landsat mission launched in July 1972. Seven more satellites have been launched since. Two of these, Landsat 7 & 8, are still active. The program acquired science imagery of natural disasters, urban change, water, ice, and farming.
The agency's Chandra X-ray Observatory â€” one of NASA's 'Great Observatories,' along with the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes and the now-retired Compton Gamma Ray Observatory â€” launched aboard the space shuttle Columbia on July 23, 1999.
The NASA space-based telescope has delivered amazing imagery of the hidden Universe and expanded our knowledge of black holes, dark matter and the life and death of stars. It was launched on July 23rd, 1999 aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia.
Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins spent their last full day in space before landing gearing up for their Earth return. See how here.
In the four decades since Apollo, no humans have landed on the moon. While NASA has no concrete plans to send astronauts back, other nations are talking about going there.
The second team of comic book superheroes called "The Guardians of the Galaxy" appears in a new movie by Marvel Studios.
Scientists have found hundreds of small pits on the lunar surface that could provide shelter to astronauts exploring the moon. Some of the pits, which are primarily located inside larger craters on the moon, are nearly 3,000 feet wide.
A family of bright young stars group together against a background of glowing clouds in a new photo from an observatory in the Southern Hemisphere.
The European Southern Observatory's La Silla Observatory imaged NGC 3293, a star cluster in the constellation Carina (The Keel), a site where sibling stars grow and generations evolve.
This space wallpaper of an artistâ€™s impression shows dust forming in the environment around a supernova explosion.
Paris (AFP) July 27, 2014
Europe will close an important chapter in its space flight history Tuesday, launching the fifth and final robot ship it had pledged for lifeline deliveries to the International Space Station. The 20-tonne Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) dubbed Georges Lemaitre, the size of a double-decker bus, is set to blast off from South America with fuel, water, oxygen, food, clean clothes and 50 kilogr
Pasadena, Calif. (UPI) Jul 25, 2013
Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring won't whiz by Mars for another two-plus months, but NASA is already preparing its Mars orbiters for the flyby. Currently, NASA has two observation craft circling the Martian planet. A third will arrive just a month prior to the arrival of Comet C/2013 A1. "Three expert teams have modeled this comet for NASA and provided forecasts for its flyby of Mar
Los Angeles (UPI) Jul 25, 2013
Aerospace company SpaceX has released a video of its attempt to return part of its Falcon 9 rocket to Earth. It's what SpaceX engineers call a "soft landing," though "soft" in this case is a relative term. SpaceX wants to eventually be able to reuse one of the rocket's boosters, from one launch to the next - a shortcut that could end up saving lots of time and money - so engineers hav
Hanover NH (SPX) Jul 24, 2014
Dartmouth scientists and their colleagues have devised a breakthrough laser that uses a single artificial atom to generate and emit particles of light. The laser may play a crucial role in the development of quantum computers, which are predicted to eventually outperform today's most powerful supercomputers. The study appears in the journal Physical Review B. The new laser is the fir
Moscow (AFP) July 24, 2014
Several geckos are at risk of a rude return to earth after Russia lost control of a research satellite testing the effect of weightlessness on the small lizards' sex lives. Russia's Progress space firm confirmed Thursday that the Foton-M4 satellite was not responding to commands from the ground to start its onboard engine and lift it to a higher orbit. However the company said in a state
Moscow, Russia (SPX) Jul 24, 2014
Physicists Sergei Filippov (MIPT and Russian Quantum Center at Skolkovo) and Mario Ziman (Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic, and the Institute of Physics in Bratislava, Slovakia) have found a way to preserve quantum entanglement of particles passing through an amplifier and, conversely, when transmitting a signal over long distances. Details are provided in an article published in the j
Washington DC (SPX) Jul 23, 2014
Research meteorologists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Marine Meteorology Division (MMD) and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, employing the Navy's Mid-Course Doppler Radar (MCR) at Cape Canaveral, were able to characterize mid-level, mixed-phase altocumulus clouds. In altocumulus clouds, at medium altitudes ranging from 6,000 feet to 20,000 feet above mean sea level, water
College Park MD (SPX) Jul 22, 2014
The world is mostly neutral. That is, most of the atoms in our environment are electrically neutral. The number of electrons in the outer parts of atoms equals the number of protons at the centers of atoms. As one or more electrons are plucked away from the atoms, the remaining electrons feel a much stronger positive pull from the nucleus. This enhanced pull, causing the atoms to shrink in
Princeton NJ (SPX) Jul 23, 2014
Highly purified crystals that split light with uncanny precision are key parts of high-powered lenses, specialized optics and, potentially, computers that manipulate light instead of electricity. But producing these crystals by current techniques, such as etching them with a precise beam of electrons, is often extremely difficult and expensive. Now, researchers at Princeton and Columbia un
Washington DC (SPX) Jul 23, 2014
Interest in magnetic random access memory (MRAM) is escalating, thanks to demand for fast, low-cost, nonvolatile, low-consumption, secure memory devices. MRAM, which relies on manipulating the magnetization of materials for data storage rather than electronic charges, boasts all of these advantages as an emerging technology, but so far it hasn't been able to match flash memory in terms of storag
University Park PA (SPX) Jul 24, 2014
Graphene, a material that consists of a lattice of carbon atoms, one atom thick, is widely touted as being the most electrically conductive material ever studied. However, not all graphene is the same. With so few atoms comprising the entirety of the material, the arrangement of each one has an impact on its overall function. Now, for the first time, researchers from the University of Penn
Washington DC (SPX) Jul 21, 2014
Using a newly developed, ultrafast femtosecond infrared light source, chemists at the University of Chicago have been able to directly visualize the coordinated vibrations between hydrogen-bonded molecules - the first time this sort of chemical interaction, which is found in nature everywhere at the molecular level, has been directly visualized. They describe their experimental techniques and o
College Park MD (SPX) Jul 23, 2014
Imagine being able to instantaneously run an optical cable or fiber to any point on earth, or even into space. That's what Howard Milchberg, professor of physics and electrical and computer engineering at the University of Maryland, wants to do. In a paper published in the journal Optica, Milchberg and his lab report using an "air waveguide" to enhance light signals collected from distant
Washington DC (SPX) Jul 23, 2014
To support the fair sale of gaseous hydrogen as a vehicle fuel, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a prototype field test standard to test the accuracy of hydrogen fuel dispensers. Once the standard is field tested, it will serve as a model for constructing similar devices for state weights and measures inspectors to use. Three automaker
San Francisco (AFP) July 23, 2014
Google is offering a million-dollar prize for a breakthrough that would make solar or wind generated electricity more enticing for everyday uses. Google teamed with the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers to back a "Littlebox Challenge" promising to reward whoever comes up with the best design for a device no bigger than a laptop that can efficiently convert direct current to al