Space News, updated every weekday

Labor Day in Space: A Weightless Holiday for US Astronauts

While many Americans will spend Labor Day (Sept. 1) barbecuing, relaxing and soaking up the end of summer, U.S. astronauts in space will spend the holiday in their own way: floating in weightlessness.

Vote Now! Best Space Stories of the Week – Aug. 31, 2014

What was your favorite space news story of the last week?

Best Space Photos of the Week - Aug. 30, 2014

From donning a new space suit to a beautiful star explosion, don't miss these amazing space images of the week for Aug. 30, 2014.

Labor Day Weekend Stargazing: See Moon, Mars and Saturn Meet Up

Look up this Labor Day weekend to see a lovely celestial tableau in the southwestern part of the evening sky.

Has Science Fully Explained Sunshine?

What makes our sun shine has been a mystery for most of human history.

Living the Life on 'Mars' (Gallery)

Life, and work, in a simulated Mars environment.

LIGO Generations (Trailer)

Four generations of researchers are on the hunt for gravitational waves.

How NASA Is Tracking Earth's Melting Arctic Sea Ice (Video)

A new NASA mission launched in the Arctic this week could help scientists learn more about Earth's changing climate.

Film Students Play Starring Role in Stratospheric Balloon Launch (Video)

When you think of the U.S. Air Force, the Federal Aviation Authority and the FBI, a team of starry-eyed film students may not necessarily come to mind as a potential partner for science.

As Space Shuttle Discovery Turns 30, Smithsonian Curator Shares Orbiter Secrets

NASA's retired space shuttle Discovery will mark the 30th anniversary of its first launch being admired by fans of all ages, according to the Smithsonian's curator charged with its care.

US Air Force's Secretive X-37B Space Plane Passes 600 Days in Orbit

The U.S. Air Force's mysterious unmanned space plane has winged beyond 600 days in orbit on a classified military mission that seems to have no end.

Final Frontier Design: The Space Suit Experience in Photos

Final Frontier Design aims to produce spacesuits in Brooklyn, NY. The company's Space Suit Experience offers space fans the chance to try on a spacesuit for $400.

Suit Up! Final Frontier Design Launches Space Suit Experience in NYC

Space fans can get a taste of life in space without ever leaving Earth thanks to new venture from a private spacesuit manufacturer.

How To Try On A Real Spacesuit -- In Brooklyn | Video

Spacesuit makers Final Frontiers Design gave's @MiriKramer their latest generation suit to try on. The company, that was founded by Ted Southern and Nikolay Moiseev, is offering a "Space Suit Experience" to customers.

Neptune and 'Dodgeball' Asteroid Star in Webcasts Tonight: Watch Live

The action starts at 8 p.m. EDT, when the Slooh Community Observatory will air a four-hour show to mark an alignment of Neptune, Earth and the sun. Then Slooh will cover the flyby of near-Earth asteroid 2002 CU11. You can watch live at

NASA Satellite Sees Tropical Storm Marie from Space (Photo)

NASA's GOES-West satellite snapped a photo of Marie at 11:00 a.m. EDT Thursday (Aug. 28), the same day it was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm. Marie was about 865 miles west of Punta Eugenia, Mexico at the time.

WATCH LIVE FRIDAY @ 8 pm ET: Slooh Double Feature - Neptune & Asteroid

The Slooh Community Observatory will air a special cosmic double feature showing views of Neptune and an asteroid in deep space on Friday (Aug. 29). The show starts at 8 p.m. EDT (0000 Aug. 30 GMT).

Best Skywatching Events of September 2014: Night Sky Maps (Gallery)

See what's up in the night sky for September 2014, including stargazing events and the moon's phases, in this gallery courtesy of Starry Night Software.

Revolution in Spaceflight Requires New Spacesuits (Op-Ed)

With tourists venturing into space, next-generation space suits are key to the success of commercial spaceflight.

What to Wear in Space: Spacesuit Chic with Final Frontier Design

In 2009, two previously competing designers teamed up to build a spacesuit glove as part of a NASA competition. After taking home second prize and winning $100,000 for their high-tech creation, Ted Southern and Nikolay Moiseev decided to go into business

Cosmic Quest: Who Really Discovered Neptune?

Neptune will appear directly opposite the sun in the sky tomorrow (Aug. 29), but despite the clear view of the planet from Earth, the truth about the person who first discovered the distant planet remains cloudy.

How Far, the Stars? Quasars Solve 'Seven Sisters' Star Cluster Mystery

A new measurement, which used quasars as bright and consistent relative-distance markers, charted the famous "Seven Sisters" star cluster at 136.2 parsecs, or 444 light-years, away from Earth.

Smash! Aftermath of Colossal Impact Spotted Around Sunlike Star

The researchers detected a huge disk of dusty debris around a sunlike star called NGC-2547 ID8. The cloud was likely spawned when two planetary building blocks slammed into each other just two years ago or so, scientists said.

Secretive Space Plane Passes Moon and Rigel in Night Sky | Video

Skywatcher Kevin Fetter of Brockville, Ontario in Canada captured imagery of the US Air Force's X-37B passing above the moon and over bright star Rigel in March 2014. He also captured an overhead pass in August 2014.

Are We Living in a 2D Hologram? Photos of Laser 'Holometer' Experiment (Gallery)

Do we live in a 2D hologram? Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) are conducting an experiment to probe the nature of space-time.

NASA's New Mega-Rocket for Deep Space Will Be Launch Ready by 2018

NASA's first test launch of its new mega-rocket, the Space Launch System, will blast off by November 2018, a year later than planned. See how the SLS rocket is making progress here.

Is the Universe a 2D Hologram? Experiment Aims to Find Out

The Holometer project, which is based at the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Illinois, is now operating at full power, probing the very nature of space-time itself.

XCOR Aerospace's Private Lynx Space Plane to Get New Texas Home

XCOR Aerospace — the builder of the Lynx space plane — is renovating the main hangar for the spaceship designed to bring paying tourists into suborbital space. Lynx could launch on its first test flights later this year.

US Air Force Museum to Restore Retired Titan Rocket

A massive retired military rocket is about to begin undergoing a museum restoration and its curators are seeking help to ensure it is exhibited correctly. The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force announced plans to begin restoring its Titan 4B rocket.

Satellite Towing Service Developed By Israel's 1st Space Startup | Video

Effective Space Solutions' microsatellite, called "The DeOrbiter", will be able to grapple satellites and tow them to their correct orbits. Useful for satellites that are launched into incorrect orbits or for towing to 'graveyard' orbits.

X-Rays Reveal Interactions Between Eta Carinae Stars | Video

Power winds emanating from the binary system's stars interact and are being studied with the help of Chandra X-ray Observatory imagery. The system harbors one of the largest and brightest stars in the Milky Way.

Early Universe Galaxy Core Harbored Millions Of Newborn Stars | Video

Galaxy GOODS-N-774 has been observed by NASA and ESA space telescopes and the W.M. Keck Observatory. The view is how it appeared 11 billion years ago.

Two-Thirds Of Arctic Sea Ice Lost Since 1980's - NASA Explains | Video

NASA cryospheric program manager Dr. Tom Wagner talks to's @MiriKramer about how the space agency is trying determine the causes of the ice loss and how it affects Earth.

White Dwarfs May Hold Nuclear Trigger for Explosive Supernovas

Supernovas may spark from catastrophic nuclear explosions on dead white dwarfs. The scenario has long been theorized by scientists, but now direct evidence has been found.

Proton Fusion, the Sun's Power Source, Explained (Infographic)

Stars are giant fusion reactors, smashing protons together to produce energy.

LISTEN LIVE NOW: NASA Space Launch System Mega-Rocket Update

NASA officials will hold a teleconference to discuss progress on the Space Launch System rocket designed to take humans deeper into space than ever before. The news conference is expected to begin at 4 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT) today (Aug. 27).

Power of the Sun: Elusive Solar Neutrinos Detected, a Cosmic First

Particles released from the core of the sun confirm existing models of the fusion process that drives the star.

LIGO Generations | Trailer Video

Scientists working to detect gravitational waves from black holes and other exotic phenomena billions of light years away, pass their passion to future generations. A new film, by Kai Staats, is coming.

NASA Nears Choice on Private Space Taxis for Astronauts

The space agency is about to give out its Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contract, the last in a series of awards and agreements NASA began putting in place in 2010 to encourage the development of private American astronaut taxis.

SpaceX Delays Commercial Satellite Launch Over Reusable Rocket Mishap

SpaceX scrubbed the planned early Wednesday liftoff of a commercial communications satellite to perform a thorough check of its launch systems in the wake of a test-flight mishap last week involving a prototype rocket.

George Takei Helps Beam $650K to 'Star Trek' Fan Film

With the backing of none other than Sulu, a fan-made production of a feature-length "Star Trek" film raised more than $650,000 to chronicle one of the U.S.S. Enterprise's adventures.

Masten Space Systems Aims High on XS-1 Military Space Plane Project

A look at Masten Space System's plans for the U.S. military's proposed Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) vehicle. Masten is one of three companies holding XS-1 design contracts.

Curiosity Rover Packs Up Drill, Hits the Martian Road Again

Mission team members had been considering drilling a rock dubbed "Bonanza King" but scrapped the idea after pre-drilling activities suggested that the stone is not stable enough. Curiosity has instead resumed the long drive to the towering Mount Sharp.

Gravitational Lens Reveals Distant Universe Galaxy Merger | Video

Astronomers observing with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have been able to image merging galaxy H-ATLAS J142935.3-002836. A foreground galaxy gravity magnified the light of the merger to deliver the image.

NASA Astronaut Honored with Ohio Historical Marker

NASA astronaut Robert Overmyer, who flew on two space shuttle missions in the early 1980s, was remembered Saturday (Aug. 23) with the dedication of a historical marker in his Ohio hometown.

Spectacular Solar Flare Erupts from the Sun (Photos, Video)

The sun kicked off this week with an explosive solar flare that, while not aimed directly at Earth, may be a hotspot to watch over the next few days.

Historic Mate-Demate Tower Used to Lift Space Shuttles Being Demolished

The steel tower used to mount NASA space shuttles atop jumbo jets to fly them cross-country after they landed in California is now being dismantled. The Mate-Demate Device at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center stood for four decades.

Former NASA Chief Says Russia Holding US Spaceflight Hostage: Report

Former NASA administrator Mike Griffin thinks the United States' dependence on Russian technology to fly astronauts to the International Space Station is tantamount to a "hostage situation," according to an interview conducted in May.

US Military Blows Up Hypersonic Weapon After Failed Test Launch

The U.S. Army launched a prototype hypersonic weapon test from Alaska on Monday (Aug. 25), only to destroy the superfast vehicle seconds later when something went wrong.

A New World: NASA Recalls Voyager 2 Probe's 1989 Neptune Encounter

NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft made the first-ever flyby of Neptune on Aug. 25, 1989, zipping by the planet and its moon Triton in quick succession. The historic encounter gave a face to two worlds that until that time had dwelt in depth and shadow.

Universe Today

Rosetta Now Up Close to Comet 67P – Snapping Mapping Mosaics for Momentous Philae Landing

ESA’s Rosetta orbiter has now moved in so close to its comet quarry that the primordial body overwhelms the screen, and thus its snapping mapping mosaics to capture the complete scene of the bizarre world so it can find the most suitable spot for the momentous Philae landing – upcoming in mid-November. In fact Rosetta […]

25 Days from Mars – India’s MOM is in Good Health!

Now less than 25 days from her history making rendezvous with the Red Planet and the critical Mars Orbital Insertion (MOI) engine firing, India’s MOM is in good health! The Mars Orbiter Mission, or MOM, counts as India’s first interplanetary voyager and the nation’s first manmade object to orbit the 4th rock from our Sun […]

Tonight’s Moon-Mars-Saturn Trio Recalls Time of Terror

Check it out. Look southwest at dusk tonight and you’ll see three of the solar system’s coolest personalities gathering for a late dinner. Saturn, Mars and the waxing crescent moon will sup in Libra ahead of the fiery red star Antares in Scorpius. All together, a wonderful display of out-of-this-world worlds.(...)Read the rest of Tonight’s […]

Caterpillar Comet Poses for Pictures En Route to Mars

Now that’s pure gorgeous. As Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring sidlestowardsits October 19th encounterwith Mars,it’s passing a trio of sumptuous deep sky objects near the south celestial pole this week. Astrophotographers weren’t going to let the comet’s picturesque alignments pass without notice.(...)Read the rest of Caterpillar Comet Poses for Pictures En Route to Mars (394 […]

Heat Protecting Back Shell Tiles Installed on NASA’s Orion EFT-1 Spacecraft Set for Dec. 2014 Launch

Fabrication of the pathfinding version of NASA’s Orion crew capsule slated for its inaugural unmanned test flight in December is entering its final stages at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) launch site in Florida. Engineers and technicians have completed the installation of Orion’s back shell panels which will protect the spacecraft and future astronauts from […]

Radio Telescopes Resolve Pleiades Distance Debate

Fall will soon be at our doorstep. But before the leaves change colors and the smell of pumpkin fills our coffee shops, the Pleiades star cluster will mark the new season with its earlier presence in the night sky. The delicate grouping of blue stars has been a prominent sight since antiquity. But in recent […]

Enjoy This Eye-Meltingly Awesome Photo of Our Sun

Here’s yet another glorious photo of our home star, captured and processed by New York artist and photographer Alan Friedman on August 24, 2014. Alan took the photo using his 90mm hydrogen-alpha telescope – aka “Little Big Man” –  from his backyard in Buffalo, inverted the resulting image and colorized it to create the beautiful image […]

US Heavy Lift Mars Rocket Passes Key Review and NASA Sets 2018 Maiden Launch Date

After a thorough review of cost and engineering issues, NASA managers formally approved the development of the agency’s mammoth heavy lift rocket – the Space Launch System or SLS – which will be the world’s most powerful rocket ever built and is intended to take astronauts farther beyond Earth into deep space than ever before […]

Observing Neptune: A Guide to the 2014 Opposition Season

Never seen Neptune? Now is a good time to try, as the outermost ice giant world reaches opposition this weekend at 14:00 Universal Time (UT) or 10:00 AM EDT on Friday, August 29th. This means that the distant world lies “opposite” to the Sun as seen from our Earthly perspective and rises to the east […]

Astronomers Spot Pebble-Size Dust Grains in the Orion Nebula

Stars and planets form out of vast clouds of dust and gas. Small pockets in these clouds collapse under the pull of gravity. But as the pocket shrinks, it spins rapidly, with the outer region flattening into a disk. Eventually the central pocket collapses enough that its high temperature and density allows it to ignite […]

Space News From SpaceDaily.Com

Memory Reformat Planned for Opportunity Mars Rover

Pasadena CA (JPL) Sep 01, 2014
An increasing frequency of computer resets on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has prompted the rover team to make plans to reformat the rover's flash memory. The resets, including a dozen this month, interfere with the rover's planned science activities, even though recovery from each incident is completed within a day or two. Flash memory retains data even when power is off. It

Russia's Foton-M Satellite Landing Scheduled for September 1

Moscow (RIA Novosti) Sep 01, 2014
The landing of Russia's Foton-M biosatellite with geckos, fruit flies, silkworm eggs, mushrooms and seeds of higher plants on board is appointed for the Knowledge Day, September 1, in the Orenburg region, Russia's Federal Space Agency Roscosmos told RIA Novosti. "The program of scientific experiments has been completed. The State Commission decided to land Foton-M at 13.18 (9:18 GMT)

Sparks Fly as NASA Pushes the Limits of 3-D Printing Technology

Washington DC (SPX) Sep 01, 2014
NASA has successfully tested the most complex rocket engine parts ever designed by the agency and printed with additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, on a test stand at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. NASA engineers pushed the limits of technology by designing a rocket engine injector --a highly complex part that sends propellant into the engine - with design

Too Early for Conclusions on Galileo Satellites Incident

Moscow (RIA Novosti) Sep 01, 2014
Rushing to conclusions on the possible causes of the Galileo satellites incident before the end of the EU-Russian investigation is both too early and inappropriate, a Russian Rocket and Space Corporation (URSC) spokesperson told RIA Novosti on Thursday. "While the commission is still working, it is inappropriate and too early to speculate different versions and draw rash conclusions on the

NASA's Spitzer Telescope Witnesses Asteroid Smashup

Washington DC (SPX) Sep 01, 2014
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has spotted an eruption of dust around a young star, possibly the result of a smashup between large asteroids. This type of collision can eventually lead to the formation of planets. Scientists had been regularly tracking the star, called NGC 2547-ID8, when it surged with a huge amount of fresh dust between August 2012 and January 2013. "We think two bi

NASA Wrapping Up Acoustic Testing for Space Launch System

Huntsville AL (SPX) Sep 01, 2014
Engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, are wrapping up acoustic testing on a 5-percent scale model of NASA's Space Launch System. The Aug.28 test, the 34th in the series, will help NASA engineers understand how loud the SLS vehicle will be during liftoff. Data from the test series will be used to design the water sound suppression system that reduces lifto

NASA Probes Studying Earth's Radiation Belts to Celebrate Two Year Anniversary

Washington DC (SPX) Sep 01, 2014
NASA's twin Van Allen Probes will celebrate on Saturday two years of studying the sun's influence on our planet and near-Earth space. The probes, shortly after launch in August 2012, discovered a third radiation belt around Earth when only two had previously been detected. The radiation belts are layers of energetic charged particles held in place by the magnetic field surrounding our plan

Rosetta arrival competition winners

Paris (ESA) Sep 01, 2014
As Rosetta made its final approach to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, we asked you to join this extraordinary adventure by sharing pictures of your journeys, participating in a fun photo contest that attracted hundreds of entries and nearly 23 000 votes. No matter whether you were heading to work or visiting friends, travelling to an exotic holiday destination or going on a hike, the idea

Researchers Use NASA and Other Data to Look Into the Heart of a Solar Storm

Greenbelt MD (SPX) Sep 01, 2014
A space weather storm from the sun engulfed our planet on Jan. 21, 2005. The event got its start on Jan. 20, when a cloud of solar material, a coronal mass ejection or CME, burst off the sun and headed toward Earth. When it arrived at our planet, the ring current and radiation belts surrounding Earth swelled with extra particles, while the aurora persisted for six hours. Both of these are

Obama's executive order: computer chip implants to heal injured troops

Washington (UPI) Aug 27, 2014
President Obama is backing a unique program aimed at developing computer chip implants that monitor and augment an injured soldier's nervous system - mitigating all sorts of maladies, ranging from arthritis to post-traumatic stress. The computer chips are the purview of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an agency specializing in the development of high-tech militar

'Robo Brain' will teach robots everything from the Internet

Ithaca NY (SPX) Aug 28, 2014
Robo Brain - a large-scale computational system that learns from publicly available Internet resources - is currently downloading and processing about 1 billion images, 120,000 YouTube videos, and 100 million how-to documents and appliance manuals. The information is being translated and stored in a robot-friendly format that robots will be able to draw on when they need it. To serve as he

U.S. military destroys experimental hypersonic weapon

Anchorage, Alaska (UPI) Aug 26, 2014
Four seconds into the test launch of an experimental hypersonic weapon, on Monday, U.S. military officials were forced to abandon the mission and cue the weapon to self-destruct. The so-called Advanced Hypersonic Weapon is part of the Defense Department's Conventional Prompt Global Strike technology development program. The program's objective is to construct a missile that can wipe out

The power of salt

Boston MA (SPX) Aug 28, 2014
Where the river meets the sea, there is the potential to harness a significant amount of renewable energy, according to a team of mechanical engineers at MIT. The researchers evaluated an emerging method of power generation called pressure retarded osmosis (PRO), in which two streams of different salinity are mixed to produce energy. In principle, a PRO system would take in river water an

Scientists craft atomically seamless semiconductor junctions

Seattle WA (SPX) Aug 28, 2014
Scientists have developed what they believe is the thinnest-possible semiconductor, a new class of nanoscale materials made in sheets only three atoms thick. The University of Washington researchers have demonstrated that two of these single-layer semiconductor materials can be connected in an atomically seamless fashion known as a heterojunction. This result could be the basis for next-ge

Researchers map quantum vortices inside superfluid helium nanodroplets

Berkeley CA (SPX) Aug 28, 2014
Scientists have, for the first time, characterized so-called quantum vortices that swirl within tiny droplets of liquid helium. The research, led by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), the University of Southern California, and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, confirms that helium nanodroplets are in fact the smallest possible