Space News, updated every weekday

Universe Today

Risk Reduction Milestone Tests Move Commercial Dream Chaser Closer to Critical Design Review and First Flight

The winged Dream Chaser mini-shuttle under development by Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) has successfully completed a series of risk reduction milestone tests on key flight hardware systems thereby moving the private reusable spacecraft closer to its critical design review (CDR) and first flight under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program aimed at restoring America’s indigenous human spaceflight […]

Ultra-Deep Astrophoto: 75 Hours of the Antenna Galaxies

You might think the image above of the famous Antenna Galaxies was taken by a large ground-based or even a space telescope. Think again. Amateur astronomer Rolf Wahl Olsen from New Zealand compiled a total of 75 hours of observing time to create this ultra-deep view. “To obtain a unique deep view of the faint […]

Split-Personality Pulsar Switches From Radio To Gamma-Rays

Another snapshot of our strange universe: astronomers recently caught a pulsar — a particular kind of dense star — switch off its radio beacon while powerful gamma rays brightened fivefold. “It’s almost as if someone flipped a switch, morphing the system from a lower-energy state to a higher-energy one,” stated lead researcher Benjamin Stappers, an […]

Video: A Dizzying, Whirly View Of The Earth From Space!

We’ve got vertigo watching this video, but in a good way! This is a sped-up view of Earth from the International Space Station from the Cupola, a wraparound window that is usually used for cargo ship berthings and Earth observations. (...)Read the rest of Video: A Dizzying, Whirly View Of The Earth From Space! (101 […]

‘Weak’ New Meteor Shower Due To Fragile Comet Dust

While the Camelopardalid shower only produced a few meteors, the lack of flashy disintegrations showed astronomers something new, a new study reveals: the dust from its parent comet (Comet 209P/Linear) was much more fragile than the usual. The reasons are still being investigated, but one theory is that after a century in space, there wasn’t […]

ESO’s La Silla Observatory Reveals Beautiful Star Cluster “Laboratory”

Any human being knows the awe-inspiring wonder of a splash of stars against a dark backdrop. But it takes a skilled someone to truly appreciate a distant object viewed through an eyepiece. Your gut tightens as you realize that the tiny fuzzy blob is really thousands of light-years away. That wave of amazement is encouraged […]

Watch the Falcon 9 Rocket Booster Descend into the Ocean for its “Soft” Landing

SpaceX today released video from the Falcon 9 first stage flyback and landing video from the July 14 launch of six ORBCOMM advanced telecommunications satellites. This was a test of the reusability of the Falcon 9′s first stage and its flyback and landing system. It splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean, and SpaceX called it […]

Carnival of Space #363

The tent is up! This week’s Carnival of Space is hosted by Kimberly Arcand at the Chandra X-Ray Observatory blog. Click here to read Carnival of Space #363. (...)Read the rest of Carnival of Space #363 (89 words) © susie for Universe Today, 2014. | Permalink | No comment | Post tags: Carnival of Space […]

Watch Live As Underwater Astronauts Drill Into The Ocean Floor

How do we send humans to asteroids or Mars? While the answer is complex, one part of it is to say “a simulation mission at a time.” That’s one of the roles of the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) project, which now is seeing its 18th crew temporarily live in a habitat 62 feet […]

Cosmic Fireworks: A Supernova Feast And Google+ Hangout For Chandra’s 15th Anniversary

It’s well past the Fourth of July, but you can still easily find fireworks in the sky if you look around. The Chandra X-Ray Observatory has been doing just that for the past 15 years, revealing what the universe looks like in these longer wavelengths that are invisible to human eyes. Just in time for […]

The Emirates Paves Way for a Middle East Space Program with Its Mission to Mars (Op-Ed)

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 – scientifically and politically.

Robotic Russian Cargo Ship Launches on Express Trip to Space Station

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.

Is Voyager 1 Really in Interstellar Space? New Test Could Prove It for Good

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.

Astronaut Spots Explosions over Israel and Gaza from Space (Photos)

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 Webcast Thursday: How to Watch Live

Hubble Space Telescope scientists are going to explain how they use the huge eye in the sky during a live chat Thursday (July 24).

Gaza Explosions and Flying Rockets Seen From Space | Video

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."

45 Years After Moon Landing, NASA is MIA (Op-Ed)

The United States is outsourcing space exploration to other countries, something that should be a cause for concern.

Apollo 11 Astronauts Meet Obama at White House

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.

Landsat: 42 Years of Earth from Space Photos | Video

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.

Apollo 11 Moon Landing 45th Anniversary: Complete Coverage

"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.

WATCH LIVE @ 11 pm ET: Robotic Russian Cargo Ship to Dock with Space Station @ 11:30

NASA TV will air live coverage of the docking of Russia's Progress 56 spacecraft expected to arrive at the International Space Station at 11:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday.

NASA's Chandra X-Ray Space Telescope Celebrates 15 Years of Discoveries

The agency's Chandra X-ray Observatory — one of NASA's 'Great Observatories,' along with the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes and the now-retired Compton Gamma Ray Observatory — launched aboard the space shuttle Columbia on July 23, 1999.

Chandra X-Ray Observatory - 15 Years Of Discovery | Video

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 Flight Log, July 23, 1969: Preparing for Landing

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.

New Space Race? US Eyes Asteroids as Other Nations Shoot for the Moon

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.

Guardians of the Galaxy: A Space Movie Adventure (Photos)

The second team of comic book superheroes called "The Guardians of the Galaxy" appears in a new movie by Marvel Studios.

Home, Sweet, Moon Cave: Astronauts Could Live in 'Lunar Pits' (Video)

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.

Young Star Cluster Shines in Stunning Telescope Views (Video, Photo)

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.

Star Families Studied in ‘Celestial Laboratory' | Video

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.

Dusty Mystery | Space Wallpaper

This space wallpaper of an artist’s impression shows dust forming in the environment around a supernova explosion.

NASA Spacecraft Just One Year Away from Pluto

NASA's New Horizons' mission, which blasted off in 2006, will become the first spacecraft to orbit Pluto in July 2015. The flyby will give researchers their first good look at the distant, frigid dwarf planet.

Amazing SpaceX Reusable Rocket Test Caught on Video

The video, which SpaceX released today (July 22), shows a Falcon 9 first stage returning to Earth in a controlled fashion after helping launch six commercial satellites on July 14 for the firm Orbcomm.

SpaceX Falcon 9 Landing Test Captured By On-Board Cam | Video

The private space company's Falcon 9 re-usable rocket technology was tested on its last flight on July 14th, 2014. Engine restart, landing legs and ocean touchdown at near zero velocity was recorded. See the launch:

Earth and Planets Make Strange, Exquisite Noises | Video Compilation

Created by lightning, ‘whistlers’ travel along Earth's magnetic field lines from hemisphere to hemisphere. Jupiter’s charged particles ‘sing’ across its magnetosphere (recorded by Voyager).

What If Apollo 11 Failed? President Nixon Had Speech Ready

Papers from the National Archives record the words President Nixon would have spoken had the Apollo 11 astronauts been unable to return to Earth.

Space History Photo: Boilerplate Mercury Capsule

Engineers inspect a boilerplate Mercury capsule.

'Star Wars Episode VII' X-Wing Revealed by J.J. Abrams (Video)

"Star Wars Episode VII" director J.J. Abrams is giving fans of the franchise their first look at the new movie's updated X-Wing — a fighter plane flown in the original trilogy — in a new video.

Pulsar’s Dramatic Morph Caught by Space Telescope | Video

NASA Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope detected a never-before-seen change in a binary star system in the constellation Sextants. The pulsar ceased its radio ‘beacon’ but started bright gamma ray emissions. This animation explains the behavior.

New Star Wars Episode VII X-Wing Revealed | Video

Star Wars Episode VII director, J.J. Abrams is giving fans yet another sneak peak at what lies ahead in the new trilogy. Check out an upgrade on an old cornerstone piece of the Star Wars franchise.

Apollo 11 Flight Log, July 22, 1969: Firing Engines for Earth Return

On July 22, 1969, the three men on NASA's Apollo 11 mission were in the homestretch of their historic moon voyage. See how they fired the engines on their spacecraft.

Newfound Alien Planet Has Longest Year Known for Transiting World

The newly discovered exoplanet Kepler-421b — which crosses the face of, or transits, its host star from Earth's perspective — takes 704 days to complete one orbit. Thus, it has the longest year known for any transiting alien world.

4-Month Mock Mars Mission Wraps Up in Hawaii Friday

The second Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation mission, known as Hi-SEAS 2, wraps up on Friday (July 25), ending four months of simulated Red Planet exploration on Hawaii's Mauna Loa volcano.

Actor Morgan Freeman Talks Mars Trips & More with NASA Astronauts

Actor Morgan Freeman grilled NASA astronauts on the International Space Station about how their work can get humans to Mars someday.

NASA Names Historic Operations Building for 1st Moonwalker Neil Armstrong

NASA honored the memory of Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong Monday (July 21), naming the Operations and Checkout building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida after the first man on the moon.

Apollo 11's Scariest Moments: Perils of the 1st Manned Moon Landing

NASA's Apollo 11 moon landing was a human spaceflight feat, but also a dangerous journey. See some of the scariest moments of first manned moon landing as described by space historian and science writer Rod Pyle, author of 'Destination Moon.'

NASA Probe Sees Apollo 11 Moon Landing Site from Space (Video)

What does the site of the first moon-landing look like 45 years later? A NASA probe orbiting the moon has recently beamed back new images of what Apollo 11's Tranquility Base looks like now.

Space History Photo: Kathy Sullivan Dons Her Suit

Astronaut Kathy Sullivan poses for a picture with her space suit.

Russia Launches Live Animals on Two-Month Space Mission

A high-flying package of live animals, plant seeds, and materials samples shot into space Friday (July 18) aboard a retrievable Russian Foton satellite, launching a two-month mission focusing on microgravity research into biological and physical sciences.

Apollo 11 Moon Landing Site Spied By Orbiter | Video

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) snapped imagery of the site where humanity took their first steps on the moon. An animator combined the photograph with a terrain map to create a 3D model of the Lunar Module (LM) descent stage.

These Quadcopter Dropships Could Land Rovers on Mars (Video)

A dropship quadcopter designed by the European Space Agency could be landing rovers on Mars in the future.

Apollo 11 Patch Flown on 1st Moon Landing to Launch with Astronauts to Mars

When U.S. astronauts make the next 'giant leap' launching to Mars, they will bring with them a memento from the first moon landing 45 years ago. NASA is presenting Kennedy Space Center with a mission patch flown on Apollo 11 for the first Mars crew.

Apollo 11 Flight Log, July 21, 1969: Launching from the Moon

After 21.5 hours on the moon, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin blasted off from the lunar surface on July 21, 1969 to rejoin their crewmate Michael Collins in orbit.

The Future of Moon Exploration, Lunar Colonies and Humanity

What does the future of moon exploration look like? Will it be lunar colonies and manned moon bases, or a desolate lunar surface devoid of human life? National and private efforts hold the key.

Moon Webcasts Celebrate Apollo 11 Lunar Landing: Watch Live Tonight

The Slooh Community Observatory and NASA will broadcast two free webcasts to mark the Apollo 11 moon landing's 45th anniversary tonight (July 20). Slooh will webcast live views of the moon at 8:30 pm ET/0030 GMT. NASA will stream moonwalk video later. at 15: Thank You for Looking Up was founded on July 20, 1999 on the 30th anniversary of NASA's Apollo 11 moon landing. Here, managing editor Tariq Malik recounts the last 15 years of, and the wonder of it all.

Girl Scouts of America Celebrate Apollo 11 Moon Landing in Cookie Form (Video)

The 45th anniversary of NASA's Apollo 11 moon landing is today (July 20) and just might have space fans round the world wondering what it would be like to walk on the moon. The Girl Scouts of America, it turns out, has gone even farther.

Apollo 11 Flight Log, July 20, 1969: The Moon Landing

It was the main event: On July 20, 1969, NASA's Apollo 11 crew touched their Eagle lander down on the lunar surface. Here's how Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins did it.

'One Giant Leap': As Apollo 11 Moon Landing Turns 45, NASA Aims for Mars

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong clambered down the ladder of the Apollo 11 lunar lander and pressed his boot into the moon's gray dirt — a simple step that stands as perhaps the most memorable moment in all of human history.

Vote Now! Best Space Stories of the Week – July 20, 2014

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

Best Space Photos of the Week - July 19, 2014

From a cosmic rubber ducky to an experimental space plane, don't miss these amazing space images of the week for July 19, 2014.

Space News From SpaceDaily.Com

Comet ISON's Dramatic Final Hours

Paris (ESA) Jul 23, 2014
A new analysis of data from the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft has revealed that comet 2012/S1 (ISON) stopped producing dust and gas shortly before it raced past the Sun and disintegrated. When comet ISON was discovered in the autumn of 2012, astronomers hoped that it would eventually light up the night sky to become a "comet of the century". Orbital analysis

India could return to Mars as early as 2017

Moscow (Voice of Russia) Jul 23, 2014
India is ramping up for a follow-up mission to Mars between 2017 and 2020 which will be scientific in scope, the chairman for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has said. The final decision will be hammered out after the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) attempts to enter the orbit of the Red planet on September 24, ISRO chairman Isro K Radhakrishnan said on Thursday, the Times of Indi

OCO-2 Data to Lead Scientists Forward into the Past

Pasadena CA (JPL) Jul 23, 2014
NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, which launched on July 2, will soon be providing about 100,000 high-quality measurements each day of carbon dioxide concentrations from around the globe. Atmospheric scientists are excited about that. But to understand the processes that control the amount of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, they need to know more than just where carbon dioxide is now.

World's Largest Spacecraft Welding Tool Will Build Core Stage of NASA's Space Launch System

Washington DC (SPX) Jul 22, 2014
A 170-foot powerhouse - the Vertical Assembly Center (VAC) - is near completion and will soon be ready to build the core stage of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS). SLS will be the most powerful rocket in history for deep space missions, including to an asteroid and ultimately to Mars. This photo taken with a special camera lens shows the VAC, the world's largest spacecraft welding tool -

Chelyabinsk Meteorite Sheds Light on Dinosaur Extinction Mystery

Tucson AZ (SPX) Jul 23, 2014
A long-standing debate about the source of the asteroid that impacted the Earth and caused the extinction of the dinosaurs has been put to rest thanks to the Chelyabinsk meteorite that disintegrated over Russia in February 2013, a new paper published in the journal Icarus shows. Astronomers have debated whether the dinosaur killer was linked to the breakup of a large asteroid forming the B

Is The Universe A Bubble? Let's Check

Waterloo, Canada (SPX) Jul 23, 2014
Never mind the big bang; in the beginning was the vacuum. The vacuum simmered with energy (variously called dark energy, vacuum energy, the inflation field, or the Higgs field). Like water in a pot, this high energy began to evaporate - bubbles formed. Each bubble contained another vacuum, whose energy was lower, but still not nothing. This energy drove the bubbles to expand. Inevitably, s

Next ISS Cargo Spacecraft Rolls Out to Pad

Washington DC (SPX) Jul 23, 2014
The International Space Station's Expedition 40 crew tackled physics and medical research Tuesday, as a new Russian resupply spacecraft rolled out for Wednesday's launch to the orbiting complex. Meanwhile, flight controllers are tracking a possible conjunction with a piece of space debris that could come into the neighborhood of the station on Wednesday morning The ISS Progress 56 cargo cr

Curiosity's images show Earth-like soils on Mars

Eugene OR (SPX) Jul 23, 2014
Soil deep in a crater dating to some 3.7 billion years ago contains evidence that Mars was once much warmer and wetter, says University of Oregon geologist Gregory Retallack, based on images and data captured by the rover Curiosity. NASA rovers have shown Martian landscapes littered with loose rocks from impacts or layered by catastrophic floods, rather than the smooth contours of soils th

Lunar rock collisions behind Yutu damage

Beijing (XNA) Jul 23, 2014
Ailing Chinese moon rover Yutu, or "Jade Rabbit," might have been damaged by knocking against rocks on a lunar surface that is more complicated than expected, its designer has said. Yutu, China's first moon rover, drove onto the lunar surface on Dec. 15 last year during the Chang'e-3 lunar mission, but in January it suffered a "mechanical control abnormality" which has continued to trouble

NASA's Next Giant Leap

Washington DC (SPX) Jul 23, 2014
The first humans who will step foot on Mars are walking the Earth today. It was 45 years ago that Neil Armstrong took the small step onto the surface of the moon that changed the course of history. The years that followed saw a Space Age of scientific, technological and human research, on which we have built the modern era. We stand on a new horizon, poised to take the next giant leap-deep

Astronauts to Test Free-Flying "Housekeeper" Robots

Washington DC (SPX) Jul 23, 2014
Inspired by science fiction, three bowling ball-size free-flying Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) have been flying inside the International Space Station since 2006. These satellites provide a test bed for development and research, each having its own power, propulsion, computer, navigation equipment, and physical and electrical connections for hard

Typhoon fighter program a boon for British companies

London (UPI) Jul 16, 2013
The Eurofighter Typhoon consortium is touting the benefits of the plane's production to supply chain companies in Britain. According to data disclosed, the Typhoon program spent more than $1.1 billion with British supply chain companies last year. Nearly $368 million made its way to the East Midlands region, where supplier Selex is located, while an equal amount was spent in the

ESA mission name for astronaut Tim Peake: Principia

Paris (ESA) Jul 22, 2014
When ESA astronaut Tim Peake sets off for his six-month space journey next year, he will be flying under the mission name of Principia. More than 4000 people replied to the call for a mission name earlier this year and Principia was suggested 20 times. The name refers to Isaac Newton's world-changing three-part text on physics, Naturalis Principia Mathematica, describing the principal laws of mo

Drones take flight into a world of possibilities

Montreal (AFP) July 17, 2014
Like a well-trained dog, the HEXO+ follows you faithfully wherever you go. But it doesn't walk besides you - it's airborne. Developed by a French start-up, Squadrone System, the six-rotor HEXO+ - which handily totes a GoPro video camera - is billed as the first autonomous small drone for the mass market. It's also a prime example of the many ways in which automation will take to the

New UV laser capabilities being developed for Army

San Diego (UPI) Jul 17, 2013
Next-generation ultraviolet laser capabilities are to be developed for military use by Daylight Defense LLC under a U.S. Army contract. The value of the award was not disclosed, but Daylight Defense said it was granted under the U.S. Army Small Business Innovation Research program. "We are grateful that the U.S. government has entrusted Daylight to develop a next-generation capab