Ice Peeks out of a Cliffside on Mars The HiRISE (High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has captured another beauty. This time the image shows water ice peeking out from a cliffside on Mars. A layer of sediment obscures most of the ice, but fingers of it are visible. Mars likely had ancient oceans, and the remnants of all that water are hidden as ice. It’s mostly buried in the planet’s crust. In this image, it’s under a thick layer of sediment. The image is from Mars’ Milankovic Crater, a prominent impact crater that sits alone to the north of OlympusRead More →

Hubble finds a black hole igniting star formation in a dwarf galaxy Black holes are often described as the monsters of the universe—tearing apart stars, consuming anything that comes too close, and holding light captive. Detailed evidence from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, however, shows a black hole in a new light: Fostering rather than suppressing star formation. Hubble imaging and spectroscopy of the dwarf starburst galaxy Henize 2-10 clearly show a gas outflow stretching from the black hole to a bright star birth region like an umbilical cord, triggering the already dense cloud into forming clusters of stars. Astronomers have previously debated that a dwarfRead More →

A new Kind of Supernova has Been Discovered We often think of supernova explosions as inevitable for large stars. Big star runs out of fuel, gravity collapses its core and BOOM! But astronomers have long thought at least one type of large star didn’t end with a supernova. Known as Wolf-Rayet stars, they were thought to end with a quiet collapse of their core into a black hole. But a new discovery finds they might become supernovae after all. Wolf-Rayet stars are among the most massive stars known. They are at the end of their short lives, but rather than simply running out of fuelRead More →

Active galactic nucleus in NGC 2992 explored by researchers Researchers from the U.S. Naval Observatory and elsewhere have performed simultaneous observations of an active galactic nucleus (AGN) in the galaxy NGC 2992 using the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) and NASA’s Swift spacecraft. Results of the study, presented January 13 on, shed more light on the properties of this AGN and its galaxy. Go to SourceRead More →

Uncovering evidence for an internal ocean in small Saturn moon A Southwest Research Institute scientist set out to prove that the tiny, innermost moon of Saturn was a frozen inert satellite and instead discovered compelling evidence that Mimas has a liquid internal ocean. In the waning days of NASA’s Cassini mission, the spacecraft identified a curious libration, or oscillation, in the moon’s rotation, which often points to a geologically active body able to support an internal ocean. Go to SourceRead More →

Looking up at the asteroids in the neighborhood Asteroids fly through our solar system all the time, but it’s rare for us to take notice of them. But that’s changed this week, as an asteroid passes within 1,231,184 miles of Earth on January 18. The asteroid, dubbed 7482 (1994 PC1), was first seen in 1994 and is about two-thirds of a mile wide. Go to SourceRead More →

Space Flight Destroys Your Red Blood Cells It’s really true: space wants to kill us. And this time, space is trying to kill us from the inside out. A new study on astronauts living on board the International Space Station shows that while in space, the astronauts’ bodies destroyed 54 percent more red blood cells than they normally would on Earth. Even one year after their flight and back on Earth, the symptoms of “space anemia” persisted in the 14 astronauts tested. Anemia in astronauts has been known as an issue, even since some of the first human missions to space. Medical experts haven’t beenRead More →

A Suctioning Sleeping bag Could Solve eye Problems in Space As any good cardiologist would tell you, blood flow is key to your health.  They probably won’t tell you that gravity is key to blood flow.  But that’s probably because they don’t usually have to deal with patients that aren’t subject to gravity.  When people are no longer subject to gravity, such as astronauts resident on the ISS, that lack of gravity can become a problem, especially when dealing with sensitive soft tissues such as the eyes.  To solve that problem, a team of scientists and engineers have the University of Texas Southwestern have developedRead More →

NASA and HeroX Want to Convert Waste in Space and Monitor Air-Quality Here on Earth In the coming years, NASA will be making the long-awaited return to the Moon, where they will be joined by multiple space agencies and commercial partners. This will be followed by NASA and China sending the first crewed missions to Mars and other locations in deep space in the next decade. This presents numerous challenges, not the least of which involves providing for astronauts’ basic needs while in flight. In keeping with the tradition of “solving for space solves for Earth,” dedicated to addressing air-quality problems and Climate Change hereRead More →

These Newly-Discovered Planets are Doomed Astronomers have spied three more exoplanets. But the discovery might not last long. Each planet is in a separate solar system, and each orbits perilously close to its star. Even worse, all of the stars are dying. The results? Three doomed planets. TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) and other planet-hunting endeavours have found thousands of exoplanets in the last few years and decades. The exoplanets vary widely, from Earth-like planets in their stars’ quiet habitable zones to planets so hot that vaporized iron falls as rain. But these three exoplanets have something in common. They have very short-period orbits—some ofRead More →

20% of Twilight Observations Contain Satellite Passes With the rapid expansion of commercial space, there is a growing number of satellites in orbit around our planet. Most of these are in low-Earth orbit, which is becoming increasingly crowded. This has led some to be concerned about a catastrophic rise of space debris, as well as a growing frustration by astronomers due to the number of satellite sky trails. Currently, the biggest player is the SpaceX Starlink project, which currently has more than 1,700 satellites in low-Earth orbit. They have become notorious for creating bright streaks in astronomical images. But Starlink will soon be followed byRead More →

Designing a science program for sky-monitoring telescope based on the moon The SETI Institute teamed up with Louisiana State University (LSU) and Mississippi State University (MSU) to help students design the science program for AstronetX PBC’s first lunar-based camera (L-CAM 1). The scientific program planning is funded by a Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation grant to AstronetX. Additional funding for student participation is provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergrads (REU) program at LSU. Go to SourceRead More →

Observations detect frequent extreme superflares on the nova V2487 Oph Astronomers from Louisiana State University (LSU) and College of Charleston have performed photometric observations of a recurrent nova known as V2487 Oph. The observational campaign identified superflares on this source occurring almost daily. The finding was detailed in a paper published January 11 on Go to SourceRead More →

Remember When Life was Found in a Martian Meteorite? Turns out, it was Just Geology The Alan Hills meteorite is a part of history to Mars aficionados. It came from Mars and meteorite hunters discovered in Antarctica in 1984. Scientists think it’s one of the oldest chunks of rock to come from Mars and make it to Earth. The meteorite made headlines in 1996 when a team of researchers said they found evidence of life in it. Did they? The Alan Hills meteorite (ALH84001) is a precious scientific object and part of Mars lore now. Twelve years after its discovery, a team of scientists claimedRead More →

A Moon Might Have Been Found Orbiting an Exoplanet In the past three decades, the field of extrasolar planet studies has advanced by leaps and bounds. To date, 4,903 extrasolar planets have been confirmed in 3,677 planetary systems, with another 8,414 candidates awaiting confirmation. The diverse nature of these planets, ranging from Super-Jupiters and Super-Earths to Mini-Neptunes and Water Worlds, has raised many questions about the nature of planet formation and evolution. A rather important question is the role and commonality of natural satellites, aka. “exomoons.” Given the number of moons in the Solar System, it is entirely reasonable to assume that moons are ubiquitousRead More →

A Star Passed too Close and Tore Out a Chunk of a Protoplanetary Disk When it comes to observing protoplanetary disks, the Atacama Large Millimetre/sub-millimetre Array (ALMA) is probably the champion. ALMA was the first telescope to peer inside the almost inscrutable protoplanetary disks surrounding young stars and watch planets forming. ALMA advanced our understanding of the planet-forming process, though our knowledge of the entire process is still in its infancy. According to new observations, it looks like chaos and disorder are part of the process. Astronomers using ALMA have watched as a star got too close to one of these planet-forming disks, tearing aRead More →

Palomar survey instrument analyzes impact of Starlink satellites Since 2019, SpaceX has been launching an increasing number of internet satellites into orbit around Earth. The satellite constellation, called Starlink, now includes nearly 1,800 members orbiting at altitudes of about 550 kilometers. Astronomers have expressed concerns that that these objects, which can appear as streaks in telescope images, could hamper their scientific observations. Go to SourceRead More →

Look Up and Watch Asteroid 1994 PC1 Fly Past Earth This Week This week’s apparition of asteroid 1994 PC1 offers observers a chance to see a space rock moving in real time. In a slow moving universe, asteroids give us a rare chance to see things moving in real time. We have such a chance coming right up on the evening of Tuesday, January 18th, when 1.1-kilometer asteroid (7482) 1994 PC1 passes 1.23 million miles (1.98 million kilometers) from the Earth. This is about five times the distance from the Earth to the Moon, and just a shade over the distance to the anti-sunward Earth-SunRead More →