Stephen Hawking Is Going To The Edge Of Space Stephen Hawking has spent decades theorizing about the Universe. His thinking on black holes, quantum gravity, quantum mechanics, and a long list of other topics, has helped shaped our understanding of the cosmos. Now it looks like the man who has spent most of his adult life bound to a wheel-chair will travel to the edge of space. In an interview with Good Morning Britain, Hawking said “Richard Branson has offered me a seat on Virgin Galactic, and I said yes immediately.” Hawking added that his “three children have brought me great joy—and I can tellRead More →

Eye Opening Numbers On Space Debris Orbital debris, otherwise known as “space junk”, is a major concern. This massive cloud that orbits the Earth is the result of the many satellites, platforms and spent launchers that that have been sent into space over the years. And as time went on, collisions between these objects (as well as disintegrations and erosion) has created even more in the way of debris. Aside from threatening satellites and posing a danger to long-term orbital missions – like the International Space Station – this situation could pose serious problems for future space launches. And based on the latest numbers releasedRead More →

SpaceX Dragon Splashes Down in Pacific with Treasure Trove of Space Station Science The SpaceX Dragon CRS-10 spacecraft is pictured seconds before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean on Mar. 19, 2017 after departing the International Space Station (ISS). Credit: SpaceX KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – SpaceX’s tenth contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station came to a safe conclusion with a splashdown of the Dragon spacecraft in the Pacific Ocean Sunday and successfully returned a treasure trove of more than two tons of precious science experiments and research samples from the space station. Researchers on Earth are eagerly awaiting the science data andRead More →

How Did Uranus Get its Name? The period known as the Scientific Revolution (ca. 16th to the 18th century) was a time of major scientific upheaval. In addition to advances made in mathematics, chemistry, and the natural sciences, several major discoveries were made in the field of astronomy. Because of this, our understanding of the size and structure of the Solar System was forever revolutionized. Consider the discovery of Uranus. While this planet had been viewed on many occasions by astronomers in the past, it was only with the birth of modern astronomy that its true nature came to be understood. And with William Herschel‘sRead More →

Ever Wondered What Final Approach To Mars Might Feel Like? We’ve posted several ‘flyover’ videos of Mars that use data from spacecraft. But this video might be the most spectacular and realistic. Created by filmmaker Jan Fröjdman from Finland, “A Fictive Flight Above Real Mars” uses actual data from the venerable HiRISE camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and takes you on a 3-D tour over steep cliffs, high buttes, amazing craters, polygons and other remarkable land forms. But Fröjdman also adds a few features reminiscent of the landing videos taken by the Apollo astronauts. Complete with crosshatches and thruster firings, this video putsRead More →

Catch Comet 41P Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák At Its Best Comet 41P Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák glows green (left) and shows its true coma and just the hint of a stubby tail in the negative (red) image (right) from March 19th. Image credit and copyright: Hisayoshi Kato Miss out on comet 45P Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková? Is Comet 2P Encke too low in the dawn sky for your current latitude? Well, the Universe is providing us northerners with another shot at a fine binocular comet, as 41P Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák glides through Ursa Major this week. As seen from 30 degrees north, Comet 41P Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák (sometimes called “Comet 41P” or “Comet TGK”) starts the last weekRead More →

Delta IV Delivers Daunting Display Powering International Military WGS-9 SatCom to Orbit ULA Delta IV rocket streaks to orbit carrying the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS-9) tactical communications satellite for the U.S. Air Force and international partners from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fl, at 8:18 p.m. EDT on Mar. 18, 2017, in this long exposure photo taken on base. Credit: Ken Kremer/ CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, FL – On the 70th anniversary year commemorating the United States Air Force, a ULA Delta IV rocket put on a daunting display of nighttime rocket fire power shortly after sunset Saturday, March 19 – powering a highRead More →

A Family Of Stars Torn Apart It sometimes doesn’t take much to tear a family apart. A Christmas dinner gone wrong can do that. But for a family of stars to be torn apart, something really huge has to happen. The dramatic break-up of a family of stars played itself out in the Orion Nebula, about 600 years ago. The Orion Nebula is one of the most studied objects in our galaxy. It’s an active star forming region, where much of the star birth is concealed behind clouds of dust. Advances in infrared and radio astronomy have allowed us to peer into the Nebula, andRead More →

Get Ready For The >100 Planet Solar System Pluto’s status as a non-planet may be coming to an end. Professor Mike Brown of Caltech ended Pluto’s planetary status in 2006. But now, Kirby Runyon, a doctoral student at Johns Hopkins University, thinks it’s time to cancel that demotion and restore it as our Solar System’s ninth planet. Pluto’s rebirth as a planet is not just all about Pluto, though. A newer, more accurate definition of what is and what is not a planet is needed. And if Runyon and the other people on the team he leads are successful, our Solar System would have moreRead More →

Sunset Delta Set to Dazzle Cape with Mighty Air Force SatCom Launch March 18 – Watch Live ULA Delta IV rocket poised for sunset blastoff with the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS-9) mission for the U.S. Air Force from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fl, on Mar. 18, 2017. Credit: Ken Kremer/ CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, FL – As sunset dawns on the venerable Delta rocket program, the sole Delta slated to launch from the Cape this year is set to dazzle at sunset tonight, Saturday, March 18. And the launch site is drenched with brilliant blue skies this afternoon as I watched the DeltaRead More →

Stunning Imagery Shows 1st Nighttime Falcon 9 Launch off Pad 39A; EchoStar XXIII Photo/Video Gallery SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket streaks to orbit with EchoStar XXIII TV satellite in this long exposure photo taken in front of NASA’s countdown clock under moonlit skies at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on March 16 at 2:00 a.m. EDT. Credit: Ken Kremer/ KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – The opening volley of March Launch Madness started brilliantly as showcased by stunning imagery of the inaugural nighttime launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 off historic pad 39A under moonlit skies along the Florida Space Coast on Thursday, March 15. TheRead More →

TRAPPIST 1: An Evening With Fraser Cain In case you haven’t heard, some new potentially habitable planets were discovered, and they’re named after beer. To celebrate two of our favorite things finally coming together, Forbidden Brewing Co. welcomes local space expert Fraser Cain for an evening of space talk, beer, and pizza. The newly discovered planets are called the TRAPPIST-1 planets, and they’re named after a type of beer brewed by Belgian Trappist Monks. The knowledgeable and entertaining Fraser Cain will host the evening, and will answer your questions about these fascinating planets and their star. Whether you’re just curious, or you’re a bona fideRead More →

NASA Twins Study Researchers Take Genetic Data To Next Level People who plan and conduct space missions never tire of telling us how hard it is to do things in space. Our next big goal is getting humans to Mars, and establishing a colony there. There are a multitude of technical and engineering hurdles to be overcome, but we think we can do it. But the other side of the coin is the physiological hurdles to be overcome. Those may prove to be much more challenging to deal with. NASA’s twins study is poised to add an enormous amount of data to our growing bodyRead More →

Weekly Space Hangout – Mar 17, 2017: Stuart McNeill of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Host: Fraser Cain (@fcain) Special Guest: Stuart McNeill is the the Community Engagement specialist in charge of Family Programs and Demonstrations at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Check out their membership site here. Guests: Kimberly Cartier ( / @AstroKimCartier ) Paul M. Sutter ( / @PaulMattSutter) Their stories this week: The original weird star: Przybylski’s Star may contain short-lived isotopes Enceladus’ sub-surface ocean under thin(ner) ice Star orbiting black hole at 1% c We use a tool called Trello to submit and vote on storiesRead More →

Last Look At Mimas For A Long Time Since the Cassini mission arrived in the Saturn system in 2004, it has provided some stunning images of the gas giant and its many moons. And in the course of capturing new views of Titan’s dense atmosphere, Iapetus’ curious “yin-yang” coloration, and the water plumes and “tiger stripes” of Enceladus, it snapped the most richly-detailed images of Mimas ever seen. But like all good things, Cassini’s days of capturing close-up images of Mimas are coming to an end. As of January 30th, 2017, the probe made its final close approach to the moon, and took the lastRead More →

Zero2Infinity Successfully Test Launches Its Bloostar Prototype Founded in 2009, the private aerospace company Zero2Infinity – which is headquartered in Barcelona, Spain – was created with the vision of delivering orbital payloads and providing space tourism on a budget. But unlike your conventional aerospace companies – i.e. SpaceX, Blue Origin, Orbital ATK, etc – their plan is to do it all using high-altitude stratospheric balloons. On March 1st, the Zero2Infinity team passed a major milestone, deploying a prototype “rockoon” craft from the National Institute of Aerospace Technology‘s (INTA) facility in El Arenosillo, Spain. Known as Bloostar, this two-stage craft (which consists of a balloon andRead More →

Flawless SpaceX Falcon 9 Takes Rousing Night Flight Delivery of EchoStar TV Sat to Orbit The SpaceX Falcon 9 launches the EchoStar 23 telecomsat from historic Launch Complex 39A with countdown clock in foreground at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center as display shows liftoff progress to geosynchronous orbit after post midnight blastoff on March 16 at 2:oo a.m. EDT. Credit: Ken Kremer/ KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – Under stellar Florida skies, a private SpaceX Falcon 9 took flight overnight and flawlessly delivered the commercial EchoStar 23 television satellite to geosynchronous orbit after high winds delayed the rockets roar to orbit by two days from Tuesday. BreakingRead More →

Russia Recruiting For Its Moon Bound Cosmonauts   Roscosmos has certainly come a long way in the past few decades. After facing an uncertain future in the 1990s, the federal space agency has rebounded to become a major player in space and a crucial partner in the International Space Station. And in the coming years, Roscosmos hopes to expand its reach further, with missions planned to the Moon and even Mars. Towards this end, on Tuesday, March 14th, the agency announced that it is conducting a recruitment drive for new cosmonauts. All are welcome, the agency stressed, to apply to become the next-generation of spaceRead More →

Dark Matter Less Influential in Galaxies in Early Universe New observations indicate that massive, star-forming galaxies during the peak epoch of galaxy formation, 10 billion years ago, were dominated by baryonic or “normal” matter. This is in stark contrast to present-day galaxies, where the effects of mysterious dark matter seem to be much greater. This surprising result was obtained using ESO’s Very Large Telescope and suggests that dark matter was less influential in the early Universe than it is today. The research is presented in four papers, one of which will be published in the journal Nature this week. ESO News Feed Go to SourceRead More →