Posts tagged space
A comet the size of a small mountain and about as solid as a pile of talcum powder whizzed past Mars, dazzling space enthusiasts with the once-in-a-million-years encounter.
The comet, known as Siding Spring, made its closest encounter with the Red Planet at 2:27 p.m. EDT on Sunday, racing past it at a breakneck 126,000 miles per hour. Read more
At a distance of only 10 miles from comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko’s surface, the European Rosetta mission has captured yet another dazzling self portrait with the dark comet lurking in the background. But the orbiter couldn’t have snapped this “selfie” without the help of a little friend — the attached Philae lander that is currently undergoing preparations for its historic comet surface landing in November. Read more
A pair of rookie spacewalkers spent six hours outside the International Space Station on Tuesday, cleaning up from a repair crew’s work back in December and tackling an electrical wiring project.
NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman and the European Space Agency’s Alexander Gerst stowed an old cooling pump into a permanent storage location on a platform attached to the station’s truss. The pump was replaced by a spare in December and may be repaired in the future. More
Life is all around us, on Earth. But what about elsewhere in the Universe? We know there’s an abundance of life-giving chemicals out there, but what conditions are required to spark life as we know (and don’t know) it? Probably most importantly, if we did find extraterrestrial life, how would we recognize it as such?
In a new round of funding announced on Monday, NASA is allocating $50 million to 7 astrobiology research groups in the US to tackle these questions. Learn more
Whenever you look up at the near side of the moon, you see a face looking back at you. This is the “Man in the Moon” and it has inspired many questions about how it could have formed.
There has been some debate as to how this vast feature — called Oceanus Procellarum, which measures around 1,800 miles wide — was created. But after using gravity data from NASA’s twin GRAIL spacecraft, researchers have found compelling evidence that it was formed in the wake of a mega volcanic eruption and not the location of a massive asteroid strike. Learn more
NASA is working on a new instrument for the International Space Station that will create a 3-D map of the Earth’s forests, in order to measure the role of trees in scrubbing carbon from the atmosphere.
The new instrument will use lidar, a laser system for measuring distance between the space-based instrument and the surface. Called the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) lidar, the system will be put together at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
Two Mars-bound spacecraft are both in excellent health ahead of their September arrivals in orbit around the Red Planet, managers for both missions report.
One of Jupiter’s moons has unleashed a series of huge volcanic eruptions over a hellish 2 week period that were so bright they could be studied in detail by ground based observatories.