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Space News - Space, Astronomy, Space Exploration



Phys.org provides the latest news on astronomy and space exploration.



 



Spacewalking cosmonauts release 3-D-printed satellite

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 12:04:20 EDT

Spacewalking cosmonauts set free the world's first satellite made almost entirely with a 3-D printer on Thursday.



Astrophysicists predict Earth-like planet in star system only 16 light years away

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 11:41:32 EDT

Astrophysicists at the University of Texas at Arlington have predicted that an Earth-like planet may be lurking in a star system just 16 light years away.



Closer look at red supergiant Antares suggests convection not enough to remove surface material

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 08:30:02 EDT

(Phys.org)—A trio of researchers with Universidad Católica del Norte and the Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie has found evidence that suggests that convection alone cannot account for the amount of material that is pulled from the surface of a red supergiant. In their paper published in the journal Nature, K. Ohnaka, G. Weigelt and K.-H. Hofmann describe their study of the supergiant Antares, what they found and why they now believe there is an unknown force pulling some parts of the star's surface into space. Gail Schaefer with Georgia State University offers a News & Views piece on the work done by the team in the same journal issue.



NASA's ICESat-2 preps for laser tests

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 08:02:07 EDT

Lasers that will fly on NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2, or ICESat-2, are about to be put to the test at the agency's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.



Image: Space station flight over the Bahamas

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 07:40:03 EDT

One of the most recognizable points on the Earth for astronauts to photograph is the Bahamas, captured in striking images many times from the vantage point of the International Space Station.



Image: Europe's largest vacuum chamber, the Large Space Simulator

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 07:10:03 EDT

An external view of Europe's largest vacuum chamber, the Large Space Simulator, which subjects entire satellites to space-like conditions ahead of launch. This 15 m-high and 10 m-diameter chamber is cavernous enough to accommodate an upended double decker bus.



NASA protects its super heroes from space weather

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 03:19:24 EDT

It's not a bird or a plane but it might be a solar storm. We like to think of astronauts as our super heroes, but the reality is astronauts are not built like Superman who gains strength from the sun. In fact, much of the energy radiating from the sun is harmful to us mere mortals.



TDRS: An era of continuous space communications

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 03:07:36 EDT

More than 50 years ago, at the dawn of human spaceflight, the first brave astronauts were only able to communicate with mission control operators on Earth for about 15 percent of each orbit. If this were true today, the International Space Station would only be in contact with the ground for less than 15 minutes out of its 90-minute orbit. Today, nearly continuous communications with the space station and other Earth-orbiting missions is possible through a space-based communications network allowing nearly continuous global communications coverage for astronauts and robotic missions alike.



NASA's LRO team wants you to wave at the moon

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 14:20:02 EDT

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) team invites the public to wave at the Moon on Aug. 21 as LRO turns its camera toward Earth.



Can't see the solar eclipse? Tune in online or on TV

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 13:27:40 EDT

Ronald Dantowitz has been looking forward to Monday's solar eclipse for nearly 40 years.



Сould life begin in oil?

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 13:20:07 EDT

Paul Bracher, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of chemistry at Saint Louis University, and his research team have been awarded a three-year $597,380 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study what life might look like on other planets - or, here on earth - if it began in oil.



Supermassive black holes feed on cosmic jellyfish

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 13:00:08 EDT

An Italian-led team of astronomers used the MUSE (Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer) instrument on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile to study how gas can be stripped from galaxies. They focused on extreme examples of jellyfish galaxies in nearby galaxy clusters, named after the remarkable long "tentacles" of material that extend for tens of thousands of light-years beyond their galactic discs.



Mars 2020 mission to use smart methods to seek signs of past life

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 11:20:01 EDT

NASA's Mars 2020 mission, which will look for signs of past life on Mars, will use smart methods originally developed to find the oldest life on Earth, according the mission's Deputy Project Scientist, Dr Ken Williford. The 2020 mission builds on the successes of prior rovers, to make coordinated measurements that could detect signs of ancient life - or biosignatures - in their original spatial context. These techniques, known as "spatially resolved biosignature analysis" derive from geochemical analysis of early life on Earth.



Image: Gaia's first full-colour all-sky map

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 09:50:01 EDT

While surveying the positions of over a billion stars, ESA's Gaia mission is also measuring their colour, a key diagnostic to study the physical properties of stars. A new image provides a preview of Gaia's first full-colour all-sky map, which will be unleashed in its highest resolution with the next data release in 2018.



SpaceX Dragon delivers scientific bounty to space station

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 09:00:06 EDT

A SpaceX shipment arrived at the International Space Station on Wednesday, delivering a bonanza of science experiments.



Radio relic discovered in a low-mass merging galaxy cluster

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 07:00:03 EDT

Astronomers have detected a new single radio relic in a low-mass merging galaxy cluster known as PLCK G200.9−28.2. The finding, presented Aug. 5 in a paper published on the arXiv pre-print server, could offer some hints about merging processes in galaxy clusters.



Cosmic magnifying lens reveals inner jets of black holes

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 13:57:23 EDT

Astronomers using Caltech's Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO) have found evidence for a bizarre lensing system in space, in which a large assemblage of stars is magnifying a much more distant galaxy containing a jet-spewing supermassive black hole. The discovery provides the best view yet of blobs of hot gas that shoot out from supermassive black holes.



NASA research plane 'kicking off the show' during total eclipse

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 11:41:18 EDT

A NASA research plane, with the agency's science director onboard, will fly out of Boeing Field in Seattle on Aug. 21, to capture the first video of the total solar eclipse as it sweeps ashore at the Oregon coast.



NASA studies CubeSat mission to solve Venusian mystery

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 11:15:24 EDT

Venus looks bland and featureless in visible light, but change the filter to ultraviolet, and Earth's twin suddenly looks like a different planet. Dark and light areas stripe the sphere, indicating that something is absorbing ultraviolet wavelengths in the planet's cloud tops.



Partial eclipse of the sun visible across UK

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 10:28:54 EDT

If the weather is good, viewers across the UK will be treated to a partial solar eclipse on 21 August 2017, just before sunset. In a partial eclipse, a small bite out of the Sun can be seen at the mid-eclipse point, as it is covered by the Moon. A partial solar eclipse is a fascinating natural phenomenon, but is not of any practical scientific use, unlike a total eclipse which provides a special opportunity for studying the solar corona - the tenuous layers of hot gas around the Sun which are much fainter than the familiar yellow disk.



Team redefines cosmic velocity web

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 10:27:23 EDT

The cosmic web—the distribution of matter on the largest scales in the universe—has usually been defined through the distribution of galaxies. Now, a new study by a team of astronomers from France, Israel and Hawaii demonstrates a novel approach. Instead of using galaxy positions, they mapped the motions of thousands of galaxies. Because galaxies are pulled toward gravitational attractors and move away from empty regions, these motions allowed the team to locate the denser matter in clusters and filaments and the absence of matter in regions called voids.



Tracking a solar eruption through the solar system

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 10:03:41 EDT

Ten spacecraft, from ESA's Venus Express to NASA's Voyager-2, felt the effect of a solar eruption as it washed through the solar system while three other satellites watched, providing a unique perspective on this space weather event.



Image: SpaceX CRS-12 cargo mission launch

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 07:10:02 EDT

The two-stage Falcon 9 launch vehicle lifts off Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center carrying the Dragon resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station.



Rodents help NASA take the next step to Mars

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 07:10:02 EDT

NASA's future deep space exploration – including to Mars – is an unprecedented venture in spaceflight, requiring us to tackle challenges we've never faced before. For instance, we know the human body changes significantly while in space, and we'll need to find ways to address those effects. NASA is conducting research to learn more about the long-term impact of extended human spaceflight. One experiment that just launched, Rodent Research-9, is contributing to this goal by sending rodents to the International Space Station, to study how a lack of gravity in space affects blood vessels, eyes and joints.



Image: Highlighting Titan's hazes

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 06:59:43 EDT

NASA's Cassini spacecraft looks toward the night side of Saturn's moon Titan in a view that highlights the extended, hazy nature of the moon's atmosphere. During its long mission at Saturn, Cassini has frequently observed Titan at viewing angles like this, where the atmosphere is backlit by the Sun, in order to make visible the structure of the hazes.



Stardust hitches a ride on meteorites more often than previously thought

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 06:19:45 EDT

Even tiny dust particles have stories to tell − especially when they come from outer space. Meteorites contain tiny amounts of what is popularly known as stardust, matter originating from dying stars. Such stardust is part of the raw material from which some 4.6 billion years ago our planets and the meteorite parent bodies, the so-called asteroids, emerged. Peter Hoppe and his team at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz have now discovered that many of the silicate stardust particles in meteorites are much smaller than was previously thought. To date, many of them have therefore probably been overlooked in studies, leading the scientists to believe that the mass of the silicate stardust particles in meteorites is at least twice as large as previously assumed.



NASA: let's say something to Voyager 1 on 40th anniversary of launch

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 02:53:47 EDT

NASA is seeking suggestions from the public for a message to beam far, far out into space to the probe Voyager 1 in time for the 40th anniversary of its launch.



Tyson's solar eclipse tip: Don't video it, experience it

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 02:51:24 EDT

Prominent astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has a suggestion for anyone with a view of next week's solar eclipse: Put down your smartphone and take in the phenomenon yourself.



Lungs in space: research project could lead to new lung therapeutics

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 02:40:17 EDT

Space travel can cause a lot of stress on the human body as the change in gravity, radiation and other factors creates a hostile environment. While much is known about how different parts of the body react in space, how lungs are affected by spaceflight has received little attention until now, say researchers at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and Houston Methodist Research Institute.



Tidally locked exoplanets may be more common than previously thought

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 16:33:38 EDT

Many exoplanets to be found by coming high-powered telescopes will probably be tidally locked—with one side permanently facing their host star—according to new research by astronomer Rory Barnes of the University of Washington.