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News Archive

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This page contains a number of links to news items we highlighted in 2016 / 17. Please scroll down to see more information.

Cassini`s Grand Finale:15th Sept 2017

Image: NASA

Message from Houston Space Centre

(Texas) After Hurricane Harvey

Image: Space Centre Houston

Robot BepiColumbo Meets its Masters

Image credit: ESA

Flight controllers for robotic explorer BepiColumbo

met ‘their’ spacecraft for the first time on 5th July.

BepiColombo is ESA's first mission to Mercury

and consists of two spacecraft: the ESA''s

Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and the

JAXA's Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO).

MPO will study the surface / internal composition

of the planet, while MMO will study Mercury's

magnetosphere.

 

'Smallest - Ever' Star Discovered

Image source: Alexander von Boetticher et al.

Astronomers at the University of Cambridge on

the search for exo-planets have discovered a

'tiny' star. The star, known as EBLM J0555-57Ab,

is slightly bigger than Saturn and has a

gravitational pull 300 times stronger than Earth.

If it had been slightly less massive (about 83

Jupiter masses), there wouldn’t be enough

central pressure for hydrogen fusion to occur

Four Earth-sized Planets Found

Orbiting Sun-like Star

Scientists have discovered two new 'super-Earth'

planets which may be potentially habitable.

They are among four newly discovered planets

orbiting Tau Ceti, the nearest Sun-like star to

Earth, some 12 light years away.

 

Gravity Waves Detected in Sun's Interior

Image: SOHO

Scientists using data from the SOHO solar observatory

have found gravity waves in the Sun's interior that imply

the Sun’s core rotates four times faster than its surface

 

Did You Know?

The Forgotten Life of Einstein's

First Wife

Image: Mileva Marić in 1896

Her husband, Albert Einstein is celebrated as

perhaps the best physicist of the century but

who remembers the brilliant scientist Mileva

Marić. How much did his first wife contribute

to Albert Einstein's groundbreaking science?

Moon Dust Auction in New York

Image credit: NASA

Moon dust collected by Armstrong during the

first moon landing is to be sold at auction.

The lot, consisting of lunar dust and tiny rocks,

is worth about $2 to $4 million. Sotheby's is

auctioning items linked to space travel on

20th July, the 48th anniversary of the first

moon landing

 

Moon Express Unveils MX-1E Lunar Lander

Image credit: Moon Express (MX-1E spacecraft on the moon)

Moon Express confirms its first mission to the

Moon is still on schedule to launch by the end of

2017 with the aim of claiming the Google Lunar X

Prize. Future missions could also include large

landers and sample return spacecraft

 

'Gecko Glue' to Help Tidy Up Space Debris

Engineers at Stanford University have designed

a robotic gripper to help grab objects in space

using glue inspired by geckos

 

New Black Hole Found in Sagittarius

A Slice of Sagittarius: ESA/Hubble/NASA

Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA -  A slice of Sagittarius
 

An international team of astronomers led by

The University of Manchester have found

evidence of a new black hole in the Milky

Way, hidden in Sagittarius.

 

Cassini on Track for 'Grand Finale'

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Artist's concept of Cassini diving between Saturn and its innermost ring.

After passing close to Titan, a moon of Saturn,

the Cassini spacecraft has begun a series of

22 dives between the rings of Saturn itself.

Cassini will plunge into Saturn's atmosphere

later this year on 15 September. A wealth

of information on the Grand Finale and the

Cassini-Huygens mission is available from

NASA's news website here...

 

How to Make Bricks on Mars

Image credit: Jacobs School of Engineering/UC San Diego

Engineers at the University of California have

published a study on how astronauts could

create bricks purely from Martian soil. Their

method uses pressure to compact the soil:

no baking or extra ingredients necessary.

 

Mathematical Model for a Time Machine

Ben Tippett, a researcher at the University of

British Columbia, has created a formula to describe

a method of time travel. "People think of time travel

as something [from] fiction," says Tippett.

"And we tend to think it's not possible because we

don't actually do it. But, mathematically, it is

possible"

First Private Moon Landing in 2018 ?

Image credit: PTScientists

A group of European scientists are planning

to send a landing module and 2 rovers to the

Moon in 2018, launched aboard the SpaceX

Falcon 9 rocket. The mission plans to send

out two rovers to find NASA's moon buggy,

left behind on the final Apollo mission.

 

Giant Space X Rocket is Re-usable

Image: Space X

Space X's Falcon Heavy Rocket, once operational,

will be the most powerful rocket in the world. It will

also be recoverable and reusable !

 

More Stories in News Archive

New Black Hole Found in Sagittarius

A Slice of Sagittarius: ESA/Hubble/NASA

Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA -  A slice of Sagittarius
 

An international team of astronomers led by

The University of Manchester have found

evidence of a new black hole in the Milky

Way, hidden in Sagittarius.

 

Cassini on Track for 'Grand Finale'

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Artist's concept of Cassini diving between Saturn and its innermost ring.

After passing close to Titan, a moon of Saturn,

the Cassini spacecraft has begun a series of

22 dives between the rings of Saturn itself.

Cassini will plunge into Saturn's atmosphere

later this year on 15 September. A wealth

of information on the Grand Finale and the

Cassini-Huygens mission is available from

NASA's news website here...

 

How to Make Bricks on Mars

Image credit: Jacobs School of Engineering/UC San Diego

Engineers at the University of California have

published a study on how astronauts could

create bricks purely from Martian soil. Their

method uses pressure to compact the soil:

no baking or extra ingredients necessary.

 

Mathematical Model for a Time Machine

Ben Tippett, a researcher at the University of

British Columbia, has created a formula to describe

a method of time travel. "People think of time travel

as something [from] fiction," says Tippett.

"And we tend to think it's not possible because we

don't actually do it. But, mathematically, it is

possible"

First Private Moon Landing in 2018 ?

Image credit: PTScientists

A group of European scientists are planning

to send a landing module and 2 rovers to the

Moon in 2018, launched aboard the SpaceX

Falcon 9 rocket. The mission plans to send

out two rovers to find NASA's moon buggy,

left behind on the final Apollo mission.

 

Three Comets in the April Sky !

Comet C/2017 E4 Lovejoy: Gerald Rhemann on 30/03/2017

With three comets visible in the night sky from

the UK, why not check out when and where

you can see them at www.cometwatch.co.uk?

 

Giant Space X Rocket is Re-usable

Image: Space X

Space X's Falcon Heavy Rocket, once operational,

will be the most powerful rocket in the world. It will

also be recoverable and reusable !

 

Cassini Prepares for Final Farewell

Cassini spacecraft

Image credit: NASA/JPL Artist concept of Cassini at Saturn

On Wednesday, April 26, the Cassini spacecraft will

begin a series of dives between Saturn and its rings

as part of the mission's grand finale. For more

details and guides, see NASA's mission page here..

 

Jupiter Photo Opportunity

Jupiter Close Up

Image: Hubble Telescope

This April, Jupiter is in opposition i.e.at its closest to

Earth at about about 670 million kilometres. The

hemisphere facing Earth is fully illuminated by the

Sun: an excellent photo opportunity for the

Hubble telescope

 

Mars Rover Tests in Atacama Desert

Rover in desert

Image credit: NASA/CampoAlto/V. Robles

Second Mars Rover test series is completed in possibly

the driest place on Earth, to approximate conditions on

Mars. The team spent a month collecting scientific data

on life found in the desert today.

Moon Enceladus May Have Liquid

Water Near Surface

Enceladus with fractures at the south polar region.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

The bright, ice-covered Saturn moon should be too

small and too far from the Sun to be active. But

Enceladus is one of the most geothermally active

places in the Solar System.

 

More Stories in News Archive

Mars Rover Tests in Atacama Desert

Rover in desert

Image credit: NASA/CampoAlto/V. Robles

Second Mars Rover test series is completed in possibly

the driest place on Earth, to approximate conditions on

Mars. The team spent a month collecting scientific data

on life found in the desert today. More info

Moon Enceladus May Have Liquid

Water Near Surface

Enceladus with fractures at the south polar region.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

The bright, ice-covered Saturn moon should be too

small and too far from the Sun to be active. But

Enceladus is one of the most geothermally active

places in the Solar System

More Info

Astronomers Find 7 Earth-Sized planets

In Trappist  - 1 System:

Three are in the Habitable Zone !

More Info

Northern Lights Fading From the UK?

Image: Chris Brown (Shetland)

Scientists at Reading University find that UK may

'lose' the Northern lights by the middle of this century

due to changes in solar activity. They predict that an

imminent 'solar minimum', which is part of the Sun's

natural cycle, will cause the Sun's 'atmosphere' to

shrink by a third. This would lessen Earth's protection

from cosmic rays and solar radiation and would also

reduce the solar wind which makes the northern

lights visible in areas outside Earth's polar regions

More Info

Chinese to Launch Lunar Sampling

Mission in November

China state media reports that a planned robotic

mission to return samples from the lunar surface

will launch in November. This would be the first

such mission in four decades. The mission will use

China's new heavy-lift Long March 5 rocket.

More Info

Oxygen from Earth Travels to the Moon

Image: JAXA / NHK

Analysis of data from the Japanese lunar orbiter Kaguya

suggests that oxygen is transferred from Earth to the

Moon for 5 days in every lunar month.

More Info

Astronauts' Brains Change Shape in Space

astronaut waving

Image: NASA

A new study by the University of Michigan reveals that

astronauts' brains compress and expand during space

missions. Findings may lead to new ways of thinking

about certain health conditions on Earth.

More Info

Moon Express Team gathers

funds for trip to the Moon

lunar X Prize Image

In a bid to claim $20 Million in prize money for landing

on the Moon, the US-based Moon Express team has

already built a lunar lander and booked space on an

experimental Electron rocket. Now, with sufficient

funds in place, the team will soon have a real chance

to launch its first record-breaking attempt

More Info

Remembering the Last Man on the Moon

Gene Cernan on the Moon

Image: NASA

Eugene Cernan, the commander of the Apollo 17 mission

and last astronaut to walk on the Moon, has died aged

82. "We leave as we came, and, God willing, we shall

return, with peace and hope for all mankind."

Cernan's words on leaving the Moon.

Read NASA's tribute here...

More Info

Bulge Seen in Venus' Atmosphere

Image: JAXA/Taguchi et. al., 2017

Astronomers are still trying to explain a massive  'bulge'

seen in the upper atmosphere of Venus. Their best

guess is that the 10,000 km structure was caused

by the largest gravity wave ever seen in the Solar

System - but only if gravity waves can form this high

in the atmosphere

More Info

Trump to scrap Nasa climate research

Image: NASA Scientific Visualization Studio

Trump announces plans to scrap Nasa climate research in

crackdown on ‘politicized science’. Funding will be used to

explore of deep space, with a goal of exploring the entire solar

system by the end of the century.

More Info

Gravitational Waves: Breakthrough

of 2016?

Dr. Kip Thorne of Caltech © Gary Cameron / Reuters

More Info

Summary: Some of the Best Astronomy

News from 2016

Recap of some of the best astronomy news in 2016...

More Info

Comet 45P Visible from New Years Eve

Comet 45P

Image: Comet 45P as it looked when it last passed Earth:  NASA / JPL

Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova will be

visible in the night sky in January / February

2017. The comet is a regular visitor to the

inner solar system and was first discovered

in 1948. 47P is best viewed with binoculars

or a small telescope

More info

NASA Favourite Photos of 2016

Image: NASA

See a selection of some of  NASA HQ's favourite

images from 2016

More Info

Purple Rocks on Mars

This new image from NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover

shows purple-coloured rocks on the surface of

lower Mount Sharp ( Mars )

More Info

Could YOU Be an Astronaut?

 

December 2016

Are Silica Formations Evidence of

Past Life on Mars?

 silica formations on the Gusev crater on Mars

silica formations on the Gusev crater on Mars, image taken by 'Spirit'  in 2008.

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Silica formations on Mars are similar to those found

in the Chilean desert and may have been caused

by microbial life

More Info

The Effects of Running Water on the

Early Martian Surface

water on Mars?

Image credit: William Dietrich / University of California Berkley

A new study suggests that  climate cycles on early

Mars may help us understand the effects of liquid

water on the planet's surface

More Info

Large Ice Sheet Discovered on Mars

sheet of ice on Mars

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter discovers sheet of

ice under the Martian soil -  the size of New

Mexico and 260 to 560 feet thick

More Info

Could YOU Be an Astronaut?

 

First Observations of Solar Wave

Erupting upwards from Sunspot

Scientists track a solar wave, seen here in 16 wavelengths
of light    Credit: Zhao et al/NASA/SDO/IRIS/BBSO
 

New sunspot observations may help scientists

explain why the Sun’s corona is hotter than the

region below

New Info

Galactic Cannibal captured by Hubble

Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Astronomers think that galaxy NGC 1222 is 

swallowing two smaller dwarf galaxies that came

too close to it and that this could have triggered

the starburst seen in the image

More Info

GRAPES-3 Shows Temporary Crack in

Earth's Magnetic Field

 

credit: NASA

Scientists report that the GRAPES-3 Muon telescope

recorded a burst of cosmic rays that indicated a

crack in the Earth's magnetic shield in June 2015

More Info

The GRAPES-3 muon telescope, the largest and most sensitive cosmic ray monitor recorded a burst of galactic cosmic rays that indicated a crack in the Earth's magnetic shield. The burst occurred when a giant cloud of plasma ejected from the solar corona struck Earth at a very high speed causing massive compression of the Earth's magnetosphere and triggering a severe geomagnetic storm

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-11-grapes-earth-magnetic-shield.html#jCp
The GRAPES-3 muon telescope, the largest and most sensitive cosmic ray monitor recorded a burst of galactic cosmic rays that indicated a crack in the Earth's magnetic shield. The burst occurred when a giant cloud of plasma ejected from the solar corona struck Earth at a very high speed causing massive compression of the Earth's magnetosphere and triggering a severe geomagnetic storm

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-11-grapes-earth-magnetic-shield.html#jC
The GRAPES-3 muon telescope, the largest and most sensitive cosmic ray monitor recorded a burst of galactic cosmic rays that indicated a crack in the Earth's magnetic shield. The burst occurred when a giant cloud of plasma ejected from the solar corona struck Earth at a very high speed causing massive compression of the Earth's magnetosphere and triggering a severe geomagnetic storm

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-11-grapes-earth-magnetic-shield.html#jCpim

November 2016

Schiaperelli: Software Fault?

Image: ESA

4 Minutes and 41 seconds into its descent to Mars,

Schiaperelli's shield and parachute ejected ahead

of schedule. Was a software error to blame?

More Info

What Went Wrong with Schiaperelli

Landing?

Schiaperelli with parachute

Image: ESA Schiaperelli with deployed parachute

Data from Schiaperelli's descent in the Martian

atmosphere has been successfully received and is

currently being analysed. ESA reports that most

steps in the 6 minute descent were completed

successfully. The soft landing was unsuccessful

and ESA engineers are working to find out why

More Info

Open University Space Month

image: ESA  Schiaperelli probe seperation whilst approaching Mars

October 2016 is Open University's Space Month

culminating in the arrival of TGO at Mars and the

landing of Schiaperelli on 19th October

More Info

Schiaperelli Mars Landing Visualised

Visualisation of the ExoMars Schiaparelli module entering and descending

through the martian atmosphere (ESA)

ESA's robotic probe, Schiaperelli, is due to

separate from its orbiter this coming Sunday

and should land on Mars three days later

(19th October).  This would be Europe's first ever

successful landing on Mars. The probe will

monitor conditions on the surface and test

technology for ESA's ExoMars rover, which

is expected to launch in 2020.

Meanwhile, the Trace Gas Orbiter will 'sniff'

the planet's atmosphere for methane.

More Info

A detailed description of the mission is available

from ESA

 

Meteoroids Hit the Moon More Often

Than Thought

Bootprint on the Moon

Image: NASA   Buzz Aldrin's bootprint on the Moon - July 20, 1969.

Observations by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance

Orbiter suggest that our Moon is bombarded by

more small meteoroids than predicted. This

means that any future lunar base will need to be

much sturdier than thought. Tracks left by

astronauts will be gone in tens of thousands of

years rather than millions...

More Info

Juno's Main Rocket Burn Delayed

Planet Jupiter

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

The main engine burn which was due to

change Juno's orbital period from 19 October

has been delayed. This will allow NASA to test

engine valves that were not performing

as expected.

More Info

Universe May have 2 Trillion Galaxies

Field of Galaxies

Image: Hubble Telescope

A new 'census' estimates that the observable

universe is home to about 2 trillion galaxies,

increasing the previous estimation by a factor of 10

More Info

Rosetta - Says Goodbye

Rosetta sends final image 20m above her comet,

5 seconds before a controlled crash landing

which ends her 12 year mission

More Info

SpaceX Plans to Send Humans

to Mars 'Within Six Years'

Image: NASA. Twin peaks on Mars

SpaceX founder announces goal to 'make life

interplanetary' by 2022 and reveals plans for

reusable spaceship

More Info

September 2016

Rosetta Grand Finale Announced

Image credit: ESA

ESA announces that Rosetta will descend to the

surface of its comet on 30 September to end its

mission. More details here...

More Info

China Opens World's Largest

Single-Dish Radio Telescope

The last panel of the Fast telescope installed in July. Photo: China Daily/Reuters

 

More Info

Possible Water Plumes on Europa

Composite images from the Hubble Space

Telescope show possible water vapor

erupting from the surface of Jupiter's moon

Europa.

More Info

NASA's OSIRIS-REx Lifts Off


NASA's OSIRIS REx has launched successfully

and is heading towards a Near-Earth asteroid

(Bennu) where it will collect samples and

bring them back to Earth to study

More Info

Philae Lander Found!

Rosetta's high resolution camera has revealed

Philae's position on Comet 67P/Churyumov–

Gerasimenko: wedged in a dark crack. The site

has been named Abydos.

More Info

Space X Rocket Explodes

A SpaceX rocket has exploded on the launch

pad whilst test-firing ahead of its launch. The

blast shook buildings several miles away

More Info

Ceres Probably Has Ice Volcano

Ceres mountain Ahuna Mons. Image width is 30 kilometers.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

Observations by NASA's Dawn spacecraft

observations indicate that "ice volcanoes"

have erupted on the dwarf planet in recent

times. Its crust is a mixture of ice and rock

never observed before

More Info

 

'Alien Signal' from Earth After All

RATAN-600 radio telescope in Northern Caucasus. Credit: SAO RAS.

Mysterious signal detected by Russian radio

telescope last year is 'most probably' of

terrestrial origin

More Info

Rosetta Captures Comet Outburst

Rosetta unexpectedly captured a comet

outburst, possibly triggered by a landslide.

Nine instruments, including cameras, dust

collectors, gas and plasma analysers, were

monitoring the comet at the time. Analysis

has reconstructed the chain of events

More Info

Juno Spaceprobe Completes First

Jupiter Flyby

Jupiter on August 27, when Juno was 437,000 miles (703,000 kilometers) away.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS
 
NASA plans 36 flybys of Jupiter during
Juno's mission, between August 2016
and February 2018. The recent flyby was
the first time Juno had activated all its
instruments.
 
 
 

Asteroid 2016 HO3:

A Near-Earth Companion

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A small asteroid has been discovered that has

been orbiting Earth for almost a century and

may remain our distant companion for

centuries to come

More Info

Farewell to Philae

image credit: ESA

The interface used to communicate between

Rosetta and Philae is switched off as Rosetta

nears the end of her mission

More Info

 

August 2016

 

What Lies Beneath Ceres' Surface?

Artist's Impression: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

Scientists create map of the dwarf planet's

gravity that gives clues about Ceres' inner

structure

More Info

ESA Commits to SABRE Rocket Engine


The Synergistic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine

(SABRE) uses atmospheric air in the early

stage of its flight and, if successful, the

design could lead to 'single-stage-to-orbit

spaceplanes' in the future. SABRE was 

designed by the UK's Reaction Engines Ltd.

Test firings could begin in about 4 years time.

More Info

World's Largest Telescope is in China

The FAST telescope. Credit: EPA

The spherical radio telescope (FAST) in

south-west China was completed on 3 July

and is 500m in diameter.

The Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico is

305m across. FAST can track objects for

longer and is expected to be twice as sensitive

and have 5 to 10 times the surveying speed

of Arecibo

More Info

ESA Astronauts in Cave Mission

image credit: ESA

Six astronauts from China, Japan, USA, Spain

and Russia recently re-emerged after

spending six nights underground to simulate

a mission exploring another planet.

Each 'cavenaut' was assigned a role for the

expedition, which tested techniques that

could be used in exploring other planets.

More Info

Mars 2020 Rover's Final Design

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The latest rover will be launched in 2020 on a

mission to investigate a Mars region thought

to have been favorable for microbial life.

'The Mars 2020 rover is the first step in a

potential multi-mission campaign to return

carefully selected and sealed samples of

Martian rocks and soil to Earth'

More Info

July 2016

NASA Celebrates:

Juno arrives at Jupiter

NASA space probe enters the planet's orbit

after a 5 year journey. Scientists hope to learn

more about Jupiter's atmosphere and interior

More Info

June 2016

NASA Tests Huge Mars Rocket in Utah

Photograph: ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock

Two minute ground test for solid rocket

booster. The 47m long booster was mounted

horizontally and produced 3.6m pounds of

thrust

More Info

Brexit - Will UK Be Forced Out

of European Space Missions?

Report from Space.com here

China's Space Programme Becoming

More Open

New Spaceport has Public Viewing and a Space

Theme Park: China pushes towards its future

in Space

More Info

Tim Peake Returns to Earth

UK astronaut Tim Peake arrives back on Earth

after the 'best ride I've been on ever' aboard a

Russian Soyuz capsule.

More Info

May 2016

Mercury Seen Crossing the Sun:

9 May 2016

As seen from Shetland

start: 12.13 finish: 7.40pm

BE SAFE - NEVER LOOK DIRECTLY INTO THE SUN !!

FIND OUT HOW TO OBSERVE...

 

Ingredients for Life Found

on Rosetta Comet

Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NavCam – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0

Organic molecules identified on Comet 

67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko by Rosetta show

that comets have potential to deliver molecules

needed to establish life on Earth.

More Info

Nasa's Solar Dynamic Observatory

Looks into Sun's Coronal Hole

Image credit: NASA / SDO

Coronal holes are low-density regions in the solar

atmosphere with lower temperatures than their

surroundings. Coronal holes are visible in extreme

ultraviolet light. Find out more here...

More Info

April 2016

Russia's New Vostochny Cosmodrome:

1st Rocket Launched

Photo: Roscosmos. Liftoff of Soyuz-2.1a at the newly built Vostochny Cosmodrome

Russia launched its first rocket from the new

Vostochny cosmodrome outside the city of

Uglegorsk - Russia's far east. Roscosmos plans

two launches from the new site next year and

six to eight launches in 2018.

More Info

The new spaceport in the far eastern Amur region has been hailed by Putin as Russia's biggest current building project with a budget estimated at 300-400 billion rubles

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-04-rocket-russia-vostochny_1.html#jCp
A Russian Soyuz 2.1a rocket, carrying Lomonosov, Aist-2D and SamSat-218 satellites, lifts off from the launch pad of the new Vostochny cosmodrome outside the city of Uglegorsk, in Russia's far eastern Amur region, on April 28, 2016

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-04-rocket-russia-vostochny_1.html#jCp
A Russian Soyuz 2.1a rocket carrying Lomonosov, Aist-2D and SamSat-218 satellites lifts off from the new Vostochny cosmodrome outside the city of Uglegorsk, in Russia's far eastern Amur region

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-04-rocket-russia-vostochny_1.html#jC
 
A Russian Soyuz 2.1a rocket carrying Lomonosov, Aist-2D and SamSat-218 satellites lifts off from the new Vostochny cosmodrome outside the city of Uglegorsk, in Russia's far eastern Amur region

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-04-rocket-russia-vostochny_1.html#jCp

Ancient 'Uncooked' Asteroid May Be

Building Block of Early Planets

A Russian Soyuz 2.1a rocket carrying Lomonosov, Aist-2D and SamSat-218 satellites lifts off from the new Vostochny cosmodrome outside the city of Uglegorsk, in Russia's far eastern Amur region, on April 28, 2016

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-04-rocket-russia-vostochny_1.html#jCp
A Russian Soyuz 2.1a rocket carrying Lomonosov, Aist-2D and SamSat-218 satellites lifts off from the new Vostochny cosmodrome outside the city of Uglegorsk, in Russia's far eastern Amur region, on April 28, 2016

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-04-rocket-russia-vostochny_1.html#jCp
Russian Soyuz 2.1a rocket carrying Lomonosov, Aist-2D and SamSat-218 satellites lifts off from the new Vostochny cosmodrome outside the city of Uglegorsk, in Russia's far eastern Amur region, on April 28, 2016

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-04-rocket-russia-vostochny_1.html#jCp
Russian Soyuz 2.1a rocket carrying Lomonosov, Aist-2D and SamSat-218 satellites lifts off from the new Vostochny cosmodrome outside the city of Uglegorsk, in Russia's far eastern Amur region, on April 28, 2016

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-04-rocket-russia-vostochny_1.html#jCp
Russian Soyuz 2.1a rocket carrying Lomonosov, Aist-2D and SamSat-218 satellites lifts off from the new Vostochny cosmodrome outside the city of Uglegorsk, in Russia's far eastern Amur region, on April 28, 2016

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-04-rocket-russia-vostochny_1.html#jCp

Image credit:  ESO/M. Kornmesser

Artist's impression of unique object C/2014 S3 (PANSTARRS)

Scientists at the University of Hawaii conclude

the asteroid above is probably made of 'fresh

inner Solar System material' stored in the Oort

Cloud and recently nudged back into the inner

Solar System.

Lead author Karen Meech said:

'This one is the first uncooked asteroid we

could observe: it has been preserved in the

best freezer there is.'

More Info

Steering An 'Earth Rover' From Orbit

Image: ESA

Astronaut Tim Peake has successfully steered

a rover robot on Earth from orbit: 250 miles up,

in the International Space Station. Future

astronauts may use the technique to steer Mars

Rovers whilst orbiting the 'Red Planet'

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'Weasel' Knocks out CERN Collider

Image: Large Hadron Collider in its tunnel at CERN

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was halted "following technical issues, including a power cut due to the passage of a weasel on a high voltage electrical transformer," CERN

Read more at:
http://phys.org/news/2016-04-weasel-large-hadron-collider.html#jCp

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was halted

recently, due to 'technical issues': a close

encounter between 'a weasel' and

a 66 kilovolt transformer inside an electrical

facility outside the main building. The animal,

which was actually a beech marten, did

not survive: The LHC will be back in action

within a few days

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Image: Getty ImagesStone Marten or Beech Marten

 

Amateur Astronomers Capture

Jupiter Impact on Film

Impact on Jupiter

Image credit: NASA, JPL

Amateur astronomers in Ireland and Austria 

film an object colliding with Jupiter on

17 March, independently of each other. The

collision can be seen as a pinprick of light

and  was only noticed when reviewing 

the footage much later.

More Info

5 Year Project Studies Effect of

Space 'Stress' on the Immune System

Inside the ISS

Spacestation at Night  Image credit: ESA

The five year study found that Astronauts'

immune systems could over-react to threats

that would have only a small effect on Earth.

A side benefit of the project: researchers

developed new ways of analysing small

quantities of blood. “Our methods would

interest doctors that care for newborns,

who have little blood to give for analysis,”

(Prof. Alexander Choukèr, lead investigator)

More Info

 

Mountains on Titan

The trio of ridges on Titan (Mithrim Montes) is home to the moon's tallest
peak. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI
 

Scientists from the Cassini mission have

identified the highest point on Saturn's largest

moon, Titan. Titan's tall mountains suggest that

tectonic forces could be affecting the surface of

Saturn's icy moon. "As explorers, we're

motivated to find the highest or deepest places,

partly because it's exciting. But Titan's extremes

also tell us important things about forces

affecting its evolution," (Jani Radebaugh,

Cassini associate who led the research)

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March 2016

ESA Mars Mission Launches

Orbiter- Artist's Impression

The ExoMars Orbiter will arrive at Mars next

October to hunt for methane gas emissions,

which could indicate possible life earlier in

Martian history. Dr Patel from the Open

University is co-Principal Investigator for

NOMAD, one of the instruments on board.

Click here to find out more.

 

Amateur Astronomers Capture

Jupiter Impact on Film

Image credit: NASA, JPL

Amateur astronomers in Ireland and Austria 

film an object colliding with Jupiter on

17 March, independently of each other. The

collision can be seen as a pinprick of light

and  was only noticed when reviewing 

the footage much later.

More Info

5 Year Project Studies Effect of

Space 'Stress' on the Immune System

Spacestation at Night  Image credit: ESA

The five year study found that Astronauts'

immune systems could over-react to threats

that would have only a small effect on Earth.

A side benefit of the project: researchers

developed new ways of analysing small

quantities of blood. “Our methods would

interest doctors that care for newborns,

who have little blood to give for analysis,”

(Prof. Alexander Choukèr, lead investigator)

More Info

 

First Tomatoes and Peas Harvested

on Mars and Moon Soil Simulant

Peas and Tomatoes

Researchers in the Netherlands have

successfully grown and harvested 10 different

crops in Mars and Moon soil simulants. The goal

of the experiments is to provide the basis for

growing crops on Mars and on the moon, in

order to feed the first settlers.

More Info

No Caverns Inside Rosetta's Comet

Rosetta Comet

Image credit: ESA

There are no large caverns inside Comet 67P /

Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Measurements from

ESA’s Rosetta mission clearly demonstrate this,

solving a long-standing mystery.

More Info

February 2016

Final Segment of James Webb 

Telescope Installed

Telescope segments in a lab

Image credit: NASA / C. Gunn

The final segment of the James Webb Space

Telescope’s primary mirror has been installed.

The telescope is an international project by

NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency,

due to launch in 2018.

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Noodle, Lasagne or Hazelnut shaped

Lenses in the Milky Way

Galaxy

Image Credit: The COBE Project, DIRBE, NASA

Invisible structures in our galaxy could radically

challenge our understanding of gas conditions

in the Milky Way according to new research

using the CSIRO Compact Array in Eastern

Australia. The geometry has yet to be

determined, but Scientists suggested they

'could be looking at a flat sheet, edge on,

down the barrel of a hollow cylinder or at a

spherical shell like a hazelnut.'

More Info

Mouldy Plants in Space: An Opportunity

Plant experiment

What may seem like a failure is an 'opportunity' for

scientists to better understand how plants grow in

microgravity and for astronauts to practice

autonomous gardening.

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Evidence for Ninth Planet ?

Image: A predicted consequence of Planet Nine is that a second set of

confined objects should also exist. These objects are forced into positions

at right angles to Planet Nine and into orbits that are perpendicular to the

plane of the solar system. Five known objects (blue) fit this prediction.
Credit: Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)

Caltech researchers have found evidence of a

giant planet in the outer solar system, nicknamed

Planet Nine. The object has a mass10 times greater

than Earth and orbits around 20 times farther from

the Sun than Neptune. The orbit is highly eliptical

and would take between 10,000 and 20,000 years.

More Info

Citizen Science Projects 'reap major

dividends for astrophysics'

Field of galaxies

29 gravitational lens candidates found through Space Warps.

Image credit: Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Legacy Survey
 

The astrophysics project Space Warps shows why citizen

science has become such a popular tool and how valuable

the input of "citizen scientists" who donate their time and

effort to science can be. Last year, they identified  29 new

gravitational lens candidates plus a never-before-seen

lensing scenario that looks like a red ring in the project's

image archive.

More Info

Van Allen Probes Revolutionise

Our View of Radiation Belts

 

A Van Allen Probe

One of the Van Allen Probes with location of instruments indicated.
Image credits: JHU/APL


Since the 1950s, our understanding of then Van Allen

Belt has remained  largely unchanged. A new study of

data from NASA’s Van Allen Probes reveals that

“The shape of the belts is actually quite different

depending on what type of electron you’re looking at"

More Info

January 2016

Proposed Missions to Seek Life

on Saturn's Moon Enceladus

The Rim of Enceladus

Credit: ESA

 

Does anything live in the seas of Enceladus? Two

proposed missions hope to search for life more

directly. More details can be found here.

More Info

Apollo Rocket Impact Site Found

Impact Crater

The impact crater - Mare Insularum.

Credit NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

NASA spacecraft Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has found

the lunar crater caused by part of a rocket from the

Apollo 16 mission to the Moon. The impact crater is 40m

wide and about 260 km southwest of the Copernicus Crater,

a prominent feature on the near side of the Moon.

More Info

Asteroid-Mining Company's 

Vision for the Future

3D Print

Credit: Planetary Resources

 

'Asteroid Mining Company' Planetary Resources, which

aims to extract water and other useful materials from

asteroids, has 3D-printed an object using metal powder

gleaned from a space rock. Last July, the company

deployed a  tiny cubesat from the ISS last July to test

avionics, software and key technology needed for  future

asteroid-mining probes.

More Info

 

Tim Peake Radios Schools from ISS

Tim Peake - Operating a radio

UK school children will be given the chance to speak to

UK astronaut Tim Peak live on the ISS - via amateur radio.

The prearranged school contacts in January 2016 will allow

students to ask questions directly to Tim using amateur radio

equipment specially installed at the school for the occasion.

By the way, Tim's callsign will be KG5BVI

More Info

 

Tim Peake Space Mission

Principia Mission Patch

On 15 December British ESA Astronaut Tim Peake will blast

off from Earth on his way to the ISS along with colleagues

Tim Kopra (NASA) and Cosmonaut Commander

Yuri Malenchenko. The UK Space Agency will bring news

of all the related activities, updates on the mission and info on

how to get involved with Mission Principia.

More Info