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David Szondy

Space

ExoMars opens its eyes en route to the Red Planet

ESA has confirmed that the ExoMars 2016's Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) mothership has opened its "eyes" and sent back its first test images. Launched on March 14 from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the joint ESA/Roscosmos mission to Mars was over 83 million km from Earth on April 7 when it transmitted a picture of random section of sky near the southern celestial pole as part of its commissioning process.Read More

I christen thee RRS Boaty McBoatface?

Last month, the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) invited the public to help name its new £200 million (US$284 million) polar research ship. When voting closed on the weekend, the winner by a considerable margin was "RRS Boaty McBoatface," but there are doubts the words "I christen thee RRS Boaty McBoatface" will actually be muttered.Read More

Drones

When drones and pork collide

In a display of true awesomeness, researchers from the Drone Research Lab at Denmark's Aalborg University have built a catapult that fires hobby drones at a pork roast. This display of porcine projectile piercing is not only high on the list of conversation starters, it also has the serious goal of finding out more about the safety hazards posed by the tiny aircraft to people and property.Read More

Marine

Underwater robot finds "Nessie"

The good news: The Loch Ness Monster has been captured on sonar by an underwater robot operated by the British division of Norway's Kongsberg Maritime. The bad news: "Nessie" is a prop from a Sherlock Holmes film that sank in the loch in 1969. The monstrous model was long thought lost until it was discovered this week by the Munin Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) as part of an underwater survey of the loch for The Loch Ness Project and VisitScotland.Read More

Space

NASA begins testing electronic sail technology for deep space probes

It took Voyager 1 over 30 years to reach interstellar space, but scientists at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, are testing a new technology that could cut that time by two thirds. The Heliopause Electrostatic Rapid Transit System (HERTS) or E-sail concept is a novel form of propellant-less propulsion that relies on a series of wires to catch the solar winds. The technology promises to reduce the travel time from Earth to the heliopause – about 123 AU (18 billion km, 11 billion mi) from the Sun – to under 10 years.Read More

Space

Lockheed Martin component brings Webb Space Telescope into focus

A key component of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) came through its latest tests at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center with flying colors. According to Lockheed Martin, the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) instrument exceeded its requirements as it went through its Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) testing and will now be integrated into the telescope's instrument cluster for combined testing.Read More

Space

Is this what Planet 9 looks like?

In January, Caltech professor Mike Brown and assistant professor Konstanin Batygin claimed to have found evidence of a ninth planet in the outer Solar System. But if it's there, what is it like and why hasn't it been spotted yet? A possible answer comes from a pair of astrophysicists at the University of Bern, who used models developed for studying exoplanets to determine the structure of the hypothetical Planet 9.Read More

Space

Falcon 9 nails barge landing as Dragon returns to space

SpaceX scored a double first today as the Dragon spacecraft returned to service and the Falcon 9 booster nailed the first ever powered landing at sea. At 4:43 pm EDT, the CRS-8 mission lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 40 in Florida for the International Space Station (ISS) and after delivering the unmanned cargo ship into orbit the Falcon 9 first stage rocket made a safe touchdown on the drone barge "Of Course I Still Love You" stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.Read More

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