The cosmos created from cinnamon, spice and ... cat hair?

For most of us, spilling some sugar or cinnamon on the glass of our scanner would be an accident. For photographer Navid Barraty, it's art. Barraty uses ordinary food, kitchen staples and other odd bits and pieces along with his Epson scanner to create enchanting cosmic worlds. Pancakes become planets, potatoes become asteroids and cat fur – yes cat fur – helps create a striking nebula. Have a look at this new series and see if you can guess what the images are comprised of – before you read the captions. Read More

Cassini detects alien dust particles

NASA's Cassini orbiter has become the first spacecraft to determine the composition of dust particles originating outside of our solar system. The discovery grants a rare insight regarding the processes that may be occurring in the interstellar medium.Read More

Cosmic spider shows clear signs of active star formation

Captured by the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS), the Spider Nebula cuts a ghostly green figure in a new image release from NASA. The composite was captured in infrared light, a spectrum ordinarily invisible to the naked eye, though in this case common colors have been assigned to the different wavelengths allowing us to view the scene unaided.Read More

DARPA announces Phase 2 of spaceplane project

DARPA has announced the second phase of its ambitious XS-1 program. The agency is seeking to make access to space more regular and affordable by employing an entirely re-usable high-speed, sub-orbital automated spaceplane as the first stage of its launch vehicle.Read More

The stuff of stars found in lunar soil from Apollo missions

When several of the Apollo missions returned from the moon between 1969 and 1972, they brought back samples of the lunar soil. New research into some of those samples has revealed that those missions also brought back something else – the remnants of a star that died near our solar system about two million years ago.Read More

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

Breakthrough Listen Initiative starts sharing "search for ET" data

The first batch of data from a US$100 million effort to find signs of intelligent life beyond Earth has been released for public access. The Breakthrough Listen Initiative began making observations in January using the Green Bank Radio Telescope in West Virginia and Lick Observatory's Automated Planet Finder in California, and has posted what it's gathered so far on its website.Read More

Stephen Hawking's space probes eye the express lane to neighboring stars

The Alpha Centauri star system is a fair old hike. At 25 trillion miles (4.37 light years) away, it would take around 30,000 years for us to roll into the area, and that's if we hitched a ride on today's fastest spacecraft. If the latest idea from the cosmically inquisitive Stephen Hawking comes to fruition, however, we could reach this neighboring stellar system within 20 years of launch.Read More

NASA's weird and wonderful NIAC 2016 selections

NASA has announced its 2016 selections for Phase 1 of its Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program. As usual, the first round contains an impressive array of weird and wonderful technological concepts with the potential to revolutionize space exploration.Read More


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