Should we ever want to set up any sort of base or colony on Mars, it's inevitably going to require water to support life, but transporting enough liquids to the Red Planet is likely to be impractical. With NASA and others planning manned Mars missions, a team based in Singapore is already working on a specialized Martian rover that could be used to "mine" for water below the planet's crimson surface.
NASA's Cassini spacecraft has marked its final close pass of the Saturnian moon Dione by capturing the rocky body in a series of stunning images as it sailed past the satellite on August, 17. Cassini had previously visited the moon five times, but had never before captured the moon in so high a resolution.
Meet Copenhagen Suborbitals (CS), the small Danish organization with a big dream – launching a human being into space, and returning them safely to Earth in a shoestring-budget micro rocket. The CS website conveys a simple mission statement, to prove that access to space does not have to come in the form of an exorbitantly expensive government-subsidized project. CS is proving that a driven group of individuals can achieve what would at first glance appear to be the unachievable, and strike a blow for the democratization of space.
What is small enough to fit in an airliner carry-on bin and has the potential to save thousands of lives and millions of dollars worth of property? The answer is the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) – NASA’s next-generation hurricane-observing microsatellites, which are now being assembled at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, Texas.
Buying tickets into space has typically been the reserve of governments and billionaires, but if you want to send your name on an interplanetary jaunt NASA might now be able to accommodate you. The space agency is now accepting submissions from members of the public who'd like their names recorded on a silicon microchip and shuttled to the Red Planet onboard the InSight Mars lander launching next year.
Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) are honing the applications of a gecko-like gripping mechanism in the hope of making life a little less chaotic for those working aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The ever-inventive JPL workers have come up with a series of "astronaut anchors" for use both inside and outside the station, and have even equipped a robot with the tech, opening up the possibility of allowing it to safely operate on the exterior of the space station.
A new NASA contest is challenging freelancers to design the interface for a smartwatch app for use by astronauts aboard the ISS. The competition, posted on the Freelancer website, is set to run for one month, and will require applicants to tailor their app for operation on the Samsung Gear 2 for the chance to win a US$1,500 prize.
There's some pretty big stuff out there in the Universe, but how big is the biggest? According to a team of Hungarian-US scientists led by Lajos Balazs, the largest regular formation in the Universe is a ring of nine galaxies 7 billion light years away and 5 billion light years wide. Though not visible from Earth, the newly discovered feature covers a third of our sky.
On Thursday at 02:03 GMT, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and the European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta orbiter reached their closest point (known as perihelion) to the Sun, coming within 186 million km (115 million mi) of our parent star. The event was marked by an increase in activity on the comet, which is expected to continue over the next few weeks as it now heads toward the outer Solar System.