ESA's Sentinel-2A satellite has arrived safely in French Guiana, ahead of its June 12 launch atop a Vega rocket. It was carried in the belly of an enormous Russian-made Antonov cargo plane, and protected within a specially-constructed air conditioned habitat. Once operational, the satellite will represent a cornerstone of the agency's Copernicus program, which is striving to revolutionize how we observe and understand our environment, and how we may be able to tackle the detrimental effects of climate change. Read More
Manned missions beyond Earth orbit face the rather important problem of how to feed the crew and maintain the capsule environment for years on end without any resupply from home. The product of a NASA challenge, AstroGro is a space garden pod aimed at addressing this problem. It relies on 3D printing to produce a system that can be replicated and modified while in the depths of space. Read More
Reaction Engines' Skylon reusable spaceplane project has been given a boost, with analysis by the United States Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) confirming the feasibility of the SABRE engine cycle concept that lies at its heart. Read More
On this day 25 years ago, the Hubble Space Telescope launched aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in what marked the beginning of an incredible journey, and the start of a new golden age in the exploration of our Universe. In celebration of this auspicious occasion, NASA has released the official image for Hubble's 25th anniversary in low-Earth orbit. The focus of the image is the Westerlund 2 cluster, which contains roughly 3,000 stars in the scope of its glittering expanse. Read More
The European Space Agency's Aeolus mission, designed to study the world's winds, is on track for a 2016 take-off. Following a troubled development process, the two lasers central to the project are now complete, allowing the team to ramp up testing ahead of launch. Read More
A team of ESO astronomers working from the La Silla Observatory, Chile, has detected the first direct reflection of light from an exoplanet orbiting a Sun-like star. The exoplanet, 51 Pegasi b, is what is known as a hot Jupiter, a prevalent form of gas giant that sits much closer to its parent star than our own Jovian neighbor. Read More
Though there have been tremendous advances in space technology in recent years, when it comes to getting into space, we're still like cavemen trying to get beyond the breakers on a floating log – at least, that's the view of New Zealand-based company Rocket Lab. In the hopes of increasing the number of satellite launches to over 100 a year and placing constellations of small satellites into orbit numbering in the thousands, the company has developed a "battery-powered" rocket engine to lift its Electron launch vehicle at almost a tenth of the cost of conventional boosters. Read More
For over 40 years, Landsat has quietly but consistently been taking images of the surface of the Earth, amassing an impressive collection of data about our planet. This month, NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced that the effort would continue to span the generations, by moving forward with the development and planned launch of LandSat 9 in 2023. Read More
After over a decade of planetary exploration, NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft is set to end its mission by smashing into the surface of Mercury. The collision will take place on April 30, with the probe traveling at a speed of roughly 8,750 mph (14,082 km/h). Read More
There are a number of ideas about where the Moon came from, but, based on orbital mechanics, the accepted theory is that about 150 million years after the Solar System formed some 4.6 billion years ago, the primordial Earth was struck by an object the size of Mars called Theia. Out of the debris of this massive impact, the Moon was formed. Scientists at the University of Maryland (UMD) have for the first time found evidence to support this theory by analyzing the isotopic “fingerprints” of rock samples brought back by the Apollo astronauts. Read More