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Space

Scanning Electron Microscope image of average nanograins produced in the COSmIC (Image: NA...

Carl Sagan once said, “We are made of starstuff.” Unfortunately, he was a bit vague about what this starstuff actually is. To help answer that question, scientists at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California have developed a way of recreating the dust and gas found around dying red giant stars that eventually become planet-forming interstellar dust.  Read More

The 1/26 scale model ISS built by Pat Acton using 282,000 matchsticks and 8 gallons (30 L)...

During the construction of the International Space Station (ISS), material selection was critical given the extreme environment of space. Chances are that one of those materials up for consideration was not matchsticks. But for Pat Acton of Iowa, the idea of designing and building a complete scale model of the ISS out of matchsticks seemed like a perfectly reasonable idea.  Read More

Composite image of the Flame Nebula, comprised of infrared and x-ray images (Image: NASA/C...

Recent data captured by NASA's Chandra Observatory and Spitzer Space Telescope has cast doubt on the basic model that accounts for the creation of star clusters. The data, collected from studies of NGC 2024, located in the Flame Nebula and the Orion Nebula Cluster, will require scientists to think up an entirely new approach as to how these celestial bodies come into creation.  Read More

Illustris simulation still frame centered on the most massive galaxy cluster existing toda...

As you might expect, the scale and complexities of the underlying physics means creating a realistic virtual universe would require some hefty computing power. A team of astronomers is claiming to have achieved this impressive feat using a computer simulation called "Illustris," which took five years to program and, for the first time, can recreate the evolution of the Universe in high fidelity.  Read More

NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins making the first ham video transmission

ESA has announced the inauguration of Ham TV broadcasts from the ISS, which will allow the station to talk to amateur radio operators using video equipment, as well as providing space crews with a backup means of contacting mission control.  Read More

Artist's impressionof Beta Pictoris b

According to NASA, 1,703 planets orbiting 1,033 stars have been found so far, but very little is known about these planets beyond some deductions based on their orbits. That veil is lifting though, as demonstrated by Dutch astronomers who have for the first time measured the length of an exoplanet’s day. Using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile’s Atacama desert, the team has learned that the young extrasolar gas giant Beta Pictoris b has an eight-hour day and spins faster than any planet in the Solar System.  Read More

JPL scientists say Ganymede may be built like a club sandwich

In a combination of the astronomical and the culinary, scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) say that Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede, may not have a single large ocean, but instead may be built like a club sandwich with alternating layers of ice and water. The claim is based on computer models of how salt water acts under the high pressures that may exist beneath Ganymede’s global ice pack, and may improve the chances of finding life elsewhere in the Solar System.  Read More

The team used the Magellen Telescopes at Las Campanas Observatory, Chile, to take readings...

A team of researchers, including scientists from MIT and the Carnegie Institution of Science, has analyzed the chemical composition of stars in the fossil galaxy known as Segue 1. The dwarf galaxy, containing roughly 1,000 stars, sits 75,000 light years away from Earth, and is host to a set of unusual features that are allowing astronomers to observe the composition of stars from the early universe.  Read More

Even cleaned up, the video footage is in extremely poor condition

A picture is worth a thousand words, but not if the picture is a blurry, pixelated mess. That’s what SpaceX probably realized when it looked at the badly garbled video feed from the historic powered landing of a Falcon 9 booster last month. Having already had a go at cleaning up the video, the company has released the raw footage to the public in hopes of crowdsourcing the restoration effort.  Read More

The Moon Express MX-1 Lander (Image: Moon Express, Inc.)

NASA has announced the selection of three US companies to develop a lunar lander to deliver payloads to the Moon’s surface. The three companies, Astrobotic Technology, Masten Space Systems, and Moon Express, won’t be receiving any funds, but will negotiate with the space agency for a partnership to exchange technical expertise and help promote the private space sector.  Read More

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