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Space

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

The winning Technology design harkens back to more conventional spacesuits, but with some ...

The votes are in with NASA announcing the winner of its Z-2 spacesuit design challenge. For the challenge, the public was invited to choose one of three alternative designs for a new prototype spacesuit with the “Technology” option winning with 233,431 votes, or about 63 percent of the total vote. The Technology design will now be used in the completed Z-2 suit as part of NASA’s project to create a new spacesuit for the exploration of Mars.  Read More

An engineering mock-up of the CST-100 interior

Captain Picard’s ride seemed to have landed in Las Vegas today, as Boeing unveiled a mock-up of the new commercial interior of its Crew Space Transportation (CST-100). Under development as part of a NASA program to put a privately-owned and operated manned spacecraft to ferry American crews and cargo to the International Space Station (ISS), the new interior reflects Boeing’s design strategy and it ambitions beyond NASA.  Read More

A look at some of the most impressive images from the European Southern Observatory, captu...

Though we’re only a little over a third of the way through the year, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) has already produced some spectacular new images of what’s out there in the Universe. From a rare yellow hypergiant star to a celestial trick of the light, we take a look at five of the most impressive ESO snaps of the year so far.  Read More

NASA is seeking submissions for commercial and research uses of the ISS (Photo: NASA)

NASA is looking to open up the International Space Station (ISS) for greater commercial use. The agency is seeking submissions from companies that would be interested in using the ISS to develop commercial opportunities, while helping towards exploration goals. NASA recently announced US commitment to the ISS until 2024.  Read More

Artist's impression of the Orion spacecraft attached to the ESA manufactured service modul...

NASA has successfully completed the latest series of tests for its next-generation Orion Spacecraft, currently housed at the Kennedy Space Center. The latest trials focused on vibration-testing the spacecraft, simulating the stress that Orion will be subjected to during its maiden test flight scheduled to take place in December.  Read More

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