A team of researchers
from MIT and Aarhus University, Denmark, have discovered that
Earth-sized exoplanets orbit their parent stars in the same way that
our planet orbits our own Sun – maintaining a roughly equidistant
circular orbit. The discovery further narrows the characteristics of
worlds that could potentially play host to extraterrestrial life.
May 31 saw NASA's
Cassini spacecraft make its last close up pass with Saturn's moon
Hyperion. The moon has a fascinating, almost spongy appearance due to
the fact that its surface is actually less dense than
Three stunning new images from ESA's Herschel Space Observatory are providing new insights into how matter is distributed in our galaxy. Observations made by the orbital telescope have led astronomers to conclude that our galaxy is threaded with filamentary structures similar to those featured in the newly-released images, the smallest of which stretches across 170 light years of space.
The Planetary Society's LightSail CubeSat has phoned home. After being "paused" a over a week ago due to a software error, the Society reports that the solar sail technology demonstrator has now rebooted itself.
The LightSail solar sail mission has been "paused" due to a software glitch related to a design flaw in the avionics software, which has frozen the onboard computer in a fashion all too familiar to terrestrial technology users.
Commercial passenger spaceflight has gone on the books with Boeing announcing that it's received the first contract ever issued to a private company to carry out a manned space mission. The NASA task order means that Boeing's CST-100 spacecraft will ferry crews to the International Space Station (ISS) on up to six missions.
NASA has begun a
comprehensive series of tests for its Mars Interior Exploration using
Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander.
Once on the Red Planet, the lander will operate as a stationary
science platform, attempting to answer a plethora of questions
regarding the interior structure of Mars, and hopefully granting us
some of the information needed to make a manned mission to the Red Planet in the 2030s a reality.
Mankind's most remote
outpost underwent a significant remodel this week, as an entire module
of the International Space Station was relocated in order to make way
for the next generation of American commercial spacecraft. The move
didn't require a spacewalk, with operators instead making use of the
16-m (52-ft) robotic arm to grapple and maneuver the Leonardo,
or Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM).
NASA's Mars Curiosity
rover has been forced to alter its route after being faced with
dangerous terrain. The current objective of the robotic explorer is
to investigate a geological boundary between two distinct forms of
bedrock as a part of its mission to explore the heights of Mount
Sharp, and ultimately unlock the secrets of the Red Planet's ancient
SpaceX has released on-board footage of its successful Crew Dragon Launch Abort System (LAS) test that took place at Launch Complex 40 of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station earlier this month. The success of the company's innovative new design of LAS represents a vital stepping stone in the spacecraft's road to becoming human rated. The newly released footage shows in real time the dramatic life saving contingency that would be triggered should a critical error be detected in the rocket below in a launch scenario.