Earth isn't the only place with seasons. Other planets and even very small celestial bodies can have them, too, as ESA's Rosetta probe has shown in its explorations of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. When the unmanned spacecraft went into orbit about the comet, it revealed that the southern hemisphere of the dumbbell-shaped nucleus is shrouded in a dark winter that lasts over five years and, according to data collected by the Rosettas's onboard spectrometer, hides ice in larger amounts than the rest of the comet.
A new image released from the Hubble Space Telescope is granting viewers a stunning view that encapsulates the beauty and complexity of the famous Veil Nebula. The ghostly nebula represents the only evidence of a tumultuous supernova that marked the death of an enormous star with a mass roughly 20 times that of our Sun.
On August 13, comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and ESA’s unmanned Rosetta probe made their closest approach to the Sun. Both are now heading for the outer Solar System, but Rosetta still has secrets to reveal. One is that the comet has a daily water cycle that, according to the space agency, keeps it "alive."
Three space-based observatories appear to have picked up an unusual increase in activity from the supermassive black hole located at the center of our galaxy. According to the data, the black hole known as Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), which has a mass of roughly 4 million times our Sun, is throwing out ten times the usual amount of bright X-ray flares.
During a planned calibration maneuver, ESA's Mars Express spacecraft has captured a stunning shot of a huge swathe of the Martian environment. The image, snapped on February 25, captures a number of impressive features present on the surface of the Red Planet, including the Martian south pole, an enormous basin and two vast channels.
ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen has successfully driven and manipulated an Earth-based rover whilst orbiting at a height of 400 km (249 miles) aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The control system used a sophisticated form of force-feedback that allowed Mogensen to determine when the rover's robotic arm met resistance. The technology has the potential to be used in a number of roles both in space and back on Earth, possibly taking human workers out of harms way.
Working outside in space is a tall order. The environment is hostile, even the smallest job takes hours instead of minutes, and everything has to be done in either bulky suits or through robotic arms. It's a challenge that will become even more difficult when future astronauts are controlling robotic rovers from orbit, so ESA is getting in a bit of practice. Next month Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen will take control of a rover in the Netherlands while orbiting the Earth aboard the International Space Station.
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.
Rosetta has detected a powerful jet of activity emitted from the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (67P). The force of the outburst, which is believed to be travelling at 10 m per sec (32 ft per sec), was strong enough to temporarily repel the solar wind – a constant stream of charged particles emanating from the Sun, that work to convey our star's magnetic field across the solar system.
Lockheed Martin announced that it's completed tests of design changes for NASA's Orion spacecraft’s fairing separation system. Based on information from Orion's unmanned maiden flight on December 5 last year, the alterations are meant to improve performance while reducing weight.