A new mystery currently has the New Horizon's science team abuzz as the probe plunges ever closer to the Pluto – what's the deal with the series of dark spots near the dwarf planet's equator? The huge, neatly arranged dots were revealed in the latest color images snapped by the NASA probe and the scientists are hopeful of learning more about their origins in the coming weeks.
June 30th marked the
world's first Asteroid Day – a global awareness campaign
designed to promote an understanding of the dangers presented by the
rocky bodies, and how best to protect our planet from a potentially
catastrophic asteroid impact. Significantly, the
campaign was held on the anniversary of the 1908 Tunguska asteroid
strike – an impact that devastated eight hundred square miles of
Siberian forest, and served as a powerful indicator of the damage
that could be wrought by just one of the 600,000 plus known asteroids
whizzing around our solar system.
If a NASA experimental program pans out, the first aircraft on Mars
could be a flying wing. Under development at NASA Armstrong, the
Prandtl–m is a flying wing glider designed to fly piggyback with a
future Mars rover mission to provide low-altitude reconnaissance. It's scheduled to begin test flights later this year.
When the unmanned CRS-7 flight blew up in midair yesterday en route to the International Space Station (ISS), it destroyed a lot more than a shipment of freeze dried shrimp cocktail. It also meant the loss of dozens of experiments. One of more exotic of these was Sidekick; a project by NASA and Microsoft that uses the latter's HoloLens technology to provide astronauts with their own holographic augmented reality.
Fresh images snapped by NASA's Dawn spacecraft have provided a clearer look at the enigmatic white spots that mark the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres. The spots have baffled scientists who are unable to discern their nature or composition. To add to the intrigue the probe has spotted a solitary, unusual pyramid-like mountain jutting out of the otherwise relatively smooth surface.
NASA's longest serving Martian orbiter, the Mars Odyssey spacecraft, has just achieved a historic milestone by completing its 60,000th orbit of the Red Planet since arriving on October 24, 2001.
Small, relatively inexpensive CubeSats have been enjoying a bit of success of late, but only in low-Earth orbit. However, that will soon expand with NASA announcing that its InSight Mars lander will be accompanied in 2016 by a pair of Mars Cube One (MarCO) CubeSats to provide better communications.
NASA has released a dataset setting out how rainfall and temperature patterns are likely to change in the coming decades. The data covers 21 climate models, mapping how our environment could change due to growing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
NASA has put a new supersonic parachute design through its paces in the second test of its flying saucer-like Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD). The technology is being developed for future exploration of Mars, where it would allow NASA and its partners to land heavier payloads on the surface.