One set of Expedition 40 crew members is working advanced microgravity science while another set is wrapping up its stay in space.
NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman started his morning on a pair of fluid physics experiments. He first photographed samples of colloids, or microscopic particles suspended in liquids, for a version of the Binary Colloid Alloy Test experiment subtitled Low Gravity Phase Kinetics-Critical Point (BCAT-KP-1). Results may contribute to more advanced consumer products with un [...]
NASA is on the hunt to add potential candidate target asteroids for the agency's Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM). The robotic mission will identify, capture and redirect a near-Earth asteroid to a stable orbit around the moon. In the 2020s, astronauts will explore the asteroid and return to Earth with samples. This will test and advance new technologies and spaceflight experience needed to take humans to Mars in the 2030s.
NASA has two options for robotic asteroid capture. One concept would [...]
The first data from the Gemini Frontier Fields are now available for astronomers. This dataset features wide-field adaptive optics images of a strong lensing galaxy cluster obtained with the GeMS adaptive optics system and GSAOI on the Gemini South telescope.
Massive clusters of galaxies provide astronomers with a unique view of the very distant Universe behind them as well as revealing their galaxies themselves. The deep gravitational potential of clusters distorts and amplifies the backgro [...]
A new survey of galaxies by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope is taking a plunge into the deep and uncharted waters of our cosmos. In one of the longest surveys the telescope will have ever performed, astronomers have begun a three-month expedition trawling for faint galaxies billions of light-years away.
The results are already yielding surprises.
By the end of the SPLASH survey, Spitzer will have spent 2,475 hours staring at two sky fields known as the Cosmic Evolution Survey (COSMOS) an [...]
Using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered a companion star to a rare type of supernova. The discovery confirms a long-held theory that the supernova, dubbed SN 1993J, occurred inside what is called a binary system, where two interacting stars caused a cosmic explosion.
"This is like a crime scene, and we finally identified the robber," said Alex Filippenko, professor of astronomy at University of California (UC) at Berkeley. "The companion star stole a bunch of hydrog [...]
Washington, D.C.—A team of scientists led by Carnegie's Jacqueline Faherty has discovered the first evidence of water ice clouds on an object outside of our own Solar System. Water ice clouds exist on our own gas giant planets--Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune--but have not been seen outside of the planets orbiting our Sun until now. Their findings are published today by The Astrophysical Journal Letters and are available here.
At the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, Faherty, along wi [...]
Vernon – The fifth development model (M5) of the Vinci rocket engine designed by Snecma (Safran), has successfully completed its ground firing tests. Vinci is a new-generation cryogenic rocket engine – fueled by liquid hydrogen and oxygen – intended for the upper stages of the upcoming Ariane 5 ME and Ariane 6 launch vehicles.
It can be restarted in flight, and develops three times more thrust than the HM7B engine now powering the upper stage of the current Ariane 5 ECA launcher. The V [...]
On Sept. 21, 2014, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft will complete roughly 10 months of travel and enter orbit around the Red Planet.
The orbit-insertion maneuver will be carried out as the spacecraft approaches Mars, wrapping up an interplanetary journey of 442 million miles (711 million kilometers). Six thruster engines will fire briefly for a “settling” burn that damps out deviations in pointing. Then the six main engines will ignite two by two in quick succession a [...]
Compared to the age of the solar system -- about four-and-a-half billion years -- a couple of decades are next to nothing. Some planetary locales change little over many millions of years, so for scientists who study the planets, any object that evolves on such a short interval makes for a tempting target for study. And so it is with the ever-changing rings of Saturn.
Case in point: Saturn's narrow, chaotic and clumpy F ring. A recent NASA-funded study compared the F ring's appearance in six [...]
This sky looked delicious. Double auroral ovals were captured above the town lights of Östersund, Sweden, last week. Pictured above, the green ovals occurred lower to the ground than violet aurora rays above, making the whole display look a bit like a cupcake.
To top it off, far in the distance, the central band or our Milky Way Galaxy slants down from the upper left. The auroras were caused by our Sun ejecting plasma clouds into the Solar System just a few days before, ionized particles th [...]