When NASA's new Space Launch System (SLS) launches on its first flight, it will be doing some serious multi-tasking. Not only will Exploration Mission-1 test the performance of SLS and its integration with the Orion spacecraft – the agency plans to use its massive lift capability to carry nearly a dozen nano-satellites to conduct science experiments beyond low Earth orbit.
NASA’s newest rocket will launch Orion on an uncrewed test flight to a distant retrograde orbit around the moon. Tuc [...]
This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows the spiral galaxy NGC 3021 which lies about 100 million light-years away in the constellation of Leo Minor (The Little Lion).
Among many other types of stars, this galaxy contains Cepheid variable stars, which can be used work out the distance to the galaxy. These stars pulsate at a rate that is closely related to their intrinsic brightness, so measurements of their rate of pulsation and their observed brightness give astronomers enough informa [...]
A wide variety of research exploring how life adapts to long-term exposure to microgravity took place on the International Space Station Friday. The crew members also worked on cargo transfers to and from a pair of docked vehicles.
More crew Ocular Health eye checks were on the schedule as scientists study the fluid shifts caused by microgravity and how they affect a crew member’s vision. New software was loaded on computers for the Rodent Research study, a life sciences experiment that was [...]
A pair of images of a young star, made 18 years apart, has revealed a dramatic difference that is providing astronomers with a unique, "real-time" look at how massive stars develop in the earliest stages of their formation.
The astronomers used the National Science Foundation's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) to study a massive young star called W75N(B)-VLA 2, some 4200 light-years from Earth. They compared an image made in 2014 with an earlier VLA image from 1996.
"Our understandi [...]
Now in its fourth observing campaign, the Kepler spacecraft continues to operate wonderfully since beginning its new K2 mission in May 2014. Data collected for Campaigns 0, 1 and 2 have been made available to the public through the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST). Campaign 3 data will be processed with a scheduled delivery to MAST in June 2015.
K2 began its fourth campaign on Feb. 8. The Campaign 4 target set includes nearly 16,000 target stars, which can be searched for exoplane [...]
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, at Mars since 2006, made an unplanned switch on Wednesday from one main computer to a redundant one onboard, triggering a hiatus in planned activities.
Sensing the computer swap, the orbiter put itself into a precautionary safe standby mode. It remained healthy, in communication and fully powered. The mission's operations team expects the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to resume full duty within a few days, including communication relays and science observatio [...]
Two pictures captured on April 1 are combined in this creative day and night composite. Separated in time by about 10 hours the images otherwise match, looking along the coast at Östersund Sweden. The relative times were chosen to show the Sun and a nearly full Moon at the same place in the cold, early springtime sky. In the night scene Jupiter also shines above the waterfront lights, while Sun and Moon are both surrounded by a beautiful circular ice halo.
The Sun and Moon halos really do a [...]
Using archival data from the Japan-led Suzaku X-ray satellite, astronomers have determined the pre-explosion mass of a white dwarf star that blew up thousands of years ago. The measurement strongly suggests the explosion involved only a single white dwarf, ruling out a well-established alternative scenario involving a pair of merging white dwarfs.
"Mounting evidence indicates both of these mechanisms produce what we call type Ia supernovae," said lead researcher Hiroya Yamaguchi, an astrophys [...]
Medical science and training took a significant portion of the Expedition 43 crew’s schedule Thursday. The newest three crew members are getting used to their new home on orbit. Finally, the International Space Station boosted its orbit.
Several crew members participated in eye checks for the Ocular Health study as scientists study how microgravity affects vision during long duration missions. The newest trio to join Expedition 43 trained to prepare for a medical emergency while also famili [...]