NASA officials Wednesday announced they have completed a rigorous review of the Space Launch System (SLS) -- the heavy-lift, exploration class rocket under development to take humans beyond Earth orbit and to Mars -- and approved the program's progression from formulation to development, something no other exploration class vehicle has achieved since the agency built the space shuttle.
"We are on a journey of scientific and human exploration that leads to Mars," said NASA Administrator Charle [...]
Astronomers using ESA’s Integral gamma-ray observatory have demonstrated beyond doubt that dead stars known as white dwarfs can reignite and explode as supernovae. The finding came after the unique signature of gamma rays from the radioactive elements created in one of these explosions was captured for the first time.
The explosions in question are known as Type Ia supernovae, long suspected to be the result of a white dwarf star blowing up because of a disruptive interaction with a compan [...]
MOSCOW – Chinese scientists are in the course of developing a recoverable lunar robotic spacecraft Chang’e 5 that is to reach the Moon by 2017 with a mission to deliver samples of rock and soil back to Earth, according to Space Industry News.
"The development of Chang'e 5 is proceeding smoothly," a China State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry spokesman Wu Zhijian was cited as saying by an online media publication China Topix.
The creation of Chang’e 5 is part of the [...]
Astronomers have for the first time caught a glimpse of the earliest stages of massive galaxy construction. The building site, dubbed “Sparky,” is a dense galactic core blazing with the light of millions of newborn stars that are forming at a ferocious rate.
The discovery was made possible through combined observations from NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, the W.M. Keck Observatory in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, and the European Space Agency's Herschel space observatory, in which NAS [...]
Expedition 40 participated in health checks, Robonaut upgrades and Soyuz emergency drills Wednesday. The International Space Station also boosted its orbit setting the stage for a crew departure and arrival in September.
Commander Steve Swanson joined Flight Engineer Reid Wiseman and Alexander Gerst for health checks during the morning. The trio checked each other’s blood pressure and temperature as part of their clinical exams.
Swanson then moved on to more Robonaut mobility upgrade act [...]
Rocky planets like Earth start out as microscopic bits of dust tinier than a grain of sand, or so theories predict.
Astronomers using the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Green Bank Telescope (GBT) have discovered that filaments of star-forming gas near the Orion Nebula may be brimming with pebble-size particles -- planetary building blocks 100 to 1,000 times larger than the dust grains typically found around protostars. If confirmed, these dense ribbons of rocky material may well repres [...]
Once every 50 years, more or less, a massive star explodes somewhere in the Milky Way. The resulting blast is terrifyingly powerful, pumping out more energy in a split second than the sun emits in a million years. At its peak, a supernova can outshine the entire Milky Way.
It seems obvious that you wouldn't want a supernova exploding near Earth. Yet there is growing evidence that one did—actually, more than one. About 10 million years ago, a nearby cluster of supernovas went off like [...]
NASA has completed a complex series of tests on one of the largest composite cryogenic fuel tanks ever manufactured, bringing the aerospace industry much closer to designing, building, and flying lightweight, composite tanks on rockets.
“This is one of NASA’s major technology accomplishments for 2014,” said Michael Gazarik, NASA’s associate administrator for Space Technology. “This is the type of technology that can improve competitiveness for the entire U.S. launch industry, not to [...]
SpaceX has decided to postpone tomorrow's flight of AsiaSat 6. We are not aware of any issue with Falcon 9, nor the interfaces with the Spacecraft, but have decided to review all potential failure modes and contingencies again. We expect to complete this process in one to two weeks.
The natural question is whether this is related to the test vehicle malfunction at our development facility in Texas last week. After a thorough review, we are confident that there is no direct link. Had the same [...]
The Milky Way was not created by an evaporating lake. The colorful pool of water, about 10 meters across, is known as Silex Spring and is located in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, USA. Illuminated artificially, the colors are caused by layers of bacteria that grow in the hot spring. Steam rises off the spring, heated by a magma chamber deep underneath known as the Yellowstone hotspot.
Unrelated and far in the distance, the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy arches high overhead, a b [...]