Articles about Comet

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

We'll smash probe into comet 300 million miles away for kicks, er, sorry, ... for science

The European Space Agency (ESA) has set the date for the Rosetta probe's deathday and says that on September 30 the spacecraft will crash into the comet it has been orbiting for nearly two years. With Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko more than 300 million miles from Earth and heading out toward Jupiter, the spacecraft's solar …
Iain Thomson, 01 Jul 2016

Asteroid-sampling spacecraft prepped for September launch

NASA's improbably acronmyed* "Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security – Regolith Explorer" (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft has arrived at Florida's Kennedy Space Center ahead of a September launch on an asteroid-sampling mission. OSIRIS-REx will travel to near-Earth asteroid Bennu, arriving in 2018, and …
Lester Haines, 24 May 2016
meteorites

Laser-zapping scientists will save the Earth from meteorite destruction

Californian scientists are testing a system this month that may save humanity in the not-too-distant future. Boffins at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) will fire up high-energy lasers to see if they can successfully vaporize rocks from outer space. But don't worry; your tax dollars aren't being used to build …
Iain Thomson, 11 May 2016
Dyson DC37 vacuum cleaners

Tabby's Star's twinkle probably the boring business of calibration

Put the boffins in a cage and break out the popcorn: a new analysis suggests the “long-term decline” in the light observed from the hotly-speculated-upon “Tabby's star” tells us more about calibrating Earth instruments than alien gigastructures. The fun began last year when Kepler images showed unusual flickers in the …

Skygazers: Brace yourselves for a kick in the Aquarids

The annual Eta Aquarid meteor display will peak on the night of 5/6 May, with skygazers not suffering the traditional cloud and driving rain advised to keep an eye out for maximum burning dust from Halley's Comet at around 3-5 am on the 6th. The southern hemisphere should enjoy roughly 30 meteors per hour, with around 10 …
Lester Haines, 04 May 2016
Ahuna Mons on Ceres

Alien studs on dwarf's erection baffle boffins

Pics NASA has released images of a smooth-sided dome three miles (five kilometres) high, studded with bright reflective spots, on the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres. The pictures of the feature – dubbed Ahuna Mons – were sent back by NASA's Dawn probe, which has just completed its first year in orbit around Ceres – a strange …
Iain Thomson, 07 Mar 2016
VSS Unity

SpaceShipTwo ready to slip the surly bonds of Earth for Virgin Galactic

Updated Virgin Galactic is set to unveil its new space plane on Friday, 16 months after the last one crashed in the Mojave Desert. "Very soon, Virgin Galactic will introduce our new spaceship to our customers, our partners, and the world," the company said in a statement. "As we celebrate the end of one critical phase of work, we …
Iain Thomson, 19 Feb 2016

Philae comet lander officially dead

Scientists have glumly concluded that the Philae lander on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is almost certainly dead, and have given up trying to contact the spacecraft. Boffins have been trying to re-establish communications with the lander since July last year, when sporadic transmissions from the comet's surface were cut. …
Lester Haines, 12 Feb 2016
Amateur astronomer Waldemar Skorupa recorded this image from Kahler Asten, in Germany, on November 16, 2013. Credit: Waldemar Skorupa (Kahler Asten, Germany), via spaceweather.com

Comet halo theory for flickering 'alien megastructure' star fails

It's still not an alien megastructure, but the strangely-dimming sun known as Tabby's Star isn't being occasionally occluded by comets. KIC 8462852, to use its formal designation, gave UFO-spotters a veritable hypegasm last year, because the odd fluctuations in its brightness were hard to explain. When Penn State University …

Skype finally catches Google with group video chat

Skype will finally provide group video chat for mobile phones, nearly three years after Google offered it with Hangouts. The VoIP pioneer that was bought by Microsoft for $8.5bn back in 2011 has been decidedly slow in getting the service to market, but that didn't prevent it from comparing itself to NASA. "Ten years ago, NASA …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Jan 2016
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Philae's phinal phlop: Lonely lander didn't answer wakeup signal

Sunday's attempt to make contact with the Philae lander on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has not succeeded. As we reported yesterday, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) yesterday on Sunday sent a command to Philae, suggesting it spin up its flywheel. That command was hoped to either lead to the lander shifting so its solar …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Jan 2016
German Aerospace Center depiction of Philae on Comet 67/P

Philae's phinal phling: Germans made weekend spin-up attempt

The Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt e.V, better known as the German Aerospace Center (DLR) yesterday made what it says is probably its all-but-final attempt to wake the Philae lander on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Readers will doubtless recall that Philae accompanied the Rosetta probe on its journey to Comet 67P …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Jan 2016

Dixons Carphone CEO dances on rivals’ graves, swipes share from survivors

Christmas is unlikely to come early for Brit shoppers at Dixons Carphone. Essentially, the retail borg is awash with cash so it won’t on this occasion need to slash prices to counter a summer of soggy sales. Numbers at the half-way point of fiscal ’16 – ended 31 October – filed this morning, showed like-for-like revenue up …
Paul Kunert, 16 Dec 2015
Amateur astronomer Waldemar Skorupa recorded this image from Kahler Asten, in Germany, on November 16, 2013. Credit: Waldemar Skorupa (Kahler Asten, Germany), via spaceweather.com

NASA pours cold comets on aliens-make-star-flutter theory

KIC 8462852 is a star in the Cygnus constellation about 1500 light years from here. Were it not for the fact that Kepler Space Telescope photos reveal fluctuates in brightness to a degree we've not previously seen in the cosmos, nobody would care. That fluctuation is, however, so odd that scientists recently floated in a …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Nov 2015
493 Griseldis showing a debris trail

Ouch! Subaru telescope catches astroid prang

Astronomers have announced evidence that a main-belt asteroid called 493 Griseldis took a hit from another object in March of this year. Shots taken by the Subaru 8m optical telescope showed that Griseldis had grown a tail – and unlike a comet's tail, which points away from the sun, the asteroid's tail was “not in the …
German Aerospace Center depiction of Philae on Comet 67/P

Now we know why Philae phouled up comet landing

Exactly a year ago, mankind's first ever attempt to land on a comet did not go according to plan - and the European Space Agency (ESA) has just released a report explaining why. The Philae lander was carried for 10 years on the Rosetta probe as it built up speed and approached Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. But when it was …
Iain Thomson, 12 Nov 2015

US radar paparazzi snap 'Halloween Asteroid'

NASA has served up some radar images of the so-called "Halloween Asteroid" - a 600 metre diameter ball of rock that whisked past Earth on 31 October. Mercifully, Bruce Willis' services were not required, as asteroid 2015 TB145 - to use its official title - came no closer to Hollywood than 1.3 lunar distances (480,000km). NASA …
Lester Haines, 04 Nov 2015
ESA's Rosetta-oxygen infographic

Rosetta probe delivers jaw-to-the-floor find: Molecular oxygen

Rosetta has both delighted and upset astronomers after the probe sent back data that indicates the discovery of molecular oxygen on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The scientists are excited because the O2, detected in the thin cloud of stuff surrounding the comet, is going to give them a pile of new science; and upset …
Comet Lovejoy

Boffins: Comet Lovejoy is a cosmic booze cruise spewing alcohol across the Solar System

Pic Alcohol is pretty essential to life here on Earth, but for the first time, scientists have found the blessed fluid venting in huge amounts from a comet flying through our Solar System. Comet Lovejoy swung around our sun for the first time in 8,000 years back in January. Astronomers kept a close eye on it because the sunlight …
Iain Thomson, 24 Oct 2015
Disintegrating planet - artist's impression

'Death star' reaches out invisible hand, rips planet apart

Pity the latest planet spotted by NASA's K2 (the re-birthed Kepler) mission: boiled by starlight from its host, WD 1145+017, and racked by gravity, it's only got a million years left. The planet, about the size of Ceres and circling a star shrunk down to roughly Earth-size, is already followed by so much debris that Harvard- …

Don't Panic: Even if asteroid showers cause mass extinctions ...

Expect scientists to start arguing about whether there's a match in the long (very long) term between mass extinctions and rising number of comet/asteroid impacts, which, at least according to a new paper, both appear to occur around every 26 million years. Over the years, there have been many attempts to run that hypothesis, …

Made you jump! Space to give Earth an asteroid Halloween scare

Halloween is traditionally a time for scares and the universe hasn't disappointed, sending a fast-moving asteroid down our way for a close encounter on October 31 at 1712 UTC (1012 PDT). The asteroid, dubbed 2015 TB145, was only spotted 10 days ago by astronomers operating the Pan-STARRS I telescope in Hawaii and is thought to …
Iain Thomson, 21 Oct 2015

That's gotta hurt: NASA suffers attack of the lame Orionids

A gloomy NASA isn't holding out much hope for a dazzling Orionid meteor shower display this week, as Earth passes through the debris trail of Halley's Comet. Peak activity is expected just before dawn on Thursday, 22 October. However, a rather glum Bill Cooke, of the NASA Meteoroid Environments Office, said: "The Orionids will …
Lester Haines, 20 Oct 2015
Comet 67P Churyumov Gerasimenko on August 12th

Rosetta comet boffins: We can explain why there's a rubber ducky IN SPAAACE

Pics Findings from the European Space Agency's Rosetta probe solved the riddle of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko's unusual shape. They have proof that the comet is in fact two planetary bodies joined at the hip. ESA's Rosetta probe took ten years to reach its target last July and, when it did, the science team had a bit of a shock …
Iain Thomson, 28 Sep 2015

SOHO solar scope spies 3000th 'sungrazer' comet

One Worachate Boonplod of Thailand has been honoured as the person who spotted the 3,000th comet revealed to date by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). The 3,000th comet spotted by SOHO. Pic: NASA Comet 3,000 ahoy. Pic: ESA/NASA SOHO was launched in 1995 to observe the Sun's atmosphere and solar wind. Although …
Lester Haines, 17 Sep 2015
German Aerospace Center depiction of Philae on Comet 67/P

ESA tries UPLOADING PATCH to Philae lander to fix radios

The Philae lander may well be alive and mostly well upon Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, but the European Space Agency (ESA) is trying to patch its radio transmitters to overcome communications problems. That's the gist, as your correspondent sees it, of a lengthy “behind the scenes” post from ESA boffins explaining their …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Sep 2015
graveyard_648

Dixons Carphone breakdances on graves of fallen rivals

Dixons Carphone is still shaking its booty on the graves of fallen rivals as it once again reported growing sales. In the 13 weeks ended 1 August, which is Dix-Car’s Q1 of fiscal year 2016, like-for-like group turnover was up eight per cent, fuelled by a ten per cent spike in the UK division’s top line. Over in the Nordics, …
Paul Kunert, 10 Sep 2015
NASA Hedgehog

NASA wants to send HEDGEHOGS to Mars

Video The space-makers at JPL are toying with the idea of getting rid of wheels for planetary exploration robots. Instead, the “hedgehog” design in the pic above (here for mobile readers) exploits low gravity environments to get around without them. Nicknamed “Hedgehog”, the robot is a joint project with the Jet Propulsion …
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Rosetta probe spots Comet 67P being buzzed by boulder

The European Space Agency (ESA) has spotted a boulder buzzing Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The rock passed by on July 30th and as the .GIF below shows it headed off into space at decent speed. The images below were captured by Rosetta's OSIRIS narrow-angle camera, which only managed to get three frames of the event. The …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Aug 2015

NASA dismisses asteroid apocalypse threat

NASA has issued a statement dismissing web rumours that an asteroid will slam into Earth close to Puerto Rico sometime between 15 and 28 September, causing "wanton destruction to the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States and Mexico, as well as Central and South America". Paul Chodas, head honcho at the Near-Earth …
Lester Haines, 21 Aug 2015
Amateur astronomer Waldemar Skorupa recorded this image from Kahler Asten, in Germany, on November 16, 2013. Credit: Waldemar Skorupa (Kahler Asten, Germany), via spaceweather.com

Snowball spud gun shows comets could have seeded Earth with life

Scientists have been speculating for years now that comets might have seeded life on Earth, but a Japanese team has performed an experiment that shows it's a valid possibility. Dr Haruna Sugahara from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology in Yokohama, and Dr Koichi Mimura from Nagoya University built …
Iain Thomson, 18 Aug 2015
Artist's impression of Philae on Comet 67P

Chill, Philae: Shadow may protect comet lander from Sun roasting

Video If the Philae lander hitch-hiking on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko isn't dead, its dark hiding-place might just protect it from being destroyed by the heat as comet, lander and the Rosetta spacecraft swing around the sun. As the comet nears today's perihelion (closest approach) today (European time), the European Space …

What a shower: METEORS will BLAZE a FIERY TRAIL across our skies

The BBC is pulling its annual trick of promising skygazers a "dazzling display" of Perseid meteors this week, as the Earth passes through the trail of debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle. Peak meteor activity will be tomorrow night (Wednesday August 12) from around 2300 UK time, and enthusiasts can expect "at least one every few …
Lester Haines, 11 Aug 2015
ESA Rosetta history

Happy birthday! Rosetta starts second year around comet

More than a decade after its launch, the spacecraft Rosetta reached Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and as it approaches perihelion with the Sun, the ESA is celebrating a year since Rosetta reached its target. As we well know, rendezvous wasn't without incident: instead of dropping neatly on the surface of 67P, the mission's …

El Reg touches down at the ESA's Spanish outpost, sniffs around

Pics "Are you really going to wear that into the canteen?" That was the perfectly reasonable question posed by Emmet Fletcher, communication officer at the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) as my nephew Matt Haines braced himself for lunch sporting a Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) lab coat and pipe. Back in April …
Lester Haines, 31 Jul 2015
How Philae lands on the comet

Comet 67/P CAKED in LIFE-GIVING RUBBLE, say astroboffins

When the Philae lander failed to touch down cleanly on Comet 67P/Churyumov­-Gerasimenko, the mission looked like a mess. But the probe's four bounces across the comet's surface turn out to have been a blessing in disguise because they've given us more close-ups of 67P than expected. The results have now appeared in a special …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Jul 2015
Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo crackup verdict: PILOT ERROR

The National Transport Safety Board has today given its verdict on last year's fatal Virgin Galactic crash, suggesting the cause of the tragic accident was human error and a lack of safety training. The NTSB determined that the probable cause was manufacturer Scaled Composite's failure to mitigate against the human factor of …
Kat Hall, 28 Jul 2015

Comet-invader Philae goes silent, mothership Rosetta forced to retreat

The European Space Agency (ESA) has all but lost contact with its Philae lander on Comet 67P – and attempts to reestablish communications are being hampered by the rock itself. Philae, which was dropped off onto the comet from its mothership Rosetta, has more or less been silent for 11 days. Rosetta, which still orbits Comet …
Iain Thomson, 20 Jul 2015
Pluto

New Horizons: We've got a pretty pic of Pluto. Now let's get our SCIENCE on

Comment With everyone going ape over the dazzling new crisp pictures from NASA's New Horizons probe of the dwarf freezeworld Pluto, there are few voices asking if it was worth sending out a space probe to the far end of the Solar System – but it wasn't always that way. Pluto The eighth dwarf ... Very latest snap of Pluto from New …
Iain Thomson, 14 Jul 2015
HoloLens testing on the vomit comet

World's (possibly) first HoloLens startup promises mixed realities

A mobile upstart has claimed dibs on title of first HoloLens company. Object Theory launched Tuesday under the leadership of ex-Microsoft HoloLens Studio member Michael Hoffman and apps entrepreneur Raven Zachary. The pair claim they will help companies create, develop and launch “mixed reality” applications for Microsoft’s 3D …
Gavin Clarke, 07 Jul 2015
Philae takes a first look at the surface of Comet 67P

ALIEN SLIME SHOCKER: Approaching comet probably NOT inhabited, say boffins

The Rosetta probe's Earth-bound shepherds have sternly stated that suggestions of alien life within comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko - around which the probe is in orbit - are "pure speculation". Let us put aside the conflict humanity will eventually face if and when we do encounter alien life for a later date, and report …
Spaceguard Center in snow, photo: The Spaceguard Center

Planet killer: Ex-army officer's Welsh space-rock mission

Geek's Guide to Britain As I approach the Wales-England border, the rolling Herefordshire countryside sharpens into steep hills and narrow valleys. Powys is a county covering a quarter of Wales, but it is home to just 133,000 people, making it the least densely populated area of Britain south of the North Yorkshire moors. Limited population means few …
SA Mathieson, 06 Jul 2015
Philae takes a first look at the surface of Comet 67P

Dormant ALIEN SLIME LIFE frozen in SPEEDING comet will AWAKEN - boffins

Top astrobiologists say that the approaching comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko could be loaded with slumbering alien organisms capable of living on Earth, which will wake up and become active as the frosty spaceball comes nearer and nearer to the Sun. Dr Max Wallace and Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe say that data from the …
Lewis Page, 06 Jul 2015
Comet sinkhole

Rosetta spots potholes IN SPAAACE: Someone call the galactic council

The Rosetta probe, currently in orbit around Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, has spotted what appear to be massive sinkholes on the comet's surface that are thought to be caused by the cosmic snowball melting in the Sun's rays. Comet sinkhole map The comet's holier than Pope Francis (click to enlarge) The holes, some of …
Iain Thomson, 01 Jul 2015
HoloLens testing on the vomit comet

SpaceX to blast Microsoft's HoloLens visors into SPAAAAACE

A pair of Microsoft's HoloLens augmented reality goggles will be beamed up to the International Space Station on Sunday as part of the cargo in SpaceX's resupply mission. Youtube Video Astronauts will use the HoloLens kit to communicate with ground control and help with complex space station repairs. The two units on this …
Iain Thomson, 26 Jun 2015
German Aerospace Center depiction of Philae on Comet 67/P

Kamikaze Rosetta probe to ram comet it's chased for billions of miles

The European Space Agency's Rosetta space probe will continue to study Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko until September 2016 – after which the craft will be sent crashing into the mysterious rock. Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko The latest image of the comet from Rosetta The Rosetta mission is at least a decade-old, and it …
Iain Thomson, 23 Jun 2015
German Aerospace Center depiction of Philae on Comet 67/P

Sun like it hot: Philae comet probe wakes up, phones home again

The Philae probe on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has been in contact again, the European Space Agency has confirmed – and the lander is getting more than enough sunshine on its solar panels to power itself continuously. Battery warm & solar panels getting energy. Anxious to explore, comet day & night! More about # …
Iain Thomson, 19 Jun 2015
German Aerospace Center depiction of Philae on Comet 67/P

Philae warms up nicely, sends home second burst of data

The European Space Agency (ESA) says the Philae lander, Earth's unofficial ambassador to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, has sent a second burst of data back home. Philae contacted its hominid masters over the weekend, a much hoped-for event after the craft fell into a shady spot on the comet and depleted its batteries. The …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Jun 2015
Philae takes a first look at the surface of Comet 67P

Sun's out, guns out: Plucky Philae probot WAKES UP ... hits 'snooze'

The Philae lander has woken from hibernation for the first time since its 60-hour, energy-draining mission on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko last November, scientists at the European Space Agency confirmed today. Signals from the probe reached the ESA at its ops HQ in Darmstadt late last night. Philae, whose contact went …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Jun 2015
Approximate locations of five lander candidates initially identified in high-resolution OSIRIS Narrow Angle Camera images taken in Dec 2014. Image credit: ESA/Rosetta/NavCam

Boffins, feeling around in dark for Philae, lit up by bright spot on Comet 67/P

Vid The European Space Agency has determined a "good candidate" for the location of its Philae probot, which successfully landed on Comet 67/P in November last year. Since then, the location of the spacecraft's final resting place has remained a mystery for boffins working on the Rosetta mission. However, on Thursday the ESA said …
Kelly Fiveash, 13 Jun 2015