Articles about space

Sorry, Elon, your Tesla roadster won't orbit for billions of years

Explaining why he used his Tesla roadster as the test mass on his Falcon Heavy launch, Elon Musk remarked that he liked the idea of it orbiting for a billion years. If the car endures, a bunch of astroboffins from Canada and the Czech Republic reckon it's going to last just a mere few tens of millions of years. Running the …

Mars is red, Earth is blue. Here's a space laser story for you

NASA has decided to use fragments of Martian meteorites for target practice ahead of the Mars 2020 mission, then send one back to Mars. The instrument doing the shooting is called SHERLOC - short for "Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals" - an instrument scheduled for the Mars …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Feb 2018
planet of the apes

It's been 50 years since those damn dirty apes took the planet by storm

On a cold, dry evening of February 9, 1968, cinemagoers at New York's venerable Capitol Theatre were the first members of the public to be taken to a new but worryingly familiar world. Ahead of the film's nationwide April opening, patrons of the picture palace at 1645 Broadway half a century ago caught an early glimpse of the …
Michael Moran, 9 Feb 2018
Mike Hughes

A Hughes failure: Flat Earther rocketeer can't get it up yet again

Video An American bloke, who reckons Earth is flat as a frisbee, is on a quest to send himself into space to verify his theory. And on Sunday, he failed to even launch a rocket to a few hundred feet. Limousine driver, self-taught rocket maker, and headline generator "Mad" Mike Hughes hoped to blast off his homemade rocket from …
Iain Thomson, 5 Feb 2018
Microlensing Quasar

Exoplanets from another galaxy spotted – take that, Kepler fatigue!

The Kepler Space Telescope has found oodles of exoplants, but now astroboffins have spotted the first exoplanets outside our galaxy. A group of astroboffins from the University of Oklahoma has become the first to demonstrate exoplanet observations in another galaxy – one that's 3.8 billion light years away, or one-third of the …
MIlky Way

Astroboffins spot sneaky signs that the Milky Way devoured smaller galaxies

Astrophysicists have found evidence that the Milky Way has gobbled up neighbouring massive dwarf galaxies over its 13 billion year lifetime. A team of researchers using a spectroscope analysed the starlight from 28 red giant stars hovering on the outer halo of the Milky Way. They then worked out their chemical composition from …

Zombie … in SPAAACE: Amateur gets chatty with 'dead' satellite

An amateur astronomer hunting the Zuma satellite that SpaceX may or may not have lost has instead turned up signals from a NASA bird thought dead since 2005. Zuma went missing after separation from its SpaceX Falcon 9 launcher earlier this month. Like many other amateur sky-watchers, Scott Tilley has since tried to locate the …

A high-energy neutrino, a powerful cosmic ray, and a gamma ray walk into a bar... Where you from, asks the bartender

A new model has traced the origins of high-energy neutrinos, cosmic rays, and gamma rays to powerful jets billowing around supermassive black holes. Known as cosmic messenger particles, these neutrinos and rays carry huge amounts of energy, travel insane distances across space, and can be detected when they reach Earth – yet …
Katyanna Quach, 23 Jan 2018
Rocket Lab's Peter Beck with a model of Rutherford

New Zealand joins the Space Race

New Zealand has joined the list of spacefaring nations, courtesy of a US-Kiwi startup called Rocket Lab. Founded in New Zealand by CEO/CTO Peter Beck, the company has spent 12 years developing a launch capability for cubesat-sized payloads up to 150 kg for not many millions of dollars. In May last year, the outfit …

Anglo, French space agencies sitting in a tree, K I S S I N G

The British and French space agencies have agreed to team up on more missions together. In a week full of Anglo-French announcements, such as a proposed bridge across the channel and a holiday to Blighty for the Bayeux Tapestry, the UK Space Agency and the Centre national d'études spatiales inked the deal yesterday at …
Richard Priday, 19 Jan 2018

Don't panic... but our fragile world is drifting away from the Sun

As the Sun ages and sheds mass, the gravitational pull it exerts on its planets weakens. That means that the orbits of those home worlds slowly expand over time. Now, scientists have calculated this shift, and published the figures in Nature Communications on Thursday. The Sun is continuously ditching material as its charged …
Katyanna Quach, 19 Jan 2018

All aboard the Vomit Comet: Not the last train to Essex, but a modded 727 for weightless flight

Anyone who has grown up watching the antics of Apollo astronauts aboard Skylab or the acrobatics of Shuttle and ISS crews has likely dreamed of experiencing weightlessness. Ideally in a way that doesn't involve either a sickening drop in an elevator or alarming turbulence over the Atlantic. But for those lacking the budget to …
Richard Speed, 18 Jan 2018
Galaxy J1354

Black hole munched galactic leftovers, spewed stars, burped

The black hole at the centre of galaxy SDSS J1354+1327 sucked in gases, “burped” – and then repeated the display. As NASA explained in a statement: “The two-course meal for the black hole comes from a companion galaxy that collided with J1354 in the past. This collision produced a stream of stars and gas that links J1354 and …

Astroboffins say our Solar System is a dark, violent, cosmic weirdo

Our solar system may be a cosmic misfit, say astroboffins who've analysed systems where we've spotted exoplanets. A team of astrophysicists suggested we live in a weird neighborhood after analyzing the radius and semimajor axis of 909 planets in 355 multi-planet systems spied by the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii. The …
Katyanna Quach, 10 Jan 2018

Soz, guys. No 'alien megastructure' around Tabby's Star, only cosmic dustbunnies

Sorry to burst your bubble, folks, but the mysteriously dimming Tabby's Star isn't due to an "alien megastructure" after all – it's just obscured by dust, according to a paper published today. KIC 8462852 (but Tabby's Star is catchier) was first spotted by NASA's Kepler telescope. It quickly became an object of fascination for …

SMBH: Astroboffins reveal how to stop pop(ping) stars in a supermassive galaxy

The mass of the supermassive black hole at the centre of galaxies controls star formation and determines how it evolves over time, according to new observations published in Nature. Galaxies are made out of clumps of interstellar dust, gas, stars, black holes, and dark matter all gravitationally bound together. As they age, …

Astroboffins say our Solar System could have – wait, stop, what... the US govt found UFOs?

Our Solar System may have been born from bubbles of material hurled from a colossal Wolf-Rayet-type star, according to a theory published Friday. Scientists studying the origin of our system generally believe – no, wait, sorry. Stop. You know 2017 has been a bonkers year when the New York Times reveals a classified $22m US …
Katyanna Quach, 22 Dec 2017
Clouds, photo via Shutterstock

Cloud-building alien space rays altered Earth's climate – boffins

Interstellar particles alter Earth's climate by affecting cloud growth, scientists revealed on Tuesday. The research team, whose work was published in Nature Communications, sets out a direct link between how particles from space influences cloud growth and climate change. Henrik Svensmark, lead author of the study and a …
Katyanna Quach, 20 Dec 2017

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