Articles about space

NGC 3972 (pic: NASA, ESA, A. Riess (STScI/JHU))

Astroboffins build AI to chase galactic blue nuggets in space

AI systems can be trained to help astronomers identify if galaxies are still active in producing new stars, according to a new study published in The Astrophysical Journal. A team of researchers have built a convolutional neural network to identify galaxies at various evolutionary stages. Galaxies are mostly massive blobs of …
Katyanna Quach, 24 Apr 2018
Four years of NEOWISE collection

Scratch Earth-killer asteroid off your list of existential threats

Video NASA's fourth release of data from its NEOWISE asteroid-hunter may well come as a relief, as it's again failed to spot a rock worthy of Bruce Willis' attention. The new data dump, (downloadable here), brings the mission's total to 29,246 objects. Those objects were observed in the four years since NASA mission scientists …
Uranus

Astroboffins discover the stink of eggy farts wafting from Uranus

Scientists have solved a pressing mystery about our Solar System. Does Uranus smell like farts? Yes, yes it does. A paper published on Monday in Nature confirms that Uranus contains clouds of hydrogen sulfide, a gas that smells like rotten eggs. "If an unfortunate human were ever to descend through Uranus' clouds, they would …
Katyanna Quach, 23 Apr 2018
Europe as seen from space

Brexit has shafted the UK's space sector, lord warns science minister

A letter to UK science minister Sam Gyimah has outlined the impact of Brexit on Britain's space sector, and it doesn't make for happy reading. The letter (PDF) by Lord Whitty follows oral evidence given to the Lords' EU Internal Market Sub-Committee on 15 March. The committee followed up the session with a jolly to the "space …
Richard Speed, 23 Apr 2018
old_soaker_mars

Here's another headline where NASA is dragged through the mud for cheap Mars wise cracks

Pic Water that once flowed across the surface of Mars caused the formation of mud cracks that were spotted by NASA's Curiosity rover, scientists have confirmed. The fractures were discovered in 2017 while the nuclear-powered robot was busy snapping away pictures of the Gale Crater – an area believed to be a 3.5-billion-year-old …
Katyanna Quach, 20 Apr 2018
Long March

If you guessed China’s heavy lifter failed due to a liquid hydrogen turbo engine fault, well done!

China’s National Space Administration has figured out why its Long March Y2 launch went awry in July 2017. The “unsuccessful” launch, as Chinese authorities put it at the time, was China’s second attempt at achieving heavy lift capability with its new Long March 5 vehicle. The first launch of the rocket, which boasts a …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Apr 2018

Having ended America's broadband woes, the FCC now looks to space

America's comms watchdog has served notice to would-be satellite network providers that it won't abide any more unauthorized launches and orbiting relays. The Federal Communications Commission on Friday issued an enforcement advisory [PDF] warning organizations it will take action against anyone who tries to offer a satellite- …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Apr 2018

UK rocket-botherers rattle SABRE, snaffle big bucks

UK rocket botherer Reaction Engines Limited (REL) has raised £26.5m from backers in the finance and aerospace fields towards development of its Synergetic Air Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE). SABRE has stubbornly refused to leave the lab bench and, with ground testing of the engine core due to start in 2020, the cash injection …
Richard Speed, 12 Apr 2018

Moneybags VCs look to the stars – and spaff a billion on space tech

It’s been a bumper few months for the commercial space industry with the torrent of cash from starry-eyed investors showing no signs of slowing, according to investment outfit, Space Angels. Nearly $1bn was handed to private space racers in the first quarter of 2018 - $975,799,660 to be precise. In a shock to nobody, a man …
Richard Speed, 12 Apr 2018
Mars Express (pic: ESA)

European Space Agency squirts a code update at Mars Express orbiter

The European Space Agency's (ESA) Mars Express orbiter is getting a software refresh as a reward for 14 years spent circling the red planet. Mars Express arrived in orbit at the end of 2003, and set about collecting high-resolution imagery of the surface, spotting water and detecting methane. Not too shabby for a spacecraft …
Richard Speed, 11 Apr 2018
Ariane 5 (pic: Arianespace)

Ariane 5 primed for second launch of year after trajectory cockup

French fingers will be crossed this evening as Arianespace attempts to loft the Superbird-8 and the less imaginatively named DSN-1 dual-use satellite atop the second Ariane 5 launch of 2018 from French Guiana. The previous launch, on 25 January, did not go entirely to plan with telemetry lost from the heavy-lift rocket nine …
Richard Speed, 5 Apr 2018
Hubble anniversary image

Hubble sharpens measurement of distance to ancient cluster

Boffins have combined NASA’s aging Hubble Space Telescope and some good old-fashioned trigonometry to measure the distance to a cluster of stars that were formed shortly after the big bang. The researchers pointed Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 at a globular stellar cluster known as NGC 6397, which had previously been the …
Richard Speed, 5 Apr 2018
black_hole_binary

Not one, but 20,000 black holes hiding in Milky Way's heart

The Milky Way may be teeming with tens of thousands of black holes lurking at its centre, according to a new study published on Wednesday. A group of astrophysicists analysed X-rays emitted from the heart of the galaxy to hunt for black holes using data taken from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. Black holes are greedy. As …
Space, image via shutterstock

Super Cali upstart's new rocket test approaches, even though the size of it won't launch a Tesla motor

Secretive Californian upstart Astra Space Inc. looks set to conduct the first test flight of its creatively named "Rocket 1" launcher from Alaska's Pacific Spaceport Complex in the next couple of days. The first sign that rocketry might be afoot came in the guise of a Commercial Space Transportation Licence (PDF) issued by the …
Richard Speed, 4 Apr 2018

No chance of flying too close to this: Icarus, the most distant star seen, is 9bn light years away

Icarus, a gigantic bright blue star, is the farthest such body yet discovered by astroboffins, the Space Telescope Science Institute announced on Monday. The light emitted from the star takes a whopping nine billion years to reach Earth. It means that observers can see what Icarus looked like when the universe was about 30 …
ExoMars parachute inflation (credit: ESA/I.Barel)

Let's go to Mars, dude: Euro space parachute passes maiden test

The European Space Agency (ESA) claimed today that the first test of the giant parachute destined for use by the ExoMars lander has been a success, paving the way for more ambitious trials before an eventual attempt on the Red Planet itself. The 195kg parachute assembly was lofted to 1.2km above Kiruna, Sweden, before being …
Richard Speed, 29 Mar 2018

Tantalising Tabby's Star teases watchers with big dimming event

In January, boffins decided they'd settled the mystery of “Tabby's Star”, the far-off star that dimmed so rapidly it almost looked like something, or someone, was responsible. Scientists have since shrugged off the idea the dimming is caused by an "alien megastructure". Instead, they suggest there's just a lot of dust …
JWST

NASA stalls $8bn James Webb Space Telescope again – this time to 2020

The launch date for the James Webb Space Telescope has been kicked back a year to 2020, NASA confirmed during a press conference on Tuesday. The instrument – a 6,200kg (13,668lb) telescope designed to look at stars formed soon after the Big Bang as well as closer objects – was scheduled to launch into the heavens in October …
Iain Thomson, 27 Mar 2018

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