Articles about space


Trump in Spaaaaaaace: Washington DC battles over who gets to decide the rules of trillion-dollar new industry

Analysis There's a new battle brewing in Washington DC and for once it's not between Democrats and Republicans, but over who gets to decide the policies for a new trillion-dollar market: The internet in space. This morning, America's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the release of tens of thousands of mini-satellites …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Nov 2018
MetOp-C liftoff

Third Soyuz does not explode while auditors resume poking around NASA's big rocket SLS

A third Soyuz was successfully launched yesterday, effectively clearing the way for crewed operations to resume, while the results of the US midterms may have unfortunate consequences for NASA. Three for three for Soyuz A Soyuz rocket launched ESA's MetOp-C meteorology satellite from French Guiana, lifting off at 00:47 GMT. At …
Richard Speed, 8 Nov 2018

FYI NASA just lobbed its Parker probe around the Sun in closest flyby yet: A nerve-racking 15M miles from the surface

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has kept its cool, successfully surviving sweltering temperatures to reach its first close encounter with the Sun, coming within 15 million miles of the solar surface. Launched in August, the spacecraft is on a mission to study the star at the center of our Solar System. The goal is to help scientists …
Milky Way photo via Shutterstock

Astroboffins spot one of the oldest, coolest stars in the universe lurking in the Milky Way

Astronomers claim to have found the oldest star yet discovered – a 13.5-billion-year-old sun hovering on the edges of our Milky Way, according to a new study. The star may sound unremarkable, 2MASS J18082002-5104378 B, but its contents are pretty special. It’s classified as an ultra metal-poor star (UMP) and is “the most metal …
Orion service module (credit: NASA/Rad Sinyak)

Russia inches closer to launching a crew again while NASA waits for a delivery from Germany

It was another busy week in space as Russia notched up a second Soyuz success, China conducted its 32nd launch of the year and NASA awaited the arrival of its first service module for Orion. Russia: Two Soyuz launches down, one to go The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, sent a GLONASS-M navigation satellite into orbit atop the …
Richard Speed, 6 Nov 2018

Dawn of the dead: NASA space probe runs out of gas in asteroid belt after 6.4 billion-mile trip

NASA’s Dawn space probe, our visitor to the Solar System’s protoplanets Vesta and Ceres, is cold and dead. The spacecraft finally ran out of fuel whilst it was orbiting Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt. NASA engineers noticed that it had missed two opportunities to check in with ground control on 31 October and 1 …
Eutelsat KONNECT (credit: Thales Alenia Space UK)

Need electric propulsion for your satellite? Want a 'made in Britain' sticker? Step right this way...

Updated Thales Alenia Space has bucked the Brexit blues by announcing the first all-electric satellite propulsion module to be designed and built in the UK. The module, which measures 1.8m high by 3.6m wide and weighs in at a hefty 1.8 tonnes, works by collecting energy from the Sun via the satellite's solar panels, and converting it …
Richard Speed, 1 Nov 2018

Goodnight Kepler! NASA scientists lay the exoplanet expert to rest as it runs out of fuel

The Kepler spacecraft has coughed up its last reserves of fuel and is now retired, after helping scientists discover thousands of exoplanets for nearly a decade, NASA announced on Tuesday. “Fuel exhaustion means it has reached the end of its space life,” Charlie Sobeck, a project system engineer at NASA’s Ames Research Center …
Katyanna Quach, 30 Oct 2018

Watch closely as NASA deploys the world's biggest parachute at supersonic speeds

Video NASA engineers have launched a gigantic parachute as big as a house at record speed to prepare for its Mars 2020 mission. The object, dubbed ASPIRE (Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiments), unfolded from a small cylinder to a massive parachute, weighing over 80 kilograms (180 pounds), in just four-tenths …
Katyanna Quach, 30 Oct 2018
Laser communicates with satellite

Americans' broadband access is so screwed up that the answer may lie in tiny space satellites

What's harder: putting a pipe of cables in the ground, or launching a satellite into space? Well, when it comes to the screwed-up world of internet access in the United States, it seems that space is the better option. Next month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is due to vote on no less than nine issues related …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 Oct 2018

It's big, it's blue, and it'll be raining down on you – it's 3200 Phaethon

3200 Phaethon, a weird object that sends cosmic debris streaking through Earth's night skies during the Geminid meteor shower, is more puzzling than previously thought. For starters, Phaethon appears to be blue. When the researchers viewed the object using telescopes in Hawaii and Arizona, USA, they found that it reflected …
Katyanna Quach, 24 Oct 2018

BepiColombo launches, Russia ponders next lift-off, and 50 years since Apollo 7 got its feet wet

Roundup A mission to Mercury, a mission to save Apollo and a mission to save face? Lift off for BepiColombo and into safe mode An Ariane 5 sent ESA and JAXA's BepiColombo probe off on its seven-year jaunt to Mercury, launching on time at 0145 UTC on 20 October. The combination spacecraft, which is comprised of orbiters from ESA and …
Richard Speed, 23 Oct 2018

Finally, a use for AI and good old-fashioned simulations: Hunting down E.T. in outer space

Google Cloud has teamed up with NASA’s Frontier Development Lab to search for extraterrestrial life using simulations and machine-learning technology. Figuring out where exactly life may exist in outer space is non-trivial: it's not always clear which specific conditions and materials are necessary for living things to survive …
Katyanna Quach, 19 Oct 2018

Good news: Largest, most ancient known galaxy supercluster is spotted. Bad news: It's collapsing on itself

An international team of astronomers have stumbled upon the largest and oldest galaxy supercluster found to date, measuring more than four quadrillion solar masses. The formation, dubbed Hyperion, is a giant complex blob of several filaments of galaxies and dark matter. It is thought to have come into being about two billion …
Katyanna Quach, 18 Oct 2018

SCISYS sidesteps Brexit: Proposes Irish listing to keep EU space work rolling in

As the wailing and gnashing of teeth over what will become of the UK space industry in a post-Brexit world continues, British firms are sidestepping the flapping of politicians and making their own plans. Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day. If you haven't seen it, it's about a man forced to endure reliving the same day …
Richard Speed, 18 Oct 2018

Huge ice blades on Jupiter’s Europa will make it a right pain in the ASCII to land on

Exploring Jupiter’s moon Europa will be a treacherous task, it seems: scientists reckon its surface is covered in sharp towering icy daggers. The menacing shards are known as penitentes, according to a paper published in Nature Geoscience this week. They normally form in dry cold climates, where sunlight melts snow and it …
Katyanna Quach, 11 Oct 2018

Astroboffins discover when white and brown dwarfs mix, the results are rather explosive

Astrophysicists have finally solved a mystery lasting almost 350 years to uncover the first documented merger between a white and brown dwarf star. Père Dom Anthelme, a French astronomer and monk, described a vivid outburst in the skies below the constellation Cygnus, which is allegedly shaped like a swan, back in 1670. …
Katyanna Quach, 10 Oct 2018
Superluminous quasar J0100+2802

It's over 9,000! Boffin-baffling microquasar has power that makes the LHC look like a kid's toy

The first microquasar us Earthlings have detected has left astrophysicists puzzled. Microquasars are greedy black holes that gobble up material from stars hovering nearby and shoot out powerful gamma ray beams. One particular specimen, codenamed SS 433, emits two jets that have energies measuring at least 25 trillion electron …

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