China launched an experimental spacecraft today to fly around the moon and back to Earth in preparation for the country's first unmanned return trip to the lunar surface. The eight-day program is a test run for a 2017 mission that aims to have a Chinese spacecraft land on the moon, retrieve samples and return to Earth.
We may think of black holes as swallowing entire stars— or any other object that wanders too...
Rotten eggs, horse urine, formaldehyde, bitter almonds, alcohol, vinegar and a hint of sweet...
Life in the universe could be much older than previously thought, forming as early as 15 million years after the Big Bang, according to a provocative new idea proposed by an astrophysicist. In this scenario for the early universe, rocky planets born from the dregs of massive, primordial stars would have been warmed by the heat of a radiation that permeated all of space, which was much hotter back then than it is now.
Why is the Sun's million-degree corona, or outermost atmosphere, so much hotter than the Sun's surface? This question has baffled astronomers for decades. Now, a team has found that miniature solar flares called nanoflares— and the speedy electrons they produce— might partly be the source of that heat, at least in some of the hottest parts of the Sun's corona.
Scientists have detected a curious signal in the X-ray sky– one that provides a tantalizing insight into the nature of mysterious Dark Matter. The team has found what appears to be a signature of axions, predicted Dark Matter particle candidates– something that has been a puzzle to science for years.
Astronomers have discovered that our nearest galactic neighbors— the dwarf spheroidal galaxies— are devoid of star-forming gas, and that our Milky Way Galaxy is to blame. New radio observations reveal that within a well-defined boundary around our Galaxy, dwarf galaxies are completely devoid of hydrogen gas; beyond this point, dwarf galaxies are teeming with star-forming material.
Many celestial objects are beautiful– swirling spiral galaxies or glittering clusters of stars are notable examples. But some of the most striking scenes are created during the death throes of intermediate-mass stars, when great clouds of superheated gas are expelled into space.
A new ultra-stable adhesive could be a key to assembling rock-solid structures for space, including large telescopes, instruments and antennas to peer deeper into the cosmos or sharpen views of our terrestrial environment. The ceramic bonding promises composite structures of several meters rigid down to a few thousandths of a millimeter.
A new measurement of dark matter in the Milky Way has revealed there is half as much of the mysterious substance as previously thought. Astronomers used a method developed almost 100 years ago to discover that the weight of dark matter in our own galaxy is 800,000,000,000 times the mass of the Sun.
Astronomers have found a pulsating dead star beaming with the energy of about 10 million suns. The object, previously thought to be a black hole because it is so powerful, is in fact a pulsar— the incredibly dense rotating remains of a star.
October is a busy month: Mars and Comet Siding Spring are moving closer to each other this month; the moon enters Earth's deep shadow for the second lunar eclipse of the year; and a partial solar eclipse will be visible late one afternoon.
New data obtained by NASA’s GRAIL mission reveals that the Procellarum region on the near side of the moon— a giant basin often referred to as the “man in the moon”— likely arose not from a massive asteroid strike, but from a large plume of magma deep within the moon’s interior.
Chemical fingerprints of the element nitrogen vary by extremes in materials from the molecules of life to the solar wind to interstellar dust. Ideas for how this great variety came about have included alien molecules shuttled in by icy comets from beyond our solar system and complex chemical scenarios. New experiments have shown that no extra-solar explanation is needed and the chemistry is straight forward.
Massive primordial stars, between 55,000 and 56,000 times the mass of our Sun, may have died unusually. In death, these objects— among the universe’s first generation of stars— would have exploded as supernovae and burned completely, leaving no remnant black hole behind.
Water was crucial to the rise of life on Earth and is also important to evaluating the possibility of life on other planets. Identifying the original source of Earth’s water is key to understanding how life-fostering environments come into being and how likely they are to be found elsewhere. New work has found that much of our Solar System’s water likely originated as ices that formed in interstellar space.
The International Space Station has been called a stepping stone to other worlds. NASA hasn't forgotten, however, that the behemoth space station is also on the doorstep of Earth.
India triumphed in its first interplanetary mission, placing a satellite into orbit around Mars today and catapulting the country into an elite club of deep-space explorers. In scenes broadcast live on Indian TV, scientists broke into wild cheers as the orbiter's engines completed 24 minutes of burn time to maneuver the spacecraft into its designated place around the Red Planet.
A SpaceX cargo ship rocketed toward the International Space Station on Sunday, carrying the first 3-D printer for astronauts in orbit. In all, the unmanned Dragon capsule is delivering more than 5,000 pounds of space station supplies for NASA.
Corrosion resistance and high strength put stainless steel high on the list of essential materials for satellite and rocket designers. Now, ESA plans to investigate an alternative, environmental-friendly method of readying this important metal.
For future astronauts, the process of suiting up may go something like this: instead of climbing into a conventional, bulky, gas-pressurized suit, one may don a lightweight, stretchy garment, lined with tiny, muscle-like coils. The suit would then be plugged in to a spacecraft’s power supply, triggering the coils to contract and essentially shrink-wrap the garment around the body.
NASA is a giant step closer to launching Americans again from U.S. soil. The space agency has picked Boeing and SpaceX to transport astronauts to the International Space Station in the next few years.
A tiny fragment of Martian meteorite 1.3 billion years old is helping to make the case for the possibility of life on Mars, say scientists. The finding of a cell-like structure— which investigators now know once held water— came about as a result of collaboration between scientists in the UK and Greece.
Rosetta’s lander Philae will target Site J, an intriguing region on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko that offers unique scientific potential, with hints of activity nearby and minimum risk to the lander compared to the other candidate sites.
Any explorers visiting Mars and the moon will have to boldly grow where no man has grown before. Setting up lunar or Martian colonies will require that explorers raise their own food. New research finds that simulated Martian soil supported plant life better than both simulated moon soil and low-quality soil from Earth.
Astronauts are studying how fires burn in microgravity and how to put them out. It's a basic safety issue: if a fire ever breaks out onboard a spacecraft, astronauts need to be able to control it.
An algorithm, tested aboard the International Space Station, analyzes the rotation of objects in space. Understanding how objects are spinning, where their centers of mass are and how their mass is distributed is crucial to any number of actual or potential space missions, from cleaning up debris in the geosynchronous orbit favored by communications satellites to landing a demolition crew on a comet.
Scientists have discovered the first evidence of water ice clouds on an object outside of our own Solar System. Water ice clouds exist on our own gas giant planets— Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune— but have not been seen outside of the planets orbiting our Sun, until now.
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