It’s not always easy being the little brother, but stepping out from the shadow of its bigger sibling--the Orion Nebula (Messier 42)--Messier 43 is finally getting its chance to shine. This recently released Hubble image shows M43 doing what little brothers are wont to do: emulating its bigger sibling. Both regions are churning out baby stars.
The Space Shuttle Discovery is fueled and waiting on the launchpad for its 4:50 p.m. EST liftoff for the International Space Station on what will be the veteran spacecraft's final journey into orbit. The mission will carry a crew of six skyward along with important spare parts for the ISS as well as the Express Logistics Carrier-4, part of a series of unpressurized payload platforms that provide mechanical support for the ISS.
The ESA’s newest Automated Transfer Vehicle--ATV-2, otherwise known as Johannes Kepler--is loaded up and primed for its February 15th launch to the International Space Station, marking a several significant milestones for the European Space Agency and its contribution to ISS operations. Among those benchmarks, it marks the first “operational” flight for the ESA’s ATVs, the 200th launch aboard the European Ariane 5 rocket, and the heaviest load an Ariane 5 has ever hurled into orbit.
The world’s leading space agencies are reportedly discussing the use of the International Space Station as a launch pad for a manned trip around the moon. The goal would be to test whether the station could be a base camp for missions to asteroids and Mars, the BBC reports today.
Though NASA has abandoned its moon base ambitions, that doesn’t mean we won’t see a permanent lunar presence sometime in the foreseeable future. Japan has plans to establish a robot moon base on the moon by 2020, with an initial robotic landing by 2015. Now the European Space Agency is upping the ante, announcing plans to put a mammoth lunar lander on the moon by the end of the decade, complete with a robotic rover that will study the site in anticipation of eventual human habitation.
Ordinary Earthbound cameras can use a nice low-tech method for setting white balance: hold up a white sheet of paper and shoot it. Now a team of British scientists are white-balancing satellite cameras that photograph the Earth for the first time, using an entire Turkish lake.
In 2016, NASA and the European Space Agency will launch the first-ever joint U.S./Euro mission to Mars, and Tuesday they unveiled exactly what kind of toys the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter will have on board. Among the highlights: the Mars Atmospheric Trace Molecule Occultation Spectrometer (MATMOS) that can detect concentrations of gas down to parts per trillion.
As rare-earth metals become less common, and as nuclear non-proliferation treaties proliferate, it may get harder to send probes into deep space. Preparing for that eventuality, the European Space Agency is stockpiling smoke-detector parts for a possible new fuel source.
The European Space Agency has released the first close-ups of the asteroid Lutetia snapped by the Rosetta mission over the weekend, revealing that the mysterious asteroid has taken quite a beating over the years. And by years, we mean something like 4.5 billion. As suspected, it turns out that Lutetia is probably very, very old.
ESA's Rosetta mission got a quite a view of Lutetia as it passed within 1,965 miles of it while en route to its final destination, the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
Using only two months of data, the GOCE gravity-tracking satellite has built the first-ever full map of Earth's gravitational field.
The map, called a geoid, reflects the bumps and valleys of Earth's gravitational effects. The map shows what the Earth would look like if it was covered in an ocean dictated by gravity, as the European Space Agency explains. It's not as smooth as you might think -- gravity is slightly different in different parts of the globe.
We've landed the robots, puttered about on the planet's surface, and, at long last, found the water. Now, NASA is getting back to basics on Mars with a plan to once again search for signs of life on the Red Planet, a focus that's been on the back burner since the 1976 Viking missions. But this time, NASA doesn't want to analyze Mars from Mars. This time the space agency wants to bring samples back home, and has a cleverly orchestrated scheme to do it.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.