A new simulation finds the stuff in our own backyard: Time to move to New Jersey
By Molika AshfordPosted 08.07.2008 at 12:30 pm 5 Comments
A new simulation has mapped out the way dark matter—the invisible heft of the universe—could be distributed in a galaxy like our own Milky Way; showing that dark matter could be much more present in our neighborhood than previously thought, and suggesting that we may soon be able to detect it (and understand it) close to home.
The FYI experts take on that age-old question of moon and man
By Amy GeppertPosted 07.11.2008 at 12:33 pm 19 Comments
Snug in Earth’s orbit, Hubble is free from the background glare that earthly telescopes must fight to see the stars. This allows its supersensitive camera to take better photos of galaxies farther away—and thus much dimmer—than any optical telescope on the ground can. But despite being closer to the moon than any other telescope, there’s no way the scope could snap a photo of that one small step man took 40 years ago.
A growing cloud of trash threatens space tourism and has experts scrambling to clear the mess
By Ker ThanPosted 06.27.2008 at 1:58 pm 9 Comments
Along with satellites and space stations, Earth is surrounded by tens of millions of pieces of floating space debris. Like any landfill, the trash is diverse, ranging from dead satellites to castaway rocket parts to flecks of paint. On average, over the past 40 years, one piece of space junk has fallen to Earth every day.
Ever-keener detection apparatus leads to the discovery of more and more planets outside our solar system
By Matt RansfordPosted 06.23.2008 at 11:50 am 4 Comments
When it launches in 2009, NASA's Kepler Mission will include the most sensitive detection system ever put into service for discovering exosolar planets. In the meantime, our toolkit on Earth is getting better with each passing year. Astronomers using the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) at La Silla Observatory in Chile have discovered three new rocky planets orbiting a single star, all within ten times the size of Earth.
NASA spent $420 million to send the Phoenix Lander to Mars last year. Festooned with state-of-the-art detection equipment, the rover's task was to scour the red surface in search of elusive Martian ice. And today, the NASA mission finally did uncover some extraterrestrial frost, and it did it with its simplest tool, a shovel.
If (or, as some would say, when) humans make contact with alien intelligence, the scientists who devote their careers to the search will be our first point of contact. Here, we look at the history of one of humankind's most persistent fascinations
By Matt RansfordPosted 06.17.2008 at 2:48 pm 22 Comments
For as long as humans have looked to the night sky to divine meaning and a place in the universe, we have let our minds wander to thoughts of distant worlds populated by beings unlike ourselves. The ancient Greeks were the first Western thinkers to consider formally the possibility of an infinite universe housing an infinite number of civilizations.
Scientists discover the smallest extrasolar planet yet and speculate on conditions ripe for life
By Matt RansfordPosted 06.06.2008 at 7:08 am 16 Comments
The search for a planet analogous to our own has taken one step closer with the discovery of the smallest extrasolar planet yet orbiting a star which could support life. It is about three and one-third times the size of Earth, much more in line with our home than the gas giants on the scale of Jupiter or Saturn we had been finding up to this point. (An even smaller planet has so far been found, but it is orbiting a pulsar. Pulsars spew highly powerful radiation, so it's highly unlikely that anything within their vicinity could survive).
A 3-D stereoscopic imager and a robotic arm camera with an LED flash make up Phoenix's Red Planet gear bag
By John MahoneyPosted 06.03.2008 at 5:23 pm 2 Comments
Say Cheese, Martians!
The Phoenix Lander's main camera can capture 3-D stereoscopic images.
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
For the past two weeks, NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander has been broadcasting a wealth of incredible images from its landing site in the Martian arctic. I've been refreshing the mission's raw photo stream obsessively—no little green men yet, just gorgeous panoramas and detailed closeups of the most foreign of all foreign lands. Being a bit of a camera geek, I was quite curious as to what kind of hardware was behind the action, and naturally, Phoenix has some pretty sweet gear on board to make it all possible.
Sapporo plans to launch a beer brewed with barley grown at the ISS
By Jaya JiwatramPosted 05.30.2008 at 1:01 pm 14 Comments
Taking beer-making to a whole new sphere, Japan's famous Sapporo Holdings Ltd. plans to launch a beer in November that's literally from out of this world. The brewery will collaborate with scientists at the Okayama University in Japan to concoct this unearthly beverage from a third generation of barley grains that spent five months on the International Space Station in 2006.