The ongoing drought in Texas has turned up new debris from the 2003 Columbia shuttle disaster that killed seven NASA astronauts when the shuttle disintegrated upon re-entry over Texas and Louisiana. The spherical tank was found in an exposed part of Lake Nacogdoches about 160 miles northeast of Houston where it came to rest after the disaster eight years ago.
In what is sure to be one of the most--if not the most--expensive crashes ever, Russia’s space agency said today that when the International Space Station has completed its life cycle in 2020, it will be crashed into the ocean.
Combing through the night sky and looking for possible planetary nebulae is tough, tedious work. NASA actually works with several amateur astronomy groups to examine the findings from its Kepler space observatory, so sometimes, the big discoveries are made by amateurs--including this one, the newest known planetary nebula, named Kronberger 61.
NASA's space shuttle program may be over, but a new kind of space shuttling is just getting started. Even better, the new, private era of space missions seems to be moving along even faster than expected, as SpaceX and NASA have tentatively agreed to combine the two remaining test missions into one.
Fourteen years ago, astronomers studying Saturn via ESA’s Infrared Space Observatory discovered a mysterious supply of gaseous water in Saturn’s upper atmosphere. Now, ESA’s Herschel observatory has figured out exactly where that water is coming from: Saturn’s moon Enceladus, which spews water onto its host planet via huge water jets emanating from its southern polar region.
By Jennie WaltersPosted 07.26.2011 at 10:12 am 7 Comments
In March, astronomers at Rutgers University studying the supernova remnant Tycho revealed a surprise. Using the Chandra orbiting x-ray telescope, they found unexpectedly structured patterns within Tycho. Normally supernova remnants are chaotic, says Kristoffer Eriksen, who worked on the project. The scientists had anticipated a complicated network of holes and walls inside the royal-blue shock wave, but instead they saw regularly spaced light-blue stripes.
By Natalie WolchoverPosted 07.22.2011 at 10:17 am 37 Comments
A scientific detective story if there ever was one, Slava Turyshev of JPL and his colleagues have spent years tracking down their villain, the Pioneer Anomaly: an unexplained acceleration in the motion of Pioneer 10 and 11, twin spacecraft that were launched by NASA in the 1970s and radar-tracked for over 30 years. Turyshev and his team have recovered files from NASA dumpsters, converted 1970s punch card data to digital, and spent untold man hours crunching numbers beamed to Earth decades ago from spacecraft billions of miles away.
Finally, the case is solved, and the villain is dead.
Alright, alright, one more farewell post for Atlantis just because this image is so very amazing. Captured by the crew aboard the International Space Station, the image shows Atlantis’s glowing hot re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere and the plasma trail it left behind.
Well kids, it’s finally over. This morning, just shy of 6 a.m. EDT, the space shuttle Atlantis came to a wheels stop at Kennedy Space Center, ending NASA’s Space Shuttle era and effectively capping America’s Human Spaceflight program--at least for the time being.
One of the most spectacular ways to watch a Shuttle launch (if you're not there in person) is from the video cameras mounted on the booster rockets as it goes up, and then as they fall off and splash down. NASA has just released the footage from the final Shuttle launch ever. Watch it below.