The cosmic fireworks above capture both stellar birth and stellar death in one sweeping view. With eyes pointed at nebula NGC 3582, part of a larger star factory here in the Milky Way, the Wide Field Imager at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile managed to capture a nebula shaped by supernova glowing with the intense light of baby stars.
Every six weeks or so, the International Space Station's orbit matches the same arc around the world traced originally by Yuri Gagarin's Vostok capsule, 50 years ago today. A few weeks ago we told you about the British film maker Christopher Riley who, working with an astronaut aboard the ISS, set out to film exactly what Yuri Gagarin saw out of the porthole. Today, the fruits of their labor, First Orbit has been released. Set your YouTubes to HD, folks—this is great.
When it comes to solving the growing space junk problem, solutions range from catching it in giant nets to blasting it from orbit with lasers--and these are DARPA’s and NASA’s best plans, respectively. By contrast, the Naval Research Laboratory has a scheme that seems much more feasible, though fraught with negative consequences: using a cloud of tungsten dust to create atmospheric drag at orbital altitudes, deorbiting the thousands of pieces of tiny space junk whirling about the heavens.
Today we celebrate five decades of secrets, lies, and half-truths from space agencies
By Jim ObergPosted 04.12.2011 at 10:15 am 2 Comments
On April 12, 1961, the United States awoke to the news of the successful space flight of Russian “cosmonaut” (a recently coined Russian word) Yuri Gagarin. Television broadcasts showed exuberant crowds filling the streets in Moscow before cutting to grim-faced NASA officials. Even if America was a step behind our sworn enemy, a human being had returned from space. It was thrilling.
3-D printing is a young technology, but its pioneers and champions aren't satisfied with printing cars, airplane parts, or tiny edible spaceships--they're always looking down the road at what's next. We talked with some of the best minds in 3-D printing about their dream projects--not what's possible now, but what their current work might lead to in five or ten years. These six dream projects are pretty astounding, and what's most striking is how attainable they seem. These aren't pipe dreams. They're our future.
A mystery is unfolding out there in the cosmos, and NASA’s Swift, Hubble Space Telescope, and Chandra X-Ray Observatory are teaming up to solve the case. But while researchers have pieced together some of the pieces of the puzzle over the last week, the huge, high-energy blast continues to brighten and fade, making it the brightest, longest-lasting such burst of energy researchers have ever seen.
Just this week, the crew aboard the International Space Station had to take shelter in its emergency quarters after a piece of a destroyed Chinese satellite passed “danger close” to the orbiting outpost, sharply reminding the space community of the dangers posed by space debris. The rest of us will get our reminder in November, when a massive asteroid will make a close flyby of Earth at a distance of just 0.85 lunar distances.
Researchers at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics love a good pair of merging white dwarfs, but their most recent discovery of an orbiting pair is interesting beyond just being a galactic rarity. This new pair is the fastest orbiting pair of white dwarfs ever seen, completing an orbit every 39 minutes. What's more, in several million years their orbits will decay to the point that they collide, merge, and are reborn as a single star.
Near-Earth asteroids aren’t all that rare, but today two researchers at Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland say they’ve found an extremely rare near-Earth object in an orbit very similar to Earth’s. Asteroid 2010 SO16 is not exotic because of it’s closeness to the home planet, but because it is stuck in a rare horseshoe orbit.
Private spaceflight concern SpaceX has been teasing the public for more than a week with rumblings of a big announcement today. Indeed, that announcement is big: about 22 stories big. SpaceX founder Elon Musk today unveiled the company’s next big thing, the Falcon Heavy rocket, a massive launch vehicle with a cargo capacity of 117,000 pounds.