Tag Archives: space

Water ice mystery found at Martian equator

Source: Space.com

“A new examination of old data suggests that there might be ice hiding in the Martian equator, even though scientists previously thought that the substance couldn’t exist there. Scientists uncovered an unexpected amount of hydrogen when looking at older data from NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft dating back to between 2002 and 2009. At higher latitudes, hydrogen generally indicates buried water ice, but this was not believed possible at the equator, according to a statement from NASA. If there is indeed water there, this would help with a future human mission to Mars, because it could mean the astronauts wouldn’t need to bring the substance with them for drinking, cooling equipment or watering plants, researchers said in the statement.” (10/02/17)


Russian, US regimes will work together to build moon base

Source: Engadget

“There have been rumors that the US and Russia would be teaming up to build a lunar base. Sources within the country told Popular Mechanics that the head of their space organization, Roscosmos, was set to announce a partnership agreement with NASA this week. Now, Roscosmos and NASA have both released statements saying stating the two countries’ shared ‘common vision for human exploration.’ They go on to say that Russia and the US will cooperate on a Moon program, specifically mentioning the Deep Space Gateway by name. That’s the base NASA plans to build in lunar orbit starting in the 2020s (the statement sets a mid-2020s goal for beginning the project). The release also mentions that other international partners are considering signing onto the lunar base.” (09/27/17)


SpaceX rocket launches X-37B space plane on secret mission, aces landing

Source: Space.com

“The fifth mystery mission of the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B space plane is now underway. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the robotic X-37B lifted off today (Sept. 7) at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT) from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. About 2.5 minutes into the flight, the Falcon 9’s two stages separated. While the second stage continued hauling the X-37B to orbit, the first stage maneuvered its way back to Earth, eventually pulling off a vertical touchdown at Landing Zone 1, a SpaceX facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, which is next door to KSC.” (09/07/17)


SpaceX tests first stage of “world’s most powerful rocket”

Source: United Press International

“SpaceX has completed testing of all three first-stage cores on its Falcon Heavy rocket. The company is preparing for the rocket’s first flight test, scheduled for early November. ‘Falcon Heavy’s 3 first stage cores have all completed testing at our rocket development facility in McGregor, TX,’ the aerospace company announced on Twitter. SpaceX touts the Falcon Heavy as the ‘world’s most powerful rocket.”Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost,’ the company claims on its website. SpaceX expects the Falcon Heavy to eventually ferry crew and cargo between Earth and Mars.” (09/04/17)


Monster black hole 100,000 times more massive than the sun discovered at center of Milky Way

Source: Newsweek

“Scientists believe they have discovered a huge black hole near the center of the Milky Way hiding within a massive cloud of molecular gas. With an estimated mass of around 100,000 times that of our sun, they believe it could be a special type of black hole that has long been hypothesized but never officially identified. Intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs) are considered the missing link in the evolution of the cosmic objects and could help explain how supermassive black holes are formed. However, no direct evidence of an IMBH has ever been found.” (09/04/17)


Dream Chaser space plane makes crucial leap toward orbital flights

Source: Space.com

“Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser spacecraft completed a successful captive-carry test (in which the craft is suspended from another vehicle during flight) today (Aug. 30) at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California’s Mojave Desert. The flight test was a crucial step toward using the space vehicle for orbital flights to the International Space Station. … The flight was the first of two planned captive-carry tests that Sierra Nevada will conduct from the NASA facility in the Mojave Desert. Once the flights are completed, Dream Chaser will be ready for an autonomous, free-flight, approach-and-landing test later this year. Sierra Nevada is developing the uncrewed shuttle to carry NASA cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) under the space agency’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-2) program.” (08/30/17)


JPL proposes exploring Venus with a clockwork rover

Source: Spaceflight Insider

“NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) proposes taking a page out of a Swiss watchmaker’s handbook to design a long-lived rover to explore Venus’ surface. Utilizing centuries-old mechanical computing concepts, but with a modern upgrade, engineers at JPL hope to design a rover capable of exploring the unforgiving Venusian terrain and returning data to Earth. … the Soviet Venera and Vega programs of the 1970s and 1980s have provided the only surface-based investigations of Earth’s nearest planetary neighbor. While the landers returned valuable data, they operated for no more than a couple hours before succumbing to the intense heat and pressure of Venus’ atmosphere. With an average surface temperature of 864 degrees Fahrenheit (462 degrees Celsius) — hot enough to melt lead — and an atmospheric pressure more than 90 times that of Earth’s, even modern hardware would have difficulty operating for very long.” (08/29/17)


Musk reveals first official photo of SpaceX space suit

The Verge

Source: The Verge

“Elon Musk has posted the official first photo of his SpaceX space suit on Instagram, teasing that more details will come in a few days. Musk says the suit actually works, and was tested to double vacuum pressure. The suit itself is very white and very spacey, and Musk acknowledges that it was ‘incredibly hard’ to balance the suit’s look and its function.” (08/23/17)


Biggest near-Earth asteroid recorded by NASA will make a pass in September

Source: Sacramento Bee

“If Monday’s approaching solar eclipse has you excited about astronomy, there’s some good news: Not even two weeks later, another rare feat will pass us by. And miss us, thankfully. An asteroid called Florence will pass within 4.5 million miles of Earth on Sept. 1, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced in a Thursday press release. That’s 18 times the distance from the Earth to the moon. If that doesn’t sound impressive, consider its size: At 2.7 miles, Florence is the largest asteroid to pass Earth since NASA began tracking near-Earth asteroids. And this particular asteroid won’t come this close again until 2500, NASA says.” (08/18/17)


Atlas V launches TDRS-M relay satellite for NASA

Source: SpaceFlight Insider

“A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket roared off the pad with NASA’s newest communications spacecraft, Tracking and Data Relay Satellite M (TDRS-M). Liftoff took place at 8:29 a.m. EDT (12:29 GMT) on August 18, 2017. The launch occurred about 26 minutes into a 40-minute window due to an issue detected on the vehicle’s Centaur upper stage engine, the RL10C. Thermal conditioning took a bit longer than planned. The pre-chill eventually took place, clearing the way for a successful liftoff and eventual satellite deployment.” (08/18/17)