Cassini’s 10 best pictures from its 13-year voyage around Saturn

Cassini’s 10 best pictures from its 13-year voyage around Saturn

Cassini’s 10 best pictures from its 13-year voyage around Saturn

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has been voyaging through the solar system since October 1997. It went into orbit around Saturn in 2004 and has since taken thousands of images of the planet, its rings, and its many diverse moons. But on 15 September, the craft will end its mission by crashing into Saturn.

Cassini’s grand finale:

Join us as we count down to the fiery end of the Cassini spacecraft’s mission to Saturn

Read More

Scientists have suggestions on how to study the Earth from space — if Congress will let them

Scientists have suggestions on how to study the Earth from space — if Congress will let them

Scientists have suggestions on how to study the Earth from space — if Congress will let them

For the next 10 years, NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the US Geological Survey (USGS) should focus their space-based observations of Earth on answering key questions about our planet: How much will sea level rise in the future? Why do certain storms and clouds occur exactly when and where they do? And how is the diversity of life changing?

These are among the science priorities recommended in a new report released today by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. But the funding priorities are set by Congress, so whether or not US agencies will follow through on the recommendations is an open question. The Trump administration has been vocal about wanting to cut NASA’s Earth Science program, as well as reduce funding for geostationary satellites used to track storms. But Bill Gail, chief technology officer at the Global Weather Corporation and one of the authors of the report, says that the National Academies report makes its recommendations based on realistic budgets, and Congress “has historically given a lot of respect to the recommendations.”

Read More

NASA will put humans on the Moon again, Mike Pence tells space council

NASA will put humans on the Moon again, Mike Pence tells space council

NASA will put humans on the Moon again, Mike Pence tells space council

After months of hinting, Vice President Mike Pence finally made it clear today that the Trump administration will direct NASA to land humans on the Moon and establish a more permanent presence on the lunar surface. It’s a return to the vision of President George W. Bush, which was deferred when President Obama reoriented the space agency toward a journey to Mars.

Pence made the administration’s intentions known in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, as well as a speech he gave during the inaugural meeting of the National Space Council — a newly resurrected executive group aimed at guiding the US space agenda. “We will return NASA astronauts to the Moon — not only to leave behind footprints and flags, but to build the foundation, we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond,” he said to a crowd of representatives and press at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

Read More

NASA will put humans on the Moon again, Mike Pence tells space council

NASA will put humans on the Moon again, Mike Pence tells space council

NASA will put humans on the Moon again, Mike Pence tells space council

After months of hinting, Vice President Mike Pence finally made it clear today that the Trump administration will direct NASA to land humans on the Moon and establish a more permanent presence on the lunar surface. It’s a return to the vision of President George W. Bush, which was deferred when President Obama reoriented the space agency toward a journey to Mars.

Pence made the administration’s intentions known in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, as well as a speech he gave during the inaugural meeting of the National Space Council — a newly resurrected executive group aimed at guiding the US space agenda. “We will return NASA astronauts to the Moon — not only to leave behind footprints and flags, but to build the foundation, we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond,” he said to a crowd of representatives and press at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

Read More

NASA will put humans on the Moon again, Mike Pence tells space council

NASA will put humans on the Moon again, Mike Pence tells space council

NASA will put humans on the Moon again, Mike Pence tells space council

After months of hinting, Vice President Mike Pence finally made it clear today that the Trump administration will direct NASA to land humans on the Moon and establish a more permanent presence on the lunar surface. It’s a return to the vision of President George W. Bush, which was deferred when President Obama reoriented the space agency toward a journey to Mars.

Pence made the administration’s intentions known in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, as well as a speech he gave during the inaugural meeting of the National Space Council — a newly resurrected executive group aimed at guiding the US space agenda. “We will return NASA astronauts to the Moon — not only to leave behind footprints and flags, but to build the foundation, we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond,” he said to a crowd of representatives and press at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

Read More

Possible exomoon may be an ocean-covered world as big as Saturn

Possible exomoon may be an ocean-covered world as big as Saturn

Possible exomoon may be an ocean-covered world as big as Saturn

In July, tantalising evidence emerged of the first discovery of a moon around a planet beyond our solar system. Although the exomoon’s existence has yet to be confirmed, new results show that the world may look stranger than anyone thought and may also have been created through some unknown mechanism.

David Kipping at Columbia University, New York, has spearheaded an effort to comb through Kepler spacecraft data in search of hidden moons since 2012. Back in July, he and his graduate student Alex Teachey announced they had found signs of a colossal exomoon that might orbit a gas giant roughly 4000 light years away.

Read More

Spiralling galaxy arms spread oxygen around for future planets

Spiralling galaxy arms spread oxygen around for future planets

Spiralling galaxy arms spread oxygen around for future planets

You may be able to thank the Milky Way’s spiral arms for supplying Earth with a fair share of the vital element at our planet’s birth.

Oxygen is the third most abundant chemical element in the universe, after hydrogen and helium. It arises mainly in massive stars, which forge the element during their brief lives and then cast it into space when they explode.

Read More

NASA’s eerie space sounds should be the playlist for your Halloween party

NASA’s eerie space sounds should be the playlist for your Halloween party

NASA’s eerie space sounds should be the playlist for your Halloween party

Howling planets, whistling plasma waves, and pelting space rocks: the sounds of space are spooky — and NASA compiled a list of them to make your Halloween party a little bit more nerdy.

The sounds are truly eerie: Jupiter’s magnetosphere, the powerful magnetic field that extends millions of miles around the planet, sounds like a light saber from Star Wars, and distantly resembles the noise of frozen lakes here on Earth. Saturn’s radio emissions sound like a robot crying for help in the midst of a wind storm. And the atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan resembles the static noise coming off a TV, with a rhythmic sound going on and off in the background.

Read More

Distant DeeDee could be a new dwarf planet

Distant DeeDee could be a new dwarf planet

Distant DeeDee could be a new dwarf planet

A FARAWAY rock nicknamed DeeDee could be big enough to be a dwarf planet.

Astronomers define dwarf planets as worlds that are massive enough for their gravity to make them spherical, but not big enough to clear debris from their orbits. Our solar system has five officially recognised ones – Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, Eris and Ceres – and probably hundreds more in its outer reaches.

Read More