Space News - Space, Astronomy, Space Exploration

Phys.org provides the latest news on astronomy and space exploration.

06/15/2018 07:36 PM
Sounding rocket takes a second look at the Sun
Tom Woods knows about space gunk.

06/15/2018 04:40 PM
NASA's record-breaking spacewoman retires as astronaut
NASA's record-breaking astronaut, Peggy Whitson, retired Friday less than a year after returning from her last and longest spaceflight.

06/15/2018 01:30 PM
What's the minimum number of people you should send in a generational ship to Proxima Centauri?
Humanity has long dreamed about sending humans to other planets, even before crewed spaceflight became a reality. And with the discovery of thousands exoplanets in recent decades, particularly those that orbit within neighboring star systems (like Proxima b), that dream seems closer than ever to becoming a reality. But of course, a lot of technical challenges need to be overcome before we can hope to mount such a mission.

06/15/2018 01:04 PM
Exploring planetary plasma environments from your laptop
A new database of plasma simulations, combined with observational data and powerful visualisation tools, is providing planetary scientists with an unprecedented way to explore some of the Solar System's most interesting plasma environments.

06/15/2018 12:50 PM
A deep space communications hub in the desert
When NASA engineers were looking for a place to build a network of large radio antennas in the 1950s, they knew they needed somewhere quiet. They were going to build a series of antennas with huge parabolic dishes and receivers that could detect extremely faint radio signals.

06/14/2018 07:28 PM
Researchers identify 121 giant planets that may have habitable moons
We've all heard about the search for life on other planets, but what about looking on other moons?

06/14/2018 06:00 PM
Astronomers see distant eruption as black hole destroys star
For the first time, astronomers have directly imaged the formation and expansion of a fast-moving jet of material ejected when the powerful gravity of a supermassive black hole ripped apart a star that wandered too close to the cosmic monster.

06/14/2018 03:10 PM
Long suspected theory about the moon holds water
A team of Japanese scientists led by Masahiro Kayama of Tohoku University's Frontier Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences, has discovered a mineral known as moganite in a lunar meteorite found in a hot desert in northwest Africa.

06/14/2018 02:53 PM
One black hole or two? Dust clouds can explain puzzling features of active galactic nuclei
Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), believe clouds of dust, rather than twin black holes, can explain the features found in active galactic nuclei (AGNs). The team publish their results today (14 June) in a paper in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

06/14/2018 01:11 PM
Dancing with giants: dynamics of dwarf satellite galaxies
Dwarf satellite galaxies in the Milky Way perform different dances than researchers initially expected. Marius Cautun from Durham University received a Marie Curie grant to unravel the mysteries of this orbital dance. October 1st 2018 he will start his research at the Leiden Observatory.

06/14/2018 12:22 PM
UK says shut out of EU's Galileo sat-nav contracts
Britain has been formally excluded from future contracts for the EU's Galileo satellite-navigation system, the government said on Thursday, condemning the decision as "completely unacceptable".

06/14/2018 12:22 PM
Spacewalking astronauts set up TV cameras for arriving ships
Spacewalking astronauts set up TV cameras Thursday for new crew capsules set to arrive in coming months.

06/14/2018 12:09 PM
New and improved way to find baby planets
New work from an international team of astronomers including Carnegie's Jaehan Bae used archival radio telescope data to develop a new method for finding very young extrasolar planets. Their technique successfully confirmed the existence of two previously predicted Jupiter-mass planets around the star HD 163296. Their work is published by the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

06/14/2018 12:08 PM
New Greenland telescope is up and running
Greenland can now brag about hosting a large, operational radio telescope, with a dish measuring 12 metres in diameter.

06/14/2018 11:37 AM
NASA encounters the perfect storm for science
One of the thickest dust storms ever observed on Mars has been spreading for the past week and a half. The storm has caused NASA's Opportunity rover to suspend science operations, but also offers a window for four other spacecraft to learn from the swirling dust.

06/14/2018 11:22 AM
The most distant radio galaxy discovered
An international team of astronomers has detected a new high-redshift radio galaxy (HzRG). The newly identified HzRG, designated TGSS1530, was found at a redshift of 5.72, meaning that it is the most distant radio galaxy known to date. The finding is reported in a paper published June 4 on arXiv.org.

06/13/2018 05:23 PM
Organics on Ceres may be more abundant that originally thought
Last year, scientists with NASA's Dawn mission announced the detection of organic material—carbon-based compounds that are necessary components for life—exposed in patches on the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres. Now, a new analysis of the Dawn data by Brown University researchers suggests those patches may contain a much higher abundance of organics than originally thought.

06/13/2018 02:46 PM
Martian dust storm silences NASA's rover, Opportunity (Update)
A massive dust storm raging across Mars has overcome NASA's aging Opportunity rover, putting the unmanned, solar-powered vehicle into sleep mode and raising concerns about its survival, the US space agency said Wednesday.

06/13/2018 02:00 PM
Trio of infant planets discovered around newborn star
Two independent teams of astronomers have uncovered convincing evidence that three young planets are in orbit around an infant star known as HD 163296. Using a new planet-finding strategy, the astronomers identified three discrete disturbances in a young star's gas-filled disk: the strongest evidence yet that newly formed planets are in orbit there.

06/13/2018 01:39 PM
Image: CubeSat micro-pulsed plasma thruster
This micro-pulsed plasma thruster has been designed for propulsion of miniature CubeSats; its first firing is seen here. The thruster works by pulsing a lightning-like electric arc between two electrodes. This vaporizes the thruster propellant into charged plasma, which is then accelerated in the electromagnetic field set up between the electrodes.

06/13/2018 01:02 PM
Researchers map out regions where exoplanets can exist within triple star systems
Researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa (Wits) and the University of Grenoble Alpes in France have mapped out regions where exoplanets can exist within triple star systems.

06/13/2018 12:23 PM
Sleek telescope makes it in the Big Apple
Just in time for Asteroid Day, New York's Museum of Modern Art has selected a sleek new portable telescope from French start-up Vaonis for its prestigious MoMA Design Store.

06/13/2018 12:13 PM
ECOSTRESS among science payloads on next space station mission
A new batch of science is headed to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX Dragon on the company's 15th mission for commercial resupply services, scheduled for launch June 29 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The spacecraft will deliver science that studies plant water use all over the planet, artificial intelligence, gut health in space, more efficient drug development and the formation of inorganic structures without the influence of Earth's gravity.

06/13/2018 12:07 PM
Image: Gravity for the loss
Space agencies of Europe, assemble!

06/13/2018 09:13 AM
New GAIA data reveals mergers in Milky Way
University of Groningen astronomers have discovered relics of merger events in the Milky Way halo. Five small groups of stars appear to represent mergers with smaller galaxies, while a big 'blob' comprising hundreds of stars appears to be the remnant of a large merger event. These results were published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters on 12 June.

06/12/2018 02:16 PM
Speculative wormhole echoes could revolutionize astrophysics
The scientific collaborations LIGO and Virgo have detected gravitational waves from the fusion of two black holes, inaugurating a new era in the study of the cosmos. But what if those ripples of space-time were not produced by black holes, but by other exotic objects? A team of European physicists suggest an alternative—wormholes that can be traversed to appear in another universe.

06/12/2018 01:40 PM
Recently launched twin satellites create 'the Himalaya Plot'
Less than three weeks after launch, the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission has successfully completed its first mission phase and demonstrated the performance of the precise microwave ranging system that enables its unique measurements of how mass migrates around our planet.

06/12/2018 01:20 PM
Researchers study molecular gas in the galaxy Markarian 273
An international group of scientists has recently conducted a study of molecular gas in the northern nucleus of an ultra-luminous infrared galaxy known as Markarian 273. The research, which reveals physical and chemical properties of the galaxy's disc and its outflow, was presented in a paper published May 30 on arXiv.org.

06/12/2018 12:42 PM
The true power of the solar wind
The planets and moons of our solar system are continuously being bombarded by particles hurled away from the sun. On Earth this has hardly any effect, apart from the fascinating northern lights, because the dense atmosphere and the magnetic field of the Earth protect us from these solar wind particles. But on the Moon or on Mercury things are different: There, the uppermost layer of rock is gradually eroded by the impact of sun particles.

06/12/2018 11:50 AM
The big global space agencies rely on Australia – let's turn that to our advantage
In the conversation around Australia's space agency, the brand leaders – the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) – have had relatively little airplay.