NASA

Watch NASA prep LDSD flying saucer test here and now

Watch NASA prep LDSD flying saucer test here and now

This is not a test in science fiction, but a real release of one massive payload headed for space, courtesy of NASA. What you're about to see - as early as Wednesday of this week - is NASA's second flight of its saucer-shaped Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator. That's also known as LDSD. This craft was first launched aboard a giant helium balloon from the United States Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii all the way back in June of last year. This time, it's headed for a cool 180,000 feet above the surface of the earth.

Continue Reading

Hubble captures time lapse of shock collision from black hole

Hubble captures time lapse of shock collision from black hole

In a galaxy far away — about 260 million light years from our planet, to be exact — there was a plasma jet blasted from within a giant black hole. We know this thanks to the Hubble telescope, which captured images of the event that were later assembled into a time-lapse video (which we have after the jump). This is said to show a “rear-end collision” of a couple of high-speed knots of matter being blasted out of a supermassive black hole. It’s also the first discovery of such a phenomenon.

Continue Reading

This is the tech NASA will take to Jupiter’s ice moon

This is the tech NASA will take to Jupiter’s ice moon

NASA has announced the tech toys its Europa mission will be equipped with, a battery of gadgets to do scientific study with around Jupiter's moon. Nine instruments have been selected after NASA threw open its inbox to suggestions from the research community, in preparation for the $30m study that will hopefully see a solar-powered craft orbit Europa's icy surface for three years. Among the hardware will be instrumentation to figure out if the moon does indeed have huge underground oceans.

Continue Reading

Did stowaway gas foul Curiosity’s Mars methane findings?

Did stowaway gas foul Curiosity’s Mars methane findings?

NASA's Curiosity rover has sparked an unexpected argument over methane on Mars, as operators attempt to figure out whether the gas is local or imported. The existence of methane on the red planet could be a strong indicator either of biological life or even just lingering geological activity, hence scientists' collective interest in whether it's present or not. However, while Curiosity seems to have spotted the gas, there are some who think it itself is responsible for it.

Continue Reading

VAMP inflatable space plane could explore Venus

VAMP inflatable space plane could explore Venus

Aerospace company Northrop Grumman has unveiled a new idea for an aircraft that is designed specifically to explore the upper atmosphere of Venus. The aircraft is called the Venus Atmospheric Maneuverability Platform or VAMP for short. The aircraft is an inflatable device that would be deployed from space and skim the upper atmosphere of Venus. Northrop designed the VAMP to be light enough to stay aloft in the atmosphere of Venus using little or no energy.

Continue Reading

NASA discovers brightest galaxy, burning with 300 trillion suns

NASA discovers brightest galaxy, burning with 300 trillion suns

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has discovered a remote galaxy, far, far away that is the brightest galaxy known to date. Researchers calculated it burns with the light of 300 trillion suns. The sheer brightness of this galaxy puts it in an entirely new class of space objects, extremely luminous infrared galaxies (ELIRGs), discovered using WISE. NASA has been using WISE, opposed to other methods, to target ELIRGs because the dust surrounding these super-luminous galaxies blocks visible light, and reduces it to infrared light.

Continue Reading

NASA has big plans for DARPA’s scary “Deep Web”

NASA has big plans for DARPA’s scary “Deep Web”

NASA is weighing in on the Memex "Deep Web" search project, hoping to harness DARPA's at-times ominous index to crunch vast quantities of space data. A team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is working with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to add a contextual layer to search, not only allowing the system to view webpages more like humans might, but even capable of drawing links between images and individual frames of videos. If it succeeds, it could be a much-needed blast of positive PR for a project that has become mired in controversy.

Continue Reading

NaSt1 “Nasty” star blasts gas disk in death display

NaSt1 “Nasty” star blasts gas disk in death display

NASA and the Goddard Space Flight Center use the Hubble Space Telescope to watch the Wolf-Rayet star NaSt1 blow its outer layers. This star isn't exactly new - in fact its thousands of years old, and it was first discovered by humans several decades ago. What's strange about this star and what makes it newsworthy today is its unique pancake-shaped disk of gas. Normally a star such as this shows a couple of lobs of gas blasting from opposite sides. The disk surrounding this star is nearly 2 trillion miles wide.

Continue Reading

X37-B: Everything we know about this secret Air Force space mission

X37-B: Everything we know about this secret Air Force space mission

The United States Air Force X37-B Space Plane (one of two) takes off into orbit above Earth in its fourth secretive mission. The craft itself is not a secret - we know what it's capable of. The contents of the craft are not entirely secret - we know MOST of what's inside. What the United States Air Force is doing on this mission with the cargo they carry - that's the question here. With one of two X-37B space planes headed to space with, amongst other cargo, 10 minuscule "cubesats" and a real deal Solar Sail, we'll be interested to see what becomes of their testing and action.

Continue Reading

ISS could mount lasers to blast away space debris

ISS could mount lasers to blast away space debris

As the ISS floats above earth, it's actually hurtling around its orbit at 17,000 mph. Any debris that it encounters at that speed could have major consequences, so the ISS often has to change course throughout its orbit just to avoid space debris from previous missions. According to NASA, there are about 3,000 tons of space debris in a cloud around Earth in low-Earth orbit. There is another belt of debris higher above the earth in geo-synchronous orbit. A team of Japanese scientists proposed a solution using lasers to blast the debris before it can damage the ISS.

Continue Reading

This One Photo: Australia’s aurora captured in space

This One Photo: Australia’s aurora captured in space

A fantastic photo (and short video) of the Aurora Australis are captured by NASA astronaut Terry Virts. "Flying away from one of the most incredible auroras I've seen," said Virts, "just west of Australia." In addition to capturing the photo you're about to see full size, Virts also captured a Vine. That means he captured one of the most fantastical visions most humans on Earth will never see from his position with a camera that then bashed the video down to miniature size in order for us normal citizens to be able to see, over and over again.

Continue Reading

NASA greenlights SpaceX’s Falcon 9 for less risky missions

NASA greenlights SpaceX’s Falcon 9 for less risky missions

It may have so far failed at the promise of a reusable space rocket, but things are still looking good for SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket. While it won't be carrying humans any time soon, it has at least been certified by NASA for Category 2 space missions. These missions are described as "medium risk", as they only involve carrying satellites and less critical and less expensive cargo. It may not be the Category 3 that SpaceX ultimately wants, but it's still a big step forward in boosting credibility and clout.

Continue Reading