The international Astronomical Union or IAU is the authority that assigns the official names to celestial bodies and the surface features of those bodies. It is the only recognized naming organization and if it doesn't approve and assign a name, the name doesn't stick. There are firms that offer to let people name space objects for a fee.
Last year, NASA introduced its partnership with Planetary Resources and upcoming Grand Asteroid Challenge, which pits humanity against the race to protect our planet from potentially devastating asteroids. On Monday, the space agency will kick off its first contest under the challenge: Asteroid Data Hunter.
Alderaan isn't the only planet to fall victim to the "Death Star", astronomers claim, though the vast O-type stars actually across the galaxy destroying young planets before they've had time to form don't have convenient exhaust ports to stop them. Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), a team of US and Canadian researchers discovered that huge quantities of ultraviolet radiation from stars at least 16-times the mass of our own sun can blast away the raw materials for new planetary systems.
In 2011, a pair of physicists from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette announced that they had completed research that suggested another planet orbiting in a solar system beyond Pluto. The two professors called the theoretical planet Planet X or Tyche. The duo hoped that when NASA completed its WISE or Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer observations the planet would be confirmed.
Scientist have been studying rocks from Mars for a number of years that mankind didn't pick up from the Martian surface and bring back to Earth on any of the many scientific missions to the red planet. The Mars rocks that have been studied intently originated on Mars, but were blowing off the surface of the planet by a massive asteroid or comet impact millions of years ago.
Scientists believe that one of the most likely places in the solar system to harbor life, other than Earth, is one of Jupiter's moons called Europa. Europa is covered by a thick sheet of ice over its surface, but scientists believe that under that ice are oceans of liquid. That subsurface ocean is believed to be kept liquid by tidal flexing.
Today Elon Musk, CEO and Chief Designer with SpaceX - and head of companies like Tesla Motors - spoke with the Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. There he laid down a speech on the current state of affairs in space travel, NASA supply, and the way competition works within the government in these areas today. He also made clear that, with nearly 50 missions complete and a contracted total of $5 billion on the books, SpaceX is leading the way to a more efficient (and inexpensive) space-bound United States.
A collection of images have been collected and shared this week by the Hubble space telescope which depict what’s essentially a cosmic bloodbath. The team responsible for the release of the images describe the massacre of the galaxy known as ESO 137-001, one being torn asunder by a process known as ram pressure stripping. It’s a violent process.
If you are the sort that likes to worry about an asteroid hitting the Earth, you have little to fear today. NASA says that the flyby of asteroid 2014 DX110 is a "non-event" but the 90-foot diameter asteroid is going to pass between the orbits of the Earth and the moon this afternoon.