Ceres, the dwarf planet home to no-longer-mysterious bright spots, has been revealed up close and personal in Dawn spacecraft’s newest photographs. The spacecraft is now in its final and lowest orbit around the planet, snapping close-up images of Ceres’ rocky, pocked surface. NASA published the images today, and included among them is a red-blue image for those with old school 3D glasses.
NASA is planning on heading to Mars, though with far less Matt Damon than we'd all like. The next mission to the red planet is slated to study seismic tremors, in hopes to learn more about its interior. Unfortunately, those plans are being put on hold for an unknown amount of time.
SpaceX finally had its fairly tale ending and successfully landed its Falcon 9 rocket first stage back on the ground safely after launch. This marks the first successful landing and the first landing that was attempted on land rather than at sea. With the successful landing, SpaceX is closer to making space travel cheaper since the first stage of the rocket can now be refitted and reused for a future mission.
This morning astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson shared his observations of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. "With only mild spoiler alerts," he said. As such, we're rating this article "Mostly Spoiler Safe" - but have applied the "SPOILER ALERT" sticker anyway. All that said, you might begin to rage almost immediately when you hear that on Twitter, NDT has demoted R2-D2 to "Dwarf Cute" status, the same way he famously demoted Pluto to "Dwarf Planet." The good news is that it's for a good reason - BB-8 is clearly cuter, and he's made it public that that's his opinion, too.
Earlier this month, SpaceX revealed that it was planning for its latest Falcon 9 rocket launch to take place on December 19th. While Saturday came and went with no so launch, it turns out SpaceX just had to delay its plans. The private space agency is now going to launch its rocket on Monday night, at around 8:30 PM ET. This will be followed, of course, by another attempt to successfully land the re-usable rocket, but this time on solid ground, a first for SpaceX.
NASA has been spending considerable time and effort into developing a 3D printing methodology that will allow it to build complex rocket engine parts using 3D printers. NASA was able to create a 3D printed copper rocket engine part that functioned correctly in April 2015. The scientists then followed that copper creation up with a 3D printed turbopump that spins at 90,000 RPM.
This year NASA is getting about 1.23 billion dollars more from the US government than they did last year, which is good. It's not fantastic, but it's certainly a step in the right direction. This comes as news in the release of the 2016 omnibus spending bill, which gives NASA more money than the white house requested earlier this year.
Earlier this month we were invited to the Johnson Space Center by NASA and Fox Home Entertainment, and there we were taken on a ride in the Mars rover. The rover isn't actually called "Mars rover" by its creators - its official name is "Space Exploration Vehicle" because of its intended purpose: any ol' planet will do. So will an asteroid. We're going to the moon, to Mars, and even (possibly) to an asteroid as it hurtles through space. As such, this is the vehicle astronauts will be riding in once they land. Much like The Martian.
If you're an astronaut, there's a good chance that you grew up watching sci-fi movies. You probably dreamed of soaring through the stars on the bridge of the Enterprise, or in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon. So what happens when you actually shoot off into space two days before the next Star Wars movie comes out?
In early November, NASA announced that it would start accepting new astronaut applications in mid-December. Right on schedule, the space agency has opened to receiving such applications, doing so in search for an “Astronaut Candidate.” A bunch of requirements are in place for prospective astronauts, not the least of which is citizenship in the United States (including those with a dual citizenship). Those selected will spend two years undergoing intense training.
EPIC stands for Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera and is one of the instruments that is affixed to the NOAA Deep Space Climate Observatory known as DSCOVR that sits about a million miles from Earth. EPIC is giving scientists on Earth a new way to view clouds, land, aerosols, and other items in our atmosphere.