Space & Time

  • Missile defense space sensor made by Northrop Grumman and Ball Aerospace clears design review
    by Sandra Erwin on 2021-08-05 at 15:43

    A new sensor payload developed by Northrop Grumman Corporation and Ball Aerospace to detect missile launches has passed a critical design review. SpaceNews

  • What lies beneath the far side of the moon?
    on 2021-08-05 at 14:50

    A new technique for processing lunar radar data has allowed scientists to see what lies beneath the surface of the moon in the clearest ever detail.

  • Solving solar puzzle could help save Earth from planet-wide blackouts
    on 2021-08-05 at 14:49

    Could solar storms knock out the global internet? Yes, but we don’t know when or how it could happen. Mathematician Dr. Geoffrey Vasil has proposed a new understanding of the Sun’s convection zone to help.

  • Op-ed | China’s Success in Space Calls for Caution in Pursuing a New Treaty for Outer Space
    by Brian Berger on 2021-08-05 at 13:57

    Any decision by the U.S. to pursue a new treaty for outer space should take into account whether the worldview espoused by the U.S. and its allies is solidified in international law and has the political will to prevail over attempts by China and its client states to subvert an enacted treaty. SpaceNews

  • Detailed look at earliest moments of supernova explosion
    on 2021-08-05 at 13:39

    In a world-first, astronomers at The Australian National University (ANU), working with NASA and an international team of researchers, have captured the first moments of a supernova—the explosive death of stars—in detail never-before-seen.

  • Unparalleled bounty of oscillating red giant stars detected
    on 2021-08-05 at 13:39

    An unprecedented collection of pulsating giant red stars has been identified by astronomers at the University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy (IfA). Using observations from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), the researchers detected the stars, whose rhythms arise from internal sound waves and provide the opening chords of a symphonic exploration of our galactic neighborhood.

  • New study sheds light on the mysterious dimming of Betelgeuse
    on 2021-08-05 at 13:21

    Betelgeuse (α Orionis) is the bright reddish star located in the shoulder of the Orion constellation and can be seen by the naked eye in the night sky.

  • Astronomers detect new large sub-Neptune alien world
    on 2021-08-05 at 13:20

    Using NASA’s Transiting Exoplanets Survey Satellite (TESS), an international team of astronomers has detected a new sub-Neptune exoplanet orbiting an M dwarf star. The newly found extrasolar world, designated TOI-2406 b, is nearly three times larger than the Earth. The discovery is reported in a paper published July 29 on arXiv.org.

  • Ocean world: Rocky exoplanet has just half the mass of Venus
    on 2021-08-05 at 13:08

    A team of astronomers have shed new light on planets around a nearby star, L 98-59, that resemble those in the inner Solar System. Amongst the findings are a planet with half the mass of Venus — the lightest exoplanet ever to be measured using the radial velocity technique — an ocean world, and a possible planet in the habitable zone.

  • Lunar samples solve mystery of the moon’s supposed magnetic shield
    on 2021-08-05 at 13:05

    In 2024, a new age of space exploration will begin when NASA sends astronauts to the moon as part of their Artemis mission, a follow-up to the Apollo missions of the 1960s and 1970s.

  • Planet and SpaceX announce multiyear launch agreement
    by Debra Werner on 2021-08-05 at 13:00

    Planet announced a multiyear agreement Aug. 5 that designates SpaceX as the Earth-observation company’s “go-to-launch provider through the end of 2025.” SpaceNews

  • New observations show rocky exoplanet has just half the mass of Venus
    on 2021-08-05 at 12:00

    A team of astronomers have used the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT) in Chile to shed new light on planets around a nearby star, L 98-59, that resemble those in the inner Solar System. Amongst the findings are a planet with half the mass of Venus—the lightest exoplanet ever to be measured using the radial velocity technique—an ocean world, and a possible planet in the habitable zone.

  • China’s space station emerges as competitor to commercial ventures
    by Jeff Foust on 2021-08-05 at 11:41

    Companies involved with commercial activities on the International Space Station or planning their own space stations may face a new competitor in China’s new space station. SpaceNews

  • Superflares are less harmful to exoplanets than previously thought
    on 2021-08-05 at 11:23

    Superflares, extreme radiation bursts from stars, have been suspected of causing lasting damage to the atmospheres and thus habitability of exoplanets. A newly published study found evidence that they only pose a limited danger to planetary systems, since the radiation bursts do not explode in the direction of the exoplanets.

  • Satellites reveal how forests increase cloud and cool climate
    on 2021-08-05 at 08:45

    Forests are not only key to moderating our climate by sequestering atmospheric carbon, but they also create a cooling effect by increasing low-level cloud. A first global assessment using satellite observations has shown that for two-thirds of the world, afforestation increases low-level cloud cover, with the effect being strongest over evergreen needleleaf forest.

  • Momentus looks ahead under new chief executive
    by Jeff Foust on 2021-08-04 at 23:49

    The new CEO of Momentus hopes to turn the page on the company’s past regulatory problems and focus on development of its in-space propulsion technology it plans to demonstrate next year. SpaceNews

  • COVID disruptions add $13.5 million to the cost of GPS ground control system
    by Sandra Erwin on 2021-08-04 at 22:22

    Raytheon’s contract for the Global Positioning System Next Generation Operational Control System, known as OCX, is increasing by $13.5 million due to pandemic-related costs. SpaceNews

  • National Reconnaissance Office exercises contract option for Maxar satellite imagery
    by Sandra Erwin on 2021-08-04 at 21:24

    The National Reconnaissance Office has exercised a contract option to continue to procure satellite imagery from Maxar Technologies through August 2022. SpaceNews

  • New details of Russian “movie in space” emerge as producers seek funding
    by Jeff Foust on 2021-08-04 at 21:18

    New information has emerged about the Russian movie “The Challenge” planned to be filmed partly on the International Space Station in October. SpaceNews

  • My favorite Martian image: Helicopter scouts ridge area for Perseverance
    on 2021-08-04 at 20:20

    Ask any space explorer, and they’ll have a favorite photo or two from their mission. For Kevin Hand, a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California and co-lead of the Perseverance rover’s first science campaign, his latest favorite is a 3D image of low-lying wrinkles in the surface of Jezero Crater. The science team calls this area “Raised Ridges.” NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter captured the two shots for this stereo image on July 24 during its 10th flight.

  • Stars are exploding in dusty galaxies. We just can’t always see them
    on 2021-08-04 at 19:36

    Exploding stars generate dramatic light shows. Infrared telescopes like Spitzer can see through the haze and to give a better idea of how often these explosions occur.

  • SES and Eutelsat point to improving broadcast trends
    by Jason Rainbow on 2021-08-04 at 18:48

    European satellite giants SES and Eutelsat see improving trajectories in their broadcast businesses, although the wider picture remains mixed as the pandemic hangs over financials.  SpaceNews

  • French court denies European Aviation Network challenge
    by Jason Rainbow on 2021-08-04 at 18:12

    France’s highest court has rejected a legal challenge from Eutelsat against Inmarsat’s hybrid satellite and cellular European Aviation Network. SpaceNews

  • Startups map out strategies to augment or backup GPS
    by Debra Werner on 2021-08-04 at 16:41

    Companies investing billions of dollars in autonomous cars, delivery drones and urban air taxis are counting on precise and reliable location data being available when they need it. SpaceNews

  • Space scientists reveal secret behind Jupiter’s ‘energy crisis’
    on 2021-08-04 at 16:33

    New research has revealed the solution to Jupiter’s ‘energy crisis’, which has puzzled astronomers for decades.

  • Nearby star resembles ours in its youth
    on 2021-08-04 at 16:30

    New research provides a closer look at a nearby star thought to resemble our young Sun. The work allows scientists to better understand what our Sun may have been like when it was young, and how it may have shaped the atmosphere of our planet and the development of life on Earth.

  • Space scientists reveal secret behind Jupiter’s ‘energy crisis’
    on 2021-08-04 at 15:51

    New research published in Nature has revealed the solution to Jupiter’s ‘energy crisis’, which has puzzled astronomers for decades.

  • Impact of space station spin requires study, official says
    on 2021-08-04 at 13:56

    Space engineers will analyze whether a glitch that caused the International Space Station to spin out of its normal orientation could have impacted any of its systems, a Russian space official said Wednesday.

  • Boeing Starliner launch delayed indefinitely
    on 2021-08-04 at 13:53

    Boeing’s Starliner won’t launch Wednesday as had been planned following problems with its propulsion system that prevented a key uncrewed test flight to the international space station a day earlier—and it’s not clear when the troubled spaceship will fly next.

  • Study sheds more light on the nature of HESS J1857+026
    on 2021-08-04 at 13:40

    Argentinian astronomers have conducted radio observations of a very-high-energy gamma-ray source known as HESS J1857+026. Results of this study provide new insights into the nature of this mysterious source. The research was detailed in a paper published July 27 on the arXiv pre-print server.

  • NASA model describes nearby star that resembles early sun
    on 2021-08-04 at 13:37

    New research led by NASA provides a closer look at a nearby star thought to resemble our young sun. The work allows scientists to better understand what our sun may have been like when it was young, and how it may have shaped the atmosphere of our planet and the development of life on Earth.

  • NASA identifies likely locations of the early molten moon’s deep secrets
    on 2021-08-04 at 13:36

    Shortly after it formed, the moon was covered in a global ocean of molten rock (magma). As the magma ocean cooled and solidified, dense minerals sank to form the mantle layer, while less-dense minerals floated to form the surface crust. Later intense bombardment by massive asteroids and comets punched through the crust, blasting out pieces of mantle and scattering them across the lunar surface.

  • Summer stargazing treat as Perseid meteor shower reaches its peak
    on 2021-08-04 at 13:35

    The Perseid meteor shower reaches its peak on the night of 12-13 August, giving skywatchers a potentially impressive summer treat. The meteors are best viewed from the northern hemisphere, and in ideal conditions with no clouds observers could see up to 50 an hour.

  • New findings on the evolution of galaxies
    on 2021-08-04 at 13:34

    Emirati national Aisha Al Yazeedi, a research scientist at the NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Center for Astro, Particle, and Planetary Physics, has published her first research paper, featuring some key findings on the evolution of galaxies.

  • Dancing ghosts point to new discoveries in the cosmos
    on 2021-08-04 at 13:33

    Researchers from Western Sydney University and CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, have discovered strange clouds of electrons surrounding galaxies deep in the cosmos. The clouds, which are about a billion light years away and never been seen before, resemble two ghosts dancing.

  • Subaru Telescope’s Maunakea live camera captures rare meteor cluster
    on 2021-08-04 at 13:32

    The “Subaru-Asahi Sky Camera” installed at the Subaru Telescope dome on Maunakea, Hawai`i, captured a rare “meteor cluster event” in the early morning of July 14 (Hawai`i time).

  • What it takes to become Australia’s first woman astronaut
    on 2021-08-04 at 13:31

    I’m currently training to become Australia’s first woman astronaut. I expect to fly my first suborbital mission sometime in 2023 as a payload specialist on a commercial mission. In other words, I’ll be one of few certified crew members who can handle specialized scientific equipment aboard a suborbital spacecraft.

  • SpaceX surges Starship work despite FAA environmental review uncertainty
    by Jeff Foust on 2021-08-04 at 11:31

    The unstoppable force of SpaceX’s recent surge in development of its Starship vehicle for its first orbital flight is in danger of colliding with an immovable object: an ongoing environment review that has no clear end date. SpaceNews

  • Japanese lunar lander company ispace raises $46 million
    by Jeff Foust on 2021-08-04 at 10:43

    Japanese lunar lander developer ispace raised $46 million in a new funding round Aug. 4 to support future missions to the moon. SpaceNews

  • German startups launch mini-rocket challenge to SpaceX and co.
    on 2021-08-04 at 07:40

    Car-manufacturing powerhouse Germany is rushing to join the private sector space race as it looks to ride a boom in mini-launchers for small satellites and compete with major US firms such as SpaceX.

  • Russia’s forests store more carbon than previously thought
    on 2021-08-04 at 07:20

    Russia has the largest area of forest on the planet, with more than a fifth of the world’s trees. A new study, led by Russian scientists using data from ESA’s Climate Change Initiative, has produced new estimates of biomass contained in Russian forests, and confirms that the vast forested area is storing more carbon than previously estimated.

  • SpaceLink to improve International Space Station comms with relay satellites
    by Jason Rainbow on 2021-08-03 at 18:35

    Significantly faster communications could be coming to the International Space Station in 2024, after SpaceLink won funding to test its incoming relay satellites. SpaceNews

  • Starliner glitch delays launch
    by Jeff Foust on 2021-08-03 at 17:09

    A problem with Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle scrubbed a launch attempt Aug. 3, pushing back its uncrewed test flight by several days. SpaceNews

  • Modern civilization would be lost without GPS
    by Liz Pillow on 2021-08-03 at 16:37

    Aircraft, cars, trucks, trains and ships rely on GPS for location data, while GPS timing signals underpin cellular communications and financial transactions. SpaceNews

  • Boeing delays key uncrewed test flight to ISS
    on 2021-08-03 at 15:36

    Boeing delayed an uncrewed flight of its Starliner capsule to the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday over a propulsion issue, pushing back by at least a day a key test it last attempted in 2019.

  • LIVE WEBINAR – Space Innovation: The Trends Revolutionizing Aerospace
    by SpaceNews on 2021-08-03 at 14:55

    With the advent of private astronauts, commercial space traffic, and inventions such as the reusable Falcon rocket, the space industry is revolutionizing — one innovation at a time. SpaceNews

  • Mediterranean continues to bake
    on 2021-08-03 at 14:11

    Image: This map generated using data from Copernicus Sentinel-3 shows the temperature of the land surface on 2 August 2021.

  • NASA begins launch preparations for first mission to the Trojan asteroids
    on 2021-08-03 at 13:33

    NASA’s first spacecraft to explore the Trojan asteroids arrived Friday, July 30, at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. It is now in a cleanroom at nearby Astrotech, ready to begin final preparations for its October launch.

  • Mystery surrounds Chinese private rocket launch attempt
    by Andrew Jones on 2021-08-03 at 12:06

    Chinese private firm iSpace conducted a launch of a Hyperbola-1 solid rocket early Tuesday but status of the mission is currently unknown. SpaceNews

  • Boeing attempts uncrewed test flight to ISS a second time
    on 2021-08-03 at 07:59

    Boeing will be aiming to get its spaceflight program back on track Tuesday with an uncrewed flight of its Starliner capsule to the International Space Station (ISS), after its last such test in 2019 ended in failure.

  • AWS agrees deal to expand Greece’s space industry with the cloud
    by Jason Rainbow on 2021-08-02 at 20:11

    Amazon Web Services is partnering with Greece’s government on economic and technology initiatives that aim to turn the country into a regional space hub. SpaceNews

  • Why is this weird, metallic star hurtling out of the Milky Way?
    on 2021-08-02 at 20:06

    About 2,000 light-years away from Earth, there is a star catapulting toward the edge of the Milky Way. This particular star is one of a unique breed of fast-moving stars — remnant pieces of massive white dwarf stars — that have survived in chunks after a gigantic stellar explosion.

  • Why is this weird, metallic star hurtling out of the Milky Way?
    on 2021-08-02 at 19:18

    About 2,000 light-years away from Earth, there is a star catapulting toward the edge of the Milky Way. This particular star, known as LP 40−365, is one of a unique breed of fast-moving stars—remnant pieces of massive white dwarf stars—that have survived in chunks after a gigantic stellar explosion.

  • Finding the cause of a fatal problem in rocket engine combustors
    on 2021-08-02 at 18:01

    A vital piece of gas engines, combustors — the chambers in which the combustion powering the engine occurs — have the problem of breaking down due to fatal high-frequency oscillations during the combustion process. Now, through advanced time-series analyses based on complex systems, researchers have found what causes them, opening up novel paths to solving the problem.

  • NASA study highlights importance of surface shadows in moon water puzzle
    on 2021-08-02 at 17:29

    The shadows cast by the roughness of the Moon’s surface create small cold spots for water ice to accumulate even during the harsh lunar daytime.

  • Military communications payloads could hitchhike on future GPS satellites
    by Sandra Erwin on 2021-08-02 at 16:47

    The next generation of Global Positioning System satellites could host additional payloads to provide communications services. SpaceNews

  • First additively-manufacture thermal protection shield is going to space
    on 2021-08-02 at 15:00

    A research team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have 3D printed a thermal protection shield, or TPS, for a capsule that will launch with the Cygnus cargo spacecraft as part of the supply mission to the International Space Station. The launch will mark the first time an additively manufactured TPS has been sent to space.

  • Smoke billows from fires in Turkey
    on 2021-08-02 at 14:43

    Image: Captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-3 mission on 30 July 2021, this image shows smoke billowing from several fires along the southern coast of Turkey.

  • Parikh named executive secretary of National Space Council
    by Jeff Foust on 2021-08-02 at 14:00

    The White House has named a former director of space policy at the National Security Council as the new executive secretary of the National Space Council. SpaceNews

  • Cosmic galaxy assembly and the evolution of metals
    on 2021-08-02 at 13:07

    Astronomers refer to all the elements heavier than helium as “metals,” even elements that are typically found in gaseous form. In the big bang only hydrogen and helium (and a trace of lithium) were created while the “metals” were all made subsequently in stellar processes. The abundance of metals in the interstellar medium (ISM) of galaxies—the metallicity of the galaxies—thus quantifies the collective stellar processes that govern galactic evolution. The metallicity of the gaseous phase of the ISM (excluding particulates) has been found to be closely related to the history of a galaxy’s star formation and can be determined using optical spectroscopic observations of atomic lines, especially bright ones from ionized oxygen and neon. Another pivotal process in setting the metallicity is gas flow both out of the galaxy, driven by supernovae or other processes, and into the galaxy from the intergalactic medium.