The Perseverance rover now has a new tool to help scientists and engineers figure out where the rover goes next. The new tool is the little rotorcraft that was tucked away in the rover’s belly, the Ingenuity helicopter. Ingenuity has now started doing aerial surveys to scout ahead for Perseverance.Continue reading “Thanks to Ingenuity’s Pictures, Perseverance Knows Where to Drive to Next”
A stunning new photograph from the Hubble Space Telescope shows a nearly perfect Einstein Ring, an effect caused by gravitational lensing. This is one of the most complete Einstein Rings ever seen.Continue reading “What a Perfect Gravitational Lens”
In the last two decades, we have all grown accustomed to rovers exploring Mars. At least one rover has been active on the planet every day since January 4, 2004, when NASA’s Spirit rover landed in Gusev crater. Opportunity (2004) and Curiosity (2012) followed, each making unique journeys of discovery of their own. Perseverance (2021) is the latest and greatest of these robotic explorers, boasting a state-of-the-art in-situ resource utilization experiment to extract oxygen from the atmosphere, an accompanying helicopter to scout the path ahead, and a suite of unparalleled geology instruments. But what really sets Perseverance’s mission apart is that, for the first time, it is collecting samples of Martian rock to bring back to Earth.Continue reading “After Its Last Rock Sample Crumbled Into Powder, Perseverance is Going to try Again”
There are eight known planets in the solar system (ever since Pluto was booted from the club), but for a while, there has been some evidence that there might be one more. A hypothetical Planet 9 lurking on the outer edge of our solar system. So far this world has eluded discovery, but a new study has pinned down where it should be.Continue reading “If Planet 9 is out There, Here's Where to Look”
Roughly a century ago, scientists began to realize that some of the radiation we detect in Earth’s atmosphere is not local in origin. This eventually gave rise to the discovery of cosmic rays, high-energy protons and atomic nuclei that have been stripped of their electrons and accelerated to relativistic speeds (close to the speed of light). However, there are still several mysteries surrounding this strange (and potentially lethal) phenomenon.
This includes questions about Nike Boy's Icon Basketball Shorts and how the main component of cosmic rays (protons) are accelerated to such high velocity. Thanks to new research led by the University of Nagoya, scientists have quantified the amount of cosmic rays produced in a supernova remnant for the first time. This research has helped resolve a 100-year mystery and is a major step towards determining precisely where cosmic rays come from.Continue reading “Astronomers Locate the Source of High-Energy Cosmic Rays”
Finally, it’s starting to get real for the James Webb Space Telescope. Engineers are now preparing the long-awaited landmark telescope for transport to its launch site at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.Continue reading “Webb’s Testing is Complete. Now it Begins the Journey to the Launch Site.”
One of the biggest ongoing changes in space exploration is the introduction of commercial methods into the field. Commercial launch providers like RocketLab and SpaceX have fundamentally changed the way the industry does business. Now researchers are taking their “move fast and break things” approach to another part of the industry – actual mission design.Continue reading “NASA Will be Sending two More Missions to Mars in 2024, Costing Just $80 Million”
Blue Origin has taken some serious steps of late to stay in the commercial space game! Ever since founder Jeff Bezos decided to step down as CEO of Amazon to focus on this brainchild of his, the company has been shaking things up and forging on ahead, hoping to become one of the most competitive and lucrative privately-owned launch services in the world. From the launchpad to the courtroom, they are making their presence felt.
Earlier today, the company completed its 17th mission (NS-17) with the New Shepard launch vehicle, a reusable vertical-takeoff and vertical-landing (VTOL) crew-rated launch vehicle designed to bring small payloads and crews to suborbital altitudes and back again safely. This was also the 8th consecutive time this particular vehicle successfully launched and returned to Earth while carrying some interesting science experiments.Continue reading “Another Flight for New Shepard, No Passengers This Time”
Our solar system is filled with everything from planets to rocky asteroids to small icy bodies beyond Pluto, but surrounding all of it is a diffuse halo of objects known as the Oort cloud. We haven’t directly observed the Oort cloud, but we’re pretty sure it’s there by observing the distribution of comet in our solar system. They can appear from any direction in the sky rather than just along the common plane of known solar system bodies.Continue reading “Interstellar Objects Might Outnumber Solar System Objects in the Oort Cloud”
Seismic waves in Saturn’s rings reveal the strange ‘fuzzy core’ interior of the planet within.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft continues to uncover amazing facts about the ringed planet Saturn. A recent study in the August edition of Nature: Astronomy highlighted an intriguing method to indirectly probe the interior of the planet.Continue reading “Saturn’s ‘Fuzzy Core’ Seen In Ring Ripples”