Space exploration news


Behold: The first flower grown in space

Space. The empty black vacuum became a little bit brighter on Sunday after Scott Kelly, a U.S. astronaut aboard the International Space Station, tweeted an image of the first flower ever grown in space. The flower is part of a larger experiment on the potential for vegetation in low-gravity environments, with the ultimate objective to grow vegetables. Kelly tweeted out a pretty funny Matt Damon joke too.

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NASA’s Hubble Spots Possible Water Plumes Erupting on Jupiter's Moon Europa

Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have imaged what may be water vapor plumes erupting off the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa. This finding bolsters other Hubble observations suggesting the icy moon erupts with high altitude water vapor plumes.

The observation increases the possibility that missions to Europa may be able to sample Europa’s ocean without having to drill through miles of ice.

“Europa’s ocean is considered to be one of the most promising places that could potentially harbor life in the solar system,” said Geoff Yoder, acting associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “These plumes, if they do indeed exist, may provide another way to sample Europa’s subsurface.”

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Last night, NASA and its Juno probe made history by entering a new probe in orbit around Jupiter. The Juno spacecraft, which had left Earth five years ago, finally entered Jovian orbit after a 35 minute rocket engine manoeuvre to slow down its approach to the planet and get caught by its gravity. Unlike other engine firings in the past, Juno’s manoeuvre was especially dangerous since no previous spacecraft had ever dared to pass so close to Jupiter; its intense radiation belts can destroy unprotected electronics. Luckily, since the probe was built like a tank with titanium shielding, a few minutes later, a sequence of tones transmitted from the spacecraft confirmed the braking manoeuvre had been a smashing success prompting wild cheering at NASA’s mission control in Pasadena, California. “All stations on Juno co-ord, we have the tone for burn cut-off on Delta B,” Juno Mission Control had announced. “Roger Juno, welcome to Jupiter.”
Juno’s main objective is to sense Jupiter’s structure and chemistry to gather clues on how the gas giant formed some four-and-a-half-billion years ago. However, much of this observation will not take place until mid-October when Juno performs a second rocket engine burn to tighten its orbit to just 14 days. By then, Juno will be able to answer some interesting questions about the planet including where it formed  in the early Solar System and whether Jupiter has a solid core or a core made of compressed gas. After the mission ends, Juno is scheduled to dive into Jupiter’s atmosphere in February 2018 to ensure that there is no possibility of it crashing into and contaminating any of Jupiter’s large moons.

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Nasa just announced an incredible new planet found, how exciting!

Kepler 452b or Earth 2.0 :)

Unlike any other ever found!

* The first planet found that orbits the same type star as our sun (G star)

* The sun is a similar size to our own

* It is almost the same distance away from its sun as we are from ours

* It has a 385 day orbit, only 20 days more than ours

* The planet is 1.5 billion years older than our own, so evolution is promising in the right conditions

So excited right now!


Happy 100th birthday NASA! 

March 3, 1915 marks the birthday of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the federal agency founded to institutionalize aeronautical research, which later went on to become NASA in 1958. The original committee was made up of 12 volunteers with an allocated a budget of $5,000 — and we’re still using their inventions today.

This morning, a plucky NASA spacecraft has entered the orbit of one of the oddest little worlds in our solar system.

Ceres is round like a planet, but really small. Its total surface would cover just a third of the United States. And there’s still a lot of work to be done in order to learn how Ceres fits into our solar system.

NASA Probe Reaches Orbit Around Dwarf Planet

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA


NASA’s laser propulsion system could send ships to Mars in just days

It might sound like science fiction, but we already know how to make objects move at near light speed. Physicists do it all the time inside particle accelerators, where they accelerate particles to relativistic speeds just a small fraction below the speed of light (about 186,000 miles per second).

But when we try to reach these speeds on a macro scale, we run into all kinds of problems. Now researchers are saying a new kind of laser-based propulsion would eliminate the need for fuel and could accelerate spacecraft up to 26% of the speed of light. At that blistering pace, a tiny space probe could get to Mars in just 30 minutes. The technology to make it happen already exists.

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Elon Musk is set to announce his plans for Mars colonization in an hour, at 2:30 Eastern Time. 

Please watch it because this could be history in the making.

NASA’s potential trip to Europa should have everyone excited

On Monday, NASA administrator Charles Bolden applauded President Barack Obama’s proposed $18.5 billion 2016 NASA budget, which proposes raising the agency’s budget by $519 million over 2015 levels. While scientists and researchers may be overjoyed with the Obama administration’s renewed financial commitment to the space agency, space lovers of all stripes have something else to celebrate: $30 million for the initial stages of a mission to Jupiter’s moon of Europa.

The massive discovery they’re hoping to find there

NASA wants to go to deep space — there’s just one problem

The International Space Station has been NASA’s low-orbit base of operations for the last 15 years, but now conversations point to leaving the station to venture farther into space. It’s next step towards potential Mars, asteroid and deep space exploration. But NASA’s eyes may be bigger than its wallet.

Signs the private Mars One colonization mission is a scam:

  1. It said it received 200,000 applications, actually received 2,761.
  2. Applications used a “point” ranking system and the only way to gain more points after the initial review process was to buy merchandise, donate money or convince their friends and family to contribute.
  3. Mars One asked all contestants to donate 75% of any speaking fees to the mission.
  4. The top 10 candidates for the mission were those who had contributed the most funds to Mars One.

But that’s not even the most damning part!

Climate change is putting space exploration at risk

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is the country’s busiest space port, with about 30 launches scheduled so far this year. It hosts commercial companies like SpaceX and United Launch Alliance, and sees over one million yearly visitors who come to watch launches and learn about space and climate science. How climate change could utterly disrupt it.

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Russia will send these robots to space in place of humans

The anthropomorphic bot is a collaboration between robotics lab Android Technics and TsNIIMash, a Russian institute for building machines, according to Sputnik International. Alexander Permyakov, Director-General of Android Technics, told the news agency that these robots will be able to “completely replace human” in certain circumstances.

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If the New Horizons Pluto mission doesn’t prove we need to invest more in space, nothing will 

Pluto may be billions of miles from Earth, and the likelihood of anyone stepping foot on it in our lifetime is extremely slim. But scholars and scientists think the New Horizons mission could lead to some of the most important discoveries in current space exploration. And it’s just the beginning — or it will be, if we can afford to keep going. The future depends on it.