Space news stories

Can We Launch Nuclear Waste Into the Sun?
16th February 2017 | universetoday.com | Earth, Space

When you mine uranium from the ground, you get leftover radium and radioactive rock, soil, and even the water. When you power a nuclear reactor, the spent fuel rods are still highly radioactive and dangerous. In the United States alone, there are hundreds of different sites which are heavily contaminated, over thousands of acres.

A Danish astronaut has captured the best-ever images of rare blue flashes
16th February 2017 arstechnica.com | Earth, Space, Weird

Scientists don’t know much about the mysterious, powerful electric discharges that sometimes occur in the upper levels of the atmosphere in conjunction with thunderstorms. The first photograph of the phenomenon—which can occur as high as about 90km above the surface of the Earth and are known variously as sprites, pixies, elves, or jets—was only taken from Earth in 1989.

The Hunt For Alien Megastructures Is On
15th February 2017 | nbcnews.com | Space

Last year, a single star found fame. It consistently made headlines and even appeared on “Saturday Night Live” and “The Late Night Show with Stephen Colbert.” The star (often referred to as Tabby’s star) is located 1,200 light-years away toward the constellation Cygnus and has been inexplicably flickering and fading by such large amounts that it cannot be easily explained by natural causes.

Mars Was Recently Hit by a Meteorite ‘Shotgun’ Blast
15th February 2017 | seeker.com | Space

A cluster of recent meteorite impacts on Mars have been found, highlighting a deadly hazard for future Mars colonists


Related: The Mars Mystery, by Graham Hancock

Saturn Could Be Defending Earth From Massive Asteroid Impacts
15th February 2017 | seeker.com | Space

Jupiter may not be the “planetary shield” that many scientists make the gas giant out to be. Instead, new simulations suggest that Saturn may play a crucial role in steering asteroids away from Earth.

A Star Just Ripped Comet Halley’s Massive Cousin to Shreds
15th February 2017 | seeker.com | Space

The cosmos is a harsh and unforgiving place, especially if you’re a comet. Composed of rock and various volatiles, like water ice, these interplanetary vagabonds are formed during the genesis of star systems and may float, for billions of years, untouched and untroubled in a distant orbit around their parent stars.

First nuclear explosion helps test theory of moon’s formation
15th February 2017 phys.org | Space

Decades-old radioactive glass found blanketing the ground after the first nuclear test bomb explosion is being used by scientists to examine theories about the Moon’s formation some 4.5 billion years ago.

Mystery radiation ‘clouds’ may pose risk to air travellers
15th February 2017 | newscientist.com | Earth, Humans, Space

Danger zones in the air where radiation levels surge could pose an unrecognised health hazard. Airliners may have to avoid these in future, just as they do with volcanic ash clouds, to minimise any risk to travellers and crew.

We have long known that high-altitude flight exposes us to cosmic rays.

‘Superflares’ Likely Made Proxima b Uninhabitable Long Ago
15th February 2017 | space.com | Space

The nearby alien planet Proxima b is not a great candidate to host life as we know it, a new study suggests.


Alt: NASA Suggests Nothing Could Survive on Our Nearest Earth-Like Planet

Astronaut twin study hints at stress of space travel
14th February 2017 | nature.com | Space

Preliminary results are in from NASA’s unprecedented twin study — a detailed probe of the genetic differences between astronaut Scott Kelly, who spent nearly a consecutive year in space, and his identical twin Mark.

Astronauts’ brains change shape during spaceflight
14th February 2017 | sciencedaily.com | Space

MRIs before and after space missions reveal that astronauts’ brains compress and expand during spaceflight, according to a University of Michigan study.

Under Pressure: Why Spaceflight Is So Hard on Astronauts’ Eyes
14th February 2017 | space.com | Space

Researchers may now know why spaceflight is so hard on the eyes — and what to do about the problem.

The likely culprit is the lack of a day-night cycle in the pressure inside astronauts’ skulls, a new study reports.

Primitive plants survive almost two years in outer space
14th February 2017 | newscientist.com | Space

Primitive plants are the latest forms of Earth life to show they can survive in the harshness of space, and for many months. Cold-loving algae from the Arctic Circle have joined the space-travelling club, alongside bacteria, lichens and even simple animals called tardigrades.

Dwarf star 200 light years away contains life’s building blocks
14th February 2017 | eurekalert.org | Space

Many scientists believe the Earth was dry when it first formed, and that the building blocks for life on our planet — carbon, nitrogen and water — appeared only later as a result of collisions with other objects in our solar system that had those elements.

Astronomers Just Found More Evidence of a New Type of Black Hole
14th February 2017 | sciencealert.com | Space

Black holes are among the most mysterious objects in the Universe. But they have one thing in common – most of the black holes we’ve found fall into two categories: small, stellar black holes with the mass a few times more than our Sun; or supermassive black holes that weigh the equivalent of millions of billions of Suns.

Armchair archaeology: find lost civilisations using your laptop
14th February 2017 | theguardian.com | Ancient, Space, Tech

This is archaeology in the digital (and, er, real, and very amateur) age. A new project invites armchair Indianas everywhere to survey isolated tiles of satellite imagery, marking them as potential sites of interest or, in my case today, crime scenes.

Blazing green meteor lights up Midwestern skies
12th February 2017 | csmonitor.com | Space

A meteor streaked across the skies over Lake Michigan Monday morning across several states in the Midwest, accompanied by a sonic boom.


Related: A Strange Green Comet Is Heading Our Way

News stories covering Space, from the macro to the micro, including Space exploration, quantum physics and quantum weirdness.