Space news stories

The American Flags on the Moon Are Disintegrating
15th April 2017 | | Space

The photos have stood the test of time: A spacesuit-clad Apollo astronaut stands proudly next to a red-white-and-blue American flag, his national trophy telling the lonely world “the United States was here”.

Unfortunately, all six flags they planted from 1969 through 1972 haven’t fared so well.

We May Be Able to Build a Rocket That Can Go 99.999% the Speed of Light
15th April 2017 | Space

Theoretical physics often lifts the sanctions we set on our own imaginations. Whether it’s exploring the possibility of warp drives or understanding the rate of the universe’s expansion, we are quick to explore the unknown on our chalkboards until our tech is ready for our ideas.

Solar storms can drain electrical charge above Earth
15th April 2017 | Earth, Space

New research on solar storms finds that they not only can cause regions of excessive electrical charge in the upper atmosphere above Earth’s poles, they also can do the exact opposite: cause regions that are nearly depleted of electrically charged particles. The finding adds to our knowledge of how solar storms affect Earth and could possibly lead to improved radio communication and navigation systems for the Arctic.

Mars’s atmosphere hosts metal layers that shouldn’t exist
14th April 2017 | | Space

Mars’s atmosphere harbours a layer of electrically charged metal atoms, and they’re not behaving as expected.

NASA’s MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Emission) spacecraft found layers of atmospheric metal ions that defy models based loosely on Earth’s atmosphere.

Volcanic Activity on Ancient Mars May Have Produced Organic Life
14th April 2017 | | Space

New research suggests that active volcanoes on the Red Planet could have created an environment habitable to ancient microbes.

Even a cursory look at a global map of Mars reveals how huge its volcanoes are. The famous Olympus Mons rises three times higher than Mt. Everest, and is just one of several volcanoes that adorn the Red Planet’s famous Tharsis ridge.

Nasa announces mysterious press briefing about ‘the search for life beyond Earth’
13th April 2017 | | Space

Nasa is due to hold a press conference to “discuss new results about ocean worlds.”

According to their website, the organisation has new research to present about “the search for life beyond Earth”.

Pluto Has Been Officially Reclassified As A Planet!
13th April 2017 | Space

In 2006, the planet known as Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf world. Over a decade later, this error is finally being corrected by astronomers. Welcome to a solar system that, once again, has nine planets.

Gravitational waves slow the spin of shape-shifting neutron star
13th April 2017 | | Space

Put on the brakes. A spinning neutron star that shifts between two states slows at a faster rate in one of them – and gravitational waves may be responsible.

Related: Violent end as young stars dramatically collide

Astronomers identify purest, most massive brown dwarf
13th April 2017 | Space

An international team of astronomers has identified a record breaking brown dwarf (a star too small for nuclear fusion) with the ‘purest’ composition and the highest mass yet known.

Is Matter Conscious? Why the central problem in neuroscience is mirrored in physics
12th April 2017 | Animal Life, Humans, Space

The nature of consciousness seems to be unique among scientific puzzles. Not only do neuroscientists have no fundamental explanation for how it arises from physical states of the brain, we are not even sure whether we ever will. Astronomers wonder what dark matter is, geologists seek the origins of life, and biologists try to understand cancer—all difficult problems, of course, yet at least we have some idea of how to go about investigating them and rough conceptions of what their solutions could look like.

New Evidence Shows We Might Have Gotten Cosmic Evolution Entirely Wrong
12th April 2017 | Space

Galaxies started out low-mass and tiny, busy forming stars. At least, that’s what we thought until astronomers spotted an inactive galaxy dubbed ZF-COSMOS-20115.

Just 1.7 billion years after the universe formed, ZF-COSMOS-20115 was already a quiescent, or “red and dead,” galaxy.

Mars is so small because Jupiter shook up its formation
12th April 2017 | | Space

Mars can blame Jupiter for its small stature. The Red Planet may be much smaller than we expect because Jupiter’s gravity beat it up as it was forming.

Models of our solar system’s formation suggest that Mars should be between 1.5 and two times Earth’s mass. Instead, it weighs in at a mere one-tenth the mass of our world.

Atmosphere containing water detected around rocky exoplanet
12th April 2017 | | Space

An Earth-sized planet orbiting a dim star 39 light years away has a hazy atmosphere that could indicate the presence of a “water world”.

It is one of the first times astronomers have been able to detect an atmosphere surrounding a small rocky planet.

The Surface of Saturn’s Titan is Electrically Charged –“It’s a Strange, Electrostatically Sticky World”
12th April 2017 | | Space

“Titan’s extreme physical environment requires scientists to think differently about what we’ve learned of Earth’s granular dynamics,” said Josef Dufek, with the Georgia Institute of Technology. “Landforms are influenced by forces that aren’t intuitive to us because those forces aren’t so important on Earth. Titan is a strange, electrostatically sticky world.”

Igniting a solar flare in the corona with lower-atmosphere kindling
12th April 2017 | Space

Scientists from NJIT’s Center for Solar-Terrestrial Research are providing some of the first detailed views of the mechanisms that may trigger solar flares, colossal releases of magnetic energy in the Sun’s corona that dispatch energized particles capable of penetrating Earth’s atmosphere within an hour and disrupting orbiting satellites and electronic communications on the ground.

Eruptions on the sun trigger surprising phenomenon near Earth
12th April 2017 | | Space

Eruptions on the Sun’s surface not only send bursts of energetic particles into the Earth’s atmosphere causing disturbances in our planet’s magnetic field, they can also strangely decrease the number of free electrons over large areas in the polar region of the ionosphere, new research concludes.

Scientists make progress on unravelling the puzzle of merging black holes
12th April 2017 | Space

Astrophysicists at the University of Birmingham have made progress in understanding a key mystery of gravitational-wave astrophysics: how two black holes can come together and merge.

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