Space news stories
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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”.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
“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.”
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’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.
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.