The comet targeted by a European spacecraft has calmed onsiderably, just as the probe's chase enters the home stretch.
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, with which the European Space Agency's Rosetta probe will rendezvous in early August, sported a big dust cloud around its core in April and May. But photos taken by Rosetta's scientific camera on June 4 show no signs of such activity, and other observations reveal that the comet's brightness has dropped off as well, researchers said. [Read the full story here.] Less «
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Comet's October Mars Flyby Won't Endanger Red Planet Probes
Credit: NASA/Swift/D. Bodewits (UMD), DSS
A comet's close brush with Mars later this year shouldn't threaten the spacecraft circling the Red Planet, researchers say.
Some scientists were worried initially that Comet Siding Spring could endanger the five probes that will be orbiting Mars during the October encounter. But newly analyzed information suggests that the comet will not harm the probes. In fact, the robots will be able to get an unprecedented view of any changes in the comet as it makes its first trip this close to the sun, University of Maryland (UMD) scientists said. [Read the full story here.] Less «
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Spacewalking Cosmonauts Finish Hard Work Outside Space Station
Credit: NASA TV
Two Russian cosmonauts are safely back inside the International Space Station today (June 19) after spending more than 7 hours outside for maintenance…Read More »
Mountaintop Explosion Signals Start of Huge Telescope's Construction (Video)
A modest mountaintop blast in Chile today (June 19) kicked off construction of the largest optical/infrared telescope ever built on Earth.
Officials with the European Southern Observatory (ESO) detonated explosives atop Cerro Armazones, a 9,842-foot (3,000 meters) peak in the Atacama Desert in Chile. The astronomy organization — a collaboration of 15 different partner countries — needs to shape the mountain before the European-Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) can be constructed. [See the video here.] Less «
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Heart of Darkness: Strange Gas Stream Blots Out Galaxy's Bright Core (Video)
Credit: Dr. Misty Bentz
The bright center of a distant galaxy strangely and unexpectedly darkened recently, and now scientists think the culprit was a rare, powerful stream of…Read More »
Ancient Dwarf 'Starburst Galaxies' Shed Light on Early Universe
Credit: NASA, ESA, H.Atek (EPFL, Switzerland)and J-P.Kneib(EPFL, Switzerland)
Brilliant bursts of star formation in distant dwarf galaxies seen by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope could reveal new information about the early history…Read More »
of the universe, scientists say.
Galaxies churn out new stars all the time, but most of the universe's stars formed between two and six billion years after the Big Bang (which occurred 13.8 billion years ago). The new Hubble observations capture the prolific dwarf galaxies, which are known as "starburst galaxies," during this dramatic epoch, researchers said. You can watch a video explaining the new dwarf galaxy observations. [See the video here.] Less «
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Rocket Fuel: How Astronauts Will Brew the Perfect Espresso in Space
Need a caffeine hit in space? For astronauts on the International Space Station, it will take less than two minutes to brew an espresso in a coffee machine…Read More »
slated for launch next year.
The so-called "ISSpresso" machine is expected to launch to the station aboard Orbital Sciences' fifth resupply flight using the Cygnus spacecraft and Antares rocket in early 2015. And once it's installed, astronauts will only need to push a button to get coffee. [See the video here.] Less «
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Russia Appoints 6 New Cosmonauts, Excludes Sole Female Candidate
Credit: Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center
Six new cosmonauts joined the ranks of Russia's space agency on Monday (June 16), two short of the eight candidates who started basic training for the…Read More »
job two years ago.
Among the two who did not make the cut was the group's only woman. By coincidence, the announcement came 51 years to day after Russia launched the world's first female cosmonaut into space. Since then, only two more Russian women have flown into orbit, with the fourth set to launch later this year.[Read the full story here.] Less «