Although researchers have determined the ages of rocks from other planetary bodies, the actual experiments—like analyzing meteorites and moon rocks—have always been done on Earth. Now, for the first time, researchers have successfully determined the age of a Martian rock—with experiments performed on Mars. The work, led by geochemist Ken Farley of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), could not only help in understanding the geologic history of Mars but also aid in the search f [...]
Using ESA's Herschel Space Observatory, a team of astronomers has found first evidence of a noble-gas based molecule in space. A compound of argon, the molecule was detected in the gaseous filaments of the Crab Nebula, one of the most famous supernova remnants in our Galaxy. While argon is a product of supernova explosions, the formation and survival of argon-based molecules in the harsh environment of a supernova remnant is an unforeseen surprise.
Just like a group of people, the periodic t [...]
NASA is taking steps to make spacewalking on an asteroid a reality. In the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) near the agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston, engineers are testing a modified version of the pumpkin-orange Advanced Crew Escape System (ACES) worn by space shuttle astronauts during launch and reentry for use by future crew in the Orion spacecraft.
As the agency plans human deep space missions, including a voyage to a relocated asteroid, care is being taken to efficiently use sp [...]
The International Space Station’s Expedition 38 crew worked Thursday with the team on the ground to deal with a malfunction that occurred Wednesday on one of the station’s two external cooling loops that uses ammonia to prevent station systems from overheating.
On Wednesday, the pump module on one of the space station’s two external cooling loops automatically shut down when it reached pre-set temperature limits. These loops circulate ammonia outside the station to keep both internal a [...]
NASA's Cassini spacecraft is providing scientists with key clues about Saturn's moon Titan, and in particular, its hydrocarbon lakes and seas.
Titan is one of the most Earth-like places in the solar system, and the only place other than our planet that has stable liquid on its surface.
Cassini's recent close flybys are bringing into sharper focus a region in Titan's northern hemisphere that sparkles with almost all of the moon's seas and lakes. Scientists working with the spacecraft's [...]
Maybe it happens tomorrow. Maybe in a billion years. Physicists have long predicted that the universe may one day collapse, and that everything in it will be compressed to a small hard ball. New calculations from physicists at the University of Southern Denmark now confirm this prediction – and they also conclude that the risk of a collapse is even greater than previously thought.
Sooner or later a radical shift in the forces of the universe will cause every little particle in it to become [...]
Cambridge, MA - First discovered in 2007, "fast radio bursts" continue to defy explanation. These cosmic chirps last for only a thousandth of a second. The characteristics of the radio pulses suggested that they came from galaxies billions of light-years away. However, new work points to a much closer origin - flaring stars within our own galaxy.
"We propose that fast radio bursts aren't as exotic as astronomers first thought," says lead author Avi Loeb of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for A [...]
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has observed water vapor above the frigid south polar region of Jupiter's moon Europa, providing the first strong evidence of water plumes erupting off the moon's surface.
Previous scientific findings from other sources already point to the existence of an ocean located under Europa's icy crust. Researchers are not yet fully certain whether the detected water vapor is generated by erupting water plumes on the surface, but they are confident this is the most lik [...]
ATK Achieves Significant Milestone as Booster Integrator.
ARLINGTON, Va. -- NASA and ATK (NYSE: ATK) have successfully completed two key avionics tests for the solid rocket boosters for the space agency's new heavy lift rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), being constructed to embark on bold missions to explore deep space.
The avionics tests, called hot fires, operate the booster's thrust vector control (TVC) system as if the booster were actually launching the SLS on a mission. The test [...]
PAYERNE (Switzerland) – A new aerospace company based in Switzerland has expressed interest in collaborating with Russia’s space agency on cost-efficient launches of mini-satellites.
The Swiss Space System (S3) is developing a launch system based on the Airbus A300 plane and a suborbital shuttle to launch satellites weighing up to 250 kilograms for the price of some 10 million Swiss francs ($11.3 million) or about four times less than current market prices.
“We are very interested in [...]
The six-person Expedition 38 crew of the International Space Station spent Wednesday preparing their orbital home for some future upgrades as well as training for the upcoming robotic capture of a commercial cargo craft.
Flight Engineers Rick Mastracchio and Koichi Wakata worked for much of the morning inside the Quest airlock, reconfiguring it for a new Nitrogen Oxygen Recharge System, or NORS. Nitrogen and oxygen are needed for replenishment of the station’s cabin breathing air as well a [...]
A new analysis of data from NASA's Galileo mission has revealed clay-type minerals at the surface of Jupiter's icy moon Europa that appear to have been delivered by a spectacular collision with an asteroid or comet. This is the first time such minerals have been detected on Europa's surface. The types of space rocks that deliver such minerals typically also often carry organic materials.
"Organic materials, which are important building blocks for life, are often found in comets and primitive [...]