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Space exploration News

Astronomers could soon find squished out exoplanets

Fairfax - A group of American researchers suggest astronomers could soon discover exoplanets — planets orbiting other stars — so deformed by gravity that they appear stretched out.

'Beam me to Mars' event celebrates 50 years of Mars exploration

Man's exploration of Mars started on Nov. 5, 1964 with the launch of the ill-fated Mariner 3 spacecraft. When it died after almost nine hours in flight, Mariner 4 was launched on Nov. 28. It was the first spacecraft to successfully make a flyby of Mars.

ESA selects name for landing site on 'smelly' comet

Berne - The projected landing site where the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta comet lander is due to make comet-fall next week now has a name.

Russia announces 'full-scale Moon exploration' by early 2030s

Moscow - Officials with the Russian Federal Space Agency have announced plans to begin full-scale Moon exploration within the next 15 to 20 years.

Tectonics on Jupiter’s moon Europa — another similarity to Earth

Moscow - Planetary geologists report evidence that Jupiter’s moon Europa shows signs of plate tectonics, shaping and moulding the moon’s surface similar to geological activity on Earth.

Rosetta comet probe team narrows landing site to five locations

The European Space Agency's Rosetta Comet mission has chosen five likely landing sites for its Philae's lander on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The lander is scheduled to descend down to the comet's nucleus in November.

Astronomy: Radio waves key to tracking down elusive exomoons

Arlington - Hardly a week passes these days without scientists and astronomers reporting on the discovery of a new exoplanet — a planet outwith our solar system.

ESA's Rosetta probe enters orbit at Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet

Paris - The European Space Agency’s (ESA) comet-chaser mission, already 10 years in transit, has rendezvoused with its target the 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko comet. The ESA Rosetta probe enters orbit around the comet today, Wednesday.

NASA's Mars 2020 rover to unlock more Martian secrets

Washington - NASA’s successor to the Mars Curiosity rover will head to the red planet in 2020 carrying a payload of scientific instruments that will explore Mars as never before.

Astronomy: Most precise measurement of exoplanet to date

Pasadena - Aided by two NASA telescopes, astronomers have made the most precise calculation yet of the size of an exoplanet — a planet outwith our solar system.

NASA's asteroid sample mission gets go-ahead

Littleton - An innovative NASA space mission with the ambitious aim of collecting samples from an asteroid in 2018 was given the green light, Wednesday.

Astronomers solve decades old celestial archaeology mystery

Leicester - New research from an international team of astronomers from the UK's University of Leicester and the University of Arizona sheds light on how stars reaching the end of their useful life and collapsing in on themselves become polluted.

Mars One and Uwingu join in launching Mars Crater Naming Project

Mars One, a not-for-profit foundation working to establish the world's first human settlement on the planet Mars, has partnered with Uwingu, a company with the primary mission of creating a personal connection between the world and space exploration.

We may go to Jupiter by 2025 and find life there

NASA hopes to launch a mission to Jupiter's moon Europa, the solar system's most likely heavenly body to hold alien life, by 2025.

ESA's new Plato planet hunter will examine a million star systems

Warwick - The European Space Agency announced Wednesday that a new space-based observatory to search for planets orbiting alien stars will form the third plank of the ESA’s medium-class (M-class) science missions.

Asteroid mission offers (nominal) immortality for all

Tucson - NASA and the Planetary Society have issued a global invitation to individuals to have their names etched on a microchip that will be on board a spacecraft launching in 2016. The spacecraft will rendezvous with the asteroid Bennu two years later.

China: Chang'e 3 and 'Jade Rabbit' landing 'a complete success'

Beijing - China has declared its Chang'e -3 lunar landing “a complete success” after the exploration robot Yutu (Jade Rabbit) and its mother ship photographed each other and sent the images to Earth.

India's Mars Orbiter leaves Earth orbit heading for Red Planet

Bangalore - India’s Mangalyaan Mars Orbiter spacecraft left Earth orbit early Sunday, at the start of a 300-day trek, covering 680 million kilometers (425 million miles), to Mars.

Remarkable footage of Red Planet marks 10 years of Mars Express

Cologne - As the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter approaches the tenth anniversary of arrival in orbit at the Red Planet, the ESA has assembled a fascinating topographical ‘fly-by’ of Mars.

Op-Ed: NASA, plutonium and a tale of systemic mistakes

Sydney - Plutonium 238 is the fuel for Voyager as it leaves the solar system, and for many other space missions. The trouble is that the fuel is out of fashion, not being made for years, and the remaining stock is already mortgaged for other uses.

Op-Ed: Jupiter’s moons give better chances in finding life than Mars

A new mission called JUICE may give better chances in finding life elsewhere in the Solar System as actual living organisms, compared to the desiccated and irradiated remnants of long dead microbes that scientists hope to find on the Red Planet

ESA’s new Biomass satellite to measure Earth’s precious resources

The European Space Agency (ESA) announced Monday, the selection of ‘Biomass’ as the subject of its seventh Earth Explorer mission. The planned satellite will measure, to great accuracy, biomass and carbon stored in the world’s forests.

Cassini spacecraft's startling images of massive Saturn hurricane

NASA has released some of the most breathtaking images yet from the Cassini-Huygens Saturn orbiter, showing a gigantic hurricane gyrating around Saturn’s north pole.

NASA’s PhoneSat mission using smartphones as low cost satellites

Wallops Island - Last Sunday NASA launched into Earth orbit three satellites in the shape of three smartphones likely to be the lowest cost satellites ever as part of NASA’s PhoneSat mission.

35 years on, is Voyager 1 bidding farewell to the Solar System?

On September 5 1977, NASA’s Voyager 1 left Cape Canaveral. Thirty-five years later, Voyager continues to transmit data back to Earth and may now, finally, have stepped beyond the perimeter of the Solar System.

Solar event gives prospect of spectacular auroras this weekend

Early yesterday morning NASA released details of an observed solar phenomenon, an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection with the potential to disrupt satellites and communications over the next one to three days.

Fancy an invigorating bath — How about Jupiter's moon Europa?

Could Jupiter's moon Europa could be the health spa destination of the future? Maybe. A new research paper by scientists from California Institute of Technology and NASA/JPL indicates that part of Europa's surface consists of Epsom salts!

How a spot of re-decoration might avert an asteroid collision

A theoretical solution using a coat of paint could prevent a future near-Earth asteroid attack, according to a student whose novel solution won a 2012 ‘Move an Asteroid’ technical paper competition.

NASA's Curiosity rover drills first rock samples on Mars

NASA announced yesterday that its Mars rover Curiosity had drilled its first rock sample on the Red Planet, the first time any robotic explorer had successfully drilled for rock samples on another planet.

Russian-US rocket plunges into Pacific 40 seconds after launch

There were reports this morning that a joint Russian-US rocket carrying a satellite into orbit had crashed into the Pacific Ocean shortly after launch.
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Space exploration Image

This rendering shows the size of GJ 1214b and another  larger exoplanet compared to Earth and Neptun...
This rendering shows the size of GJ 1214b and another, larger exoplanet compared to Earth and Neptune. Researchers used the Hubble Space Telescope to reveal cloudy weather on the alien world of GJ 1214b.
NASA & ESA
This annotated image depicts four of the five potential landing sites for the Rosetta mission s Phil...
This annotated image depicts four of the five potential landing sites for the Rosetta mission's Philae lander.
NASA/JPL-Caltech / Image by ESA/Rosetta/MPS
Untitled
NASA
Illustration of CheMin dual-cell geometry. Exploded view of dual-cell assembly showing windows  tuni...
Illustration of CheMin dual-cell geometry. Exploded view of dual-cell assembly showing windows, tuning-fork assembly, and piezodriver (left). Assembled cell, ready for testing in testbed (right).
JPL NASA
A false-color image from NASA s Cassini mission highlights the storms at Saturn s north pole. The ey...
A false-color image from NASA's Cassini mission highlights the storms at Saturn's north pole. The eye of a hurricane-like storm appears dark red while the fast-moving hexagonal jet stream framing it is a yellowish green.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI
The heliospheric current sheet results from the influence of the Sun s rotating magnetic field on th...
The heliospheric current sheet results from the influence of the Sun's rotating magnetic field on the plasma in the interplanetary medium (solar wind). The wavy spiral shape has been likened to a ballerina's skirt.
NASA - Werner Heil
An artist s impression of exoplanet GJ 1214b. Researchers used the Hubble Space Telescope to reveal ...
An artist's impression of exoplanet GJ 1214b. Researchers used the Hubble Space Telescope to reveal cloudy weather on alien world.
NASA, ESA, & G. Bacon/STScI, STScI-PRC14-06
Artists impression of Kepler Space Telescope
Artists impression of Kepler Space Telescope
NASA/JPL
Envisat image features a cloud-free France acquired this image on 15 August 2009.
Envisat image features a cloud-free France acquired this image on 15 August 2009.
European Space Agency
Artist s impression Cassini during the Saturn Orbit Insertion
Artist's impression Cassini during the Saturn Orbit Insertion
NASA
A hydrocarbon river near the north pole of Saturn moon Titan  photo taken by the Cassini spacecraft ...
A hydrocarbon river near the north pole of Saturn moon Titan, photo taken by the Cassini spacecraft on Sept. 26, 2012. The river valley stretches more than 200 miles from its ‘source’ to a large hydrocarbon sea.
NASA/JPL
NASA s IRIS solar atmospheric observatory witnessed its strongest Solar Flare on Jan 28 2014  since ...
NASA's IRIS solar atmospheric observatory witnessed its strongest Solar Flare on Jan 28 2014, since launching in 2013.
NASA
This image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko shows the diversity of surface structures on the comet...
This image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko shows the diversity of surface structures on the comet's nucleus. It was taken by the Rosetta spacecraft's navigation camera on August 7, 2014. At the time, the spacecraft was 65 miles (104 kilometers) away from the 2.5 mile (4 kilometer) wide nucleus.
NASA/JPL-Caltech / Image by ESA/Rosetta/MPS
Europa  Jupiter s ice covered satellite  as seen by the Galileo spacecraft. Europa is about 3 160 ki...
Europa, Jupiter's ice covered satellite, as seen by the Galileo spacecraft. Europa is about 3,160 kilometers (1,950 miles) in diameter, or about the size of Earth's moon. The image was taken on September 7, 1996, at a range of 677,000 kilometers.
Wikimedia Commons
Artist s impression of possible wandering exoplanet designated CFBDSIR2149
Artist's impression of possible wandering exoplanet designated CFBDSIR2149
European Southern Observatory
The diagram shows the locations of star systems closest to our Sun along with dates of discovery.The...
The diagram shows the locations of star systems closest to our Sun along with dates of discovery.The binary system WISE J104915.57-531906 is the third nearest system to the Sun, and the closest one found in a century.
Credit: Janella Williams, Penn State University.
Comparing the size of the James Webb Space Telescope due for launch in 2018 with the Hubble Space Te...
Comparing the size of the James Webb Space Telescope due for launch in 2018 with the Hubble Space Telescope
Wikimedia Commons - Bobarino
Panoramic View From  Rocknest  Position of Curiosity Mars Rover:
A mosaic of images taken by the Mas...
Panoramic View From 'Rocknest' Position of Curiosity Mars Rover: A mosaic of images taken by the Mast Camera on NASA Mars rover Curiosity while the rover was working at a site called "Rocknest" in October & November 2012.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems
The ESA s Gaia satellite will measure the positions of a very large number of stars with unprecedent...
The ESA's Gaia satellite will measure the positions of a very large number of stars with unprecedented accuracy. The distances and motions of stars in the Milky Way will be determined with extraordinary precision, allowing astronomers to determine our Galaxy's 3-dimensional structure, space velocities of its constituent stars and, from these data, further our understanding of our Galaxy's origin and evolution.
European Space Agency - ESA Gaia Project
An artist’s impression of a stretched rocky planet in orbit around a red dwarf star. So close to t...
An artist’s impression of a stretched rocky planet in orbit around a red dwarf star. So close to the star, there is a difference in the strength of the gravitational field on each side of the planet, stretching it significantly.
Royal Astronomical Society - Shivam Sikroria.