AmericaSpace 22 Feb 2019, 20:05 UTC The Falcon 9 rocket which launched last night’s SpaceX mission performed beautifully on its third flight, delivering Indonesia’s PSN-6 satellite “Nusantara Satu” to orbit, along with a U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) microsat and – most notably – deploying a moonlander developed by Israel’s SpaceIL organization.
Centauri Dreams 22 Feb 2019, 18:28 UTC Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 is a project worth investigating. Using a database drawn from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 is probing the cosmos at infrared wavelengths. Volunteers search the WISE data in a ‘citizen science’ effort that has already discovered more than 1,000 likely brown dwarfs. Now we have news of an intriguing white dwarf showing apparently multiple rings of gas and dust.
Bad Astronomy 22 Feb 2019, 14:00 UTC Here's a fun thing about galaxies: Sometimes they collide. It's hard to imagine such a colossal event, a cataclysm on a scale a million trillion kilometers across. When it happens, the gravity of each galaxy grapples with the other, distorting their shapes, drawing out tens-of-thousands-of-light-years-long streamers of gas and stars, stretching toward each others like the yearning of a lover's arms.
Scientific American 22 Feb 2019, 12:00 UTC Orange skies, icy dunes and methane clouds—no, it’s not some post-apocalyptic picture of Earth. It’s what Saturn’s moon Titan might look like to explorers. While it doesn’t sound like paradise, scientists, including my colleagues in chemistry at the University of Colorado Boulder, think Titan has enough in common with Earth that it’s worth studying. But is there life on Titan? Right now, we can’t say for sure.
Universe Today 22 Feb 2019, 05:01 UTC Billions of years ago, Mars was likely a much warmer and wetter place than the cold, dry, barren world we see today. Whether there was life there or not remains an open question. But there’s a massive, growing wall of evidence showing that Mars may have had the necessary conditions for life in the past, including at least one system of river valley networks.
The Planetary Society Blog 22 Feb 2019, 00:24 UTC Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft has successfully touched down on the surface of Ryugu! The touchdown happened about 35 minutes earlier than expected, catching even some of the project scientists off-guard. During a live broadcast from JAXA's control room in Sagamihara, cheers suddenly erupted, causing some initial confusion about whether Hayabusa2 had actually touched down. Soon afterward, via a superb Japanese-to-English translator who narrated the broadcast, a JAXA scientist reported, "There was some deviation from the simulation graph, but the results are that everything went according to plan."
Spaceflight Now 21 Feb 2019, 22:23 UTC The Beresheet moon lander will attempt to become the first privately-funded spacecraft to reach the moon, and these photos show the robotic probe’s journey through testing inside a clean room at Israel Aerospace Industries, followed by its attachment to a multi-satellite stack for launch on a Falcon 9 rocket.
Japan’s Hayabusa2 is About to Shoot Up the Surface of Ryugu with Tiny Impactors so they can Collect a Sample21 Feb 2019, 17:54 UTC Japan’s Hayabusa2 mission is about to get down to business. After arriving at asteroid Ryugu at the end of June 2018, and dispatching its tiny rovers to the surface, the spacecraft is about to approach the surface of the asteroid and get some samples.
Starts With a Bang! 21 Feb 2019, 15:01 UTC There are people alive today who can remember a time where no human-made creation had ever crossed the line from Earth’s atmosphere into space. Even today, it’s incredibly costly to launch a device into space, and it requires even more power than that to escape from the gravitational pull of our planet entirely. As the space race unfolded, humanity left the bonds of Earth’s orbit, walked on the surface of the Moon, and sent space probes to every other planet in our Solar System. A couple of those spacecraft sent to the farthest reaches of space have now exited our Solar System: Voyager 1 and 2. On their way out, however, powered by their fading nuclear power sources, one of them took a look back at the planet that spawned its existence. On February 14, 1990, Voyager 1 captured this photo of Earth: the Pale Blue Dot. Our view of our home world has never been the same since.