AmericaSpace 20 Feb 2018, 00:59 UTC NASA’s Opportunity rover has just crossed another amazing threshold – passing the 5,000-sol mark on Mars. That is a phenomenal achievement, considering that the plucky little machine was designed for a hopeful lifetime of at least 90 sols (a sol is a Martian day, just slightly longer than an Earth day). To put it another way, Opportunity landed way back in January 2004, and the mission would be considered a great success if it lasted for several months in the harsh Martian climate. But now here it is 2018, and it is still going!
Lights in the Dark 19 Feb 2018, 21:16 UTC That’s here; that’s home; that’s us—the two bright objects in this picture are Earth and the Moon, imaged by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on January 17, 2018 from a distance of 39.5 million miles (63.5 million km).
SpaceFlight Insider 19 Feb 2018, 18:13 UTC The X3, a new ion thruster that could one day propel humans beyond Earth, was successfully tested a few months ago and is one design that could be selected by NASA as a component of propulsion system for future Mars missions.
Astronomy Now 19 Feb 2018, 16:03 UTC The European Space Agency’s Planck satellite discovered a remote cluster of galaxies – PLCK G004.5-19.5 – some five billion light years away by detecting how the cosmic background radiation left over from the big bang was distorted by the cluster’s gravity, a phenomenon known as the Sunyaev-Zel’dovich effect. This Hubble Space Telescope image, released by the European Space Agency, shows the heavily populated galaxy swarm, including an arc-like streak of bluish light from background stars and galaxies that was bent and magnified by the cluster’s combined gravity.
SPACE.com 19 Feb 2018, 13:11 UTC An asphalt-like layer may be baking beneath Pluto's crust. Researchers are considering the possibility that the most famous dwarf planet may contain a layer of organic material beneath its surface heated into a thick, tar-like substance. The idea, which remains speculative, could affect scientists' understanding of how Pluto is built.
Many Worlds 19 Feb 2018, 12:05 UTC Northern Lights over a frozen lake in Northern Norway, inside the Arctic Circle near Alta. The displays can go on for hours, or can disappear for days or weeks. It all depends on solar flares. (Ongajok.no)May I please invite you to join me in the presence of one of the great natural phenomena and spectacles of our world.Not only is it enthralling to witness and scientifically crucial, but it’s quite emotionally moving as well.Why? Because what’s before me is a physical manifestation of one of the primary, but generally invisible, features of Earth that make life possible. It’s mostly seen in the far northern and far southern climes, but the force is everywhere and it protects our atmosphere and us from the parched fate of a planet like Mars.I’m speaking, of course, of the northern lights, the Aurora Borealis, and the planet’s magnetic fields that help turn on the lights.My vantage point is the far northern tip of Norway, inside the Arctic Circle. It’s stingingly cold in the silent woods, frozen still for the long, dark winter, and it’s always an unpredictable gift when the lights show up.But they‘re out tonight, dancing in bright green and sometimes gold-tinged arches and ...
Laurel's Pluto Blog 18 Feb 2018, 21:14 UTC Pluto, known to humanity just since 1930, has been a solar system planet for four billion years but was discovered as one 88 years ago today, on February 18, 1930, by astronomer and planetary scientist Clyde Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.
AmericaSpace 18 Feb 2018, 21:02 UTC Ten years ago, this month, Space Shuttle Atlantis sprang from historic Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, to kickstart the final phase of International Space Station (ISS) construction. A decade since the first elements of the football-field-sized outpost had been placed into orbit, the core structure was in place, ready to accept the pressurized modules of the international partners. First up was Columbus, the largest single contribution of the European Space Agency (ESA).
io9 Space 18 Feb 2018, 20:15 UTC Asteroid mining is about more than just heading up into space and bringing back a rock full of platinum—you actually need to land something on just the right asteroid. Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful rocket launched by Elon Musk-led SpaceX two weeks ago, may have changed the game, says one astronomer. “Instead of a few hundred we may have thousands of ore bearing asteroids available”.
io9 Space 18 Feb 2018, 19:30 UTC Elon Musk’s SpaceX has delayed the next scheduled launch of its Falcon 9 rocket to at least Wednesday, February 21st for further testing of the rocket’s fairing, the $5 million section at its tip that deploys the rocket’s payload, Space.com reported.