Universe Today 13 May 2020, 19:43 UTC Last week, SpaceX passed another milestone in the development of its Starship prototype. This was the crucial engine static fire test, which saw the fourth full-scale Starship prototype (SN4) ignite a fully-integrated Raptor engine for the first time. The successful test took place on Tuesday night (May 5th) at 08:57 PM local time (09:57 PM EDT; 06:57 PM PDT) and saw the Raptor engine ignite and fire for four full seconds.
Discover 13 May 2020, 17:00 UTC
astrobites 13 May 2020, 15:38 UTC Besides the main celestial bodies in our solar system – the planets, moons, and dwarf planets (RIP Pluto) we’re familiar with – there are also around 150 million asteroids floating around. Among these are Trojan asteroids, special groups of asteroids that fall within the orbital paths of planets. As one may guess, the asteroids are named after the Trojans from Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, with the largest asteroids getting specific names of heroes from the tales, such as Hektor and Achilles.
SciTech Daily 13 May 2020, 10:38 UTC A new study, based on data from ESA’s XMM-Newton and NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatories, sheds new light on a three million light-year long bridge of hot gas linking two galaxy clusters, whose shape is being bent by the mighty activity of a nearby supermassive black hole.
Centauri Dreams 12 May 2020, 12:46 UTC The near-Earth asteroid Ryugu is only about a kilometer wide, but it’s telling us a good deal about its own history and that of the Solar System itself thanks to the two touchdowns of Hayabusa2, in February and July of 2019. The geological changes so clear on Earth, the bombardments from objects creating craters here and elsewhere, all mark the evolution of large bodies, but the asteroids take us back to the system’s earliest days with little change. They’re bundles out of the deep freeze of time.
Universe Today 11 May 2020, 23:58 UTC In March of 2019, NASA was directed by the White House to land human beings on the Moon within five years. Known as Project Artemis, this expedited timeline has led to a number of changes and shakeups at NASA, not the least of which has to do with the deprioritizing of certain elements. Nowhere is this more clear than with the Lunar Gateway, an orbital habitat that NASA will be deploying to cislunar space in the coming years.
Lights in the Dark 11 May 2020, 18:05 UTC Whether you call it a planet, a dwarf planet, or a Kuiper Belt or Trans-Neptunian Object—or all of the above—there’s no denying that Pluto and its family of moons are true curiosities in the Solar System. Not only does little Pluto have one moon, Charon, that’s so massive in comparison that they both orbit each other around a point outside the radius of either, but it also has four other smaller moons in orbit that break the general rules of how moons are “supposed to” behave.
Astronomy Now 11 May 2020, 16:11 UTC Engineers working on NASA’s Perseverance rover mission at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida have begun the process of placing the Mars-bound rover and other spacecraft components into the configuration they’ll be in as they ride on top of the United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket. The launch period for the mission opens on July 17 – just 70 days from now.