Astro Bob 2 May 2018, 20:12 UTC Yuji Nakamura of Japan was taking pictures of the sky last Sunday night (April 30), when he recorded a remarkable stellar explosion in the constellation Perseus. It turned out to be a brand new nova. That night and the following night, the star was easily visible in binoculars. By last night it had faded a bit but remains easy to see in a small 3-inch telescope. Turns out the star, V392 Persei, was already known to astronomers as a dwarf nova. The star rarely gets brighter than magnitude 15, but that night it shot up to 6, the naked eye limit!
NASA Space Station Blog 2 May 2018, 16:31 UTC The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship’s stay at the International Space Station has been extended until Saturday after unfavorable conditions were reported at the splashdown zone in the Pacific Ocean. In the meantime, time-sensitive payloads are still being readied for return to Earth as the crew wraps up final cargo packing. Robotics controllers will operate the Canadarm2 to detach Dragon from the International Space Station’s Harmony module on Friday. It will be remotely released into Earth orbit Saturday at 9:24 a.m. EDT before finally splashing down in the Pacific Ocean around 3 p.m. Flight Engineer Scott Tingle will be in the Cupola monitoring Dragon as it slowly backs away from the space station.
io9 Space 2 May 2018, 15:08 UTC NASA announced today that it has completed tests of its Kilopower portable nuclear fission reactor, a device designed to one day power bases on Mars or the moon. The tests met or exceeded expectations on all metrics, which means the device can now go on to more serious flight testing. The Kilopower device is still a prototype, but will be important for space expeditions where astronauts can’t bring enough supplies on their ship and must still generate power far from Earth.
Sky and Telescope 2 May 2018, 14:17 UTC We all know the quickest way to travel back in time. Just look up at the stars. Wait. You don't even have to do that. Hold your hand 6 inches (15 cm) from your face and you see it as it was about a billionth of a second ago. We can't help but see into the past because light takes time to reach our eyes, even traveling at 300,000 kilometers a second.
Starts With a Bang! 2 May 2018, 14:01 UTC It was already 28 years ago that the Hubble Space Telescope was launched and deployed in low-Earth orbit, where it remains today. Outfitted with a 2.4 meter mirror, a slew of instruments designed for viewing stars, planets, nebulae and galaxies, Hubble became humanity’s first civilization-class space telescope. Although it had a number of science goals, its most ambitious was what gave rise to its name: it was the Hubble telescope because it was built to measure the Hubble expansion rate of the Universe. But what Hubble wound up teaching us went far beyond anything it was designed for, and that was due to a combination of three factors.
SPACE.com 2 May 2018, 10:44 UTC Alien life could potentially exist on the undersides of the icy shells of Jupiter's moon Europa and other frozen worlds thanks to the intersection of chemical energy rising up from hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor and oxidants diffusing down from the surface, new research suggests.
Tom's Astronomy Blog 2 May 2018, 04:54 UTC NASA: Far across the solar system, from where Earth appears merely as a pale blue dot, NASA’s Galileo spacecraft spent eight years orbiting Jupiter. During that time, the hearty spacecraft — slightly larger than a full-grown giraffe — sent back spates of discoveries on the gas giant’s moons, including the observation of a magnetic environment around Ganymede that was distinct from Jupiter’s own magnetic field. The mission ended in 2003, but newly resurrected data from Galileo’s first flyby of Ganymede is yielding new insights about the moon’s environment — which is unlike any other in the solar system.
Spaceflight Now 1 May 2018, 18:32 UTC As NASA turns up support for future commercial lunar landers, the space agency last week canceled a mission that would have placed a rover on the moon to survey resources, such as water and helium, that could be used by future human explorers. Officials at the space agency’s headquarters in Washington on April 23 directed managers of the Resource Prospector mission end development of the lunar rover by the end of May.
SPACE.com 1 May 2018, 16:16 UTC When NASA's InSight Mars lander launches for the Red Planet on Saturday (May 5), it won't be traveling alone. Two small spacecraft, nicknamed "Wall-E" and "Eva," are hitching a ride as the first cubesats to visit another planet.The twin cubesats are tiny spacecraft of a type whose design became popular in the 2000s as miniaturized computers increased the craft's capabilities. While they don't have all the backup systems and capabilities of bigger spacecraft, cubesats are useful for applications such as communications, tracking shipping or performing Earth observation. Until now, all of them stayed close to our home planet.