Universe Today 14 May 2021, 17:03 UTC A new report from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) says that the launch of the long-awaited, highly anticipated James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will very likely be delayed due to an anomaly identified in the Ariane 5 launch vehicle. Launch for JWST is currently scheduled for October 31, 2021, but that date could slip by at least a couple of weeks.
Centauri Dreams 14 May 2021, 10:32 UTC Is there any chance we may one day find technosignatures around the nearest stars? If we were to detect such, on a planet, say, orbiting Alpha Centauri B, that would seem to indicate that civilizations are to be found around a high percentage of G- and K-class stars. Brian Lacki (UC-Berkeley) examined the question from all angles at the recent Breakthrough Discuss, raising some interesting issues about the implications of technosignatures, and the assumptions we bring to the search for them.
Parabolic Arc 14 May 2021, 03:07 UTC By January, we can expect to see paying customers on three American and Russian flights to the International Space Station (ISS), one Crew Dragon mission in Earth orbit, and two or more suborbital flights.
Extrasolar Object Interceptor Would be Able to Chase Down the Next Oumuamua or Borisov and Actually Return a Sample13 May 2021, 18:21 UTC What if we had the ability to chase down interstellar objects passing through our Solar System, like Oumuamua or Comet Borisov? Such a spacecraft would need to be ready to go at a moment’s notice, with the capacity to increase speed and change direction quickly. That’s the idea behind a new mission concept called the Extrasolar Object Interceptor and Sample Return spacecraft.
Universe Today 13 May 2021, 13:32 UTC The Gaia spacecraft is an impressive feat of engineering. Its primary mission is to map the position and motion of more than a billion stars in our galaxy, creating the most comprehensive map of the Milky Way thus far. Gaia collects such a large amount of precision data that it can make discoveries well beyond its main mission. For example, by looking at the spectra of stars, astronomers can measure the mass of individual stars to within 25% accuracy. From the motion of stars, astronomers can measure the distribution of dark matter in the Milky Way. Gaia can also discover exoplanets when they pass in front of a star. But one of the more surprising uses is that Gaia could help us detect cosmic gravitational waves.
Universe Today 12 May 2021, 20:10 UTC Within the Milky Way, there are an estimated 200 to 400 billion stars, all of which orbit around the center of our galaxy in a coordinated cosmic dance. As they orbit, stars in the galactic disk (where our Sun is located) periodically shuffle about and get closer to one another. At times, this can have a drastic effect on the star that experience a close encounter, disrupting their systems and causing planets to be ejected.
Physics World Blog 12 May 2021, 18:19 UTC Multimessenger observations of neutron stars have been used by astrophysicists in the US to put Einstein’s general theory of relativity to the test – and the 106 year old theory has passed with flying colours.
Centauri Dreams 12 May 2021, 15:26 UTC What are the long-lasting waves detected by Voyager 1? Our first working interstellar probe — admittedly never designed for that task — is operating beyond the heliosphere, which it exited back in 2012. A paper just published in Nature Astronomy explores what’s going in interstellar space just beyond, but still affected by, the heliosphere’s passage through the Local Interstellar Medium (LISM).
Starts With a Bang! 12 May 2021, 14:02 UTC Even addition has to play by different rules for black holes.
NASA Space Station Blog 11 May 2021, 20:18 UTC Human research took precedence aboard the International Space Station on Tuesday as the Expedition 65 crew explored how weightlessness affects the immune system. The orbital residents also trained for a medical emergency and ensured station systems continued operating in tip-top shape.