Month: January 2006

  • Rocky Exoplanet Discovered With Microlensing Technique

    Astronomers from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) announced today the discovery of an exoplanet only 5.5 times the mass of the Earth orbiting a red dwarf star located near the center of the Milky Way galaxy, some 20,000 light years away from our own solar system. The discovery could indicate that rocky planets like the […]

  • USGS Ramps Up Earthquake Monitoring Effort

    The United States Geological Survey (USGS) National Earthquake Center has unveiled upgraded technology, 24/7 staffing, and a new website to be rolled out over the next few months in response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and a wider call for better earthquake monitoring. The effort includes HYDRA, a system that will provide more detailed […]

  • Raw Images of Active Beauty

    Planetary scientists long assumed that the moons of the outer planets were cold, dead, and airless worlds, heavily cratered but otherwise little changed from their original formation. In 1979, Voyager 1, looking back just after its flyby of Jupiter, discovered volcanic activity on Jupiter’s moon Io. Over a year later, Voyager 1 discovered that the […]

  • New Horizons Launched to Pluto and Beyond

    New Horizons was successfully launched today from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA after previous delays due to high winds and power outages. A slight delay today because of high clouds preceded a picture perfect launch. At the moment New Horizons is rocketing away from the Earth and will pass the orbit of the moon […]

  • New Horizons Rolls Out

    Update: Launch postponed to Wednesday, January 18, 2006 due to high winds. New Horizons and the Atlas rocket on which it sits were rolled out to their launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA yesterday. Only hours remain before the launch window opens up and NASA attempts to launch the piano-sized spacecraft on […]

  • MOC Picture of the Day – Becquerel’s Layers

    (Disclosure: Richard Leis is an operations team member located at the University of Arizona for NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE.)) Although the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and its High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) are less than two months away, spacecraft already in orbit around Mars continue to send […]

  • New Horizons Set for Launch

    The first spacecraft mission to the last of the original nine planets in our solar system is schedule for launch on Tuesday, January 17, 2006. New Horizons will begin its journey as the fastest spacecraft ever launched from the Earth. The speed is necessary to reach Pluto and its three known moons in just a […]

  • Titan, Flyby 11

    Cassini passed within 2,043 kilometers (1,270 miles) of the surface of Titan on Saturday, January 14, 2006 (Pacific Standard Time) in its eleventh targeted flyby (after a more distant flyby a day earlier.) The event heralds a new phase in NASA’s mission to the Saturnian system. For the next two and a half years, all […]

  • Stardust Returns Comet Material to Earth

    The sample-return capsule from the Stardust spacecraft landed early this morning in Utah, after gliding through the darkness across the West Coast of the United States. Inside the capsule is valuable cargo: the first cometary and interstellar material to be returned to the Earth for study. NASA TV covered the landing live while helicopters at […]

  • Stardust Returning

    The first mission to return cometary material to the Earth is now in its final hours of the mission. The Stardust spacecraft, visitor to Asteroid 5535 Annefrank and Comet Wild 2, crossed the orbit of the Moon yesterday morning and successfully deployed the sample-return capsule toward the Earth later that evening. The capsule is expected […]