Sputnik 1: 50 Years Later

[History] | [Commentary] Plenty of space blogs, organizations, and media outlets are marked last Thursday as the 50 year anniversary of the first artificial satellite in Earth orbit, Sputnik 1. On October 04, 1957 Russia surprised the United States by demonstrating their technological prowess with the successful launch of Sputnik 1. The "artificial moon" did … Continue reading Sputnik 1: 50 Years Later

Reorientation and Shear Heating on Enceladus

In 2005 Saturn's moon Enceladus was discovered to be an active world with water ice particle geysers at its south pole. The driver of this activity on a moon so small remains a mystery. One possible explanation has been suggested by Dr. Francis Nimmo, a planetary scientist from the University of California Santa Cruz. Nimmo … Continue reading Reorientation and Shear Heating on Enceladus

Google Lunar X PRIZE Announced

Image caption: X PRIZE Moon exhibit and logo at WIRED NextFest A robotic scavenger hunt to the moon is the next big space competition. The X PRIZE Foundation announced at Wired NextFest, along with representatives from Google, NASA, and one of the Apollo 11 astronauts, the Google Lunar X PRIZE. The largest incentive competition in … Continue reading Google Lunar X PRIZE Announced

Bizarre Star Discovered to Have Comet-Like Tail

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/C. Martin (Caltech)/M. Seibert(OCIW) - "Johnny Appleseed of the Cosmos" The first star discovered with a comet-like tail was announced today by the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) team. While exploring the sky in ultraviolet light, GALEX spotted a tail of material streaming behind the binary star Mira, or Omicron Ceti, located 450 light … Continue reading Bizarre Star Discovered to Have Comet-Like Tail

The Fear of Falling Up, the Joy of Falling Down

NASA - Space Shuttle News I'm not sure there has ever been video quite like this. Thanks to the LifePort Staff Blog for pointing it out (via other sites). The most breathtaking of the bunch is "Right forward SRB camera" but the remaining have their moments as well, including views from underneath the waves. There … Continue reading The Fear of Falling Up, the Joy of Falling Down

From Giotto to Stardust – 20 Years of Comet Exploration

The modern robotic investigation of comets began with a spacecraft from the European Space Agency (ESA) named Giotto. Giotto captured in 1986 the first close-up images of a cometary nucleus and a wealth of other data. ESA is marking the 20th anniversary of Giotto's successful flyby of Comet Halley on the eve of a NASA … Continue reading From Giotto to Stardust – 20 Years of Comet Exploration

Potential Liquid Water on Enceladus

Cassini-Huygens mission scientists discovered last year that plumes of ice erupt from the surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus, but the mechanism for the this process has not been fully explained. Now a review of competing theories and available data implicates the more unlikely source: pressurized liquid water pools or an ocean near the moon's surface. … Continue reading Potential Liquid Water on Enceladus

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 … Continue reading Rocky Exoplanet Discovered With Microlensing Technique

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 … Continue reading MOC Picture of the Day – Becquerel’s Layers