The Pale Red Dot campaign was launched to find a planet orbiting our nearest stellar neighbour, Proxima Centauri. Incredibly, the quest succeeded and astronomers detected a planet. The planet, Proxima b, falls within the habitable zone of its host star. It is by far the closest potential abode for alien life.
The Hubble Space Telescope has revolutionized the science of astronomy and redefined space for the general public. What lies in its future, and how will it’s dovetail with that of the new James Webb Space Telescope?
Measurements of unprecedented detail returned by Japan’s Hitomi satellite have allowed scientists to track the motion of X-ray-emitting gas at the heart of the Perseus cluster of galaxies for the first time. Located about 240 million light-years away and named for its host constellation, the Perseus galaxy cluster contains a vast amount of extremely hot gas.
At temperatures averaging 90 million degrees Fahrenheit (50 million degrees Celsius), the gas glows brightly in X-rays. Prior to Hitomi’s launch, astronomers lacked the capability to measure the detailed dynamics of this gas, particularly its relationship to bubbles of gas expelled by an active supermassive black hole in the cluster’s core galaxy, NGC 1275.
Scientists are closely monitoring a giant iceberg in the making, as a crack in Antarctica’s Pine Island glacier widens.
Two scientists have laid out the basic technical specifications of a black hole powered starship. The concept embodies a surprisingly hopeful vision of the future promoted by Stephen Hawking. How feasible is it technically? How far could it take humanity one day in the distant future?
July 18, 1921 – December 8, 2016. Aviator, engineer, astronaut, US Senator. The first American to orbit Earth. The oldest person to fly in space.
In late 2014 and early 2015, NASA’s Kepler telescope observed the eighth planet in our solar system, Neptune. Kepler detected Neptune’s daily rotation, the movement of clouds, and even minute changes in the sun’s brightness, paving the way for future studies of weather and climate beyond our solar system.
Video from NASA.
This movie shows the new 3D map of the age of the Greenland ice sheet, using a collage of live footage and animation to explain how scientists determined the age from data collected by ice-penetrating radar.
Video from NASA
Scientists have long suspected the solar wind of stripping the Martian upper atmosphere into space, turning Mars from a blue world to a red one. Now, NASA’s MAVEN orbiter is observing this process in action, providing significant data on solar wind erosion at Mars.
Video from NASA
The Cassini spacecraft, having flown through the Saturn system for almost twenty years, is nearing the end of its mission. On September 15th, Cassini will enter Saturn’s atmosphere, relaying data from eight of its twelve instruments until the spacecraft breaks up. This revolutionary project is now considered one of the greatest space missions of all time, on a parr with Voyager and Apollo. It has amassed one of the greatest photographic collections on record, with stunning details of moons, rings, and the giant planet itself. Just as scientists say goodbye to this historic experiment, they are getting ready for a deluge of revealing new data. In this video, they also take the time to reflect on Cassini’s many accomplishments and what it has meant to science and humanity itself.
Video from NASA