June 6, 2017

Cosmic Magnifying-Glass Effect Captures Universe’s Brightest Galaxies

These six images, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, reveal a jumble of misshapen-looking galaxies punctuated by exotic patterns such as arcs, streaks, and smeared rings. These unusual features are the stretched shapes of the universe’s brightest infrared galaxies that are boosted by natural cosmic magnifying lenses. Some of the oddball shapes in the images also may have been produced by spectacular collisions between distant, massive galaxies in a sort of cosmic demolition derby. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Lowenthal (Smith College)

June 6, 2017 – Boosted by natural magnifying lenses in space, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has captured unique close-up views of the universe’s brightest infrared galaxies, which are as much as 10,000 times more luminous than our Milky Way. Read More

CU Boulder Researchers Explain Mystery Of ‘Banging’ Galaxy Clusters

Galaxy clusters like this one can contain hundreds or thousands of galaxies.

June 6, 2017 – Two galaxy clusters in the process of merging created a layer of surprisingly hot gas between them that University of Colorado Boulder astronomers believe is from turbulence caused by banging into each other at supersonic speeds. Read More

With First Mars Mission Approaching, Few Teachers Believe Students Interested In Subjects That Would Lead Them To Space Exploration Careers

June 6, 2017 – A strong future Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) workforce is vital to sending humans to Mars, yet a new survey commissioned by Lockheed Martin shows about a third of U.S. middle school and high school teachers (36 percent) see enthusiasm from their students about STEM learning. To help address these findings, today the company unveiled new resources as part of its Generation Beyond program, including a space-themed curriculum and new app that simulates what it’s like to explore the surface of Mars. Read More

Watching A Volatile Stellar Relationship

Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/R. Montez et al.; Optical: Adam Block/Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter/U. Arizona

June 6, 2017 – In biology, “symbiosis” refers to two organisms that live close to and interact with one another. Astronomers have long studied a class of stars – called symbiotic stars – that co-exist in a similar way. Using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes, astronomers are gaining a better understanding of how volatile this close stellar relationship can be. Read More

More News:

SpaceX Wins Launch Of U.S. Air Force X-37B Space Plane
Source: U.S. News & World Report

Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp will fly its first mission for the U.S. Air Force in August when it launches the military’s X-37B miniature spaceplane, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said on Tuesday. Four previous X-37B missions were launched by United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rockets.

NASA’s Dark-Energy Probe Faces Cost Crisis
Source: Scientific American

NASA’s next major space observatory is meant to tackle some of the biggest questions in astronomy when it launches in 2025—including what exoplanets look like and how dark energy is driving the Universe’s expansion. But the project’s cost is rising quickly, and NASA managers are struggling to keep its budget in check. The Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) has grown in scope and complexity since it was proposed nearly a decade ago …

Maryland Students To Speak To NASA Astronaut On Space Station
Source: NASA

Students at Leeds Elementary School in Elkton, Maryland, will speak with a NASA astronaut living and working aboard the International Space Station at 9:35 a.m. EDT on Friday, June 9. The 20-minute, Earth-to-space call will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website. Expedition 52 Flight Engineer Jack Fischer will answer questions about space and his current mission from pre-K to fifth-grade students assembled at the school.

China Details Space Station, Moon Exploration Plans
Source: Leonard David’s INSIDE OUTER SPACE

Space officials from numbers of nations have gathered in Beijing for the Global Space Exploration Conference (GLEX) 2017.

Northrop Grumman Subsidiary, AOX, Awarded Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) Contract from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
Source: Northrop Grumman

Adaptive Optics Associates, Inc. (AOX), a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Corporation, has been awarded a sole-source contract to provide mission-critical optical technology for the WFIRST coronagraph instrument. The AOX team successfully completed the preliminary design studies in early 2016 with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology.

Cubic’s GATR Technologies Introduces Highly Portable Satellite Tracking Imaging Ground Station
Source: Cubic Corporation

Cubic Corporation today announced the GATR TRAC®, the industry’s most portable 2.4-meter satellite tracking imaging ground station, from its subsidiary GATR Technologies (GATR), which operates within the Cubic Mission Solutions (CMS) business division. The GATR TRAC terminal provides more than 90 percent reduction in logistical size and weight without sacrificing performance, compared to rigid tracking antennas of similar aperture.

On The Way To An Asteroid
Source: 90.7 WMFE

OSIRIS-REx is zooming towards the asteroid Bennu. It’s on a mission to collect a sample of asteroid “dirt” and send it back to Earth. Scientists hope to uncover the building blocks of life in the solar system. The spacecraft launched last summer, so what’s it up to these days?

Video: SUVI Sees Solar Eruption
Source: NOAA

On Tuesday, April 18, the Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI) on GOES-16 observed a large solar eruption linked to a C5 class solar flare. C-flares are moderate events without a lot of impact on space weather near Earth, but the eruption itself was a large and dramatic one that might have had some space weather consequences had it been directed towards the Earth. Instead, the eruption blasted harmlessly into interplanetary space far from Earth, but the location where it occurred, just on the limb of the Sun, gave SUVI a fabulous view of the event.

Flares May Threaten Planet Habitability Near Red Dwarfs
Source: NASA

Cool dwarf stars are hot targets for exoplanet hunting right now. The discoveries of planets in the habitable zones of the TRAPPIST-1 and LHS 1140 systems, for example, suggest that Earth-sized worlds might circle billions of red dwarf stars, the most common type of star in our galaxy. But, like our own sun, many of these stars erupt with intense flares. Are red dwarfs really as friendly to life as they appear, or do these flares make the surfaces of any orbiting planets inhospitable?

From Middle School To Mars: Students Win National Competition To Design Spacecraft To Take Astronauts To The Red Planet
Source: Lockheed Martin

With NASA planning to send the first crew to Mars in the 2030s, today’s students will grow up to create the spacecraft and science to get them there. Middle school students in California and New Jersey have already begun, winning a national Lockheed Martin video challenge competition to design the living quarters for astronauts’ six-month journey to the red planet.