August 2, 2017

Hubble Detects Exoplanet With Glowing Water Atmosphere

This is an artist’s impression of the gas giant exoplanet WASP-121b. The bloated planet is so close to its star that the tidal pull of the star stretches it into an egg shape. The top of the planet’s atmosphere is heated to a blazing 4,600 degrees Fahrenheit (2,500 degrees Celsius), hot enough to boil iron. This is the first planet outside our solar system where astronomers have found the strongest evidence yet for a stratosphere — a layer of atmosphere in which temperature increases with higher altitudes. The planet is about 900 light-years away. Image Credit: Illustration: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI). Science: NASA, ESA, and T. Evans (University of Exeter)

August 2, 2017 – Scientists have discovered the strongest evidence to date for a stratosphere on a planet outside our solar system, or exoplanet. A stratosphere is a layer of atmosphere in which temperature increases with higher altitudes. Read More

SwRI’s Marchi To Receive Farinella Prize For Research On Solar System Evolution

Simone Marchi, Ph.D.; Senior Research Scientist, SwRI Planetary Science Directorate. Image Credit: SwRI

August 2, 2017 – Dr. Simone Marchi, a senior research scientist in the Space Science and Engineering Division of Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), has been selected to receive the Farinella Prize for his research on the impact history and evolution of the inner solar system. Read More

More News:

Mirror Delivered To Giant Solar Telescope Despite Native Hawaiian Protest
Source: Science

Trucks carrying the primary mirror for the world’s largest solar telescope advanced past a line of protesters in the early morning hours on Wednesday, delivering it to the top of Haleakalā, the 3055-meter summit of Maui. Just after 4 a.m. Hawaii time, several people were arrested in a peaceful demonstration that suddenly turned confrontational.

One Final Burn
Source: NASA

“It’s all good,” said Cassini Project Manager Earl Maize after the spacecraft’s successful course adjustment July 15, adding, “What a machine.” Maize and several other members of Cassini’s flight team were in the mission control room at JPL early Saturday morning to check on the spacecraft after its final planned maneuver. Cassini’s flight team haven’t ruled out the possibility of another maneuver, but they say it’s unlikely.

How America’s Two Greatest Rocket Companies Battled From The Beginning
Source: Ars Technica

It began as so many tiffs have in 2017—on Twitter. SpaceX had just completed a near-perfect first half of the year. Ten launches. Two re-flights. Zero accidents. Speaking to his 11 million followers, Elon Musk couldn’t resist taking a dig at his long-time rival in the US launch industry, United Launch Alliance.

Open Source Release Of The Kepler Data Processing Pipeline
Source: NASA

The source code for the official Kepler data processing pipeline has been released to the public under the NASA Open Source License, and made available for download via the GitHub repository at The release is accompanied by a Source Code Roadmap (pdf) which presents an overview of the various pipeline components found in the source code directory tree.

ESA, NASA’s SOHO Reveals Rapidly Rotating Solar Core
Source: NASA

After four decades of searching, solar scientists have at long last found evidence of a type of seismic wave in our Sun, thanks to ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO. These low-frequency waves, called g-modes, reveal that the solar core is rotating some four times faster than the solar surface.

SwRI’s Magaro To Receive NILG Lifetime Achievement Award
Source: SwRI

Tony Magaro, executive director of the Human Resources Department at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), received the National Industry Liaison Group’s (NILG) 2017 Lois Baumerich Lifetime Achievement Award today for his work promoting equal opportunity and affirmative action.

Vega Lofts Two Satellites On Second Launch This Year
Source: ESA

This morning Arianespace launched a Vega rocket carrying two Earth observation satellites for Italy, France and Israel encased in Vega’s lighter protective fairing. Liftoff of Vega’s 10th mission from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana came at 01:58 GMT on 2 August (03:58 CEST; 22:58 local time on 1 August) on a mission lasting 97 minutes to deliver Optsat-3000 and Venμs into their planned orbits.

Five Years Ago And 154 Million Miles Away: Touchdown!
Source: NASA

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover, which landed near Mount Sharp five years ago this week, is examining clues on that mountain about long-ago lakes on Mars. On August 5, 2012, the mission team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, exalted at radio confirmation and first images from Curiosity after the rover’s touchdown using a new “sky crane” landing method. Transmissions at the speed of light took nearly 14 minutes to travel from Mars to Earth, which that day were about 154 million miles (248 million kilometers) apart.

Two Voyagers Taught Us How To Listen To Space
Source: NASA

As NASA’s twin Voyager spacecraft were changing our understanding of the solar system, they also spurred a leap in spacecraft communications. The mission’s impact is still visible in California’s Mojave Desert. There, at NASA’s Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex, the arcs of antenna dishes peek out over craggy hilltops. Goldstone was the first place where the two Voyagers started to change the landscape. The farther they traveled, the bigger these dishes needed to be so they could send and receive radio waves necessary to track and communicate with the probes.

NASA Contracts With BWXT Nuclear Energy To Advance Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Technology
Source: NASA

As NASA pursues innovative, cost-effective alternatives to conventional propulsion technologies to forge new paths into the solar system, researchers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, say nuclear thermal propulsion technologies are more promising than ever, and have contracted with BWXT Nuclear Energy, Inc. of Lynchburg, Virginia, to further advance and refine those concepts.