February 26, 2018

Beaming With The Light Of Millions Of Suns

Image of the Whirlpool galaxy, or M51. X-ray light seen by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory is shown in purple, and optical light from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is red, green and blue. The ultraluminous X-ray source, or ULX, in the new Caltech-led study is indicated. Image Credit: NASA/CXC/Caltech/M.Brightman et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI

February 26, 2018 – In the 1980s, researchers began discovering extremely bright sources of X-rays in the outer portions of galaxies, away from the supermassive black holes that dominate their centers. At first, researchers thought these cosmic objects, called ultraluminous X-ray sources, or ULXs, were hefty black holes with more than ten times the mass of the sun. But observations beginning in 2014 from NASA’s NuSTAR and other space telescopes are showing that some ULXs, which glow with X-ray light equal in energy to millions of suns, are actually neutron stars — the burnt-out cores of massive stars that exploded. Three such ULXs have been identified as neutron stars so far. Read More

Space Foundation Offers Week-Long Spring Break Workshop For Children 8-11 Years Of Age

Image Credit: Space Foundation

February 26, 2018 – The Space Foundation invites children, ages 8-11 to spend Spring Break at the Discovery Center, with hands-on, immersive activities and experiences, based on space, science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) during this Explore Space Spring Break Experience. Read More

More News:

22 Years Of SOHO
Source: ESA

The activity cycle of the Sun – where the number of sunspots increase and decrease – has been monitored regularly for around 250 years, but the use of space-based telescopes has given us a whole new perspective of our nearest star. On 22 December 2017 the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) reached 22 years in space. That duration is significant because it is the average length of the complete solar magnetic cycle.

Stars Around The Milky Way: Cosmic Space Invaders Or Victims Of Galactic Eviction?
Source: W. M. Keck Observatory

An international team of astronomers led by the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) has made a surprising discovery about the birthplace of groups of stars located in the halo of our Milky Way galaxy. These halo stars are grouped together in giant structures that orbit the center of our galaxy, above and below the flat disk of the Milky Way. Researchers thought they may have formed from debris left behind by smaller galaxies that invaded the Milky Way in the past.

Powerful Flare From Star Proxima Centauri Detected With ALMA
Source: ALMA

Using data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), a team of astronomers discovered that a powerful stellar flare erupted from Proxima Centauri last March. This finding, published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, raises questions about the habitability of our solar system’s nearest exoplanetary neighbor, Proxima b, which orbits Proxima Centauri.

An Inflatable Space Hotel Could Be Launched Into Orbit By 2021
Source: IFLScience

A private company in the US says it wants to launch its first space hotel by 2021 to house humans on a permanent basis. Bigelow Aerospace is famed for its inflatable habitats, one of which is currently docked to the International Space Station (ISS) – the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM).

Life In World’s Driest Desert Seen As Sign Of Potential Life On Mars
Source: Washington State University

For the first time, researchers have seen life rebounding in the world’s driest desert, demonstrating that it could also be lurking in the soils of Mars. Led by Washington State University planetary scientist Dirk Schulze-Makuch, an international team studied the driest corner of South America’s Atacama Desert, where decades pass without any rain.

Atacama Rover Astrobiology Drilling Studies (ARADS)
Source: NASA

How would you search for signs of life – traces of tiny, living microbes or their fossilized remains – in an extreme and distant environment? NASA scientists and engineers are working on an answer to that question, aiming to find out if life ever evolved on the planet Mars and if it still harbors life today. A project called the Atacama Rover Astrobiology Drilling Studies, or ARADS, has been designing tools and techniques for future exploration and testing them in one of the most Mars-like places on Earth: Chile’s Atacama Desert.

Maxar Technologies Announces William McCombe Is Stepping Down As CFO, Anil Wirasekara Appointed
Source: Maxar Technologies Ltd.

Maxar Technologies Ltd. (“Maxar” or the “Company”, formerly MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. “MDA”), a leading global provider of advanced space technology solutions for commercial and government markets, today announced that William McCombe is stepping down as Chief Financial Officer of Maxar effective immediately. Anil Wirasekara, who previously served as Chief Financial Officer of MDA from 1994 to October 2017, will assume the duties of Interim Chief Financial Officer of Maxar pending the search for Mr. McCombe’s replacement.

How The Trump Administration Wants To Make It Easier For Commercial Space Companies To Do Business
Source: The Verge

The Trump administration’s National Space Council met publicly for the second time this week to talk about upcoming changes to the US space policy agenda, and the big topic of the day was regulatory reform.

Paul Allen’s Stratolaunch Revs Up Runway Tests Of World’s Biggest Airplane
Source: GeekWire

Stratolaunch Systems, the space launch venture backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, says it put its super-duper-sized carrier plane through a fresh round of revved-up taxi tests last weekend at California’s Mojave Air and Space Port.

Widespread Moon Water Could Sustain Explorers And Even Fuel Rockets
Source: Newsweek

Scientists have discovered that water, or its relative hydroxyl, may be widely distributed across the surface of the moon—contradicting earlier research placing it mostly at the poles. If moon water is widespread and easily accessible, explorers could use it for drinking water, oxygen or even rocket fuel.

PALFA Discovers Neutron Stars On A Collision Course
Source: AAS Nova

Got any plans in 46 million years? If not, you should keep an eye out for PSR J1946+2052 around that time — this upcoming merger of two neutron stars promises to be an exciting show!

Isro Working On ‘Igloos’ For Future Outposts On Moon
Source: Times Of India

In what’s likely to become India’s biggest science programme in the next few years, Isro has started work on building igloos on the Moon. These ‘lunar habitats’, as scientists call them, will be built by sending robots and 3D printers to the Moon, and by using lunar soil and other material.

ILS’s Pysher: Proton Continues To Reinvent Itself To Compete
Source: International Launch Services (ILS)

The top executive with the U.S. firm that markets Russia’s Proton rocket blasted what he characterized as a recent slew of misinformation surrounding the vehicle, saying it enjoys the full support of the Russian government and that the culmination of a three-year quality control program instituted by its manufacturer is restoring the reliability for which the vehicle has long been known.

SpaceX’s Biggest Rival Has A ‘Genius’ Plan To Cut Its Rocket-Launch Costs By More Than 70%
Source: Business Insider

ULA’s largest rocket, the Delta IV Heavy, costs $350 million a launch, according to CEO Tory Bruno. It’s far more expensive that SpaceX’s $90 million Falcon Heavy, in part because it isn’t reusable. ULA plans to retire that launcher after about seven more missions, but the company is developing a reusable rocket, dubbed Vulcan, to compete with innovative companies like Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.

How Is NASA’s InSight Mars Lander Different From The Phoenix Mars Lander?
Source: SpaceFlight Insider

In 2008, NASA’s Phoenix Mars lander touched down in the Red Planet’s polar region. Now InSight, which is based on the Phoenix lander, is being prepped for flight. The two probes are very similar in design, but what does InSight have that Phoenix didn’t?

Honeywell Offers Students From Around The World The Opportunity To Train Like Astronauts And Explore Science And Technology-Based Careers
Source: Honeywell

Honeywell announced that 325 students from 35 countries and 25 U.S. states and territories will attend the annual Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC) in Huntsville, Ala. The two week-long programs – February 24 through March 9, 2018 – give students the opportunity to build leadership skills by tackling real-world challenges in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Jupiter Transformed, With Scott Bolton
Source: The Star Spot

It’s our cosmic backyard, and yet our own solar system is still full of surprises. Now it turns out we were “totally wrong” when it comes to just about everything we thought we knew about Jupiter. That’s not me speaking, it’s Scott Bolton, principal investigator for the NASA Juno mission to Jupiter.

CloudSat Exits The “A-Train”
Source: NASA

Mission managers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, this week lowered the orbit of the nearly 12-year-old CloudSat satellite following the loss of one of its reaction wheels, which control its orientation in orbit. While CloudSat’s science mission will continue, it will no longer fly as part of the Afternoon Constellation, or A-Train — six Earth-monitoring satellites that fly in a coordinated orbit to advance our understanding of how Earth functions as a system.

How Fast Is The Universe Expanding? The Answer Depends On How You Measure It, And That’s A Problem
Source: SYFY

The Universe is expanding. Wow, I still love being able to write that down. It’s such a wonderful, compact, simple statement, yet has implications so profound it may be decades before we understand them all. And we’ve known it to be true for a century already.

Torn Apart At Birth: 70 Years Since The Discovery of Miranda, Mysterious Moon Viewed By Voyager 2
Source: AmericaSpace

Seventy years ago, the existence of a new world was added to the growing vault of human knowledge. More than 1.8 billion miles (2.9 billion km) from Earth, circling the gaseous planet Uranus, its small size and closeness to its giant host had hitherto prevented it from being directly observed.