January 11, 2018

Steep Slopes On Mars Reveal Structure Of Buried Ice

A cross-section of a thick sheet of underground ice is exposed at the steep slope (or scarp) that appears bright blue in this enhanced-color view from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The view covers an area about 550 yards (500 meters) wide. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UA/USGS

January 11, 2018 – Researchers using NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) have found eight sites where thick deposits of ice beneath Mars’ surface are exposed in faces of eroding slopes. These eight scarps, with slopes as steep as 55 degrees, reveal new information about the internal layered structure of previously detected underground ice sheets in Mars’ middle latitudes. Read More

Researchers Catch Supermassive Black Hole Burping … Twice

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Comerford (University of Colorado-Boulder)

January 11, 2018 – A team led by CU Boulder researchers has caught a supermassive black hole in a distant galaxy snacking on gas and then “burping”—not once, but twice. CU Boulder Assistant Professor Julie Comerford, who led the study, said the supermassive black hole under study appears to have belched—essentially blasting out jets of bright light from the gas it inhaled—two times over the course of about 100,000 years. While astronomers have predicted such objects can flicker on and off as a result of gas feeding events, this is one of the few times one has been caught in the act. Read More

Citizen Scientists Discover Five-Planet System

Artist’s visualization of the K2-138 system, the first multi-planet system discovered by citizen scientists. The central star is slightly smaller and cooler than our sun. The five known planets are all between the size of Earth and Neptune; planet b may potentially be rocky, but planets c, d, e, and f likely contain large amounts of ice and gas. All five planets have orbital periods shorter than 13 days and are all incredibly hot, ranging from 800 to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)

January 11, 2018 – In its search for exoplanets—planets outside of our solar system—NASA’s Kepler telescope trails behind Earth, measuring the brightness of stars that may potentially host planets. The instrument identifies potential planets around other stars by looking for dips in the brightness of the stars that occur when planets cross in front of, or transit, them. Typically, computer programs flag the stars with these brightness dips, then astronomers look at each one and decide whether or not they truly could host a planet candidate. Read More

Sealed Up, Ready To Go: U.S. Air Force’s SBIRS GEO Flight-4 Missile Warning Satellite Encapsulated For Launch

The U.S. Air Force’s SBIRS GEO Flight-4 satellite, built at Lockheed Martin’s Sunnyvale, California satellite manufacturing factory, was encapsulated on January 9. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin

January 11, 2018 – The U.S. Air Force’s fourth Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) satellite built by Lockheed Martin was encapsulated on January 9. The SBIRS GEO Flight-4 satellite is now ready for its planned Jan. 18 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Read More

More News:

UAE Space Agency Launches iShuttle To Engage Young Students
Source: ANSAmed

Young students in the United Arab Emirates will now have the opportunity to contribute towards the country’s space sector with the launching of the new iShuttle online portal, allowing them to contribute their ideas and solutions to some of the many challenges that comes with space exploration.

Hubble Finds Substellar Objects In The Orion Nebula
Source: NASA

In an unprecedented deep survey for small, faint objects in the Orion Nebula, astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have uncovered the largest known population of brown dwarfs sprinkled among newborn stars. Looking in the vicinity of the survey stars, researchers not only found several very-low-mass brown dwarf companions, but also three giant planets. They even found an example of binary planets where two planets orbit each other in the absence of a parent star.

SpaceX Delays Commercial Crew Test Flights To Latter Half Of 2018
Source: SpaceNews

SpaceX has delayed its two commercial crew test flights by four months, according to a new NASA schedule released Jan. 11, raising questions about whether it or Boeing will be able to send astronauts to the International Space Station by the end of the year as previously planned.

NASA Team First To Demonstrate X-ray Navigation In Space
Source: NASA

In a technology first, a team of NASA engineers has demonstrated fully autonomous X-ray navigation in space — a capability that could revolutionize NASA’s ability in the future to pilot robotic spacecraft to the far reaches of the solar system and beyond.

NOAA’s Future Constellation: Large And Small Satellites In Variety Of Orbits
Source: SpaceNews

In the future, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration may rely on a mix of large government owned and operated satellites, imaging instruments hosted on commercial satellites, small satellites in low Earth orbit and data purchased from commercial firms.

Make America Great Again In Space Report Released By Potomac Institute
Source: Potomac Institute For Policy Studies

The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies is pleased to present a new report, Make America Great Again in Space. The report recommends bold new policy to ensure US leadership in space in the realms of commercial enterprise, defense, and intelligence.

K Sivan To Take Over As ISRO Chief
Source: Times Of India

Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) director, Dr K Sivan, is set to take charge as the new chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) on January 12.

Poop, Pop Threaten Air Force Rocket Program, Investigators Say
Source: Colorado Springs Gazette

Pentagon investigators have found that Air Force rocket programs have a poopy problem with messy factories and sloppy procedures that could endanger military launches. The 26-page report, which found 181 distinct quality control issues, slammed the Air Force Space Command’s rocket-buying program, saying leaders “did not perform adequate quality assurance.” The command is based at Peterson Air Force Base.

Indian PSLV Rocket Set For Return To Flight Mission With 31 Satellites
Source: Spaceflight101

India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle is targeting liftoff on Friday on the rocket’s return to flight mission after a 2017 failure, aiming to lift into orbit a total of 31 satellites ranging from a large Indian Earth Observation craft to various small satellites and CubeSats for remote sensing and technology demonstrations.

Hallmark Seeks To Revolutionize U.S. Space Enterprise Command And Control
Source: DARPA

The growing complexity of space operations coupled with an increased need for timely decisions demands innovative approaches to battle management command and control (BMC2) technologies. To help ensure future U.S. technological and strategic superiority, DARPA’s Hallmark program seeks to develop revolutionary tools and technologies to plan, assess, and execute U.S. military operations in space.

Gravity Assist: Mars With Bruce Jakosky And Michael Meyer
Source: NASA

A podcast interview about Mars mysteries.

Delta IV Launch Scrubbed After Repeated Last-Minute Countdown Aborts
Source: Spaceflight 101

The United Launch Alliance launch team in California played a game of patience on Thursday, taking a Delta IV rocket through a four-hour launch window in an attempt to get the NROL-47 reconnaissance satellite off the pad. However, several technical issues prevented the rocket from taking flight as computers aborted launch attempts at T-85 and T-26 seconds.