Google+

Birth of a Black Hole

At2018cow, or The Cow, as seen about 80 days after it first exploded
At2018cow, or The Cow, as seen about 80 days after it first exploded(Credit: Northwestern University)

In June 2018, a bright light burst into the skies over the Northern Hemisphere. At a glance it looked like any other supernova, but on closer inspection this thing turned out to be far weirder. Officially known as AT2018cow (but quickly nicknamed “The Cow”), astronomers now believe the ATLAS survey’s twin telescopes in Hawaii captured an unprecedented look at the birth of a black hole or a neutron star. read more

On a Collision Course with a Cloud

An artist's imagining of the night sky from Earth as the Milky Way collides with neighboring...
An artist’s imagining of the night sky from Earth as the Milky Way collides with neighboring galaxy Andromeda – a new study shows that the Large Magellanic Cloud will also smash into the Milky Way much sooner(Credit: NASA, ESA, Z. Levay and R. van der Marel (STScI), T. Hallas, and A. Mellinger)

When we think of celestial threats to our planet, we usually think of big asteroids and comets, and maybe the odd gamma ray burst or supernova. What we probably wouldn’t think of is an entire galaxy bearing down on us, but according to a new study, that’s exactly what’s happening right now. The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a nearby dwarf galaxy, is on a collision course with the Milky Way, but there’s no need to worry just yet – the starry smashup won’t begin for another two billion years or so. read more

Lockheed’s Reusable Lunar Lander

The manned lunar lander would be used for both exploration and to rehearse skills needed for...
The manned lunar lander would be used for both exploration and to rehearse skills needed for a manned mars mission(Credit: Lockheed Martin)

Lockheed Martin has taken the wraps off its vision for a future manned lunar lander at International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Bremen, Germany. The concept spacecraft is designed to show how a reusable lander, in conjunction with NASA’s planned lunar Gateway deep-space orbital outpost, can support an indefinite human presence on the Moon as well as providing valuable experience for the first manned missions to Mars.

It’s been almost half a century since the last astronauts set foot on the Moon and with new US plans committing NASA to a program of sustained human exploration and exploitation of deep space, returning to the lunar surface will involve much more than simply taking up where Apollo left off. Not only has technology advanced considerably since the 1960s, but making more than temporary and sporadic visits to the Moon and beyond requires a whole new approach to space exploration. read more

Black Holes Bigger than Supermassive Found

An illustration of one of the ultramassive black holes discovered by the Spanish-Canadian team
An illustration of one of the ultramassive black holes discovered by the Spanish-Canadian team(Credit: NASA)

Since they’re basically invisible, it can be hard to pin down just how big a black hole is. They can range anywhere from a few times the mass of the Sun up to millions or billions times that mass, but there’s a potential class that are even bigger than that. read more

Strangest Planets

There's an entire universe of weird and wonderful exoplanets out there, and New Atlas is rounding ...
There’s an entire universe of weird and wonderful exoplanets out there, and New Atlas is rounding up some of the most bizarre (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

For a long time, Earth was the weirdest planet we knew about. In our little corner of the universe, where Mercury is the hot one, Jupiter is the protective bigger brother, and Pluto is the one we kicked out of the club for breaking the rules, Earth is the crazy cat lady, hoarding billions of life forms. read more

Is the Universe All There?

New computer simulations have questioned the existence of dark energy, a so-far theoretical force that is ...
New computer simulations have questioned the existence of dark energy, a so-far theoretical force that is said to be driving the expansion of the universe (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

According to the Lambda Cold Dark Matter (Lambda-CDM) model, which is the current accepted standard for how the universe began and evolved, the ordinary matter we encounter every day only makes up around five percent of the universe’s density, with dark matter comprising 27 percent, and the remaining 68 percent made up of dark energy, a so-far theoretical force driving the expansion of the universe. But a new study has questioned whether dark energy exists at all, citing computer simulations that found that by accounting for the changing structure of the cosmos, the gap in the theory, which dark energy was proposed to fill, vanishes. read more

NASA Reveals New Mars Rocket

It is set to become the largest rocket ever built, dwarfing the rockets that took man to the moon and paving the way for manned missions to Mars.

NASA today reveal stunning new pictures of its SLS (Space Launch System), which will eventually be capable of lifting 130 tons into orbit.

The rocket will be used to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station, and to help us explore the outer reaches of the solar system.Nasa's vast SLS rocket, which will launch payloads of upto 130 tonnes into orbit and could make its first flight in 2017.

It is even hoped the craft could play a role in manned missions to Mars, being able to launch ‘stepping stone’ bases into orbit.

‘The potential use of SLS for science will further enhance the synergy between scientific exploration and human exploration,’ said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator for science at NASA Headquarters in Washington. read more

Black Hole Discovered

A black hole has been found to be pumping out  of iron and nickel into the universe – spewing out more powerful jets that  scientists first thought.

Black holes usually put out jets of low-mass  particles, thousands of light-years long, into surrounding galaxies.

These jets recycle matter and energy into  space and can affect when and where a galaxy forms stars.

Scroll down for  video…

Black hole
A black hole has been found to be pumping out of iron  and nickel into the universe – spewing out more powerful jets that scientists  first thought. The 4U1630-47 star system is depicted above in an artist’s  illustration, with a large blue star on the right and jets emanating from a  black hole in the center of the disc on the left read more

Space Balloon

Would be astronauts looking to book the trip  of a lifetime are being offered the chance to float into space in a high tech  balloon.

A Spanish company plans on offering the  ultimate day trip to near-space in two years time – just enough time to start  saving for the £95,000 ($142,000) ticket.

During the flight, passengers will be able to  stand up and enjoy fantastic panoramic views of Earth, experience weightlessness  and even eat a meal if they desire.

Scroll down  for video…

Would be astronauts looking to book the trip of a lifetime are being offered the chance to float into space in a high tech balloon
Would be astronauts looking to book the trip of a  lifetime are being offered the chance to float into space in a high tech balloon  (pictured)

 

During the flight passengers will be able to stand up and enjoy fantastic panoramic views of Earth, while also being served a meal
During the flight passengers will be able to stand up in  their pod (pictured) and enjoy fantastic panoramic views of Earth, while also  being served a meal

 

The ëblooní is the brainchild of Spanish  entrepreneur Jose Mariano Lopez-Urdiales, boss of Barcelona-based  Zero2Infinity.

Space tourists will journey to earth’s outer  limits in a capsule that can hold six people – four passenger and two  pilots.

Annelie Schoenmaker of Zero2Infinity, said:  ‘The ride will be very gentle and  peaceful as well as environmentally friendly.

‘Passengers will be able to see the sun and  the stars at the same time, while looking down on the curvature of the  earth.’

   The passenger pod is carried into near-space by a high tech balloon and then separates after cruising above the earth for two hours
The passenger pod is carried into near-space by a high  tech balloon and then separates after cruising above the earth for two hours. It  is carried back to Earth by a para-foil when passengers will briefly experience  zero gravity

Russian adventurer Artemy  Lebedev who is one of the few people on the planet to have visited every  country, has already signed up for a trip to near-space.

Commercial operations will begin in 2015 but  a trip for four people will cost around £95,000.

Ms Schoenmaker said: ‘The  experience will be very much like  that in an aeroplane although there will be a  period of about 30 seconds when passengers will experience weightlessness and  will be able to  float around the cabin.

‘Everything is customised to the person’s  individual requirements. We can partition off part of the cabin for  those who  want more privacy and we can even serve them Michelin star  meals if that’s what  they want.’

The pod is large enough to carry six passengers - four space tourists and two pilots
The pod is large enough to carry six passengers – four  space tourists and two pilots. The company’s ‘Bloons’ are usually used to  conduct science experiments in near space

Zero2Infinitydevelops  technologies to enable cost-efficient access to near-space with  zero-environmental impact flying solutions.

While it currently offers trips for  scientific researchers as well as equipment in its ‘Bloon’ pods, it is targeting  couples and families with this new venture.

Zero2Infinity’s largest pod, which carries  six people, has 15 square metres of windows for amazing views of the Earth and  space.

The company is currently doing test flights  and raising more investment for its new venture.

JOURNEY OF THE BLOON TO THE  EDGE OF SPACE

  • The balloons lift off from an aerodrome in  Cordoba, Spain – although the location has not been confirmed
  • Ascent from the Earth’s surface to an  altitude of 36 kilometers takes just one hour
  • The balloon and pod fly for around two hours  at a height that is twice that of Concorde’s cruising altitude
  • The balloon vents gas to descend like a  normal hot air balloon
  • The pod separates from the balloon,  attached to a para-foil, which allows the passengers to experience zero  gravity for around two minutes
  • Guided descent to a landing area takes  around 40 minute
A Bloon and pod starts its journey into near-space
The balloon and pod fly for around two hours at a height that is twice that of Concorde's cruising altitude
A Bloon begins its ascent from the Earth’s surface  (above) to an altitude of 36 kilometers.  They then fly for around  two hours at a  height that is twice that of Concorde’s cruising  altitude

 

An artist's impression of passengers inside a pod on their journey to near-space
An artist's impression of passengers inside a pod on their journey to near-space
An artist’s impression of passengers inside a pod on  their journey to near-space

The company usually takes researchers and  scientific experiments into near-space.

Its balloons offer scientists the chance to  so earth and space observations, study atmospheric science, demonstrate  technology in zero gravity conditions and conduct drop testing.

Zero2Gravity recently collaborated with  Spanish university, Universitat Jaume, to  send its humanoid robot called NAO into space.

The collaboration aims to advance in the  development of robotics by offering a real platform to test university’s  research in robotic intelligence.

Attribution: Sarah Griffiths, Mail Online