Earth is a famously wet planet, but where all that water came from in the first place remains a mystery. The most commonly-accepted theory is that comets and asteroids delivered it via impacts during the early days of Earth, and now a NASA study has found new evidence to support that idea. Observations of a comet that whizzed by close to Earth a few months ago show that it contains “ocean-like” water – and this may apply to other previously-dismissed comets too.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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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.’
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.’
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
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