Satellite imagery from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) dashed hopes that Europe’s Schiaparelli lander arrived in one piece on the surface of Mars.
Before and after shots of Schiaparelli’s landing site show a white spot, believed to be the probe’s jettisoned parachute, and a large dark region, the likely crash site, images released on Friday show. Continue reading Mars Lander Crashed, Possibly Exploded
Neptune is sporting a new spot, the first one identified in the 21st century. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope confirmed the existence of the high-pressure system known as a dark vortex after bright clouds hinted at its presence. Continue reading Neptune Sports Dark Vortex, Hubble Images Reveal
On July 4, 2016, the Juno probe is scheduled to reach Jupiter, and begin a campaign to get closer to the Jovian giant than any other spacecraft in history.
Including Juno, there have been nine space probes that have studied Jupiter up close. The first was Pioneer 10, which sailed past the striped giant in 1973. Here’s a rundown of those nine missions, and what they have accomplished. Continue reading Up Close and Personal with Jupiter: A History of 9 Space Probes
This image, taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows a peculiar galaxy known as NGC 1487, lying about 30 million light-years away in the southern constellation of Eridanus.
Rather than viewing a celestial object, it is actually better to think of this as an event. Here, we are witnessing two or more galaxies in the act of merging together to form a single new galaxy. Each progenitor has lost almost all traces of its original appearance, as stars and gas have been thrown hither and thither by gravity in an elaborate cosmic whirl. Continue reading Peculiar galaxy known as NGC 1487
In case you didn’t know, a huge — like, on a galactic scale — cloud of gas is currently speeding toward our galaxy at 700,000 mph. It’s full of sulfur, over 11,000 light-years long and 2,500 light-years wide, contains as much mass as a million suns… and was very likely spat out of the Milky Way while T. rex was walking the Earth. Continue reading Gigantic Gas Cloud on Collision Course With Our Galaxy
All good parties, no matter how good-natured, will inevitably leave behind some damage — and this also rings true for young stars letting off some steam in a star-forming nebula.
In this dazzling image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, stunning detail of an open cluster, called Trumpler 14, can be seen. Sparkling bright like diamonds are 2,000 young, massive stars that are pumping out incredible quantities of energy. The cluster is located around 8,000 light-years from Earth. Continue reading Hubble Sees Stellar Block Party Rip-Up Neighborhood
ESA deploys ‘big iron’ to communicate with its deep-space missions: three 35 m-diameter dishes employing some of the world’s most advanced tracking technology. And it’s about to get a boost.
ESA’s three Deep Space Antenna stations at New Norcia, Australia, Cebreros, Spain and Malargüe, Argentina, beam commands and receive data from spacecraft voyaging hundreds of millions of kilometres into our Solar System.
The trio form part of ESA’s Estrack tracking network a global system of stations providing links between satellites in orbit and the European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany. The core network comprises 10 stations in seven countries.
The huge dishes – whose moveable structures weigh in at 620 tonnes – can be rotated, elevated and aimed with pinpoint accuracy despite high winds and heat, and transmit radio signals with up to 20 kW of power – enough to make, roughly, 10 000 pots of kitchen coffee.
The stations’ stellar performance, however, isn’t just about big moving, mechanical things: they make use of advanced, made-in-Europe electronics, including cryogenically cooled low-noise amplifiers and exquisitely machined mirrors made of metal.
Continue reading Big Iron gets technology boost