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All posts tagged "NASA"

  • Osiris-Rex will today fly past Earth before visiting our asteroid neighbour

    We're still mourning the loss of Cassini but space exploration doesn't have time for emotion. Instead, another craft is on NASA's radar this week as it's set to fly past Earth to begin its mission in earnest. The craft in question is Osiris-Rex. Launched in September 2016, it's on its way to the nearby asteroid Bennu. It's also set to return samples of the 500m diameter asteroid to Earth. It's an ambitious mission, and part of it involves using Earth's planet's gravitational pull as a slingshot. Completing this manoeuvre today, it will today pass around 11 000km above Antarctica and eastern...

  • ‘Thanks for the science’: NASA leads emotional Twitter farewell to Cassini

    After nearly 20 years in space, and 13 years studying Saturn and its host of moons, Cassini has plunged headfirst into the gas giant, ending its mission. Cassini-Huygens was one of the most daring missions undertaken by three space agencies -- NASA, the ESA and Italian Space Agency -- and in the process gathered invaluable information about Saturn, its two possibly habitable moons -- Titan and Enceladus -- and its gorgeous rings. But as the world waited for Cassini's final radio messages to reach Earth, the planet's Twitter users could hardly stand it. #GrandFinale and #GoodbyeCassini were two hashtags used to...

  • ETA 2 days: Cassini begins its daring death dive towards Saturn

    Nearly 20 years ago a spacecraft named Cassini-Huygens began its journey to the Solar System's second largest gas giant Saturn to study the planet and its numerous moons. On 15 September 2017, its mission will be terminated in the most triumphant way possible: a deep dive and eventual crash into the surface of Saturn. It'll be a sad moment for those vested in the craft, but Cassini has nonetheless been an invaluable tool to astronomers, scientists, and little boys hosting Goodbye Cassini parties in their back gardens. We're approaching #Saturn over the northern hemisphere in advance of first #GrandFinale dive through gap...

  • Watch: NASA captures Hurricane Irma’s conception and demise in stunning GIF

    Hurricane Irma is now no more, but the data gained from the storm is only just being collated and studied. This week, NASA's Short-term Prediction Research and Transition Center (or SPoRT) compiled 10 days of imagery taken by the  GOES-16 weather satellite into a 96 second GIF. And yes, it's as incredible as it sounds. Although the video is a bit slower than its first attempt, NASA SPoRT's GIF nonetheless tells the story of Irma -- from her birth from a tropical wave, to her final hours as a tropical depression over the southeastern United States. As Category 5 Irma churns away...

  • NASA’s SDO captures huge solar flares in gorgeous GIF

    Human beings might be under siege thanks to the current tropical weather on Earth, but in space, the Sun's atmosphere is seemingly more active than normal too. NASA's SDO (Solar Dynamics Obervatory) recorded two massive solar flares that erupted from the star's surface Wednesday, both the most intense the organisation has seen since 2008. GIF: NASA/Goddard/SDO "Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation," NASA explains. "Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however -- when intense enough -- they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel." And that...

  • [Updating] In tweets: Irma, Jose and Katia now all Atlantic hurricanes

    We just saw the last of Hurricane Harvey, a storm that broke US mainland rainfall records, finally dissipate over the northeastern portion of the US. But hot on its heels is its big, fierce sister, Hurricane Irma. As of late Tuesday, Irma was a category 5 storm, packing sustained winds in excess of 280km/h. It became the strongest recorded storm to form in the Atlantic Basin, discounting the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. It's currently the fifth strongest in recorded history in the entire Atlantic. #Irma is only the 5th Atlantic basin hurricane with a peak wind speed of...

  • Cassini takes deepest dip into Saturn before crashing

    NASA's Cassini space probe is less than a month away from crashing into Saturn as part of its Grand Finale, but this week will see the probe take its closest look at the ringed world yet. The Grand Finale portion of Cassini's mission started on 22 April and sees the probe complete 21 orbits around Saturn before plunging into the gas giant on the 22nd orbit (set for 15 September). Now, the space agency has confirmed that the probe has started its 20th orbit, set to be its lowest orbit before the final one. We’ve begun #GrandFinale orbit #20, which will include the deepest...

  • NASA’s groundbreaking Parker Solar Probe to visit the Sun in 2025

    As ambitious as Icarus might've been, even he flew a little too close to the Sun. But in the non-fictional world, NASA is planning to do exactly the same. But, you know, replacing those wax wings with a massive heat shield. The Parker Solar Probe, a multi-billion-dollar unmanned mission to the Sun has been made concrete this week, with a timeline and mission outline. The probe, renamed in honour of astrophysicist Eugene Parker, will travel to the Sun, and try extremely hard to not burst into flames. It will be aided by a fat carbon-composite heat shield that'll allow the craft to...

  • Watch live: astronauts repair the ISS during historic 200th spacewalk

    Two NASA astronauts are about to embark on the 200th spacewalk outside the International Space Station (ISS). Peggy Whitson and Jack Fisher are the two lucky Americans who will venture out into the vacuous void to repair a few problems on the ISS's exterior and swap out a few parts. LIVE NOW: @AstroPeggy and @Astro2Fish prepare to venture outside @Space_Station for 6.5 hour #spacewalk. Watch: https://t.co/mzKW5uDsTi pic.twitter.com/4jldGpDMNK — NASA (@NASA) May 12, 2017 For Fisher, it will be his first ever time walking through space, but for 57-year-old Whitson, it's just another day at the office. She broke the record for most days...

  • Cassini’s latest fly-by captures Saturn’s creepy but fascinating surface

    NASA has this week published new images of Saturn's surface taken by its Cassini spacecraft in April. The decade-old craft, embarking on the first stage of it final mission, dipped between the planet's cloudbase and its ring network. Tracking with its wide-angle camera across Saturn's surface, Cassini captured the odd lines and blotches on the gas giant from its north pole to equator. According to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the craft captured over an hour of footage. Cassini flew within 7000km of Saturn's cloudbase, capturing the angular lines of its 'hexagon', and its creepy north pole And judging by that footage, Saturn...

  • Where’s the dust? Cassini non-discovery puzzles NASA

    NASA's Cassini space probe has started its Grand Finale, diving between Saturn's rings before crashing into the gas giant later this year. However, the first plunge has perplexed scientists, who were expecting to encounter a ton of cosmic dust. Instead, the probe found a low level of dust, the space agency explained. "The region between the rings and Saturn is 'the big empty,' apparently," said Cassini Project Manager Earl Maize of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "Cassini will stay the course, while the scientists work on the mystery of why the dust level is much lower than expected." Prior to the...

  • Cassini’s grand finale: Saturn’s best friend embarking on its final mission

    NASA's fabled Cassini mission is about to come to an abrupt but long-coming end. The craft, which has been a part of Saturn's sky since 2004, will finally end its celestial bucket list by self-destructing in the most bad-ass way possible -- nosediving into Saturn itself. "On Wednesday, April 26, the spacecraft will make the first in a series of dives through the 1500-mile-wide (2400-kilometre) gap between Saturn and its rings as part of the mission’s grand finale," NASA reveals. Incidentally, no other spacecraft has ever done this before. If that isn't enough, Cassini will attempt to cross through the rings 22...

  • Boeing’s Deep Space Gateway will be our high-tech taxi to Mars

    There's a slim chance that us human beings will be populating both the Moon and Mars in the next few decades. Boeing, alongside NASA, is leading that charge. The company has today revealed concepts of its "deep space gateway and transport systems" that it hopes will help NASA and its astronauts explore our two closest celestial neighbours more intricately. And by more intricately, we mean actually walking their surfaces. "Known as the Deep Space Gateway," Boeing writes in a press release, "the habitat could support critical research and help open opportunities for global government or commercial partnerships in deep space, including...

  • NASA’s online library will up your inspirational quote game

    If only the hipsters of 2012 could see us now. More than 140 000 NASA images, videos and audio files have been released to the public -- copyright free -- all available for download on one platform. According to a press release, the content comes from the "agency's many missions in aeronautics, astrophysics, Earth science, human spaceflight, and more." Anyone with online access is now able to embed the content, or download it in multiple resolutions. The site is best used on a computer, but it does scale down for phones and tablets. We're not sure that this is the future NASA envisioned for its free image...

  • Mars Curiosity Rover is injured with no one around to fix it

    It's a sad lonely world for a space craft. You're sent deep into space beyond foreign worlds and forced to survive with little to no human assistance at all. For the Mars Curiosity Rover, it has lived on the Red Planet like this for nearly five years. And the little thing's still plodding along. But it's finally beginning to show its age. A routine check of the Rover's exterior performed earlier this month revealed that the left-middle wheel is taking quite a beating. Images were beamed back from the explorer this week, and tweeted via the Rover's personal Twitter account. These are...