A Green Comet Will Go Near The Earth Again Since The Stone Age This object came a very long way, indeed.For the very first time since the Stone Age, a ball of ice named C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will be going near the Earth. According to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the celestial object is estimated to be about 26 million miles from Earth on February 2.Astronomers believe that this distance is the closest the comet will be to the Earth in 50,000 years. While that distance may seem too far, the icy comet is burning so bright that there is a possibility that we could see it in the night sky. NASA states that while comets are generally unpredictable, this particular one has a big chance of being easily spotted by binoculars."[...]If this one continues its current trend in brightness, it'll be easy to spot with binoculars, and it's just possible it could become visible to the unaided eye under dark skies," the organization wrote in an update last year.The moniker “green comet” comes from its description. The space object is said to have a "greenish coma, short broad dust tail, and long faint ion tail." The color is linked to dicarbon, a molecule that emits the color as the sunlight decays it.Image credit: Mike Hankey#comets #dicarbon #space #NASA
Progress on the Spacesuits for a Moon MissionFifty years after the end of the Apollo missions, NASA is set on returning to the moon with its Artemis program. Along with designing rockets and spacecraft for the journey, there will be a need for new spacesuits for lunar exploration and tasks. NASA has spent 15 years and $420 million on designing new suits, but now have contracted the work out to two aerospace companies that will be able to build on NASA's existing research. Those companies are Axiom Space in Texas and Collins Aerospace in North Carolina, which will each work on the suits independently. NASA has budgeted $3.5 billion over the next 12 years for the suits. These new spacesuits will need to be much tougher and more adaptable than the suits Neil Armstrong and the other Apollo astronauts wore to walk on the moon's surface. We've learned a lot about space since then. Dan Burbank, former astronaut and senior tech fellow at Collins Aerospace, explains one of the required innovations.Both Axiom and Collins are designing their suits to be rear-entry. This means that rather than putting a suit on within an airlock and then exiting a spacecraft, as is done with spacesuits currently on the ISS, these new designs could be attached externally to a special NASA-prototyped airlock called a suit port. “You could literally back into a hatch, bond the outer portion of your [suit] to this structure and then open the hatch,” Burbank says. This helps reduce the amount of potentially harmful lunar regolith, or moon dust, that is tracked back inside. Using a suit port “eliminates the regolith hazard,” Burbank says. “None of the exterior of the suit sees the interior of the spacecraft.”This brings up a picture of a landing craft with suits attached around the outside as it lands. What will the aliens think? There are lots more requirements for the new suits. Read about the suits and how these companies plan to address the mission's needs at Scientific American. -via Damn Interesting(Image credit: NASA)#space #spacesuit #Artemis #NASA
Solar Eclipse on Mars Captured by the Perseverance RoverPhobos is one of Mars’ moons. In an interesting turn of events, the Mars rover Perseverance has captured footage of the potato-shaped moon eclipsing the planet. The video was taken with the machine’s Mastcam-Z camera on April 2, the 397th Martian day of the mission. The eclipse lasted over forty seconds, which is actually just on par with the solar eclipses we see from Earth.What’s great about this footage, aside from capturing the astronomical event, was that it was able to provide the most zoomed-in image of the moon during an eclipse. “I knew it was going to be good, but I didn’t expect it to be this amazing,” said Rachel Howson of Malin Space Science Systems in San DiegoImage credit: Planet Volumes#moons #space #Phobos #Mars #NASA #Perseverance #rover #eclipse 
"Beacon in the Galaxy": Scientists Design New Message for AliensWe’re still not giving up on trying to contact extraterrestrial life.On the 50th anniversary of humanity’s first attempt to send out a message, called the Arecibo message, for aliens, an international team of researchers led by Jonathan Jiang of NASA has designed a new missive for extraterrestrial recipients. This new note is actually a 13-page epistle called Beacon in the Galaxy. The Beacon in the Galaxy contains a basic introduction to mathematics, chemistry, and biology. In addition, the researchers included a plan for when to broadcast the message and where to send the transmission. “The motivation for the design was to deliver the maximum amount of information about our society and the human species in the minimal amount of message,” Jiang explained. “With improvements in digital technology, we can do much better than the [Arecibo message] in 1974.”Will we finally get a reply from outer space? Only time will tell! Image credit: Jiang et.al#space #transmission #message #NASA #BeaconintheGalaxy 
The First-Ever Moon Dust Collected by the Apollo Mission to be AuctionedOn May 25, 1961, President Kennedy delivered a speech to Congress about landing men on the Moon. It was a speech that made thousands of people, scientists, technicians, workers, engineers, and administrators, work together. Over eight years later, on July 20, 1969, what was once a dream became a reality when the Apollo 11 mission landed on the Moon's surface. A few hours after the landing, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin came out of the spacecraft and stepped onto the dusty lunar surface.The Apollo 11 mission, however, not only aimed to bring men to the Moon but also to collect lunar dust for study. The collection of lunar material was assigned to Armstrong, who put about a kilogram of lunar dust on a Teflon bag.Unfortunately, NASA lost this Teflon bag some years later, and it would land in the personal collection of a former curator of the Cosmosphere museum in Kansas. While NASA did prove that the Teflon bag was from the Apollo 11 mission, the agency was ordered to return five of the six scanning electron microscope (SEM) sample stubs that contained the Apollo lunar dust from the bag. This decision made said lunar dust the only verified samples to be legally sold.(Images: Bonham)#NASA #NeilArmstrong #BuzzAldrin #Space #Moon #MoonDust #Apollo11
Star Dunes of MarsA crater in Mars’ Tyrrhena Terra region can now be seen in high definition. The HiRISE images, which showcase the varying geographical formations that formed in that area, captured the sight.The images were part of research done with the CRISM instrument to detect possible clays. A set of star dunes can be seen on one of the smaller craters in the region. For reference, a star dune is formed by sand particles that were blown by the wind from multiple directions. The dune shape that results is a star pattern, hence the name. These beautiful dunes were theorized to be made most likely of basalt, which is a common volcanic rock.Image credit: NASA/JPL/UArizona#Mars #space #HiRISE #NASA #stardunes #craters #TyrrhenaTerra
Odd Radio Circles: Giant Rings of Radio Waves Found in SpaceThese are probably the rarest space objects spotted by humans.Odd radio circles (ORCs) are huge rings composed of radio waves. What’s interesting about them is that aside from not knowing their origin, only five ORCs have ever been sighted!The first three were captured by the high-resolution MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa in 2019. The fourth was actually in the data of a radio telescope in 2013, but was not identified until years later. The last in the ORC roster was discovered in 2021. Researchers have different theories to explain the origin of these odd and mysterious space objects. One example is that they are created from a shock wave from the center of their galaxy, similar to what happens when two supermassive black holes merge.Other explanations have risen with the rise in the number of discovered ORCs. Hopefully, experts will uncover more of these objects to get more data from them. Maybe the mystery behind them will be solved in the years to come!Image credit: J. English (U. Manitoba)/EMU/MeerKAT/DES(CTIO)#space #ORCs #OddRadioCircles
Jupiter, Io, and Europa in One Photo Taken by NASA's Juno SpacecraftIt looks like Juno has caught her husband cheating again. This time with two women at once!All mythological jokes aside (let’s get real this amazing yet lowkey funny instance was just the opening for a cheesy joke), there is no cheating involved. This is merely a great feat of technological advancement and scientific prowess.NASA’s Juno is a spacecraft dedicated to orbiting Jupiter and observing the happenings within the planet and its nearby celestial neighbors. The orbiter was able to capture an image of the planet and its two moons nearby in just one photo! The two moons seem to be very far from Jupiter, as the spacecraft was flying closer to the planet at 8,000 miles (61,000 kilometers). Regardless, this rare photo is still amazing! The image was processed by scientist Andrea Luck using the data from the JunoCam instrument, which captured the photograph.Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS#space #Jupiter #Juno #Io #Europa #moons #photography #NASA
Pluto Has Giant Ice VolcanoesA team of scientists has ascertained that Pluto’s cryovolcanic activities yielded unique structures on its surface. The material from below its surface could have created different land formations such as domes, hills, mounds, and depressions.In an exploratory mission done by NASA’s New Horizons team, experts have determined the cryovolcanic activities caused large areas or regions to form. Kelsi Singer, the deputy project scientist of this program, and his team analyzed one of the formed regions, the Sputnik Planitia. This area is full of gigantic volcanoes, with domes ranging from 1 to 7 kilometers (about one-half to 4 miles) tall and 30 to 100 or more kilometers (about 18 to 60 miles) across, that sometimes merge to form more complex structures. These geographical formations are believed to be formed thanks to the possibility that Pluto's interior structure retained heat into the relatively recent past, enabling water-ice-rich materials to be deposited onto the surface. Image credit: NASA​#NASA #icevolcanoes #space #Pluto #cryovolcanoes
Is Mercury Full of Diamonds?Mercury has been the landing zone of meteorites for billions of years. While those impacts might have ruined the surface of the planet, there is also a possibility they might have blessed Mercury with precious gemstones as well. According to planetary scientist Kevin Cannon, the impacts created high pressures and temperatures that can transform carbon into diamonds. “What we think happened is that when [Mercury] first formed, it had a magma ocean and that graphite crystallized out of that magma,” Cannon explained.The scientist simulated 4.5 billion years of impacts on a graphite crust to find out how diamonds could be formed on the Mercurian surface. The findings show that if the planet had a skin of graphite around 300 meters thick, the impacts would have generated 16 quadrillion tons of diamonds. Wow. An opportunity to confirm Cannon’s hypothesis on the formation of gemstones could be done in 2025 when the BepiColombo mission reaches the planet.image credit: wikimedia commons #Mercury #diamonds #planetaryscience #space
Former Astronaut Chris Hadfield Test Drives the Astrolab Rover in Death ValleySpace colonization has always been humanity's dream. We see this theme in novels, cartoons, films, and TV shows. But before we can achieve that dream, we need to have an efficient transport network. This said network will enable us to live sustainably off Earth. Astrolab, a new company formed by leading planetary rover and robotics experts, aims to build just that, and the company's first step is the Flexible Logistics and Exploration (FLEX) rover. This rover can "pick up and deposit modular payloads. This means it is suitable for many tasks essential to sustainable living on the Moon, Mars, and beyond.The Astrolab team recently had a five-day field test of a full-scale prototype of the rover, and one of the guys who participated in the test was none other than the retired astronaut Chris Hadfield. You might know Hadfield from CSA's YouTube videos on life on the International Space Station. Hadfield says that he enjoyed driving the rover. He also got "an intuitive sense of what this rover can do."This might be the next chapter of planetary exploration and a step closer to space colonization.(Image Credit: Astrolab/ YouTube)#SpaceExploration #Space #Mars #Moon
China's First Moon RockChina’s Chang’e-5 spacecraft brought back the country’s first lunar rocks in December 2020. The samples are the first brought back to Earth since NASA’s Apollo and the Soviet Union’s Luna missions more than 40 years ago. With that long period of time, the arrival of these rare specimens motivated many lunar experts in China to conduct research studies on and about the samples. For reference, the Chang’e-5 recovered basalt. Basalt is a loose volcanic material from the vast lava plain in Moon’s northern region. Some of the collected specimens were given by the China National Space Administration to 31 scientific projects that applied for them. This could be the cause of approximately half a dozen papers published in the past six months regarding the lunar rock samples. Most of these studies were presented at the Lunar And Planetary Science Conference in Houston, Texas. The material collected by the spacecraft confirmed that the Moon was still active a billion years later than the samples from the Apollo mission suggested. While an established timeline as to the lunar volcanic activity is known, the reason behind the activity remains a mystery. Image credit: NASA#space #lunarresearch #Moon #China #science #Change5
NASA Curiosity Rover Spotted a "Flower" on MarsA flower-shaped object was spotted by NASA’s curiosity rover during its traversal of the Martian surface. The delicate formation resembled a branching piece of an ocean coral. The formation invites comparisons with Earth objects. Kevin Gill posted the photo on Twitter, describing the object as a “Martian flower.” The Curiosity's Mars Hand Lens Imager (Mahli) instrument, the device that serves as the “magnifying hand lens” of the rover, took the photo, hence the image’s small resolution.The “Martian flower” is a reminder of the waters that once inhabited the planet, an area of study that scientists are undertaking to figure out if the planet was once capable of hosting microbial life. Image credit: Kevin M. Gill/ NASA #Mars #Curiosity #rovers #NASA #space #photographs #formation
Beneath Its Thick Cover of Clouds, the Rocky Surface of Venus Glows Like a "Piece of Iron Pulled From a Forge"Venus’ rocky surface can clearly be seen in the images captured by NASA’s Parker Solar Probe. Thanks to the probe’s Wide-Field Imager (WISPR), the entire nightside of the planet was captured and combined into a video. The video revealed a faint glow from the surface. Continental regions, plains, and plateaus can also be seen on the planet. According to Nicola Fox, division director for the Heliophysics Division at NASA Headquarters, the images can help experts learn more about the geology of the Earth’s twin. The insight the probe has given through these images has thrilled them. “Parker continues to outperform our expectations, and we are excited that these novel observations taken during our gravity assist maneuver can help advance Venus research in unexpected ways,” Fox added.The images are the first instance that the planet’s surface can be seen at visible wavelengths, as the surface is blocked by a thick atmosphere. The WISPR cameras were able to pick up the wavelengths that got through the clouds of Venus. Image credit: NASA/APL/NRL #space #Venus #science #WISPR #NASA #ParkerSolarProbe
The First Images Captured by NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Include a "Primary Mirror Selfie"This is HD84406. It is one of the many stars that you will see in the constellation Ursa Major. Scientists chose to photograph this star because it is not around other stars with the same brightness. Now you might wonder where the star is in this picture. The answer is: it's all of the bright spots in the photo. Why is that the case? That's because the telescope that took this photo, the James Webb Space Telescope, has 18 primary mirror segments. And this is where the challenging part comes in: the team behind the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) instrument (the tool used by the telescope) will have to adjust the mirror segments until the images become one bright star. This photo of the HD84406 has been helpful in the process. The team has successfully identified which bright spot corresponds with which mirror.Aside from the image, the team also took a selfie of the telescope's primary mirror. The selfie was made possible by the specialized imaging lens inside the NIRCam instrument. The lens will also help the team confirm if the alignment is good.(Images: NASA)#JamesWebbSpaceTelescope #NASA #Space
Astronomers Found a Wandering Black Hole in Interstellar Space for the First TimeWith the abundance of discussions around black holes in the media, one would think that there are scientific proofs of multiple black holes across the universe. Which was untrue because the discovery of one actually takes so long due to the difficulty of spotting them against the vast blackness of space. Until today.After a long time, researchers finally announced that they have spotted an isolated stellar-mass black hole wandering around in space for the first time.This discovery is a continuation of a finding in 2011 when two project teams from Warsaw as well as the combined researchers in New Zealand and Japan spotted an extremely bright star light years away from Earth.They found out that the star changed its location, discovered that no light is emanating from the lensing, and ensured that the magnification lasted for a long time. These are necessary to make sure of the existence of a black hole. Additionally, they also identified it to be 20,000 light years from Earth, and is seven times bigger than our sun.Image: Sahu KC, et al/Arxiv#blackhole #astronomy #space
Nearly 1,000 Mysterious Filaments Twist Through the Center of the Milky Way GalaxyA new telescopic image from the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory's (SARAO) MeerKAT telescope was processed by astronomers. The resulting photograph was of the complex heart of the Milky Way galaxy. The MeerKat is the most sensitive radio telescope in the world, with 64 antennas spread over a diameter of 5 miles (8 kilometers).Astronomers combined 20 radio recordings that covered an area of the sky and turned them into a 100-megapixel mosaic that depicted the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The resulting image showed new supernova remnants, stellar nurseries, outbursting stars, and Sagittarius A*, the chaotic region around the supermassive black hole that lurks in the Milky Way's core.In addition to sighting different cosmic phenomena, experts have also discovered 1,000 mysterious strands that stretch up to 150 light years long. These mysterious filaments have strong magnetic fields and are found in pairs and clusters. According to astrophysicist Farhad Yusef-Zadeh at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, the mosaic has revealed a bigger picture. “Just examining a few filaments makes it difficult to draw any real conclusion about what they are and where they came from. This is a watershed in furthering our understanding of these structures," he said.Image credit: Ian Heywood/SARAO#astrophysics #galaxy #space #science #MeerKat #telescopes #MilkyWay
A Solar Eclipse in Antarctica, as Seen from SpaceThere was a total solar eclipse over Antarctica on December 4, 2021. The Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCVR) satellite observed from 1.5 million kilometers up, and took this image with its Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC). You would probably agree that this photograph is epic. While the earth itself is beautiful, you can clearly see the shadow of the moon thrown over the southernmost continent. While relatively few people were there to see the eclipse, Antarctica has its highest population in midsummer, so those who were there were treated to a couple minutes of darkness during the months of constant sunlight. Check out what they saw, and find out more about eclipse imaging at Petapixel. -via Digg#eclipse #Antarctica #astrophotography #space
How Big is the Universe? Mind-blowingly BIG as Shown in this VideoTake a trip around the universe with Professor Brian Cox in this video by the BBC. Cox serves as the narrator and guide in this short clip. The clip introduces the viewer to the different aspects and celestial bodies that can be found in the universe.The unique aspect of this short video is that it takes the viewers to magnitudes, slowly increasing by powers of ten as it continues to travel around the universe. If this video looks familiar, it is a play on a 1977 short film called Powers of Ten. The original film, created by Charles and Ray Eames also took its viewers to an adventure in magnitudes, starting from a picnic by the lakeside in Chicago and ending at the outer edges of the universe. Check out the video above! #science #universe #BBC #BrianCox #PowersofTen #CharlesEames #RayEames #space #film
Photographer Andrew McCarthy Captured a Stunning Photo of the Comet Leonard or the "Christmas Comet" from his BackyardAndrew McCarthy snapped stunning photos of Comet Leonard as it passed by our planet. The photographer went outside in his backyard and took photographs of the comet for about 12 minutes. In an Instagram post, McCarthy shared that he couldn’t see the comet with his eye alone, and used binoculars to see it clearly. “You can actually capture it with just a cell phone if you know where to look!” He added. The photographer used a modified SCT telescope to capture 25 separate 30-second exposures. In order to achieve the gorgeous photo of the comet above, McCarthy stacked the 25 frames together to achieve the zoomed-in effect as well!Image credit: Andrew McCarthy#photography #comets #space
The Ultimate House Tour: Float Through the International Space Station with a 360 Degree CameraThe International Space Station may perhaps be the most challenging place to go to. For one, you have to be an astronaut to live there, and being an astronaut requires a lot. To be one, you'd need a master's degree in a STEM field and at least two years of related, professional experience. Last but not least, you need to be able to pass the NASA astronaut physical. It is without saying that there are only a few people qualified to go to the ISS. The rest of us, meanwhile, are left wondering what it is like inside the orbital outpost.ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet shows us around the station with a 360 camera. And what's inside the station, you ask? Well, it's mostly wires and lots of monitors.(Video Credit: European Space Agency, ESA)#NASA #ESA #InternationalSpaceStation #ISS #Space
Launching Satellites with a SlingshotWhy use all the fuel of a rocket when we can just fling satellites into space? It seems like a question from a curious first grader, but there are people working on doing just that. A company called SpinLaunch has an electric-powered centrifuge with a vacuum chamber. The idea is to put objects such as satellites into the vacuum chamber, spin them at up to 5000 miles per hour, and then launch them through a tube toward space. Tests so far have been launching objects with a smaller-scale accelerator at 20% power, and they look promising.
NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Shows the Intricate Beauty of Jupiter's Bands of CloudThere exists in our Solar System a planet with colorful bands that seem to be borders or zones of some sort. On this planet is a spot that stands out for its reddish color. Even without visuals, it is easy to tell that I'm talking about the fifth planet of our Solar System: Jupiter. What is behind the planet's intriguing appearance? What lies beneath its distinctive bands? The Juno spacecraft from NASA provides clues through the microwave radiometer data it acquired as it probed the gas giant. Thanks to microwave light, scientists can peer deeper into the clouds of Jupiter, and they can better understand the planet's weather and climate. Dr. Leigh Fletcher, a participating scientist for the Juno mission, describes Jupiter's bands as only "the tip of the iceberg." Lots of mysteries still surround the planet. Learn more about the findings over at the University of Leicester. (Image Credit: NASA, ESA and A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight Center) / Wikimedia Commons) #Jupiter #Space #JunoSpacecraft #NASA
Earth and the Sun, as Viewed From the South Pole of the MoonSee the Earth and the Sun move from a unique perspective from outer space!NASA’s Ernie Wright accompanies the viewer in a stunning video that shows the movement of the Earth and the Sun from the perspective of the Moon’s South Pole. While raw footage was not taken from the lunar surface, the animated visualization represents the unusual motions of our planet for a span of three lunar days (which is equivalent to three months).In two minutes, the animation shows that the Earth actually bobs up and down. In addition, from the view of the Moon’s Mons Malapert, the Earth is seen in an upside-down position and can be seen rotating backward. The video also shows how a lunar eclipse happens!#Moon #Earth #Sun #LunarPerspective #Animation #NASA #Space