A hot and dense mass of complex molecules, cocooning a newborn star, has been discovered by a Japanese team of astronomers using ALMA. This unique hot molecular core is the first of its kind to have been detected outside the Milky Way galaxy. It has a very different molecular composition from similar objects in our own galaxy — a tantalizing hint that the chemistry taking place across the Universe could be much more diverse than expected.
Friday, September 30, 2016
NASA's Curiosity rover has found evidence that chemistry in the surface material on Mars contributed dynamically to the makeup of its atmosphere over time. It’s another clue that the history of the Red Planet’s atmosphere is more complex and interesting than a simple legacy of loss.
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Last week, NASA announced a call for white papers, asking for submissions of innovative ideas that could be essential for future exploration of our solar system, including manned missions Mars. The initiative, known as iTech, engages the public, universities, space industry and U.S. government agencies to offer technology solutions necessary for space exploration.
Using data from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and other facilities, an international team of scientists has found the first gamma-ray binary in another galaxy and the most luminous one ever seen. The dual-star system, dubbed LMC P3, contains a massive star and a crushed stellar core that interact to produce a cyclic flood of gamma rays, the highest-energy form of light.
Rocket Lab, a US-New Zealand company that aims to provide commercial rocket launch services, announced on Monday, Sept. 26, the completion of the world’s first private space launch site on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. The facility, named Launch Complex 1, will serve as the primary site for launches of the company’s Electron rocket carrying satellites into space.
In the ongoing hunt for the universe's earliest galaxies, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has wrapped up its observations for the Frontier Fields project. This ambitious project has combined the power of all three of NASA's Great Observatories -- Spitzer, the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory -- to delve as far back in time and space as current technology can allow.
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
In a presentation akin to something out of science fiction, Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX, announced the Interplanetary Transport System (ITS). The two-stage rocket would be bigger and send more payloads to orbit (and beyond) than anything in the history of spaceflight. At the 67th International Astronautical Congress held in Guadalajara, Mexico, Musk detailed the components of ITS – a giant booster stage and a giant spaceship totally 400 feet (122 meters) tall. The NewSpace entrepreneur’s discussion was entitled “Making humans a Multiplanetary Species”.