Aerospace

MarsPolar, a newly started international venture, is setting its sights on the Red Planet.

The project, consisting of specialists from Russia, United Arab Emirates, Poland, U.S. and Ukraine, has come up with a bold idea to establish a human settlement on Mars’ polar region, the part of the planet with abundant quantities of water ice. The targeted area could be very interesting in terms of alien life hunting as the MarsPolar team puts it: “life begins where the water exists.”

New data from the spacecraft that orbited Mercury for four years before crashing into the planet a week ago reveals Mercury's magnetic field is almost four billion years old. The discovery helps scientists piece together the history of Mercury, the closest planet to the sun and one about which we knew very little before MESSENGER. 

NASA's MESSENGER probe left Earth in 2004, reached Mercury in 2008 and has orbited the planet since 2011, sending data back .  Researchers used data obtained by MESSENGER in the fall of 2014 and 2015 when the probe flew incredibly close to the planet's surface - at altitudes as low as 15 kilometers, and a new study detailing the planet's ancient magnetic field was published in Science Express.


On March 17th, 2013, an object the size of a boulder hit the lunar surface in Mare Imbrium and exploded in a flash of light nearly 10 times as bright as anything ever recorded before - the largest recorded explosion occurred on the surface of the moon.
The Hubble Space Telescope is almost old enough to buy its own health insurance! 

Tomorrow, April 24th, the Hubble Space Telescope will turn 25. For much of that time, it has been a few hundred miles away, providing a peek into the cosmos. It has long exceeded its mission life (good thing too, it's successor will be a decade past its original completion date and 900% over budget, if it even goes up on the latest 2018 date) but that is okay, Hubble shows no signs of letting up.
With the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope next week, people are again thinking about its big successor. The very first month that this part of Science 2.0, the communications portal, went live, in January of 2007, we had an update on the James Webb Space Telescope and it was already way behind schedule. 
A remote gas planet has been detected about 13,000 light-years away, making it one of the most distant planets known.

The Poland-based Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE) Warsaw Telescope at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile scans the skies for planets using a method called microlensing. A microlensing event occurs when one star happens to pass in front of another, and its gravity acts as a lens to magnify and brighten the more distant star's light. If that foreground star happens to be orbited by a planet, the planet might cause a blip in the magnification. For a new study in Astrophysical Journal the researchers combined that with data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.

There’s real pressure on the aviation industry to introduce faster, cheaper and greener aircraft, while maintaining the high safety standards demanded of airlines worldwide.

Space is exciting so it is easy to get sucked into bold claims. 

A few years ago one of our writers had the idea to launch Bloggy into space. He was going to do all the work and just needed the money to pay the company, Interorbital, a very reasonable-sounding amount, so it was on.

My only real question was, "The knock on these guys is that they keep cashing checks but they never actually launch anything. What makes you think they will this time?"


Bloggy in spaaaaace.

The NASA spacecraft Dawn has spent more than seven years traveling across the Solar System to intercept the asteroid Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres.

Now in orbit around Ceres, the probe has returned the first images and data from these distant objects.

But inside Dawn itself is another first – the spacecraft is the first exploratory space mission to use an electrically-powered ion engine rather than conventional rockets.

From 2009 to 2013, ESA’s Planck satellite took measurements of the cosmic microwave background (CMB), radiation that originated approximately13 billion years ago, around 380,000 years after the Big Bang.

Due to the expansion of the universe, this light is still observable today at microwave wavelengths across the entire sky so Planck surveyed the sky to map this ancient light.

One result is that the standard model of cosmology remains an excellent description of the universe, unless the Planck data is combined with other astronomical observations, where several deviations emerge. Are the anomalies due to measurement uncertainties or undiscovered physical correlations, which would challenge Einstein’s theory of gravitation?