Aerospace

The Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) on the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) is going to show that two-way laser communication beyond Earth is possible, broadening the possibility of transmitting huge amounts of data.

In the future, this could allow for 3-D High Definition video transmissions from deep space missions back to Earth.


Hot off of revolutionizing ground-based transportation with the electric car company Tesla and proposing to revolutionize slightly-above-the-ground-based transportation with the Jetsons-esque Hyperloop, eccentric billionaire genius Elon Musk (of PayPal fame) appears to believe he has risen above the law.  

Or rather, he believes his Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) Grasshopper rocket has risen above the law.


Astronomers have assembled images from more than 13 years of superheated gas - 5,000 light-years long - as it is ejected from a supermassive black hole.

Even in such a cosmically short time frame, it gives us a better understanding of how black holes shape galaxy evolution.

There is no 'you are now exiting the solar system' sign at the entrance to interstellar space, so when, and perhaps if, Voyager 1 left the solar system remains a mystery - but a team says it has definitely happened by now.

Voyager 1, carrying with it Earthly greetings on a gold plated phonograph record, still-operational scientific instruments and the future plot of "Star Trek: The Motion Picture", has traveled farther from Earth than any other human-made object. 


In August 8th, the VERIS rocket is going to launch from the White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico.

VERIS is short for Very high Resolution Imaging Spectrometer and its 15-minute trip will carry an instrument that can measure properties of the structures in the sun's upper atmosphere down to 145 miles across, some eight times clearer than any similar telescope currently in space.


A lingering space mystery has been how electrons within Earth's radiation belt can suddenly become energetic enough to kill orbiting satellites. Thanks to data gathered from a pair of NASA probes roaming the harsh environment of near-Earth space, scientists have found an answer: an internal electron accelerator operating within the Van Allen radiation belts.

Scientists knew that something in space accelerated particles in the radiation belts to more than 99 percent the speed of light but they didn't know what that something was. New results from NASA's Van Allen Probes now show that the acceleration energy comes from within the belts themselves.


Voyager 1, launched in 1977, has now traveled further from Earth than any previous launched object - 11 billion miles and counting. It is on the edge of our solar system and about to enter deep interstellar space. Since it is in uncharted air, it's no surprise that it is generating very puzzling and surprising data. Most of the predictions about solar wind, cosmic rays, and magnetic boundaries have turned out to be dead wrong http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-voyager-heliosphere-20130628,0,6860711.story.

NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars, which first landed inside the Gale Crater on Aug. 6th, 2012, may provide clues as to how the red planet lost its original atmosphere, which scientists believe was much thicker than the one left today.


Tomorrow, we are being photographed from space.

No, it is not another NSA spying operation, it is NASA's Cassini and MESSENGER spacecraft, taking pictures of Earth from Saturn and Mercury.

The image taken from the Saturn system by Cassini will occur between 2:27 and 2:42 PDT (that's 5:27 and 5:42 p.m. EDT and 21:27 and 21:42 UTC) tomorrow, July 19th. Since Cassini is 898 million miles away from us, nearly 10 times the distance from the sun to Earth, it may not see you specifically but NASA is encouraging the public to get participatory and wave at Saturn at the time of the portrait and then pictures via social media.

We all think about space exploration, but we also need to think about dodging 50 years of debris from space exploration - aluminum, steel, nylon, even liquid sodium from Russian satellites. Sierra Club hasn't started fundraising over this issue yet but they might after reading this article.

According to NASA, there are more than 21,000 pieces of 'space junk' roughly the size of a baseball in orbit, and about 500,000 pieces that are golf ball-sized. Sure, space is big, but when a piece of space junk strikes a spacecraft, the collision occurs at a velocity of 5 to 15 kilometers per second, roughly ten times faster than a speeding bullet.