Alert! Voting starts today with NASA's goofy but fun Launch Madness brackets, mimicking sports' March Madness. A bit ironic given I'd just written on how voting does not make science. That said, choose your favorite missions and see how your vote stacks up!
mission-madness.nasa.gov (Warning: Flash required)
Good luck with the acronyms. I had to check to see MER was the Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. I predict that anything marked STS-# will not do well, as it's harder for "just another shuttle mission" to compete with a focused mission that also has a catchy name.
It depends on who you ask. Astronomers know they were exploding stars but there was always more to the story. Researchers from the Dark Cosmology Centre at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen and from Queens University, Belfast say dying red supergiant stars can also produce supernovae.
I'll admit I'm a Plutophile. Whether it's called a planet or not, it's a very interesting place. Yet despite sending New Horizons to visit it (fastest launch ever!), despite the discovery of other Kuiper Belt objects, one facet of Pluto continues to dominate the news. Is it a planet? As it turns out, there are things far more important to consider about Pluto than its planethood status.
NASA scientists analyzing the dust of meteorites say they have discovered new clues to a long-standing mystery about how life works on its most basic, molecular level.
Over the last four years, the team carefully analyzed samples of meteorites with an abundance of carbon, called carbonaceous chondrites. The researchers looked for the amino acid isovaline and discovered that three types of carbonaceous meteorites had more of the left-handed version than the right-handed variety – as much as a record 18 percent more in the often-studied Murchison meteorite.
The Hubble Space Telescope recently captured a photo sequence of four moons of Saturn passing in front of their parent planet. The moons, from far left to far right, are icy white Enceladus and Dione, the large orange moon Titan, and icy Mimas. Due to the angle of the Sun, they are each preceded by their own shadow.
Maybe ESA’s Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) is destined to launch on the exact same date as Vanguard 1, the third artificial satellite to ever orbit our planet after Sputnik and Explorer 1. On March 17th 1958 Vanguard 1 was successfully launched and as a matter of fact the satellite is still orbiting our planet as today's longest 'living' satellite ever.
Want to see a collision between the cores of two merging galaxies, each powered by a black hole with a millions of times the mass of the sun?
You're in luck. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope recently caught that very thing. The galactic cores are in a single, tangled galaxy called NGC 6240, located 400-million light years away in the constellation Ophiuchus. Millions of years ago, each core was the dense center of its own galaxy before the two galaxies collided and ripped each other apart. Now, these cores are approaching each other at tremendous speeds and preparing for the final cataclysmic collision. They will crash into each other in a few million years, a relatively short period on a galactic timescale.