Voyager 1 Fires Up Thrusters After 37 Years

Found on NASA on Saturday, 02 December 2017
Browse Astronomy

If you tried to start a car that's been sitting in a garage for decades, you might not expect the engine to respond. But a set of thrusters aboard the Voyager 1 spacecraft successfully fired up Wednesday after 37 years without use.

The thruster test went so well, the team will likely do a similar test on the TCM thrusters for Voyager 2, the twin spacecraft of Voyager 1. The attitude control thrusters currently used for Voyager 2 are not yet as degraded as Voyager 1's, however.

40 years after the launch of Voyager 1, 40 years of innovation and scientific advancements later, the technology won't even last a decade anymore because it either simply breaks (sometimes by design) or because that trendy cool "cloud app(tm)" required to operate it gets shut down.

See 2.8 million stars shine in one stunning image

Found on CNe News on Tuesday, 05 September 2017
Browse Astronomy

Gaia is on a mission to build a 3D map of the Milky Way. The ESA calls it a "billion-star surveyor." The image sequence shows just one small corner of our galaxy, but it's an area densely stuffed with stars.

There are around 100 thousand million stars in the Milky Way, according to the ESA, so looking at just 2.8 million of them shows us just a small fraction of our home galaxy.

Images like this make you feel really small; and also make it hard to believe that we are the only one out there.

Chinese rocket launch fails after liftoff

Found on CNN News on Sunday, 02 July 2017
Browse Astronomy

The second launch of China's new-generation Long March-5 carrier rocket failed Sunday -- dealing a blow to the country's ambitious space aspirations.

Dubbed "Chubby 5" for its huge size -- 5 meters in diameter and 57 meters tall -- the LM-5 rocket is designed to carry up to 25 tons of payload into low orbit, more than doubling the country's previous lift capability.

Hard to believe that decades after successfully bringing men to the moon and back there is no more reliable method of travelling into space than rockets.

KFC launches sandwich into space

Found on CNet News on Friday, 21 April 2017
Browse Astronomy

He wants to send KFC's spicy Zinger sandwich into space. Unlike "most terrestrial chicken sandwiches," claims Lowe, KFC's are hand-breaded.

As to whether performing the feat of sending this concoction into space is possible, Lowe will only admit: "We certainly hope so. Our entire marketing campaign depends on it."

Just when everybody starts to realize that too much junk is orbiting around the earth, being dangerous to future missions, KFC comes up with the plan to send junk food there. They are a litte late to the party.

UK schoolboy corrects Nasa data error

Found on BBC News on Sunday, 26 March 2017
Browse Astronomy

The correction was said to be "appreciated" by Nasa, which invited him to help analyse the problem.

The research was part of the TimPix project from the Institute for Research in Schools (IRIS), which gives students across the UK the chance to work on data from the space station, looking for anomalies and patterns that might lead to further discoveries.

It turned out that Miles had noticed something no-one else had - including the Nasa experts.

Things like that can only happen when you open up your data to others and don't keep it locked down.

SpaceX successfully launches rocket after Saturday setback

Found on BBC News on Sunday, 19 February 2017
Browse Astronomy

It was the first mission by the company since one of its vehicles exploded on the launch pad in September.

The company also has a long queue of customers all waiting for a ride to orbit - including America's civil space agency (Nasa), the US military and multiple outfits in the commercial sector.

It's somewhat depressing: decades ago men were sent to the moon (unless you believe it was faked in Hollywood). Today, with decades of advancing technology, it's not even certain if a rocket will launch without blowing up.

Computing glitch may have doomed Mars lander

Found on Nature on Sunday, 30 October 2016
Browse Astronomy

The lander’s heat shield and parachute ejected ahead of time, says Vago. Then thrusters, designed to decelerate the craft for 30 seconds until it was metres off the ground, engaged for only around 3 seconds before they were commanded to switch off, because the lander's computer thought it was on the ground.

The most likely culprit is a flaw in the craft’s software or a problem in merging the data coming from different sensors, which may have led the craft to believe it was lower in altitude than it really was, says Andrea Accomazzo, ESA’s head of solar and planetary missions.

That sure is one spectacular way to crash your program. Literally.

We Were Very Wrong About the Number of Galaxies in the Universe

Found on Gizmodo on Friday, 14 October 2016
Browse Astronomy

The observable universe—that is, the part of the universe that’s visible to us on Earth—contains 10 to 20 times as many galaxies than previous estimates. That raises the total to somewhere between one and two trillion galaxies, which is up from the previous best estimate of 100 billion galaxies. Consequently, this means we also have to update the number of stars in the observable universe, which now numbers around 700 sextillion (that’s a 7 with 23 zeros behind it, or 700 thousand billion billion).

With so many more galaxies and stars, the number of planets also went up dramatically. As a direct consequence, there are more planets in the habitable zone that could have developed life similar to ours. Based on this vast amount it is safe to assume that we are not the only one.

SpaceX rocket explodes at Cape Canaveral ahead of launch

Found on BBC News on Thursday, 01 September 2016
Browse Astronomy

SpaceX said "an anomaly" had occurred while the rocket was being loaded with fuel. No-one was injured, it said.

The rocket's payload, an Israeli-built communications satellite for Facebook due to launch on Saturday, was also destroyed, it added.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is currently visiting Africa, said he was "deeply disappointed" to hear that the satellite had been destroyed.

Who said an explosion can't be good?

Was it a meteorite? Tests will determine what killed Indian man

Found on CNN News on Monday, 08 February 2016
Browse Astronomy

Indian scientists will examine remains from an object that fell from the sky Saturday, causing a large explosion which killed a man, to determine if it is a meteorite, police say.

Senthil Kumari said it was yet to be confirmed whether the object that caused the blast was a meteorite, as opposed to falling space junk or some other form of debris.

Coincidally, North Korea yesterday launched their newest rocket into space.