Lights in the Dark 24 Mar 2017, 21:50 UTC Remember when I mentioned that NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft was going to be scanning for “Trojan” asteroids at Earth-Sun L4? Well the results are in and survey says: no new Trojans (besides 2010 TK7, which we already knew about.) But the search wasn’t in vain—it gave mission scientists a chance put the spacecraft’s OCAMS instruments to the test and they passed with flying colors. In fact the MapCam camera did so well it was able to image 17 main belt asteroids from L4, some two full magnitudes dimmer than expected.
NASA Space Station Blog 24 Mar 2017, 18:27 UTC Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency concluded their spacewalk at 1:58 p.m. EDT. During the spacewalk, which lasted just over six-and-a-half hours, the two astronauts successfully disconnected cables and electrical connections on the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 to prepare for its robotic move Sunday, March 26.
Starts With A Bang! 24 Mar 2017, 14:06 UTC 13.8 billion years ago, the Universe as we know it came into existence. Today, the part we can observe is 46 billion light years in radius, having grown tremendously thanks to the expansion of the Universe. But if we extrapolate that backwards, we find that the Universe couldn’t have been infinitely small at the moment of its birth, but rather was a finite size at all finite times.
SPACE.com 24 Mar 2017, 10:10 UTC
EarthSky Blog 24 Mar 2017, 10:00 UTC The animation above shows a new 3-D rendering of space dust, as viewed in a several-thousand-light-year loop through and out of the flat plane of our Milky Way galaxy. It’s part of a new study by scientists at Berkeley Lab, published March 22, 2017 in the peer-reviewed Astrophysical Journal. Why a study of space dust? For one thing, as these study authors explained in a statement: Consider that the Earth is just a giant cosmic dust bunny — a big bundle of debris amassed from exploded stars. We Earthlings are essentially just little clumps of stardust, too, albeit with very complex chemistry. So space dust has intrinsic interest. However, the clouds of space dust in our Milky Way galaxy can also be problematic for astronomers. Dust can dim, or obscure, the light of stars and galaxies beyond. Lead author of the new study is Edward F. Schlafly, a Hubble Fellow at Berkeley Lab. He explained: The light from … distant galaxies travels for billions of years before we see it, but in the last thousand years of its journey toward us a few percent of that light is absorbed and scattered by dust in our own galaxy. We need to ...
Nanowerk Space Exploration News 24 Mar 2017, 07:03 UTC In 2005, NASA’s Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE), an x-ray satellite, spotted a black hole in the act of devouring its companion star. Yet the pair, a binary system called GRO J1655–40, was emitting far fewer x-rays than expected. A model developed by RIKEN researchers has revealed the whereabouts of the missing x-rays (The Astrophysics Journal, "An optically thick disk wind in GRO J1655–40?"). It could also help to explain key processes inside the disks of matter that swirl around rapacious black holes.
SpaceFlight Insider 24 Mar 2017, 04:01 UTC NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is developing a small, origami-inspired robot that may serve as a scout for the next rovers to explore another planet. The Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer robot (PUFFER) is a lightweight robot capable of flattening itself, tucking in its wheels and crawling into tight spaces where rovers can’t fit.
Universe Today 23 Mar 2017, 22:48 UTC This week, from March 20th to 24th, the 48th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference will be taking place in The Woodlands, Texas. Every year, this conference brings together international specialists in the fields of geology, geochemistry, geophysics, and astronomy to present the latest findings in planetary science. One of the highlights of the conference so far has been a presentation about Mars’ weather patterns.