Sky and Telescope 21 May 2018, 18:27 UTC A Long March-4C rocket roared to life last night, lighting up the night skies over China and opening up the next chapter of lunar exploration. Aboard the rocket: an innovative lunar relay orbiter and a ground-breaking radio astronomy experiment. The launch occurred at 21:28 UT from Xichang Space Center in Sichuan, China. This orbiter is part of China's ambitious first attempt to deploy a lander and rover on the farside of the Moon later this year. All lunar landings to date, including the Apollo missions and China's 2013 Yutu Jade Rabbit lander and rover, have been conducted on the Moon's near side, within sight of Earth and radio communications. Chang'e 4, however, will land and rove on the farside of the Moon, requiring a dedicated relay.
The New York Times 21 May 2018, 12:31 UTC An asteroid that cohabits an orbit with Jupiter came from outside the solar system.
Scientific American 21 May 2018, 12:00 UTC
Aeon 21 May 2018, 10:00 UTC The largest and deepest body of water known to us has never been sailed upon; it has no islands or shores, no wind-churned waves, no sunlight-silvered surface. This dark ocean can’t be found on any map of Earth – it’s more than 300 million miles away, on Europa, one of at least 69 moons that orbit Jupiter. Data from the Galileo spacecraft, which flew past Europa 11 times between 1995 and 2003, revealed that an immense salty sea lies beneath this moon’s smooth icy surface. Estimated to be 60 miles deep – about eight times the maximum depth of the Pacific – it has two to three times as much water as all of Earth’s oceans combined.
SPACE.com 20 May 2018, 16:23 UTC With an experiment launching to the International Space Station on Monday May 21st 2018, scientists will be able to create a temperature that is 10 billion times colder than the vacuum of space to focus in on atoms' weird quantum behaviour.
Centauri Dreams 18 May 2018, 16:06 UTC Ronald Bracewell developed the concept of autonomous interstellar probes in the 1960's. Such craft would be capable not only of taking numerous scientific readings but of communicating with any civilizations it encounters. In this article James J Wentworth discusses the feasability of sending probes to distant stars.
Astrobiology Magazine 18 May 2018, 11:00 UTC Two nearby supernovae that exploded about 2.5 and eight million years ago could have resulted in a staggered depletion of Earth’s ozone layer, leading to a variety of repercussions for life on Earth. In particular, two-and-a-half million years ago the Earth was changing dramatically. The Pliocene, which was a hot and balmy epoch, was ending and the Pleistocene, an era of repeated glaciation known as the Ice Age, was beginning. Natural variations in Earth’s orbit and wobble likely accounted for the change in climate, but the simultaneous event of a supernova could provide insight on the diversification of life during this epoch.
io9 Space 17 May 2018, 17:25 UTC Just this week, scientists reported another strangely moving rock that bolsters the evidence for a ninth planet’s existence. The new object, called 2015 BP519, takes an elliptical journey around the Sun spanning from 35 to 862 times the radius of Earth’s own orbit. But while the eight known planets orbit the Sun on the same plane, like slot cars on concentric tracks, 2015 BP519 orbits at a 54-degree angle to that plane.