Parabolic Arc 7 Oct 2018, 12:34 UTC NASA’s Voyager 2 probe, currently on a journey toward interstellar space, has detected an increase in cosmic rays that originate outside our solar system. Launched in 1977, Voyager 2 is a little less than 11 billion miles (about 17.7 billion kilometers) from Earth, or more than 118 times the distance from Earth to the Sun.
Starts With a Bang! 5 Oct 2018, 14:01 UTC As the planets orbit the Sun, well-separated from one another, we tend to assume they don’t exchange material very frequently. The Solar System may be a violent place, rife with asteroid strikes and cometary collisions, but planets themselves are too big and massive to be affected by these. When large, energetic collisions impact your planet, the worst they typically do is create a crater and blanket your world in debris.
ESO Blog 5 Oct 2018, 10:00 UTC On 20 September 2016, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) approved the name Taltal for a crater on Mars. In part due to its striking resemblance, the Martian Taltal was named after an area of Chile home to some of ESO’s state-of-the-art telescopes. The name means “Night Bird” in the Mapudungun language spoken by the Mapuche people indigenous to Chile.
Astro Bob 5 Oct 2018, 05:11 UTC NASA’s Cassini spacecraft flamed out in Saturn’s atmosphere a year ago, but the data it collected during its final orbits led to an amazing discovery — ring rain! As the probe dove between the rings and upper atmosphere, it was bathed in a downpour of dust. Hsiang-Wen (Sean) Hsu (Colorado University-Boulder) and colleagues report that they successfully collected more than 2,700 pieces of charged bits of dust. Based on that amount, they estimate that about 2,205 pounds (one metric ton) leave the rings and enter Saturn’s atmosphere every second.
Planetaria 4 Oct 2018, 23:06 UTC Mercury, the smallest terrestrial (rocky) planet and closest to the Sun, is relatively close to Earth, yet there is much that we still don’t know about it. Next month, the joint ESA-JAXA BepiColombo mission will be launched to this enigmatic world – but in the meantime, there are two new peer-reviewed studies that are helping to shed more light on Mercury’s mysteries. The new findings were announced by Europlanet on September 18, 2018 and presented at the European Planetary Science Congress 2018 in Berlin by Bastien Brugger and Thomas Ronnet, both of whom are scientists at the University of Aix Marseille in France.
NASA Commercial Crew Program Blog 4 Oct 2018, 20:07 UTC The next generation of American spacecraft and rockets that will launch astronauts to the International Space Station are nearing the final stages of development and evaluation. NASA’s Commercial Crew Program will return human spaceflight launches to U.S. soil, providing safe, reliable and cost-effective access to low-Earth orbit on systems that meet our safety and mission requirements.