NASA Glenn Research Center 22 Oct 2020, 13:00 UTC Since the beginning of the space program, people have been captivated by big, powerful rockets—like NASA’s Saturn V rocket that sent Apollo to the lunar surface, or the Space Launch System that will produce millions of pounds of thrust as it sends Artemis astronauts back to the Moon.
NASA Breaking News 20 Oct 2020, 18:09 UTC NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft unfurled its robotic arm Tuesday, and in a first for the agency, briefly touched an asteroid to collect dust and pebbles from the surface for delivery to Earth in 2023. This well-preserved, ancient asteroid, known as Bennu, is currently more than 200 million miles (321 million kilometers) from Earth. Bennu offers scientists a window into the early solar system as it was first taking shape billions of years ago and flinging ingredients that could have helped seed life on Earth. If Tuesday’s sample collection event, known as “Touch-And-Go” (TAG), provided enough of a sample, mission teams will command the spacecraft to begin stowing the precious primordial cargo to begin its journey back to Earth in March 2021. Otherwise, they will prepare for another attempt in January.
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics 20 Oct 2020, 13:05 UTC The monstrous black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy—now of Nobel Prize fame—is proving yet again to be stranger than fiction. New research from scientists at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA), and the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA) at Northwestern University has revealed that the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy is not spinning much, providing more evidence that it is unlikely to have a jet. The paper is published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 19 Oct 2020, 17:00 UTC Asteroids have been orbiting the sun for thousands of millennia in deep space, standing as ancient storytellers, holding clues about the formation of the solar system. NASA’s first mission to collect a sample from an asteroid, the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx), is now ready to make its first collection attempt of the potentially dangerous asteroid Bennu and bring its secrets home to Earth. But NASA also has several other asteroid missions coming up with varying purposes, as well as a dynamic program to help us identify and learn more about potentially dangerous objects to defend our planet.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 16 Oct 2020, 14:00 UTC NASA’s first mission to return a sample from an ancient asteroid arrived at its target, the asteroid Bennu, on Dec. 3, 2018. This mission, the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer, or OSIRIS-REx, is a seven-year long voyage set to conclude upon the delivery to Earth of at least 2.1 ounces (60 grams) and possibly up to almost four and a half pounds (two kilograms) of sample. It promises to be the largest amount of extraterrestrial material brought back from space since the Apollo era. The 20-year anniversary of the asteroid’s discovery was in September 2019 — and scientists have been collecting data ever since. Here’s what we already know (and some of what we hope to find out) about this pristine remnant from the early days of our solar system.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 16 Oct 2020, 12:00 UTC This image, taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, depicts a special class of star-forming nursery known as Free-floating Evaporating Gaseous Globules, or frEGGs for short. This object is formally known as J025157.5+600606.
ESA Top News 15 Oct 2020, 05:15 UTC The closest approach of the flyby took place at 03:58 GMT (05:58 CEST) this morning at a distance of about 10 720 km from the planet’s surface. Launched 20 October 2018, the spacecraft needs nine gravity assist flybys – one at Earth, two at Venus and six at Mercury before entering orbit around the planet in 2025. Flybys ultilise the gravitational pull of the planets to help alter the speed and direction of the spacecraft, and together with the spacecraft’s solar electric propulsion system, help BepiColombo steer into Mercury orbit against the strong gravitational pull of the Sun.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 14 Oct 2020, 13:36 UTC Quasars are the brightest objects in the universe and among the most energetic. They outshine entire galaxies of billions of stars. A supermassive black hole lies at the heart of every quasar, but not every black hole is a quasar. Only the black holes that are feeding most voraciously can power a quasar. Material falling into the supermassive black hole heats up and causes a quasar to shine across the universe like a lighthouse beacon.
NASA's Ames Research Center News and Features 13 Oct 2020, 15:00 UTC The mountains discovered on Pluto during the New Horizons spacecraft's flyby of the dwarf planet in 2015 are covered by a blanket of methane ice, creating bright deposits strikingly like the snow-capped mountain chains found on Earth.