The Planetary Society Blog 30 Jul 2021, 14:30 UTC This week marked the 50th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 15 mission to the Moon, which launched on July 26, 1971 and landed on July 30. This photo shows mission commander David Scott driving the Lunar Roving Vehicle, the first of three “Moon buggies” deployed on Apollo missions. These vehicles allowed Apollo astronauts to extend the range of their exploration and sample collection. It’s probably fair to say that driving them was a whole lot of fun, too.
Universe Today 29 Jul 2021, 21:07 UTC Thanks to research performed by the EHT Collaboration team during a six-hour observation period in 2017, astronomers are now being treated to images of the core region of Centaurus A and the radio jet emanating from it.
Centauri Dreams 29 Jul 2021, 15:58 UTC Hubble observations from the past two decades have been recently re-examined as a way of investigating what is happening in the tenuous atmosphere of Ganymede, the largest moon in the Solar System. It was in 1998 that the telescope’s Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph took the first images of Ganymede at ultraviolet wavelengths, showing auroral bands — ribbons of electrified gas — that reinforced earlier evidence that the moon had a weak magnetic field. Now we have news of sublimated water vapor within the atmosphere, an earlier prediction now verified.
Scientific American 29 Jul 2021, 13:30 UTC A clip from The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1978 made the social media rounds in mid-July. The guest that episode—astronomer and science educator Carl Sagan—offered astute criticisms of the then recently released Star Wars film for its myopic (and whitewashed) imagining of how organisms from other galaxies might look. In this collection, reporter Leonard David examines the government report published in June that surveys our evidence for extraterrestrial life so far (see “Experts Weigh in on Pentagon UFO Report”), and two of our opinion writers contemplate some specific circumstances for alien contact.
Universe Today 29 Jul 2021, 12:52 UTC Dark matter remains one of the greatest mysteries in science. Despite decades of astronomical evidence for its existence, no one has yet been able to find any sign of it closer to home. There have been dozens of efforts to do so, and one of the most prominent just hit a milestone – the release and analysis of 8 years of data. The IceCube Neutrino Observatory will soon be releasing results from those 8 years, but for now let’s dive in to what exactly they are looking for.
SPACE.com 28 Jul 2021, 19:38 UTC A team of astronomers have calculated how the intensity of the sun's solar wind will evolve over the next 5-billion-or-so years, when our star runs out of hydrogen fuel to burn and balloons into a tremendous red giant.
Perseverance is About to Collect the First Sample on Mars That Could Eventually be Returned to Earth26 Jul 2021, 21:04 UTC On Feb. 18th, 2021, NASA’s Perseverance rover landed within the Jezero Crater on Mars. Like its predecessor, Curiosity, a fellow member of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program (MEP), the goal of Perseverance is to seek out evidence of possible life on Mars (past and present). A key part of this mission will be the first sample return ever performed on Mars, where samples obtained by Perseverance will be placed in a cache for later retrieval and return to Earth.
SciTech Daily 26 Jul 2021, 16:55 UTC Black holes with masses equivalent to millions of suns do put a brake on the birth of new stars, say astronomers. Using machine learning and three state-of-the-art simulations to back up results from a large sky survey, the researchers resolve a 20-year long debate on the formation of stars.