Discover 8 Jan 2021, 04:00 UTC When the 60-year-old Arecibo Observatory collapsed in 2020, the crash didn’t just take down one of the world's preeminent radio telescopes, it also dealt a massive blow to the future of radio astronomy. Arecibo may have been old, but it also had unique capabilities that made it ideal for studying things like gravitational waves, as well as mapping the surfaces of asteroids as they slip by Earth.
SPACE.com 7 Jan 2021, 16:20 UTC It's nearly 10 times as long as the Grand Canyon, and three times as deep. But how did it form on Mars? Known as Valles Marineris, this system of deep, vast canyons runs more than 2,500 miles (4,000 km) along the Martian equator, spanning nearly a quarter of the planet's circumference.
Starts With a Bang! 6 Jan 2021, 15:01 UTC Right now, there are only three things limiting how far our spacecrafts can take us in the Universe: the resources we devote to it, the constraints of our existing technology, and the laws of physics. If we were willing to devote more resources to it as a society, we have the technological know-how right now to take human beings to any of the known planets or moons within the Solar System, but not to any objects in the Oort cloud or beyond. Crewed space travel to another star system, at least with the technology we have today, is still a dream for future generations.
Physics World Blog
Radio telescopes could give us a new view of gravitational waves - Astronomy and space – Physics World5 Jan 2021, 12:58 UTC The cosmic microwave background (CMB) is a rich source of information about the early universe, and now physicists in Switzerland and Germany reckon it could also serve as a detector of high-frequency gravitational waves, which are ripples in space–time. Indeed, the researchers have used pre-existing radio observations of the CMB to calculate new upper limits on the size of high-frequency primordial gravitational waves.
AmericaSpace 5 Jan 2021, 12:00 UTC NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are only months away from the launch of the long-awaited Landsat 9 mission, following the recent completion of Design Status Review 3. This third and final design review of the combined Landsat 9 Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA) Flight System (EFS) allows a critical element of this important Earth resources mission to move forward into the final stages of integration.
astrobites 4 Jan 2021, 20:34 UTC The first few hundreds of millions of years (Myrs) of the universe include some of the most dramatic changes it has undergone, transforming from a near uniform distribution of gas into a diverse landscape of the first stars and galaxies. The early universe, characterized by an enormous abundance of pristine gas and by a dearth of massive structures looks quite unlike the universe today. If you were an observer peering into the young cosmos, you would be able to see very little around yourself, as the abundant neutral gas blocked most light from passing through and reaching you. However, the young stars in these early galaxies sent out high-energy photons throughout the expanse of gas, which ionized abundant hydrogen, eventually making the intergalactic medium transparent. The formation of the first galaxies, as well as their important role in reionizing the universe, is poorly understood because these galaxies appear faint owing to their distance, and are only visible in infrared wavelengths and beyond, altogether making them difficult to observe, especially from the ground.