Artist concept of SLS launching. If things go without a hitch, NASA said its newly unveiled Space Launch System could take its first manned test flight in 2017. The new rocket design looks a lot like the Apollo era rockets that took American astronauts to the moon, but NASA said the new rocket is much more powerful than any other rocket they've made before and in conjunction with the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, already in development, it could set up astronauts for deep space exploration. The SLS will be NASA's first exploration-class vehicle since the Saturn V took astronauts to the moon.
Sort of like Washington, D.C., in the summer: "It would feel like a steam bath — hot, sticky and beyond uncomfortable." That's how The Associated Press describes the way scientists are describing "HD 85512 b ... a newly discovered planet about 35 light-years from Earth in the constellation Vela."
WASHINGTON (AP) — A spacecraft circling the moon has snapped the sharpest photos ever of the tracks and trash left behind by Apollo astronauts in their visits from 1969 to 1972. Images taken by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter from 13 to 15 miles up show the astronauts' paths when they walked on the moon, as well as ruts left by a moon buggy. Experts could even identify the backpacks astronauts pitched out of their lunar landers before they returned to Earth. "What we're seeing is a trail," said Arizona State University geology professor Mark Robinson, the orbiter's chief scientist. "It's totally awesome."
NOTE: This section is about stellar-mass black holes. For information about black holes that measure in the billions of solar masses , see Active Galaxies & Quasars . There are many popular myths concerning black holes , many of them perpetuated by Hollywood. Television and movies have portrayed them as time-traveling tunnels to another dimension, cosmic vacuum cleaners sucking up everything in sight, and so on. It can be said that black holes are really just the evolutionary end point of massive stars .
It’s the twentieth anniversary of the famous “ pale blue dot ” photo – Earth as seen from Voyager 1 while on the edge of our solar system (approximately 3,762,136,324 miles from home). Sagan’s words are always worth remembering: Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home.
The nursery song "twinkle twinkle, little star" might have a whole new meaning now that astronomers have found a planet they believe to be made almost entirely of diamonds. Scientists say the planet exists about 4,000 light years away from Earth, and is probably the remnants of a once-large dead star, Reuters reports . (Scroll down for video.)
Scientists Now Know: We're Not From Here! Summary & comments by Dan Eden for Viewzone "This first full-sky map of Sagittarius shows its extensive interaction with the Milky Way," Majewski said.
"Cassini is indebted to Voyager for its many fascinating discoveries and for pavingthe way for Cassini," says Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist at JPL, who started her career working on Voyager from 1977 to 1989. "On Cassini, we still compare our data to Voyager's and proudly build on Voyager's heritage." But the Voyager Mission left a few mysteries that Cassini has not yet solved.
Enceladus [en-SELL-ah-dus] is one of the brightest objects in our solar system. Covered in water ice that reflects sunlight like freshly fallen snow, Enceladus reflects almost 100 percent of the sunlight that strikes it. Because Enceladus reflects so much sunlight, the surface temperature is extremely cold, about -201° C (-330° F). About as wide as Arizona, Enceladus is quite similar in size to Mimas but has a smoother, brighter surface. Unlike Mimas, Enceladus displays at least five different types of terrain.
Saturn II Enceladus ("en SEL a dus") is the eighth of Saturn 's known satellites: orbit : 238,020 km from Saturn diameter : 498 km mass : 7.30e19 kg In Greek mythology Enceladus was a Titan who was defeated in battle and buried under Mount Etna by Athena. Discovered in 1789 by Herschel . Craters and smooth plains
This image shows icy spray spewing from Saturn's moon, Enceladus. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute The new discovery was made during the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn , a collaboration of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.
An oxygen atmosphere has been found on Saturn 's second largest moon , Rhea, astronomers announced Thursday—but don't hold your breath for colonization opportunities. For one thing, the 932-mile-wide (1,500-kilometer-wide), ice-covered moon is more than 932 million miles (1.5 billion kilometers) from Earth. For another, the average surface temperature is -292 degrees Fahrenheit (-180 degrees Celsius).
An alien world blacker than coal, the darkest planet known, has been discovered in the galaxy. The world in question is a giant the size of Jupiter known as TrES-2b. NASA's Kepler spacecraft detected it lurking around the yellow sun-like star GSC 03549-02811 some 750 lightyears away in the direction of the constellation Draco. The researchers found this gas giant reflects less than 1 percent of the sunlight falling on it, making it darker than any planet or moon seen up to now. [ The Strangest Alien Planets ] "It's just ridiculous how dark this planet is, how alien it is compared to anything we have in our solar system," study lead-author David Kipping, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told SPACE.com.
Unlocking Jupiter's Secrets Juno will improve our understanding of the solar system’s beginnings by revealing the origin and evolution of Jupiter. Specifically, Juno will… Determine how much water is in Jupiter’s atmosphere, which helps determine which planet formation theory is correct (or if new theories are needed) Look deep into Jupiter’s atmosphere to measure composition, temperature, cloud motions and other properties Map Jupiter’s magnetic and gravity fields, revealing the planet’s deep structure Explore and study Jupiter’s magnetosphere near the planet’s poles, especially the auroras – Jupiter’s northern and southern lights – providing new insights about how the planet’s enormous magnetic force field affects its atmosphere. The Giant Planet Story is the Story of the Solar System Juno’s principal goal is to understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter.
Need your slice of awesome today? Then check out this truly astonishing picture of a detached prominence off the limb of the Sun: