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"Astronaut Abby" Harrison closes in on her space goals. KARE'S Lindsey Seavert reports. By Alan Boyle, Science Editor, NBC News "Astronaut Abby" is at the controls of a social-media machine that is launching the 15-year-old from Minnesota to Kazakhstan this month for the liftoff of the International Space Station's next crew — and if Facebook and Twitter count for anything, it just might get her to Mars someday. Abigail Harrison says she's always dreamed of being the first astronaut to set foot on the Red Planet, and she sees her campaign to get involved in space station outreach as one giant leap toward that target. She has enlisted one of the crew members, Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano , as her mentor and orbital pen pal.
Restaurant at the end of the universe... Space boffins have suggested the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy may have a powerful appetite for hot gas. The European Space Agency's Herschel telescope has captured far-infrared images which appear to show the black hole sucking in a huge cloud of gas. One astronomer said it looked as if the hole was "cooking its dinner".
Some things you just count on. Like if we ever meet a space alien, it should have eyes (and maybe a head). Like somewhere out there, there are planets like ours.
By: Mike Wall Published: 04/18/2013 02:55 PM EDT on SPACE.com NASA's Kepler space telescope has discovered three exoplanets that may be capable of supporting life, and one of them is perhaps the most Earth-like alien world spotted to date, scientists announced today (April 18). That most intriguing one is called Kepler-62f, a rocky world just 1.4 times bigger than Earth that circles a star smaller and dimmer than the sun.
If confirmed, the discovery of the elusive Higgs Boson would help resolve a key puzzle about how the universe came into existence some 13.7 billion years ago - and perhaps its ultimate fate. "It may be that the universe we live in is inherently unstable and at some point billions of years from now it's all going to get wiped out. This calculation tells you that many tens of billions of years from now, there'll be a catastrophe," said Joseph Lykken , a theoretical physicist with the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory , who is also on the science team at Europe's Large Hadron Collider , or LHC, the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator. "A little bubble of what you might think of as an 'alternative' universe will appear somewhere and then it will expand out and destroy us," Lykken said, adding that the event will unfold at the speed of light.
Until a eureka moment 13 years ago, astronomers puzzled over the precise nature of a celestial event described by Walt Whitman in his poem "Year of Meteors (1859-60)." The poem is a kind of recap of the year in question. Whitman allows himself to dwell on the visit of Prince Albert Edward to New York ("And you would I sing, fair stripling! welcome to you from me, sweet boy of England! ...I know not why, but I loved you...") Then the poem mentions a "strange huge meteor procession, dazzling and clear, shooting over our heads":
There's another weird thing on Mars, and Nasa really doesn't know what it is this time. You may remember the $2.5 billion Curiosity rover currently drilling rocks on the Red Planet already found strange shiny things and what was labelled a 'Martian Flower' . But if anything, this is even weirder. An image posted by Nasa on 30 January and taken with the right Mastcam on Curiosity shows what appears to be a 0.5cm metal spoke protruding out of a rock. The strange sight - which looks a bit like a robotic arm - was noticed by imaging editor Elisabetta Bonora from Italy. Whatever it is looks shiny, casts a shadow on the rock below and looks different to the rock it emerges from.
WE CANNOT see what lies beyond the visible horizon of our universe, simply because light emitted beyond that horizon has not had time to reach us. Despite this out-of-sightness, we've always assumed that space is filled with the same stuff wherever you go in the universe. So a recent finding by Sasha Kashlinsky at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, does not make sense. His team has found a group of galaxy clusters moving at an extraordinary speed towards a small patch of sky between the constellations of Centaurus and Vela.
Mars may be more hospitable to life - including human explorers of the future - than had been feared, according to new research using information sent back both from NASA's robot rover Curiosity and from orbiters circling the red planet. As we've previously reported, Curiosity's radiation instruments indicate that normal background radiation at the Martian surface is comparatively mild - a pleasant surprise considering the planet's thin atmosphere. Apart from atmosphere and possible planetary magnetic fields (like those which make Earth so hospitable), there's another major way in which a planet can protect those on its surface from the dangerous levels of radiation which permeate space at all times and occasionally - for instance during major solar storms - surge to fatal levels.
WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2012 -- /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA's PhoneSat project has won Popular Science's 2012 Best of What's New Award for innovation in aerospace. PhoneSat will demonstrate the ability to launch one of the lowest-cost, easiest-to-build satellites ever flown in space -- capabilities enabled by using off-the-shelf consumer smartphones. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO ) Each year, Popular Science reviews thousands of new products and innovations, and chooses the top 100 winners across 12 categories for its annual Best of What's New issue. To win, a product or technology must represent a significant step forward in its category.
The previously held belief had it that most disc galaxies formed more or less into their present shape eight billion years ago, a little more than half of the universe’s estimated age. New data reveals that while Andromeda and the Milky Way have largely settled into a condition where rotation and orderly movement dominates, more distant blue galaxies are more disorderly, still finding their orbital footing, so to speak. Blue galaxies are identifiable by color and are known to be galaxies where stars are forming. The distant blue galaxies being studied in this project have been shown to be slowly developing into orderly, rotating galaxies like our own. The study surveyed all galaxies with emission lines visible enough to reliably track interior motion.
Amazing glowing nebulas resembling cosmic candy take center stage in a group of new photos unveiled today (Oct 10) by the science team behind NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. The pictures are part of a survey the Chandra space telescope is making of nearby planetary nebulas , which are formed when dying stars push off their outer gaseous layers. The first stage of this survey, which includes Chandra observations of 21 of these nebulas, has now been released. Chandra also released a video of the surveyed nebulas . Chandra observes the universe in short-wavelength X-ray light. This data, shown in pink, was combined with optical imagery from the Hubble Space Telescope , shown in red, green and blue.
<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-133073" title="Curious spiral spotted by ALMA around red giant star R Sculptoris (data visualisation)" src="http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/wiredscience/2012/10/rsculptoris.jpeg" alt="" width="660" height="413" /> Astronomers have spotted a strange spiral of gas and dust winding outward from a giant red star named R Sculptoris. The elderly star, which is about 1,500 light-years from Earth, is in the final stages of its life and is slowly shedding the outer layers of its atmosphere. Intensely high temperatures at the star’s core create a powerful stellar wind that drives these layers out, where they usually accumulate into spectacular objects called planetary nebulas over a few million years. Most small- and medium-sized stars, such as our sun, will undertake this process at the end of their days.
A peek at swirling matter around a giant black hole verifies that it is the source of a monstrous blast of energy thousands of light-years long, researchers say. Bursts of energy known as relativistic jets spew out matter at close to the speed of light. These jets can travel across an entire galaxy, suggesting they can affect the evolution of the galaxy.
Rare and mysterious clouds that are so bright they can be seen at night have mystified people since they were first observed more than a century ago, but scientists have now discovered a key cosmic ingredient for these night-shining clouds: "smoke" from meteors as they burn up in the Earth's atmosphere. Blue-white clouds that eerily glow in the twilight sky are called noctilucent clouds , or NLCs. They typically form about 50 to 53 miles (80 and 85 kilometers) above ground in the atmosphere, at altitudes so high that they reflect light even after the sun has slipped below the horizon. PHOTOS: Transit of Venus Photos From Our Readers In a new study, scientists found that noctilucent clouds have an extraterrestrial link.