We're finding (potentially) habitable exoplanets more and more frequently, to the point where spotting another one is just not news unless it has two suns or something. New data from the Kepler space telescope may make further exoplanet discoveries even less exciting, now that we can guess just how many of them might be out there: it's lots.
It's not easy to figure out how far away other galaxies are. Astronomers have to be exceptionally clever to calculate distances to objects that are billions and billions of light years away, and they might now have a brand new measuring tool that involves supermassive black holes and radiating gas clouds. Sexy.
According to the latest update from NASA, that out of control satellite we've had our eye on will almost certainly make its reentry tonight, and NASA has a guess as to where it's going to land. Update after the jump.
Nowadays, it's almost like we take space travel for granted. Spectacular pictures come back from telescopes and space probes, and we give them a glance, maybe say "wow," and then move on to the latest news about the iPhone 5 or whatever. Over the last half century, though, our knowledge about our universe (and particularly our solar system) has increased exponentially, thanks to the development of spacecraft capable of making it to other planets and then sending back pictures when they get there. It hasn't been easy, but as milestone after milestone has been reached, our perception of our place in the cosmos has expanded.
Our solar system was a tempestuous place in its early days, with asteroids smashing into planets left and right and aliens stopping by to seed life on Earth. But before all that, simulations have shown that there may have been an extra ice giant in the mix, until Jupiter stepped in and flung it off into interstellar space.
Take a close look at this detailed time lapse video of Earth and its natural elements — taken from the International Space Station over the course of one night. It's beautiful, isn't it?
The Dawn spacecraft has only been orbiting Vesta for a few months now, but it's been taking scads of pictures and streaming them straight back to Earth. Among the highlights are these spectacular oblique images of the asteroid's dramatic topography. Check out some of our favorites from the most recent imagery release in the gallery below.
Photographer Vincent Fournier has spent the last ten years capturing the lonely mechanical emptiness of space programs all over the world. He's been to Russia, China, Africa, the U.S., and just about everywhere else, and his pictures are a striking (and oftentimes strange) take on technology. We've picked out 14 of our favorite images in the gallery below, but there are lots more on Vincent's website. Also below is a short documentary which follows Vincent to Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where he talks about how and why he does what he does.
Stop me if you've heard this one before, but a major NASA project is years behind schedule, billions over budget, and at serious risk of cancellation. A new appropriations bill might give the James Webb Space Telescope enough money to get it off the ground by 2018, but only at the expense of other NASA research.
When a Russian Progress resupply capsule crashed on the way to the ISS last month, the worry was that a design flaw could mean the grounding of the only way to get astronauts to the station. Russia has now identified the cause of the crash, and while it's not a flaw in the design, it's something almost as bad.