NASA has a big press conference planned for Thursday, and it's centered around "astrobiology." Have they discovered extraterrestrial life?
There's a lotta junk in space, and figuring out how to remove it all has been a popular topic in the space community. Here's a new idea out of Russia: sink $2 billion into a roaming, pod-shaped craft that'll safely dispose of 600 dead satellites.
Everybody poops. Even astronauts. And when you live in a couple metal boxes 200 miles above the Earth, poop can be a real problem. The UN is launching a satellite full of excrement-eating bacteria that'll do some pooping of their own, powering a fuel cell as they go.
Astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson is gazing down at Earth from the International Space Station. Positioned about 217 miles above our planet, the ISS orbits Earth once every 90 or so minutes. She looks pretty contemplative during this (probably) rare moment...
NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory has spotted the youngest black hole ever observed. It's a wild thought, but in a universe built on astronomical timescales, this little guy might be younger than you.
NASA wants to skip the rockets and develop a hypersonic space plane that can take off from a runway here on Earth and fly straight to Mars....
One of the reasons why man hasn't visited other planets is because it's essentially a one way ticket to eventual suicide. A rocket can get you to Pluto, but how are you going to come back? If 3D printing takes off in space, we could be printing our spaceships to get back to Earth in the future.
What we're looking at is a disc galaxy. These are pretty tough to photograph "edge on," so we couldn't resist sharing. Thin galaxies are common (like the Milky Way), but regular galaxies that just appear thin (like this one) are...
Here's a rare close-up of a comet. Hartley 2, to be exact. Named after Malcolm Hartley, the Australian astronomer, "who first identified the body in a photographic plate from a sky survey undertaken in 1986." NASA's Deep Impact probe and Hartley 2 crossed paths about 23 million km from Earth and was only the fifth time a comet has passed so close to a spacecraft.
The European Southern Obervatory's Very Large Telescope array sits on top of a mountain in Chile, where it's so dark and clear that you can see your shadow cast by the light from the Milky Way. This is great, but it doesn't help see past all the dust surrounding the galaxies themselves. For that, they've got an ultra-sensitive infrared camera that strips away the haze to reveal the structure of galaxies in exquisite detail.