space

Space Sex Geckos Dead on Reentry, Russia Reveals

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The five heroic sex geckos sent into space on July 19 to study sexual reproduction in zero gravity died before returning to Earth on Monday, Russian officials said

It is unclear what they died of, or whether the intrepid geckos ever mated in space. Their tiny, partially mummified bodies were found within their enclosure aboard the small Foton-M4 spacecraft at the conclusion of their mission

“All geckos, unfortunately, died,” the Russian Space Agency said in a statement. “The date and conditions of their deaths will be determined by specialists.”

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Saturn’s F Ring Is Now Three Times As Wide As During the Voyager Flybys

KentuckyFC writes In 1980 and 1981, Voyager 1 and 2 flew past Saturn providing unprecedented images of its magnificent ring system. At that time, its most distant discrete ring, the F ring, was about 200 kilometres wide. But puzzlingly, images sent back by Cassini show that the ring is now 580 kilometres wide and twice as bright as it was thirty years ago. Now astronomers think they have finally solved the mystery of the expanding F ring. The ring is shepherded by a number of small moons, the most famous of which is Prometheus. These moons interact gravitationally with the ring creating structures such as braids and spokes. The new thinking is that the moons’ orbits resonate with the F ring, pushing clouds of dust and ice further away from Saturn. This makes the ring wider. But beyond a certain radius the orbit of the dust becomes unstable and it begins to spiral back towards Saturn and collides with the rest of the ring. This causes a chain reaction of collisions that dramatically increases the number of particles in the ring and hence its brightness. This theory also leads to a prediction–the resonant process is currently at a maximum but should reduce sharply in the coming years, if the theory is correct. So by 2018, the F ring should be back to the same configuration the Voyagers saw in 80/81.

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Battle of the Heavy Lift Rockets

schwit1 writes: Check out this detailed and informative look at the unspoken competiton between NASA’s SLS rocket and SpaceX’s planned heavy lift rocket. It’s being designed to be even more powerful than the Falcon Heavy. Key quote: “It is clear SpaceX envisions a rocket far more powerful than even the fully evolved Block 2 SLS – a NASA rocket that isn’t set to be launched until the 2030s.” The SpaceX rocket hinges on whether the company can successfully build its new Raptor engine. If they do, they will have their heavy lift rocket in the air and functioning far sooner than NASA, and for far less money.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








See Neptune and ‘Dodgeball’ Asteroid Tonight

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Armchair astronomers can enjoy a cosmic double play on Aug. 29, with back-to-back webcasts featuring faraway Neptune and a close-flying asteroid

The action starts at 8 p.m. EDT, when the online Slooh Community Observatory will air a live four-hour show to mark an alignment of Neptune, Earth and the sun. Once that webcast ends at midnight EDT, Slooh will cover the flyby of near-Earth asteroid 2002 CU11, nicknamed “Dodgeball” because of its frequent close approaches to Earth. The webcasts, which will both feature views from a telescope in the Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa, are also available at Slooh’s website, Read more…

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See Neptune and ‘Dodgeball’ Asteroid Tonight

Neptune

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Armchair astronomers can enjoy a cosmic double play on Aug. 29, with back-to-back webcasts featuring faraway Neptune and a close-flying asteroid

The action starts at 8 p.m. EDT, when the online Slooh Community Observatory will air a live four-hour show to mark an alignment of Neptune, Earth and the sun. Once that webcast ends at midnight EDT, Slooh will cover the flyby of near-Earth asteroid 2002 CU11, nicknamed “Dodgeball” because of its frequent close approaches to Earth. The webcasts, which will both feature views from a telescope in the Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa, are also available at Slooh’s website, Read more…

More about Us World, Comet, Space, and Neptune


Astronomers Find What May Be the Closest Exoplanet So Far

The Bad Astronomer writes: Astronomers have found a 5.4 Earth-mass planet orbiting the star Gliese 15A, a red dwarf in a binary system just 11.7 light years away (PDF). Other exoplanets candidates have been found that are closer, but they are as yet unconfirmed. This is more evidence that alien planets are common in the galaxy.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Software Error Caused Soyuz/Galileo Failure

schwit1 writes An investigation into the recent failed Soyuz launch of the EU’s Galileo satellites has found that the Russian Fregat upper stage fired correctly, but its software was programmed for the wrong orbit. From the article: “The failure of the European Union’s Galileo satellites to reach their intended orbital position was likely caused by software errors in the Fregat-MT rocket’s upper-stage, Russian newspaper Izvestia reported Thursday. ‘The nonstandard operation of the integrated management system was likely caused by an error in the embedded software. As a result, the upper stage received an incorrect flight assignment, and, operating in full accordance with the embedded software, it has delivered the units to the wrong destination,’ an unnamed source from Russian space Agency Roscosmos was quoted as saying by the newspaper.”

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NASA Is Building ‘World’s Most Powerful Rocket’

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NASA is one step closer to building its next spaceship

Officials approved the Space Launch System’s transition from the formula phase to the development phase on Wednesday.

NASA administrator Charles Bolden called it a “journey of scientific and human exploration that leads to Mars.”

The Space Launch System, or SLS, is the first exploration-class vehicle designed to get beyond low Earth orbit since the Apollo program. NASA says it will be the world’s most powerful rocket

With a lift capacity of as much as 130 metric tons, the SLS could carry between two and six astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft, plus all the equipment and fuel needed to support missions to the moon, an asteroid or Mars. Read more…

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NASA Is Building ‘World’s Most Powerful Rocket’

Nasa-rocket

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NASA is one step closer to building its next spaceship

Officials approved the Space Launch System’s transition from the formula phase to the development phase on Wednesday.

NASA administrator Charles Bolden called it a “journey of scientific and human exploration that leads to Mars.”

The Space Launch System, or SLS, is the first exploration-class vehicle designed to get beyond low Earth orbit since the Apollo program. NASA says it will be the world’s most powerful rocket

With a lift capacity of as much as 130 metric tons, the SLS could carry between two and six astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft, plus all the equipment and fuel needed to support missions to the moon, an asteroid or Mars. Read more…

More about Space, Nasa, Mars, and Us World

NASA Is Building ‘World’s Most Powerful Rocket’

Nasa-rocket

Feed-twFeed-fb

NASA is one step closer to building its next spaceship

Officials approved the Space Launch System’s transition from the formula phase to the development phase on Wednesday.

NASA administrator Charles Bolden called it a “journey of scientific and human exploration that leads to Mars.”

The Space Launch System, or SLS, is the first exploration-class vehicle designed to get beyond low Earth orbit since the Apollo program. NASA says it will be the world’s most powerful rocket

With a lift capacity of as much as 130 metric tons, the SLS could carry between two and six astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft, plus all the equipment and fuel needed to support missions to the moon, an asteroid or Mars. Read more…

More about Space, Nasa, Mars, and Us World