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    NASA has plans to power down its Voyager spacecraft after four-and-a-half decades – here's what you need to know. The US space agency's Voyager program consists of two robotic interstellar probes, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. 4This artist's rendering provided by NASA shows the Voyager spacecraft.Credit: AP:Associated Press 4An artist’s impression of NASA’s Voyager 1 space probe passing behind the rings of Saturn.Credit: Getty Initially, the two spacecraft, which were launched from Cape Canaveral in 1977, headed into space to study Jupiter and Saturn. Their mission was only meant to last five years, however, the instruments have endured in deep space for nearly 45 years. And since their launch, the probes have traveled a remarkable 14.46 billion miles from Earth – further than any man-made object. However, now Nasa has announced that the Voyager program is coming to an end, as the two spacecraft are entering their very final phase. Read more on VoyagerLOST IN TRANSLATION Voyager space probe sends back 'impossible data' scientists mind-blownBEYOND OUR GALAXY Where is Voyager 1 spacecraft now? "We're at 44 and...
    THE VOYAGER space probe has sent data back to Earth that is perplexing scientists everywhere. The Voyager has surpassed the expectations that were set for the probe at its launch in 1977. 2The Voyager completed flybys of Jupiter and Saturn on its trip out of the solar systemCredit: Getty Images - Getty 2It will be about 40,000 years before the Voyager crosses paths with another starCredit: Getty Images - Getty The Voyager is 14.5billion miles away and still beams data back home to Earth. Because of the vast expanse of space between the two, it takes almost 21 hours to send a message to the probe. Recent data sent back by the probe about its location and orientation in space conflicts with what Nasa knows about the probe's position. “A mystery like this is sort of par for the course at this stage of the Voyager mission," said Suzanne Dodd, a project manager at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Lab. Read More in SpaceNEW CONNECTION Elon Musk celebrates SpaceX adding new satellites to orbit in nine minutesALIEN HUNTING Experts reveal how many...
    Make some space in your schedule to take a look at some brand new images of the sun released by the European Space Agency on Wednesday. The photos of the sun, taken by the ESA, include photos of a solar flare, the sun's south pole, the sun's magnetic activity, and a full view of the sun. Among the new photos is a solar activity in the sun nicknamed "the hedgehog" for having "a multitude of spikes of hot gas reaching out in all directions." "I was personally blown away by the quality and degree of details in these images," said Solar Orbiter Project scientist Daniel Muller. "By going three times closer, we can get the space resolution up by effect of three, and we see things that we haven't seen before, and that's of course the beauty of science, to explore the unexplored." SEE IT: IMAGE OF MARS 'DOORWAY' SPARKS CONSPIRACY THEORIES The "hedgehog" measures 25,000 kilometers across, making it a small feature on the sun but gigantic compared to Earth at twice its diameter....
    (CNN)The Solar Orbiter mission's first close pass of the sun in March has revealed our star in a new light.The spacecraft, which flew by the sun on March 26, has returned a treasure trove of new images and insights after coming within one-third the distance from the sun to the Earth. Solar Orbiter's heat shield reached about 932 degrees Fahrenheit (500 degrees Celsius), but functioned as expected and protected the spacecraft during its historic first flyby. Solar Orbiter's Extreme Ultraviolet Imager captured this view of the sun on March 27.Solar Orbiter comes equipped with a multilayer heat shield, a special coating called "Solar Black" made using burnt bone and sliding doors that protect its instruments. The spacecraft also has solar arrays that can tilt away from the worst of the heat and cooling elements in its interior. Together, these keep the spacecraft from melting as it studies the sun.The mission, a joint effort between NASA and the European Space Agency, captured views of powerful flares and coronal mass ejections and perspectives of the unexplored solar poles. The orbiter even spied...
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A NASA spacecraft on Mars is headed for a dusty demise. The Insight lander is losing power because of all the dust on its solar panels. NASA said Tuesday it will keep using the spacecraft’s seismometer to register marsquakes until the power peters out, likely in July. Then flight controllers will monitor InSight until the end of this year, before calling everything off. “There really hasn’t been too much doom and gloom on the team. We’re really still focused on operating the spacecraft,” said Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Bruce Banerdt, the principal scientist. Since landing on Mars in 2018, InSight has detected more than 1,300 marsquakes; the biggest one, a magnitude 5, occurred two weeks ago. It will be NASA’s second Mars lander lost to dust: A global dust storm took out Opportunity in 2018. In InSight’s case, it’s been a gradual gathering of dust, especially over the past year. NASA’s two other functioning spacecraft on the Martian surface — rovers Curiosity and Perseverance — are still going strong thanks to nuclear power. The...
    (CNN)The Solar Orbiter mission will make its closest flyby of the sun Saturday since launching in February 2020.The spacecraft will come within 31 million miles (50 million kilometers) of the sun, less than one-third the distance between the star and Earth. This will take Solar Orbiter inside the orbit of Mercury, the closest planet to the sun. The European Space Agency, which jointly manages the mission with NASA, will share the first images and data within a few weeks because it will take time to download and analyze everything gathered during the flyby, according to ESA.You can track Solar Orbiter's progress using a tool developed by ESA to follow the sun explorer's journey. Solar Orbiter's 10 instruments will be running simultaneously, ready to measure the solar wind and keep an eye out for mini flares, called campfires, that researchers spied in the mission's first images in 2020. The spacecraft also carries high-resolution telescopes.Read MoreThe data collected during the flyby could help scientists unlock some of the biggest remaining solar mysteries, including why and how the temperature rises through the sun's...
    THE Sun has been revealed as you've never seen it before. A spacecraft has managed to snap the closest photo yet of our flaming star, marvelling scientists with superior detail. 2Sun as it's never been seen beforeCredit: ESA/NASA/Solar Orbiter/EUI It exposes the fiery outer atmosphere - known as the corona - in amazing high quality and could help experts unlock hidden secrets about the Sun. The picture was taken on March 7 by the European Space Agency's Solar Orbiter as it reached a very special point in its journey. More than two years after launching, the spacecraft reached the halfway spot exactly between Earth and the Sun. That's about 46million miles away from both. Read more about spaceLOVE, BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT Sex in space will be ESSENTIAL to 'long manned missions'SPACED OUT Europe mission to Mars 'could be delayed until 2028' because of Ukraine invasion The photo wasn't a fast feat either, taking over four hours to be captured. This is because the orbiter got so close it needed to take 25 separate pictures, each taking about...
    (CNN)The sun is getting more active -- and two solar missions are perfectly poised to capture the stellar show. The Solar Orbiter spacecraft, a joint mission between NASA and the European Space Agency, is gearing up for its closest approach to the sun so far on March 26.The journey has been anything but boring. A large solar flare exploded from the sun on March 2. The eruption was rated as M-class, the fourth strongest type of the five categories measuring solar flare intensity. A burst of this strength can cause brief radio blackouts at the poles and minor radiation storms that might endanger astronauts, according to NASA.The Extreme Ultraviolet Imager on the Solar Orbiter captured a video of the dramatic event.Read MoreMeanwhile, the Parker Solar Probe, which became the first spacecraft to "touch the sun" at the end of 2021, recently experienced the extremes of a large solar prominence -- that's when the sun released tons of charged particles in Parker's direction on February 15. The ESA described solar prominences as "large structures of tangled magnetic field lines that keep...
    NASA has revealed a behind the scenes clip of its huge Psyche spacecraft that will one day probe an expensive asteroid. The craft will be probing Asteroid 16 Psyche, which is thought to be worth up to $10,000quadrillion. 3The video shows the spacecraft's large solar 'wings' extendingCredit: YouTube/NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory 3The spacecraft will set off on a mission to Asteroid 16 Psyche this yearCredit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory posted a video of the Psyche spacecraft's new 'solar arrays' to its YouTube channel. The YouTube description explains: "NASA’s Psyche mission is preparing for a 1.5 billion-mile (2.4 billion-kilometer) solar-powered trip to the metal-rich asteroid of the same name. "In a cleanroom at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in February 2022, twin solar arrays were attached to the spacecraft body, unfolded lengthwise, and then re-stowed as tests on Psyche continue. "The five-panel, cross-shaped solar arrays are the largest ever installed on a spacecraft at JPL, so engineers had to test them one at a time." Pysche should be sent on its mission in August this year. Nasa isn't planning...
    Getty This is an artist rendition of the Pioneer 10 spacecraft as it passes the planet Jupiter. On this day in history, March 2, 1972, NASA launched Pioneer 10 for its mission to Jupiter. The mission was initially slated as a 21-month mission, and instead lasted more than 30 years. Pioneer 10 was NASA’s first mission to the outer planets, according to NASA. Transmissions ended in 2003 as the power source for its radio decayed, but the spacecraft is still traversing space. Today, it is headed toward Aldebaran, the red star of Taurus. “The mission was a spectacular success and the spacecraft notched a series of firsts unmatched by any other robotic spacecraft to date,” NASA wrote. Follow the Heavy on Houston Facebook page for the latest Houston news and more. Here’s what you need to know:Pioneer 10 Was the First Spacecraft to Travel Through the Asteroid Belt & Obtain Up-Close Images of Jupiter Wednesday marks 50 years since the launch of Pioneer 10 – undoubtedly, one of the most important interplanetary space missions ever. This craft paved...
    (CNN)As a space enthusiast, I've always wanted to sail among the stars to a galaxy far, far away.I got a step closer this week when I boarded the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser at Walt Disney World for a preview of the first-of-its-kind immersive experience, opening on March 1. As a Star Wars fan, I was delighted to interact with characters new and old and live out a choose-your-own adventure at a resort simulating a cruise among the stars. Joining a secret mission, I trained with a lightsaber, traded messages with spunky droids and helped Chewbacca sneak around the ship to aid Rey and the Resistance against the First Order.But my breath caught as I stepped inside my cabin and beheld a window with a constant view of shimmering stars, asteroid fields, passing ships and a dazzling array of planets. Standing on the ship's bridge, I spied sparks of lightning as storms brewed in the tumultuous clouds of Bespin, a planet familiar to fans of "The Empire Strikes Back."As a science journalist, I've often imagined what it might be like to...
    Two-and-a-half years ago, a tiny spacecraft soared into the sky aboard a Space X rocket blasting off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Settling into an orbit 426 miles above Earth, the shoebox-sized object—called LightSail 2, designed by the California-based Planetary Society, and crowdfunded by 40,000 private donors chipping in $7 million—unfurled a 20-by-20-foot foil sail as thin as a strand of human hair. Like many science satellites, LightSail 2 carries a suite of cameras and radio instruments, powered by solar panels. But the point of this mission is the sail, which is specially designed to be sensitive to light. When photons from the sun hit the sail, they nudge LightSail 2 forward with enough force to counteract Earth’s gravity and keep the craft in a stable orbit. “LightSail 2 is the first small spacecraft to demonstrate controlled solar sailing,” the Planetary Society states on its website. This experimental method of space propulsion is about to go mainstream in a big way, and could very well change the future of space travel. Three NASA missions—one launching next month, another...
    OUMUAMUA, the first interstellar object to be spotted in our Solar System, has left us with more questions than answers. Scientists are proposing a 22 year mission to the reddish cigar shaped object, which some people labelled an 'alien probe' when it was first discovered. 1The odd object is said to be from outside our Solar SystemCredit: Reuters Oumuamua was first spotted in 2017 and left researchers wondering how such an odd interstellar object entered our inner Solar System. It moves too fast to be an asteroid and has no debris trail like normal comets. Theories of what it could be range from a piece of an exoplanet to an alien spaceship. The object is still in our Solar System but it's now out of range of all our telescopes. A new study has outlined a mission called Project Lyra, which would send a probe to Oumuamua and solve some of its mysteries. The researchers wrote: "To settle the question of the nature of the interstellar object 1I/'Oumuamua requires in-situ observations via a spacecraft, as the object is already out...
    Getty People pose for photos as they celebrate the closest fly-by of Pluto by the New Horizons probe at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory July 14, 2015 in Laurel, Maryland. The unmanned NASA spacecraft whizzed by Pluto on July 14, making its closest approach in the climax of a decade-long journey to explore the dwarf planet for the first time, the US space agency said. Moving faster than any spacecraft ever built -- at a speed of about 30,800 miles per hour (49,570 kph) -- the flyby happened at 7:49 am (1149 GMT), with the probe running on auto-pilot. It was to pass by Pluto at a distance of 7,767 miles. On this day in history 16 years ago, NASA launched one of its longest missions yet when New Horizons set out for Pluto on January 19, 2006. The unmanned spacecraft sailed past the dwarf planet at the end of our solar system on July 14, 2015. The Houston-based Lunar and Planetary Institute used images and data from the mission to create new visualizations of Pluto,...
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Sixty years after NASA set the goal, and three years after its Parker Solar Probe launched, the spacecraft has become the first to "touch the sun." The Parker Solar Probe has successfully flown through the sun's corona, or upper atmosphere, to sample particles and our star's magnetic fields."Parker Solar Probe 'touching the Sun' is a monumental moment for solar science and a truly remarkable feat," said Thomas Zurbuchen, the associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, in a statement."Not only does this milestone provide us with deeper insights into our Sun's evolution and (its) impacts on our solar system, but everything we learn about our own star also teaches us more about stars in the rest of the universe."The announcement was made at the 2021 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in New Orleans on Tuesday, and research from the solar milestone has been published in the Physical Review Letters.The Parker Solar Probe launched in 2018 and set out to circle closer and closer to the sun. Scientists, including the spacecraft's namesake astrophysicist Eugene Parker, want to...
    (CNN)The sun is the literal star of the show in our solar system, but we're still trying to figure out our celestial disco ball. Debates about the sun were first posed by ancient Greek philosophers. Thousands of years later, the combined work of people like Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler and Newton helped determine that planets orbit the sun. Many questions about our sun remain, like the nature of the energized wind that streams away from it across the solar system, or why the fiery orb's outer atmosphere is so much hotter than the surface. It's why NASA sent the Parker Solar Probe on a seven-year mission to investigate in 2018. The spacecraft has already uncovered surprising things.Now, at its closest approach to the sun yet, we're getting to the good stuff.Read MoreSolar updateThis illustration shows the Parker Solar Probe nearing the sun.It's official: Humans have used a spacecraft to "touch the sun" and revealed some unusual insights about our star.The Parker Solar Probe successfully flew through the sun's corona, or upper atmosphere, to sample particles and our star's magnetic fields. This...
    A NASA spacecraft has touched the surface of the sun for the first time in history, marking a new milestone for space science. NASA's Parker Solar Probe flew through the sun's upper atmosphere and collected data on magnetic fields and particles, the agency announced in a Tuesday press release . The milestone is comparable to the moment Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon, according to NASA . WATCH: KAMALA HARRIS STRUGGLES TO CHARGE ELECTRIC VEHICLE "Just as landing on the Moon allowed scientists to understand how it was formed, touching the very stuff the Sun is made of will help scientists uncover critical information about our closest star and its influence on the solar system," the release read. The sun does not have a solid surface, per se, but, rather a superheated atmosphere composed of solar material held together by magnetic forces and gravity, NASA explained. ☀️ Our #ParkerSolarProbe has touched the Sun!For the first time in history, a spacecraft has flown through the Sun's atmosphere, the corona. Here's what it means: https://t.co/JOPdn7GTcv...
    A NASA spacecraft has officially "touched" the sun, plunging through the unexplored solar atmosphere known as the corona. Scientists announced the news Tuesday during a meeting of the American Geophysical Union. The Parker Solar Probe actually flew through the corona in April during the spacecraft’s eighth close approach to the sun. Scientists said it took a few months to get the data back and then several more months to confirm. "Fascinatingly exciting," said project scientist Nour Raouafi of Johns Hopkins University. NASA TO LAUNCH LATEST MISSION TO TEST LASER COMMUNICATION IN SPACE Launched in 2018, Parker was 8 million miles (13 million kilometers) from the center of the sun when it first crossed the jagged, uneven boundary between the solar atmosphere and outgoing solar wind. The spacecraft dipped in and out of the corona at least three times, each a smooth transition, according to scientists. FILE - This image made available by NASA shows an artist's rendering of the Parker Solar Probe approaching the Sun. (Steve Gribben/Johns Hopkins APL/NASA via AP) (Steve Gribben/Johns Hopkins APL/NASA via AP) "The first...
    For the first time in history, an object made by humans entered the sun’s atmosphere—and lived to tell the tale. NASA’s Parker Solar Probe spent five hours catching rays and collecting data in the sun’s corona before moving back out to a safer, more distant orbit. It’s the closest we’ve ever gotten to visiting a star, and the new data could open up huge doors in our understanding of how the sun evolved and how it now behaves. The new findings were published Tuesday in Physical Review Letters. “Parker Solar Probe ‘touching the sun’ is a monumental moment for solar science and a truly remarkable feat,” NASA associate administrator Thomas Zurbuchen said in a statement. “Not only does this milestone provide us with deeper insights into our sun's evolution and its impacts on our solar system, but everything we learn about our own star also teaches us more about stars in the rest of the universe.” Parker was launched in 2018 with the goal of one day making it to the sun’s corona—an outer boundary of plasma that extends...
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A NASA spacecraft has officially “touched” the sun, plunging through the unexplored solar atmosphere known as the corona. Scientists announced the news Tuesday during a meeting of the American Geophysical Union. The Parker Solar Probe actually flew through the corona in April during the spacecraft’s eighth close approach to the sun. Scientists said it took a few months to get the data back and then several more months to confirm. “Fascinatingly exciting,” said project scientist Nour Raouafi of Johns Hopkins University. Launched in 2018, Parker was 8 million miles (13 million kilometers) from the center of the sun when it first crossed the jagged, uneven boundary between the solar atmosphere and outgoing solar wind. The spacecraft dipped in and out of the corona at least three times, each a smooth transition, according to scientists. “The first and most dramatic time we were below for about five hours … Now you might think five hours, that doesn’t sound big,” the University of Michigan’s Justin Kasper told reporters. But he noted that...
    (CNN)Sixty years after NASA set the goal, and three years after its Parker Solar Probe launched, the spacecraft has become the first to "touch the sun." The Parker Solar Probe has successfully flown through the sun's corona, or upper atmosphere, to sample particles and our star's magnetic fields."Parker Solar Probe 'touching the Sun' is a monumental moment for solar science and a truly remarkable feat," said Thomas Zurbuchen, the associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, in a statement. "Not only does this milestone provide us with deeper insights into our Sun's evolution and (its) impacts on our solar system, but everything we learn about our own star also teaches us more about stars in the rest of the universe."The announcement was made at the 2021 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in New Orleans on Tuesday, and research from the solar milestone has been published in the Physical Review Letters. The Parker Solar Probe launched in 2018 and set out to circle closer and closer to the sun. Scientists, including the spacecraft's namesake astrophysicist Eugene Parker, want to answer fundamental...
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA is debating whether to try to fix a jammed solar panel on its newly launched Lucy spacecraft, en route to explore an unprecedented number of asteroids. The problem cropped up shortly after the spacecraft’s Oct. 16 liftoff on a 12-year journey. After measuring the electric current this week, NASA reported Wednesday that one of Lucy’s two giant, circular solar panels is only between 75% and 95% extended. A lanyard is holding it in place. Any attempt at reopening the wing — which is 24 feet in diameter (7 meters) — would not occur before mid-November. So far, the problem has not affected Lucy’s outbound flight, so there’s no rush to figure out the next step, according to NASA. Everything else on the spacecraft is working properly. The nearly $1 billion mission seeks to explore seven so-called Trojan asteroids that share Jupiter’s orbit around the sun and another space rock closer to home. Lucy should swoop within 600 miles (965 kilometers) of each target. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support...
    (CNN)The first NASA mission that will fly by eight ancient asteroids launched early Saturday morning, but not everything went according to plan once the Lucy spacecraft reached space. After Lucy successfully separated from the rocket, it deployed both solar arrays. However, NASA only received confirmation that one of the solar arrays fully unfurled and latched. The second array partially opened and did not latch to the spacecraft. The Lucy spacecraft is more than 46 feet (14 meters) from tip to tip, largely due to its giant solar panels -- each about the width of a school bus. They are designed to keep up a power supply to the spacecraft's instruments. But Lucy also has fuel to help it execute some skilled maneuvers on the way to the asteroids within the orbit of Jupiter. "Lucy will be NASA's first mission to travel this far away from the sun without nuclear power," said Joan Salute, associate director for flight programs at NASA's Planetary Science Division, during a press conference last week."In order to generate enough energy, Lucy has two very large circular...
    VIDEO3:1003:10Examining asteroids surrounding Jupiter and crashing into asteroids to change orbitThe News with Shepard Smith Lori Glaze, director of NASA's planetary science division, explained how the agency's Lucy asteroid mission will help illuminate the solar system's formation.  "The Lucy mission is really exciting, it's going out to visit these special asteroids that are, they orbit the sun at about the same distance as Jupiter ... and they're special remnants that are probably about 4 billion years old, made up of that material that made all of the planets in the outer part of the solar system Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune," said Glaze on CNBC's "The News with Shepard Smith." "And so, by studying these special asteroids we can learn more about what those planets are made of and that whole early story of that part of the solar system."  The Lucy spacecraft blasted off Saturday from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and is expected to travel 4 billion miles through space to fly by and study Jupiter's Trojan asteroids. While the launch was successful and the spacecraft is stable, NASA...
    Jonathan Amos Science Reporter 17 October 2021, 13:13 IST Photo source, Reuters Photo caption, Lucy Ning collided with the Atlas rocket A spacecraft was sent from Cape Canaveral to explore the fossil record in the solar system. Lucy is a spacecraft orbiting Jupiter (Jupiter-Jupiter) to study clusters of two asteroids. One of them is in front of Jupiter in the orbit of the campus. The other is in the back. NASA scientists say the study of these asteroids could help understand the effects of the first phase of solar system formation. The Lucy spacecraft was launched from the Cape Canaveral in Florida at 9.45am on Saturday on an Atlas-5 rocket. NASA initially decided to spend $ 98.1 billion (approximately Rs. 7,360 crore) on the mission over a twelve-year period. Photo source, Jason Kaffer CC Photo caption, Lucy is a human skeleton fossil in Africa There is a human fossil in Africa called Lucy. It was this fossil that helped us learn more about the existence of the human race. Due to its inspiration, NASA carries out this...
    (CNN)The first NASA mission to fly by a total of eight ancient asteroids is ready for launch.Weather conditions are greater than 90% favorable on the morning of October 16, when the Lucy mission is set to leave Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 5:34 a.m. ET. If it doesn't launch at that time, the window for liftoff remains open for 75 minutes.Lucy will embark on a 12-year mission to explore Jupiter's Trojan asteroid swarms, which have never been observed. The Trojan asteroids, which borrow their name from Greek mythology, orbit the sun in two swarms -- one that's ahead of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, and a second one that lags behind it. So far, our only glimpses of the Trojans have been artist renderings or animations. Lucy will provide the first high-resolution images of what these asteroids look like. This illustration shows the Lucy spacecraft passing one of the Trojan asteroids near Jupiter.Lucy is the first spacecraft designed to visit and observe these asteroids, which are remnants from the early days of our solar system. The...
    The Atlas V rocket, propelled by the ship, is scheduled to take off from Cape Canaveral on Saturday at 5.34 (9.34 GMT) local time. This engine will be the first attempt to have solar power from the sun, and will see more asteroids than any other ship before it: eight in total. Each of these meteorites “should provide a part of the history of our solar system, our history,” Thomas Surbuchen, director of the U.S. Space Agency’s science division, told a news conference. Lucy spacecraft. Computer simulation. Photo by NASA The spacecraft will first fly to an asteroid in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter by 2025. Then it will reach seven Trojan asteroids, the last two in 2033. The largest of them is about 95 kilometers in diameter. The spacecraft will approach selected objects at a distance of 400 to 950 km depending on their size and at a speed of about 24,000 km per hour. The Trojan asteroids, about 7,000 known, are...
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP/KDKA) — Attention asteroid aficionados: NASA is set to launch a series of spacecraft to visit and even bash some of the solar system’s most enticing space rocks. The robotic trailblazer named Lucy is up first, blasting off this weekend on a 12-year cruise to swarms of asteroids out near Jupiter — unexplored time capsules from the dawn of the solar system. And yes, there will be diamonds in the sky with Lucy, on one of its science instruments, as well as lyrics from other Beatles’ songs. READ MORE: Meadows Casino Undergoes Name Change, Gets MakeoverNASA is targeting the predawn hours of Saturday for liftoff. The mission has Pittsburgh connections with Cory Prykull, the assembly, test and operations lead, a Peters Township native. I just interviewed a young man involved in the 1st space mission to study the Trojan asteroids. And of course, we bond over the fact he’s also born & raised in the South Hills. #Pittsburgh represent! #NASA #LucyMission Catch our full interview, tonight at 7:30PM on @KDKA pic.twitter.com/rKUPLk8DRZ — MEGHAN SCHILLER...
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Attention asteroid aficionados: NASA is set to launch a series of spacecraft to visit and even bash some of the solar system’s most enticing space rocks. The robotic trailblazer named Lucy is up first, blasting off this weekend on a 12-year cruise to swarms of asteroids out near Jupiter — unexplored time capsules from the dawn of the solar system. And yes, there will be diamonds in the sky with Lucy, on one of its science instruments, as well as lyrics from other Beatles’ songs. NASA is targeting the predawn hours of Saturday for liftoff. Barely a month later, an impactor spacecraft named Dart will give chase to a double-asteroid closer to home. The mission will end with Dart ramming the main asteroid’s moonlet to change its orbit, a test that could one day save Earth from an incoming rock. Next summer, a spacecraft will launch to a rare metal world — an nickel and iron asteroid that might be the exposed core of a once-upon-a-time planet. A pair of smaller companion craft — the...
    NASA's Lucy mission will launch this week, starting a 12 year journey through the solar system that will include a swing-by of eight different asteroids. The spaceship will be the first to tour the so-called Trojan asteroids that orbit Jupiter and are 'time capsules from the birth of our Solar System,' according to NASA scientists from the Goddard Space Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The $981 million (£715 million) mission takes its name from the fossilised human ancestor, named 'Lucy' by her discovers, whose skeleton provided unique insights into our evolution. NASA says the Lucy space mission will revolutionise our knowledge of planetary origins and the formation of the solar system, giving insight into planetary evolution. It is scheduled to launch on Saturday, October 16 at 05:34 ET (10:34 BST) on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.  It also carries a plaque that includes quotes from the likes of Carl Sagan, Albert Einstein and the Beatles.  NASA's Lucy mission will launch this week, starting a 12 year journey through the solar system...
    A JOINT Euro-Japanese spacecraft got its first glimpse of Mercury as it swung by our solar system’s innermost planet. The BepiColombo ­mission made the first of six fly-bys using the planet’s gravity to slow down the craft. 2A joint Euro-Japanese spacecraft snapped a glimpse of Mercury as it swung by our solar system’s innermost planetCredit: AFP 2A picture made available by the European Space Agency shows an artist impression of the BepiColombo mission flying by MercuryCredit: EPA After swooping past Mercury at altitudes of under 125 miles, the spaceship took a low resolution pic with one of its monitoring cameras. The European Space Agency said the image shows the northern hemisphere and the planet’s pock-marked features, including the 103 mile-wide Lermontov crater. The mission launched in 2018, flying past Earth and twice past Venus on its journey to the solar system’s smallest planet, 63 million miles away. It will send two probes to the surface in 2025. The mission is named after Italian scientist Giuseppe Bepi Colombo. Most read in The US SunDEATH MYSTERY Gabby's cause of death 'withheld' after...
    (CNN)Everyone needs a break. My technology-cluttered surroundings were replaced recently with mountain trails and a lake where sunlight scattered like diamonds.Standing at the base of two converging waterfalls, the fine spray of mist on my face, I was reminded that natural marvels are never out of reach -- we just forget to seek them out. Ferns grew sideways from walls of rock, dancing in the breeze generated by the powerful roaring water. The words of John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" came to mind: "Life is old there, older than the trees, younger than the mountains, growin' like a breeze."Spending time in nature is good for us (and kids, too). I hope you can take some time for yourself soon to explore the path less traveled, and may the journey bring you clarity, joy and rejuvenation.Read MoreAnd taking a break isn't just for humans -- something similar is about to happen on Mars. Solar updateThis diagram illustrates the position of Mars, Earth and the sun during Mars solar conjunction.When the sun gets in between Mars and Earth, NASA experiences...
    NASA's mission to study the Trojan asteroids will launch on October 16, the space agency said late Tuesday.  In visiting these ancient celestial objects, the U.S. space agency hopes to understand more about how the planets formed 4.5 billion years ago and why they ended up where they did. Known as the Lucy mission, it will leave from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 5:30 a.m. ET and explore seven of the Trojan asteroids, that have been called 'fossils' of the solar system, as well as one asteroid in the main belt. Scroll down for video  'Additionally, Lucy's path will circle back to Earth three times for gravity assists, making it the first spacecraft ever to return to the vicinity of Earth from the outer solar system,' NASA said in a statement.  NASA's mission to study the Trojan asteroids will launch on October 16, the space agency said late Tuesday In visiting these ancient celestial objects, the U.S. space agency hopes to understand more about how the planets formed 4.5 billion years ago and why they ended up where they...
    (CNN)The first NASA mission to study Jupiter's Trojan asteroid swarms is getting ready to launch.The Lucy mission has passed all of its prelaunch tests and is set to leave Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at around 5:30 a.m. ET on October 16. The Trojan asteroids, which borrow their name from Greek mythology, orbit the sun in two swarms -- one that's ahead of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, and a second one that lags behind it. Lucy is the first spacecraft designed to visit and observe these asteroids, which are remnants from the early days of our solar system. The mission will help researchers effectively peer back in time to learn how the solar system formed 4.5 billion years ago. This illustration shows the Lucy spacecraft passing one of the Trojan asteroids near Jupiter.Lucy's 12-year mission could also help scientists learn how our planets ended up in their current spots. Read MoreThere are about 7,000 Trojan asteroids, and the largest is 160 miles (250 kilometers) across. The asteroids represent the leftover material still hanging around after...
    The European Space Agency Solar Orbiter probe has sent back footage of Venus two days after passing less than 5,000 miles from the surface of the hellish world. Both the Solar Orbiter and BepiColombo probes operated by ESA made a flyby of Venus this week, in a bid to use its gravity for a speed boost to their final destination. Solar Orbiter is on its way to the sun, and while passing Venus turned its Heliospheric Imager (SoloHI) telescope to capture a gleaming view of the planet.   The video and images show Venus approaching from the left while the sun is off camera to the upper right, with the nightside of the planet part hidden from view. Like the ESA BepiColombo images published yesterday, they are in black and white with minimal detail as the cameras weren't designed for use on Venus. The double flyby offers ESA astronomers a chance to study Earth's sister-planet Venus from different locations at the same time, and places rarely visited by probes.  Both the Solar Orbiter (artist impression) and BepiColombo probes operated by...
    The European Space Agency's (ESA) BepiColombo spacecraft has made its close approach to Venus, coming just 340 miles from the surface of Earth's twin planet. BepiColombo, launched in partnership with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), arrived for its gravity assist on the way to Mercury just 33 hours after fellow ESA probe, the Solar Orbiter, made its close approach to Venus.   They were both using the gravitational pull of Venus to help them drop a little bit of orbital energy to reach their destinations at the centre of the solar system. The Mercury-bound BepiColombo spacecraft swung by Venus, flying 340 miles from the surface of the planet, at 15:52 BST on Tuesday, August 10.   It is on a seven year mission to study the structure and atmosphere of the innermost planet in the solar system and learn more about how it interacts with our star. JAXA tweeted: '[It] will not begin orbiting Mercury until the end of 2025, the spacecraft will make the first swing-by of Mercury this October. Stay tuned!' The double flyby offers ESA astronomers a chance...
    (CNN)Venus gets back-to-back visitors this week, with the flybys of two European Space Agency-backed spacecraft. The double flyby will provide an "unprecedented" opportunity to study the environment of Venus from different locations, according to an ESA statement. Solar Orbiter, a partnership between ESA and NASA, will fly by Venus on Monday. At its closest point, the spacecraft will be 7,995 kilometers (4,968 miles) away from the planet's surface. On Tuesday, BepiColombo, a venture between ESA and the Japanese space agency JAXA, will fly much closer -- at an altitude of just 550 kilometers (341 miles). However, Venus isn't the final destination of either spacecraft. Read MoreAn artist's impression of BepiColombo's flyby of Venus. Its final destination is Mercury, the planet closest to the sun.Swinging by the planet allows the two spacecraft to get what's known as a "gravitational assist." While sometimes used to catapult a spacecraft further into space, in this case the maneuver will be used to lose some orbital energy and slow down in order to avoid overshooting their destinations at the center of the solar system, ESA...
    Both spacecraft will fly within a few thousand kilometers from the planet Venus, Earth’s infernal twin, and within a single day of each other: Solar Orbiter will fly over Venus on Monday, August 9, 8,000 kilometers from the planet and BepiColombo will fly on Tuesday, August 10, about 550 kilometers from the surface of Venus. The two head to the inner solar system supported by the gravity of Venus and the two will make history by passing through the planet just 33 hours apart. The missions Solar Orbiter launched in 2020 with a mission to study the sun, while BepiColombo launched in 2018 and has been en route to Mercury ever since. Unfortunately, it will not be possible to follow the event live, although we will have many tests and results from him. Solar Orbiter The Solar Orbiter has already passed Venus once during a gravity assist in December 2020 and will make regular flybys of Venus as its orbital inclination increases. The spacecraft must face the sun during its flyby, but its SoloHI imaging instrument on the spacecraft is...
    The European Space Agency's Solar Orbiter spacecraft has made its second flyby of Venus, just 33 hours before the BepiColombo craft makes its close approach.   They are both using the gravitational pull of Venus to help them drop a little bit of orbital energy to reach their destinations at the centre of the solar system. Solar Orbiter is on its way to study the polar regions of the sun in a bid to better understand its 11-year cycle, and made its approach at 05:42 BST, ESA said, coming within 4,967 of the planet.  ESA's New Norcia monitoring station in Australia lost contact with the solar orbit for six minutes, as expected. ESA tweeted: 'A few minutes ago, as the spacecraft swung behind the planet for its Venus Flyby, New Norcia station lost contact as expected.' Six minutes later, it regained contact, writing: 'New Norcia has you in sight again - we're back in contact!'  BepiColombo is heading to Mercury on a seven year mission to study the structure and atmosphere of the innermost planet in the solar system and makes...
    NASA's Juno spacecraft will fly within 645 miles (1,038 kilometres) of Ganymede – Jupiter's largest moon – on Monday (June 7).   Juno's instruments will begin collecting data about three hours before the spacecraft's closest approach, which will happen at 6:35pm BST (1:35pm EDT).  Juno, which launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida in August 2011 to study Jupiter from orbit, will provide insights into the moon's composition and temperature.  The celestial event will be the closest a spacecraft has come to Ganymede since Galileo in May 2000.  With a diameter of 3,280 miles (5,262 kilometers), Ganymede is larger than both Mercury and dwarf planet Pluto.  Ganymede is the largest moon in our solar system and the only moon with its own magnetic field.    Scroll down for video  With a diameter of 3,280 miles, Ganymede (pictured) is larger than both planet Mercury and dwarf planet Pluto. This image shows mosaic and geologic maps of Ganymede, assembled incorporating the best available imagery from NASA’s Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft and NASA’s Galileo spacecraft GANYMEDE'S HISTORY Since its discovery in January 1610, Ganymede has been the...
    Two new discovery missions to Venus will be launched by NASA between 2028 and 2030, the space agency announced Wednesday. The upcoming trips will be the first time in 30 years NASA probes have visited the "inferno-like" planet. "We hope these missions will further our understanding of how Earth evolved and why it's currently habitable when others in our solar system are not," NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in his State of NASA address. "Planetary science is critical in answering key questions that we have as humans like 'are we alone?'"  The selected mission concepts, chosen from the agency's Discover 2019 competition, are called DAVINCI+ and VERITAS. They each will be awarded approximately $500 million for development, NASA announced.  DAVINCI+ stands for Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry and Imaging, and will "measure the composition of Venus' atmosphere to understand how it formed and evolved, as well as determine whether the planet ever had an ocean." The mission will involve plunging a sphere through the planet's atmosphere and comparing measurements of gases and other elements to the...
    (CNN)A happy accident has resulted in the Solar Orbiter mission spying eruptions from the sun. These eruptions, called coronal mass ejections, blast out solar particles across the solar system and have the potential to disrupt technology if they reach Earth.These eruptions were detected by multiple instruments on the spacecraft during a close flyby of the sun, which is called a perihelion, on February 10. This flyby brought the spacecraft within 46.5 million miles of the sun -- that's half the distance between the massive star and Earth.This is the first time the orbiter has witnessed such eruptions. This imagery comes from three different instruments on Solar Orbiter showing eruptions happening on the sun.The mission, which launched in February 2020, is a collaboration between NASA and the European Space Agency. Although Solar Orbiter's main scientific agenda doesn't begin until November -- to study the sun's north and south poles -- it has already made close passes by the sun that captured the closest images ever taken of our star and revealed "campfires" near its surface. Currently the spacecraft is in its...
    The famous quote “In space, no one hears your screams” is known to almost everyone, although some do not know it Ridley Scott1979 science fiction and horror classic “Alien”. This famous proverb is now embroiled in controversy as NASA scientists discovered the galaxy. Instruments on NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft nine years ago It emerged from the outside of our solar system, They discovered a faint, boring echo caused by the continuous vibration of small amounts of gases in the galaxy’s half-zero. This mainly refers to the background noise found in wide expanses between star systems. Wiser 1 passed through a galaxy in a three-year short-wavelength series known as continuous plasma waves. Stella said, “The continuous waves of plasma we now know are, in fact, too weak for the human ear to hear. The primary author of a study published this week. Launched in September 1977, the Wiser 1 spacecraft is currently about 22.7 billion kilometers (14.1 billion miles) from Earth, 152 times the distance between our planet and the Sun, still receiving and transmitting data. Giant planets visited Jupiter and...
    Originally Published by: Voyager 1 detects hum while in interstellar space Why people are finding dryer sheets in their mailboxes Chinese TV maker spies on consumers: reports NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on Monday began its long journey back to Earth after collecting a sample from the asteroid Bennu. The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer was NASA’s first spacecraft to visit an asteroid near Earth to bring back a sampling for scientists.  The spacecraft reached asteroid Bennue in 2018 and spent two years flying near and around it, before collecting rubble from the surface last fall. NASA said the mission will help unlock the secrets of our solar system.  Early last month, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft made one final flyby of asteroid Bennu to take photos of the disturbance left by October’s sample collection. It will return to Earth with its precious 2-pound sample load on Sept. 24, 2023. It will be the biggest cosmic haul for the US since the Apollo moon rocks. While NASA has returned comet dust and solar wind samples,...
    Originally Published by: Delta flight returns to Atlanta after birds hit windshield Spacecraft heading back to Earth after retrieving asteroid sample Why people are finding dryer sheets in their mailboxes Voyager 1, which is the farthest human-made object from Earth and the first to enter interstellar space, has been detecting a “faint, persistent hum” that scientists have attributed to interstellar gas. Phys.org, citing research published in Nature Astronomy, reported that the spacecraft’s Plasma Wave System has picked up a “persistent signature produced by the tenuous near-vacuum of space.” James Cordes, a professor of astronomy at Cornell University, reportedly described the sound as a “quiet or gentle rain.” “In the case of a solar outburst, it’s like detecting a lightning burst in a thunderstorm and then it’s back to a gentle rain,” he said. Stella Koch Ocker, a doctoral student at the university, who lead the research, said, “We’re detecting the faint, persistent hum of interstellar gas. It’s very faint and monotone, because it is in a narrow frequency bandwidth.” This artist’s concept shows the...
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