How do we send humans to asteroids or Mars? While the answer is complex, one part of it is to say “a simulation mission at a time.” That’s one of the roles of the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) project, which now is seeing its 18th crew temporarily live in a habitat 62 feet beneath the Atlantic Ocean’s waves. Watch Live As Underwater Astronauts Drill Into The Ocean Floor
Data from NASA’s crippled Kepler space telescope has unleashed a windfall of hot Jupiters — sizzling gas giants that circle their host star within days — and only a handful of Earth-like planets. A quick analysis might make it seem as though hot Jupiters are far more common than their smaller and more distant counterparts. But in large surveys, astronomers have to be careful of the observational biases introduced into their data. Kepler, for example, mainly finds broiling furnace worlds close to their host stars. These are easier to spot than small exoplanets that take hundreds of days to transit. New data, however, shows a transiting exoplanet, Kepler-421b, with the longest known year, clocking in at 704 days. First Exoplanet Discovered Beyond the “Snow Line”
Today, July 21, 2014, NASA officially renamed a historic facility at the Kennedy Space Center vital to human spaceflight in honor of Neil Armstrong during a a 45th anniversary ceremony at what until today was known as the ‘Operations and Checkout Building’ or O & C. Historic Human Spaceflight Facility at Kennedy Renamed in Honor of Neil Armstrong – 1st Man on the Moon
Just look at that new video from NASA showing the first moon landing site in three dimensions. It’s tempting to touch on the surface nearby the Eagle lander there in the center and do some prospecting. How Humanity’s Next Moon Explorers Could Live In Lunar ‘Pits’
Here’s another beautiful astrophoto, courtesy of photographer Justin Ng from Singapore. He’s currently on a photography trip to Malaysia and by chance captured this absolutely stunning view. Astrophoto: Milky Way Rising Above Spectacular Lightning Display
t’s likely that Jupiter-like planets’ origins root back to either the rapid collapse of a dense cloud or small rocky cores that glom together until the body is massive enough to accrete a gaseous envelope. Although these two competing theories are both viable, astronomers have, for the first time, seen the latter “core accretion” theory in action. By studying the exoplanet’s host star they’ve shed light on the composition of the planet’s rocky core. Distant Stellar Atmospheres Shed Light on How Jupiter-like Planets Form
Looking for something off beat to observe? Some examples of curious astronomical objects lie within the reach of the dedicated amateur armed with a moderate-sized backyard telescope. With a little skill and persistence, you just might be able to track down a white dwarf star. Observing Challenge: 6 White Dwarf Stars to See in Your Backyard Telescope
I thought the photos earlier this week were amazing. This little movie, made of 36 ‘smoothed’ or interpolated images of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, takes it to the next level, showing the comet’s complex shape even more clearly as Rosetta nudges ever closer to its target. Some have likened it to a duck, a boot and even a baby’s foot. Rosetta Zooms Toward an Extraordinary Comet
It’s sad to think about, but there will be a day sometime when the International Space Station makes its final journey — a destructive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. Historically, it’s been hard to break up large pieces of space hardware safely. Pieces of the Skylab space station famously rained down in Australia, while Mir’s demise triggered warnings across its re-entry path. The European Space Agency sees an opportunity to gather more information for this future use: closely watching what happens when the final Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), Georges Lemaître, goes to the International Space Station and has its planned breakup in the atmosphere following the shipment. Cargo Ship’s Fiery Demise Could Help Predict What Happens When The Space Station Burns Up
s our Solar System normal? Or is it weird? How does the Solar System fit within the strange star systems we’ve discovered in the Milky Way so far? Is Our Solar System Weird?