News, Space flight

SpaceX has something major in the works, and we’re really excited

Image via Elon Musk.

Normally, when people say they’re working on “the coolest thing ever”, we raise our eyebrows in skepticism; but when SpaceX says that… we give them the benefit of a doubt. I mean, they’re doing some pretty monumental things as it is, and when they are excited about something, we are excited about something.

News, Space

When Earth’s solid inner core formed: 1 to 1.5 billion years ago

Though you may be familiar with the phrase “molten core,” the reality is that Earth’s inner core is actually solid, and it’s the outer core that surrounds this enormous ball of heavy metals which remains liquid. Image:

Our planet’s magnetic field is the first and ultimate shield that guards life from the elements of space, particularly radiation. It’s enough to look at Mars, which also had a magnetic field but only for 500 million years, to see what could happen were it absent: what was once a “blue planet”, filled with vasts oceans of liquid water, maybe even vegetation and other life forms, is now a barred red rock. This invisible, protective shield likely existed shortly after the planet formed 4.5 billion years ago, when it was still a big blob of molten rock. It was only after the super hot iron liquid core lost enough heat to freeze (more properly said, it solidified) did the field become strong enough to allow life to foster. Previous studies estimated this happened sometime between 500 million and 2 billion years ago. A more refined analysis by University of Liverpool places the timeline between 1 billion and 1.5 billion years ago.

Astronomy, News, Space

NASA believes those spots on Ceres are actually salt


A few days ago, we were telling you about some spectacular features on Ceres, the dwarf planet / largest object in the asteroid belt. NASA’s astronomers were puzzled by some white patches on Ceres’ surface, which they initially presumed to be ice. Now, they believe those patches are actually salt.

News, Space

How to weigh a star: a new mathematical method

Artist illustration of Pulsar in J140135. Credit: NASA

A novel mathematical model can weigh the mass of a pulsar – a rapidly rotating magnetized neutran star – using principles of nuclear physics, rather than gravity. Up until now, the mass of a star could only be determined in relation with other bodies, based on the gravitational pull these exerted. Now, using the new model scientists will be able to study pulsars in isolation, allowing for more precise measurements than ever before.

Astronomy, Geology, Great Pics, News, Space

Pluto’s Charon reveals colorful and violent past

Charon in Enhanced Color NASA's New Horizons captured this high-resolution enhanced color view of Charon just before closest approach on July 14, 2015. The image combines blue, red and infrared images taken by the spacecraft’s Ralph/Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera (MVIC); the colors are processed to best highlight the variation of surface properties across Charon. Charon’s color palette is not as diverse as Pluto’s; most striking is the reddish north (top) polar region, informally named Mordor Macula. Charon is 754 miles (1,214 kilometers) across; this image resolves details as small as 1.8 miles (2.9 kilometers).

NASA’s New Horizons shuttle wasn’t only taking mind blowing photos of Pluto, it was also peeking at Pluto’s moons, especially Charon – the largest one. The latest set of images analyzed by NASA researchers revealed quite a busy past, filled with violence and geologic activity.

News, Observations, Space

Hurricane Joaquin will rage on, experience eyewall replacement

NASA's Aqua satellite captured this visible image of Hurricane Joaquin over Bahamas on Oct. 1. Credits: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team

Hurricane Joaquin is an active tropical cyclone that severely impacted large parts of the Bahamas and is currently threatening Bermuda, although its extremities will also pass through other areas in the Atlantic, including Britain. Now, according to NASA data, the hurricane will be experiencing a phenomenon called eyewall replacement.

Great Pics, News, Space

NASA releases all 8,400 photos from the Apollo Moon Mission


It’s a great day to be a space fan: NASA has just released all the photos taken by Apollo astronauts on lunar missions; digitized and grouped by the roll of film they were shot on, that’s over 8,400 images, featuring the blurry moon, the missed shots, and above all, the great features from a great mission! The Apollo program, also

Did you know?, Physics, Space flight

Taming the sound from a shuttle using water


What purpose would a water tank have in the proximity of a space shuttle launch?

Well, believe it or not, it is used to suppress the acoustical energy (sound and rocket exhaust reflected from the flame trench and Mobile Launcher Platform ) during launch

Astronomy, News, Space

NASA continues to reveal insights about Ceres

This view, made using images taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, is a color-coded topographic map of Occator crater on Ceres. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

At the European Planetary Science Conference in Nantes, France, NASA presented some spectacular maps and observations about Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt, and the largest of the minor planets within the orbit of Neptune. Astronomers analyzed data coming from the Dawn spacecraft, which entered orbit around Ceres on 6 March 2015.

Astronomy, News, Space

Why NASA’s rovers can’t investigate the Martian water

Flowing water on Mars. Image via Digg.

Two days ago, NASA made a spectacular announcement: they found liquid water on Mars, confirming suspicions and clues from years ago. But while they make a compelling case for the water, it would still be better to examine it on the spot, except there’s a slight problem with that: NASA can’t immediately investigate the water on-site, using the Curiosity rover or anything else, because it’s bound by international treaties.