NASA can see your Christmas lights… from outer space


Many are already preparing for Christmas – some shopping for presents, some Christmas lights… the usual. But as you’re gearing up for the winter holidays, NASA is watching you. Well, they’re not really watching you, it’s more that they are monitoring light emissions from big cities – and they report that during the holiday season, patterns in nighttime light intensity change –…

News, Space

“The Rosetta team” is euronews’ person/people of the year


I usually don’t pay much attention to the “Person of the Year”, but this one is really special. Euronews, the largest European news channel has named “The Rosetta Team” as their “Person of the Year”. Why it matters It’s almost always politician, economists or humanitarians that take the laurels – and for good reason. The list should feature those who…

News, Space

NASA wants to explore Venus in a manned airship, then set up permanent cloud cities


As far as manned spaceflight is concerned, all attention seems to be directed toward Mars, which makes sense after all considering it’s the most Earth-like planet in the solar system. It’s not as hospitable as it was a few billion years ago, though, and because of the long trip that realistically takes at least two years a lot of things…

News, Space

Now’s your chance to name craters on Mercury

Image via AstroBob.

If you’ve always wanted to choose the name of stuff from outer space but never got the chance… now’s your time to shine! NASA is offering you the chance to name one of the craters of Mercury in honour of the MESSENGER mission, which is nearing its final days. Apply or Vote HERE. NASA, together with Johns Hopkins University and the Carnegie…

News, Space

NASA Rover Finds Evidence of Organic Chemistry on Mars

Computer-generated image of Curiosity on Mars. Image credits: NASA/JPL.

NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover has discovered a tenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical which may indicate that there actually was life on Mars – or still is. The rover detected this high concentration in the atmosphere, as well as in a rock-powder sample collected by the robotic laboratory’s drill. Curiosity on the Red Planet Curiosity has been on the Red Planet for…

News, Space

Solar winds penetrate Martian atmosphere, MAVEN finds – atmospheric loss mechanism unfolds

Artist impression of MAVEN spacecraft around MARS. Image: NASA

Only weeks after it became operational around Mars‘ orbit, NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission has uncovered a  new process by which the solar wind can penetrate deep into a planetary atmosphere, past the ionosphere even this shouldn’t have been possible. It seems like a magic trick at the moment, but in time this mechanism might help explain how Mars…

Great Pics, Space

Astropictures of the Week – as seen by the European Space Agency

While the pastel tones and fine texture of this image may bring to mind brush strokes on an artist’s canvas, they are in fact a visualisation of data from ESA’s Planck satellite. The image portrays the interaction between interstellar dust in the Milky Way and the structure of our Galaxy’s magnetic field. In this image, the colour scale represents the total intensity of dust emission, revealing the structure of interstellar clouds in the Milky Way. The texture is based on measurements of the direction of the polarised light emitted by the dust, which in turn indicates the orientation of the magnetic field.This image shows the intricate link between the magnetic field and the structure of the interstellar medium along the plane of the Milky Way. Image Credits: ESA/Planck Collaboration. Acknowledgment: M.-A. Miville-Deschênes, CNRS – Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale, Université Paris-XI, Orsay, France.

The European Space Agency (ESA) is the European equivalent of NASA. Recently, they’ve been uploading some amazing images on their website, so here is a selection of the best pictures they’ve published recently. The magnetic field of the galactic plane Ground Displacement in Bucharest, Romania South Kalimantan, Borneo Conducting skin experiments in outer space Vegetation in Europe Berlin, as seen…

News, Space

How You Can Vote for a Scientific Experiment on Mars


A nonprofit foundation called Mars One wants to build a human colony on Mars, and send people there on a one way mission. In order to facilitate the development of this colony, they have hosted a competition to find the best possible payload to fly to Mars. The winning design will be included in the scientific payload on an unmanned lander…

Great Pics, Observations, Space

Cassini’s Stunning Pictures of Jupiter’s Southern Hemisphere

This polar map is composed of 18 colour images taken by the narrow-angle camera on NASA’s Cassini spacecraft following a flyby in 2000, but was only recently released.

When we think about Jupiter, we have a certain image in mind – the big red giant with a huge spot on its surface and rings around it. But if you look at it from “below” (from the southern Hemisphere), the planet looks entirely different, as the Cassini probe showed. “If you were to float just beneath the giant planet…

News, Observations, Space

Earth-like planet spotted for the first time with a ground-based telescope


Space-based telescopes have been used to spot planets (even Earth-like planets) for years now, but this is the first time ever that a ground-based telescope has detected an Earth like planet. A telescope based on the ground in La Palma (one of the Canary Islands) called Nordic has found 55 Cancri e, an exoplanet two times bigger than Earth orbiting a star much…