Feature Post, Space

Rosetta Illustrates the Miracles of Space Science

Artist's impression of the Rosetta spacecraft flying past an asteroid. Photograph: AP

This is a guest post by Dave Syndergaard, professor in the Space Studies program at the American Public University. Miraculous. That’s the first word that comes to my mind when I think about the European Space Agency (ESA) mission to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gersimenko. The Rosetta spacecraft and its lander, Philae, recently reached 67P after a 10-year round-trip journey of four billion miles. Here’s…

Astronomy, Astrophysics, News

Organic molecules found on comet

The Philae lander found organic molecules on the surface of a comet.

As we were telling you already in several articles, the Rosetta probe is in orbit of a comet – the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet. But to make things even more exciting, Philae, Rosetta’s lander, also made contact with the comet; among other things, the lander found carbon molecules on the comet – the basis of life on Earth. Considering how comets are believed to…

News, Physics, Space

Meteorites altered by Shock Wave explain how our Solar System formed

Credit: Nova ScienceNOW

After studying ancient minerals in a meteorite, MIT scientists have gained valuable insights that help explain how the sun, the planets and our entire solar system formed.Their work suggest that a powerful shock wave that rippled through the clouds of dust and gas surrounding the sun billions of years ago played a crucial role in clumping matter, which later formed…

News, Space, Space flight

Rosetta’s Philae probe landed on a comet – why this is HUGE news

First image from the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from the Rosetta million’s lander Philae Photograph: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA/Photograph: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

OK, so we’ve been keeping you up to date with what’s been happening with the Rosetta mission, but we had to sleep eventually, and wonderful things have happened in the mean time. In case you’re not aware, here’s a short summary: Rosetta is a probe launched by the European Space Agency (the European equivalent of NASA) in order to study…

News, Space

Rosetta comet landing – watch it as it happens! [live blog]


In case you’re not aware, the European Space Agency is just now trying to send Rosetta’s lander, Philae, towards the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The probe is already orbiting the comet and has revealed the most accurate topography of a comet. Watch the live stream here: Further updates: The separation went great, and the lander is on its way to the comet. 09:06 GMT….

News, Space

Rosetta mission discovers the comet that “sings”


As I am writing this, the Rosetta mission’s lander, Philae, is mid way through its landing on a comet. If everything works out, this will be the first time humans have landed anything on a comet and will provide valuable information about not only the comet in particular, but also our solar system in general. *UPDATE* Rosetta’s final ‘go’ has…


The Rosetta Probe Prepares for First Ever Comet Landing

Comet 67P on 19 September 2014 NavCam mosaic. Image via ESA.

Launched by the European Space Agency (ESA), the Rosetta probe is nearing a crucial part in its mission – it will soon send a lander carrying 10 instruments on a comet. It will be the first time mankind lands anything on a comet, and the study could provide valuable information about comets and our solar system in general. You can watch…

News, Space, Technology

Elon Musk: SpaceX will deploy massive micro-satellite fleet for internet anywhere on Earth

Elon Musk is a man of all trades when it comes to technology. (Ethan Hill / Composite Image: NASA)

Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, is looking to launch a massive fleet of micro-satellites into Earths’ low orbit to provide the world with internet and mobile data, according to a recent rumor reported by the WSJ. These satellites will be at least two times lighter than its current counterpart and when deployed in massive numbers will…

News, Space

New ‘Mystery Islands’ found on Titan’s Methane Sea

Image credits: NASA/JPL

The enduring Cassini spacecraft returns with new insight into the hydrocarbon seas from Saturn’s moon Titan. The latest findings were reported after the spacecraft’s most recent flyby above Titan’s northern hemisphere on August 21, where it performed observations of the largest liquid methane/ethane sea, the 400,000 square kilometre Kraken Mare. The Cassini astronomers were looking to probe the methane sea’s depths, but…

Biology, News, Space

Synthetic biology might enable future manned missions to Mars

Microbial-based biomanufacturing could be transformative once explorers arrive at an extraterrestrial site. (Image courtesy of Royal Academy Interface)

In all likelihood, we won’t be seeing a manned mission for Mars before 2030, but until this happens forefront research is pushing the limits so we can finally get there. This includes synthetic biology, which promises to play a key role in reducing payload – a major concern in every space application, manned or not – and provide food and…