Archives

June 2012


Space Propulsion Group, Inc. (SPG) today successfully completed a major technology development test of its 22-inch-diameter, Liquid Oxygen/paraffin-based advanced hybrid rocket motor. This cutting-edge hybrid propulsion technology has practical applications for numerous space-related industries, including transportation, defense, suborbital research and tourism.

Space Propulsion Group, Inc. (SPG) today successfully completed a major technology development test of its 22-inch-diameter, Liquid Oxygen/paraffin-based advanced hybrid rocket motor. This cutting-edge hybrid propulsion technology has practical applications for numerous space-related industries, including transportation, defense, suborbital research and tourism.


In This Week at NASA Senator Barbara Mikulski, chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, was joined by officials from NASA, Orbital Sciences Corporation and others at the Wallops Flight Facility for an update of Orbital's Antares rocket and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport's new pad, from which the vehicle will launch and more.


China is celebrating the safe return of three astronauts, who successfully completed a mission that included the country's first manual docking in space and the first Chinese woman astronaut. Live television images of the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft's return were broadcast around China Friday.

With the impending solar maximum expected to bring heightened rates of flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), putting at risk an ever-increasing human presence in space, Oh et al. designed and assessed a prediction system to keep astronauts safe from these solar storms.


To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) NASA has released this video montage of highlights. From Kennedy's speech, Glen's Friendship 7 flight, the Apollo years, unmaned launches, the Shuttle era and through to the transformation of KSC for the next era of U.S. human spaceflight, watch it all.

New NanoRacks' Software Platform Speeds Space Customer Payloads to International Space Station

"A new software platform designed to ease the passage of payloads from earth to space was announced today at the AAS Space Station Research and Development Conference by NanoRacks, LLC, the leading company for space utilization. Payload TrackerTM is the first ever user-friendly tool that is specifically designed to allow customers, government officials, launch providers and others to track individual payloads through the myriad NASA safety and procedural requirements involved in launching customer project to the International Space Station."

The sun "peeking" through a solar array panel on the International Space Station caught the attention of one of the Expedition 31 crew members aboard the International Space Station. The thin blue line of Earth's atmosphere is visible in the background. ISS031-E-112645 (6 June 2012) --- high res (1.4 M) low res (85 K)

Photo: Zero Robotics (SPHERES ZR) Flying Inside the Space Station

"Two bowling-ball-sized free-flying satellites called Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites Zero Robotics (SPHERES ZR) are pictured during a test session in the Kibo laboratory of the International Space Station."

Two bowling-ball-sized free-flying satellites called Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites Zero Robotics (SPHERES ZR) are pictured during a test session in the Kibo laboratory of the International Space Station. ISS031-E-140672 (22 June 2012) --- high res (1.6 M) low res (91 K)

Two bowling-ball-sized free-flying satellites called Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites Zero Robotics (SPHERES ZR) are pictured during a test session in the Kibo laboratory of the International Space Station. ISS031-E-140672 (22 June 2012) --- high res (1.6 M) low res (91 K)

An Expedition 31 crew member aboard the International Space Station, flying approximately 240 miles above Earth, recorded a series of images of the current wild fires in the southwestern United States. These particular fires, of unknown cause, are burning at the south end of the Wyoming Range in southwestern Wyoming, and have affected 17,000 acres.

Data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft have revealed Saturn's moon Titan likely harbors a layer of liquid water under its ice shell.

Scullion & Wedemeyer-Boehm (2012); NASAScullion & Wedemeyer-Boehm (2012); NASA

The super tornadoes - which are thousands of times larger and more powerful than their earthly counterparts but which have a magnetic skeleton - spin at speeds of more than 6,000 mph at temperatures in millions of centigrade in the Sun's atmosphere.

In a press conference at the California Academy of Sciences Thursday morning, the B612 Foundation unveiled its plans to build, launch, and operate the first privately funded deep space mission - SENTINEL - a space telescope to be placed in orbit around the Sun, ranging up to 170 million miles from Earth, for a mission of discovery and mapping. The Foundation leadership and technical team include some of the most experienced professionals in the world to lead this effort.


In a press conference at the California Academy of Sciences Thursday morning, the B612 Foundation unveiled its plans to build, launch, and operate the first privately funded deep space mission - SENTINEL - a space telescope to be placed in orbit around the Sun, ranging up to 170 million miles from Earth, for a mission of discovery and mapping.


An international team of astronomers using data from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has detected significant changes in the atmosphere of a planet located beyond our solar system. The scientists conclude the atmospheric variations occurred in response to a powerful eruption on the planet's host star, an event observed by NASA's Swift satellite.

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For the first time a clever new technique has allowed astronomers to study the atmosphere of an exoplanet in detail -- even though it does not pass in front of its parent star. An international team has used ESO's Very Large Telescope to directly catch the faint glow from the planet Tau Booetis b.

Extremely Little Telescope Discovers Pair of Odd Planets

"The KELT team scans those bright stars, and watches to see if the starlight dims just a little -- an indication that a planet has crossed in front of the star. The technique is called the "transit method," and takes advantage of situations such as the recent transit of Venus across the face of the Sun in our own solar system. It's a low-cost means of planet-hunting, using mostly off-the-shelf technology; whereas a traditional astronomical telescope costs millions of dollars to build, the hardware for a KELT telescope runs less than $75,000."


Though the KELT North telescope in southern Arizona carries a lens no more powerful than a high-end digital camera, it's just revealed the existence of two very unusual faraway planets.

Mauritania as photograph by International Space Station astronaut Andre Kuipers on 10 May 2012 using a Nikon D2Xs. Larger image

Functional Cargo Block, FGB, Zarya. The oldest part of the Station. In space since 1998. This photo was taken on May 16, 2012 by International Space Station astronaut Andre Kuipers using a Nikon D2Xs. Credit: ESA/NASA Larger image

Functional Cargo Block, FGB, Zarya. The oldest part of the Station. In space since 1998. This photo was taken on May 16, 2012 by International Space Station astronaut Andre Kuipers using a Nikon D2Xs. Credit: ESA/NASA Larger image

During each nighttime pass we can see many lightning flashes. This one over West Africa. This photo was taken on June 4, 2012 by International Space Station astronaut Andre Kuipers using a Nikon D3S. Credit: ESA/NASA Larger image

MESSENGER completed its 1,000th orbit of the planet closest to the Sun at 11:22 p.m. EDT on 22 June 2012. "Reaching this milestone is yet another testimony to the hard work and dedication of the full MESSENGER team that has designed, launched, and operated this highly successful spacecraft," says the mission trajectory lead Jim McAdams of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md.

A maneuver on Tuesday adjusted the flight path of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft for delivering the rover Curiosity to a landing target beside a Martian mountain.

A recent workshop conducted for NASA by the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) in Houston, marked a key step in the agency's effort to forge a new Mars strategy in the coming decades. A report that summarizes the wide range of cutting-edge science, technology and mission concepts discussed is available online.


NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured approximately 18 hours of video for this dancing plasma from June 24 through June 25. Suspended in twisted magnetic fields, the hot plasma structure is many times the size of planet Earth.

From year to year, the moon never seems to change. Craters and other formations appear to be permanent now, but the moon didn't always look like this. Thanks to NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, we now have a better look at some of the moon's history. Learn more in this video!

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?10930

This visualization shows ocean surface currents around the world during the period from June 2005 through Decemeber 2007. The visualization does not include a narration or annotations; the goal was to use ocean flow data to create a simple, visceral experience.

Turbulent jet streams, regions where winds blow faster than in other places, churn east and west across Saturn. Scientists have been trying to understand for years the mechanism that drives these wavy structures in Saturn's atmosphere and the source from which the jets derive their energy.


Turbulent jet streams, regions where winds blow faster than in other places, churn east and west across Saturn. Scientists have been trying to understand for years the mechanism that drives these wavy structures in Saturn's atmosphere and the source from which the jets derive their energy.

The NASA team at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans has completed the final weld on the first space-bound Orion capsule. The Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1) Orion will be shipped to the Kennedy Space Center for final assembly and checkout operations.

The NASA team at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans has completed the final weld on the first space-bound Orion capsule. The Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1) Orion will be shipped to the Kennedy Space Center for final assembly and checkout operations.


Team members at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory share the challenges of the Curiosity Mars rover's final minutes to landing on the surface of Mars. The newest Mars rover is expected to touch down on Mars on Monday, August 6 at approximately 1:30 a.m. EDT for people on the east coast and 10:30 p.m. PDT on Sunday, August 5th on the west coast.

NASA astronaut Don Pettit, Expedition 31 flight engineer, poses with several still cameras in the Cupola of the International Space Station. ISS031-E-112469 (10 June 2012) --- high res (1.4 M) low res (104 K)

NASA astronaut Don Pettit, Expedition 31 flight engineer, poses with several still cameras in the Cupola of the International Space Station. ISS031-E-112469 (10 June 2012) --- high res (1.4 M) low res (104 K)

Polar mesospheric clouds in the Northern Hemisphere are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 31 crew member on the International Space Station. In both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, during their respective late spring and early summer seasons, polar mesospheric clouds are at the peak of their visibility.

On This Week at NASA we have the following stories: The International Space Station and its benefit to science as the world's only laboratory in microgravity is highlighted on Capitol Hill. Also, NASA administrator Charles Bolden Finds NEEMO; JPL has its annual Open House; Cleveland HUBZone; African Cosmos; Aerospace Scholars; NASA Now Emmy; SOI; and more!

In this NASA JPL video, Mars Science Laboratory team members share the challenges of Curiosity's final minutes to landing on the surface of Mars.

In this NASA JPL video, Mars Science Laboratory team members share the challenges of Curiosity's final minutes to landing on the surface of Mars.

Kids are always told to reach for the stars. Now, NASA is literally giving them a chance to by providing middle and high school students with unprecedented access to the International Space Station and letting them write the programs that control state-of-the-art robots on the International Space Station -- no Ph.D. in astrophysics required!

The NASA Tournament Laboratory, established by NASA and Harvard University, along with the enabling capabilities of the TopCoder community, have partnered with Tongal to hold a competition with cash prizes for winning ideas, pitches and promotional videos to inspire tomorrow's scientists to see mathematics as more than just digits on a calculator, to further the study of outer space and to push the limits of human knowledge about the worlds (and the space) beyond our planet. The winning videos will help inspire middle and high school students to compete in the Zero Robotics Challenge, which is managed for NASA by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT.

Design a space settlement! Space settlements are permanent communities in orbit, as opposed to being on the moon or other planets. Designing a space settlement involves physics, mathematics, space science, environmental science and many other disciplines.

The NASA Space Settlement Design Contest is intended for students in grades 6-12, although younger students may enter. Individual or teams from anywhere in the world may enter. Grade levels are judged separately, except for the grand prize. All participants will receive a certificate. Submissions must be received by March 15, 2013.

For more information about the NASA Space Settlement Design Contest, visit http://settlement.arc.nasa.gov/Contest/. If you have any questions about the contest, please email Al Globus at aglobus@mail.arc.nasa.gov.

Italy's Lake Garda and the city of Verona south of the Italian Alps are pictured in this image from Japan's ALOS observation satellite.

The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) was launched on 11 February 2010, and the EUV Variability Experiment (EVE), one of the three solar instruments aboard SDO, began normal operations on 1 May 2010. As part of the planned SDO EVE program, sounding rockets are flown regularly to provide underflight calibrations in order to more accurately track instrument degradation trends.

This image was taken on June 19, 2012 and received on Earth June 20, 2012. The camera was pointing toward Saturn at approximately 1,706,861 miles (2,746,927 kilometers) away, and the image was taken using the CB2 and CL2 filters. This image has not been validated or calibrated. A validated/calibrated image will be archived with the NASA Planetary Data System in 2013. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute Full-Res: W00074687.jpg


This image was taken on June 19, 2012 and received on Earth June 20, 2012. The camera was pointing toward Saturn at approximately 1,706,861 miles (2,746,927 kilometers) away, and the image was taken using the CB2 and CL2 filters.

The Rio+20 summit on promoting jobs, clean energy and a more sustainable use of our planet's resources closed today after three days of talks. During the summit, the role of Earth observation in sustainable development was highlighted.

ESA Summer Camp Yields Innovative Apps

"This week's ESA App Camp didn't see canoeing or campfires. Developers worked diligently despite the Mediterranean heat to create applications for mobile phones that bring Earth observation and GMES services to the everyday user. Ending today at ESRIN, ESA's centre for Earth observation, in Frascati, Italy, 21 developers from 17 ESA and EU Member States spent the week creating mobile applications - or apps - using satellite data."

Using the planetary radar system at Arecibo Observatory, astronomers have determined that asteroid 2012 LZ1 is twice as large as originally estimated based on its brightness, and large enough to have serious global consequences if it were to hit the Earth.

This visualization, created using Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter laser altimeter data, offers a view of Shackleton Crater located in the south pole of the moon. Thanks to these measurements, we now have our best-yet maps of the crater's permanently-shadowed interior.


Few nighttime sights offer more drama than the full Moon rising over the horizon. Now imagine that instead of the Moon, a gas giant planet spanning three times more sky loomed over the molten landscape of a lava world. This alien vista exists in the newly discovered two-planet system of Kepler-36.

Few nighttime sights offer more drama than the full Moon rising over the horizon. Now imagine that instead of the Moon, a gas giant planet spanning three times more sky loomed over the molten landscape of a lava world. This alien vista exists in the newly discovered two-planet system of Kepler-36.

"These two worlds are having close encounters," said Josh Carter, a Hubble Fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA).

Deep in the Milky Way in the constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion) lies the War and Peace Nebula, or NGC 6357 [1], a region of space where new stars are being born in of chaotic clouds of gas and dust [2]. The outer parts of this vast nebula have now been imaged by ESO's Very Large Telescope, producing the best picture of this region taken so far [3].

NASA Offers Web, Mobile Links to Follow Space Station and Mission Control

"NASA is using the Internet and smartphones to provide the public with a new inside look at what happens aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and in the Mission Control Center at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Log onto the agency's Space Station Live! web page or download the companion ISSLive! mobile application to get up-to-the-minute information."

NASA is using the Internet and smartphones to provide the public with a new inside look at what happens aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and in the Mission Control Center at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Inspired teams seeking a place to collaborate need look no further. The UK Space Agency is calling forward multi-disciplinary, multi-organisational groups for the Space Collaborative Innovation Team Initiative (Space CITI). Successful teams with innovative ideas will be provided with up to #0.5M funding and world class facilities to call home.

Space CITI is a pilot programme designed to support accelerated innovation and economic growth. Funding will be available for one or more focussed multi-disciplinary, multi-organisational teams to undertake a programme of work which exploits the unique environment of the International Space Innovation Centre (ISIC) at Harwell, Oxford.

The Arctic's 24/7 banking ship, We Make Money Not Art

"The event takes place in the early 2040s, when an ex-Soviet Arktika class, one of the nuclear powered icebreakers traditionally used for clearing shipping lanes north of Siberia as well as for scientific and recreational expeditions to the Arctic, is recommissioned to host a barely legal experiment in global finance. The icebreaker would be entirely refitted to welcome highly qualified traders on board and would circle at 88.7 degrees latitude - the heart of the arctic sea. By circumnavigating the world in twenty-four hours, the ship would thus stay in constant contact with trading zones throughout the world."

Stories From The First Transnational Traders, Tobias Revell

Keith's note:To be certain this has a couple of big questions such as does it make any sense? Why not just pay people to stay up all night and stay home. But stop and ponder for a moment: what happens when commerce, finance, industry, and consumption all actually begin to move off of Earth into space to locations that may not necessarily have a national designation - or have many, simultaneously. What is the time zone for outer space? Day and night happen multiple times a day in LEO. On the Moon takes 2 weeks. In deep space there really is no day/night cycle.

NASA Rocket Carrying Student Experiments Launched From Wallops Flight Facility

"A NASA rocket carrying seventeen educational experiments was successfully launched at 6:40 a.m. today from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The experiments built by university instructors and students from across the country were developed through programs conducted with the Colorado and Virginia Space Grant Consortia. The programs are designed to provide participants an introduction in building small experiments that can be launched on sounding rockets."

Jacobs ESCG works with NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston in imagining, designing, and planning the missions of tomorrow...today. In the Systems Engineering Simulator, Jacobs employee Amy Efting works in this innovative and unique facility to visualize what it would be like to drive on the moon, dock with the International Space Station, or travel to an asteroid. Her work with NASA impacts vehicle designs and sets up procedures for astronauts for future vehicles such as the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle.

Jacobs ESCG works with NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston in imagining, designing, and planning the missions of tomorrow...today. In the Systems Engineering Simulator, Jacobs employee Amy Efting works in this innovative and unique facility to visualize what it would be like to drive on the moon, dock with the International Space Station, or travel to an asteroid. Her work with NASA impacts vehicle designs and sets up procedures for astronauts for future vehicles such as the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle.

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft has returned data that indicate ice may make up as much as 22 percent of the surface material in a crater located on the moon's south pole.


NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft has returned data that indicate ice may make up as much as 22 percent of the surface material in a crater located on the moon's south pole.

ESA Call for Proposals: Supporting Young Scientists

"ESA is offering young postdoctoral researchers the opportunity to address key scientific challenges in Earth science by maximising the use of satellite data. New proposals for the Changing Earth Science Network initiative can now be submitted. The initiative supports young European scientists starting their career in Earth science for a period of two years to undertake innovative research projects that address the key scientific challenges of ESA's Earth observation science strategy."

NASA Set To Host Future Female Explorers

"Eighty-four female high school students from 29 states will plan a simulated mission to Mars and experience life as an engineer or scientist when NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston hosts two events focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in June and July. The Women in STEM High School Aerospace Scholars project, or WISH, is sponsoring two six-day summer camps for rising high school seniors."

NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter has been taken out of a protective status called safe mode. Remaining steps toward resuming all normal spacecraft activities will probably be completed by next week.

Titan appears to be strung like a bead on Saturn's rings, which cast shadows onto the southern hemisphere of the gas giant in this beautiful image from Cassini.

Faint but exquisite detail in the gas giant's upper atmosphere paints a tranquil scene. A thin band of bright white ammonia ice clouds is etched into the planet's disc towards the top of the image while clouds dotted below are faded scars of a huge storm that raged across the planet through much of 2011.

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured this view of the dwarf galaxy UGC 5497, which looks a bit like salt sprinkled on black velvet in this image.

The object is a compact blue dwarf galaxy that is infused with newly formed clusters of stars. The bright, blue stars that arise in these clusters help to give the galaxy an overall bluish appearance that lasts for several million years until these fast-burning stars explode as supernovae.

"This month, NASA engineer Eric Stackpole hiked to a spot in Trinity County, east of California's rough Bigfoot country. Nestled at the base of a hill of loose rock, peppered by red and purple wildflowers, is Hall City Cave. For part of the winter the cave is infested with large spiders, but is mostly flooded year-round. Locals whisper the cave's deep pools hold a cache of stolen gold, but Mr. Stackpole isn't here to look for treasure. He had, under his arm, what might appear to be a clunky toy blue submarine about the size of a lunchbox. The machine is the latest prototype of the OpenROV-an open-source, remotely operated vehicle that could map the cave in 3D using software from Autodesk and collect water in places too tight for a diver to go. It could change the future of ocean exploration. ... NEEMO caught the eye of NASA after winning a regional International Space Apps Challenge, where 2000 hacker participants gathered across the internet and worked collaboratively on 71 problems over a 48-hour deadline."

More from Brian Lam at The New York Times


On June 28, 2012, the B612 Foundation will announce its plans to build, operate and launch the world's first privately funded deep space mission-a space telescope to be placed in orbit around the Sun.

Project Morpheus executed another successful tether test on June 18th, 2012. This was the second flight after the integration of ALHAT sensor package.

Project Morpheus executed another successful tether test on June 18th, 2012. This was the second flight after the integration of ALHAT sensor package.

NASA Office of Education solicits proposals for the NASA Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR)

"Each funded NASA EPSCoR proposal is expected to establish research activities that will make significant contributions to the strategic research and technology development priorities of one or more of the Mission Directorates or the OCT and contribute to the overall research infrastructure, science and technology capabilities, higher education, and economic development of the jurisdiction. If submitted, Notices of Intent are due on July 20, 2012 and proposals are due on August 14, 2012."

ESA assembled a top engineering team, then challenged them to devise a way for rovers to navigate on alien planets. Six months later, a fully autonomous vehicle was charting its course through Chile's Mars-like Atacama Desert.

ESA assembled a top engineering team, then challenged them to devise a way for rovers to navigate on alien planets. Six months later, a fully autonomous vehicle was charting its course through Chile's Mars-like Atacama Desert.


Fifteen orbits of the recently launched Suomi NPP satellite provided the VIIRS instrument enough time (and longitude) to gather the pixels for this synthesized view of Earth showing the Arctic, Europe, and Asia.

Fifteen orbits of the recently launched Suomi NPP satellite provided the VIIRS instrument enough time (and longitude) to gather the pixels for this synthesized view of Earth showing the Arctic, Europe, and Asia. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Suomi NPP

Click here to view the western hemisphere Blue Marble 2012 from Suomi NPP: www.flickr.com/photos/gsfc/6760135001

Final Frontier Design's 3G Space Suit on Kickstarter

"At FFD, we are working together to bring our vision of a lightweight, inexpensive, and highly functional space suit to the new space industry. Our Kickstarter goal, the FFD Third Generation (3G) Suit, will be built to conform to the standards of NASA flight certification to the best of our ability, and will feature upgrades to our 2011 Second Generation (2G) Suit (pictured with Nik), including a higher operating pressure, a carbon fiber waist ring, a retractable helmet, and improved gloves and glove disconnects. Our plan is to complete construction of this 3G Suit before 2013."

ESA Tests Self-steering Rover in 'Mars' Desert

"ESA assembled a top engineering team, then challenged them to devise a way for rovers to navigate on alien planets. Six months later, a fully autonomous vehicle was charting its course through Chile's Mars-like Atacama Desert. May's full-scale rover field test marked the final stage of a StarTiger project code-named 'Seeker'. Standing for 'Space Technology Advancements by Resourceful, Targeted and Innovative Groups of Experts and Researchers', StarTiger involves a multidisciplinary team gathered at a single site, working against the clock to achieve a technology breakthrough."


ESA assembled a top engineering team, then challenged them to devise a way for rovers to navigate on alien planets. Six months later, a fully autonomous vehicle was charting its course through Chile's Mars-like Atacama Desert

Following on their successful launch on Saturday the Chinese Shenzhou-9 spacecraft docked today with the Tiangong-1 mini-spacelab and the three taikonauts lef by commander Jing Haipeng,followed by Liu Wang and then later Liu Yang, entered the small spacelab for the first time.

NASA Sample Return Robot Return Challenge at WPI Concludes

"Autonomous robots roamed across the grassy terrain at Worcester Polytechnic Institute searching for samples to collect at the 2012 Sample Return Robot Challenge in Worcester, Mass., June 14-17. The challenge: design, develop and demonstrate the next generation of robots capable of exploring the landscapes of other worlds. Eleven teams initially registered for the competition. Six teams made it to WPI for the start of the challenge. After weigh-in and inspections, one team (Space Pride -- http://www.spacepride.com) successfully met all requirements and competed in the challenge but did not win a cash prize."

StarTrek original series intro -- animated and revamped - infographic-style - with STNG Okudagrams. via Kuriositas

"Our mission is to provide affordable space exploration for everyone! We want to get you into space! Once launched, the ArduSat (Arduino - satellite) will be the first open platform allowing the general public to design and run their own space-based applications, games and experiments, steer the onboard cameras to take pictures on-demand, and even broadcast personalized messages back to Earth. By supporting the project you're not only reserving your place at a discounted price at the front of the line to use it once it's in space, but you're helping us develop a platform to make space access affordable and achievable for anyone."

More information at Kickstarter

Boeing today announced the successful de-orbit and landing of the second X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) for the U.S. Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office. The X-37B landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base at 5:48 a.m. Pacific time today, concluding a 469-day experimental test mission. It was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., on March 5, 2011.

Boeing today announced the successful de-orbit and landing of the second X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) for the U.S. Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office. The X-37B landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base at 5:48 a.m. Pacific time today, concluding a 469-day experimental test mission. It was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., on March 5, 2011.


This morning at 6:37 a.m. EDT a Chinese Long March rocket carrying the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft succesfully launched a crew of three taikonauts into space for a rendezvous with the Tiangong 1 mini-spacelab already in orbit.


Data from NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft indicate that the venerable deep-space explorer has encountered a region in space where the intensity of charged particles from beyond our solar system has markedly increased. Voyager scientists looking at this rapid rise draw closer to an inevitable but historic conclusion - that humanity's first emissary to interstellar space is on the edge of our solar system.


The Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of an M1.2 class flare on June 13, 2012.

The Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of an M1.2 class flare on June 13, 2012. The sun is shown here in teal as this is the color typically used to represent light in the 131 Angstrom wavelength, a wavelength particularly good for observing flares. Credit: NASA/SDO

The Parana River cuts through this image of southern Brazil from the Envisat satellite. In the area pictured, the river marks the borders of the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso do Sul to the north and west, Sao Paulo to the east and Parana to the south.

A nice video contact with the crew overwintering in Concordia, the European Antarctic research station. This photo was taken on June 3, 2012 by International Space Station astronaut Andre Kuipers using a Nikon D2Xs. Credit: ESA/NASA Larger image

The roof of the world. The Himalayas and the Tibetan plateau. Credit: ESA/NASA Larger image


Researchers anticipate that asteroid 2011 AG5, discovered in January 2011, will fly safely past and not impact Earth in 2040.


China will launch the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft tomorrow morning at 6:37 a.m. EDT with a crew of three taikonauts (astronauts) to the Tiangong 1 spacelab which was launched at the end of September last year.

NASA Astronaut Don Pettit gets creative with an educational LEGO kit aboard the International Space Station.

Conrad Foundation and NanoRacks Team to Fly Student Experiments in Space using American Express Points

"Nancy Conrad, founder and chairman of the Conrad Foundation, today announced the Foundation has joined forces with NanoRacks LLC, the leading company for low-earth orbit utilization, to launch a new program called DreamUp. The program will assist students in raising money to participate in a unique educational experience - conducting experiments in the microgravity of space. DreamUp is the first program to enable students to use American Express(R) Membership Rewards(R) points to fund student experiments onboard the International Space Station (ISS)."


NGC 3314A and B might look like they are in the midst of a galactic pile-up, but they are in fact separated by tens of millions of light years of void. Their apparent proximity is simply a trick of perspective.

NGC 3314A and B might look like they are in the midst of a galactic pile-up, but they are in fact separated by tens of millions of light years of void. Their apparent proximity is simply a trick of perspective.

Fund space spin-off at ESA Investment Forum

"Investors will meet with start-up companies using space tech in terrestrial systems to discuss business prospects and partnerships at the seventh ESA Investment Forum on 16 October in Toulouse, France. The Forum is an exceptional platform for exploring investment opportunities and business potential. The selected companies have all built a significant portion of their growth and competitive advantage on the utilisation of technologies and expertise originating from Europe's space programmes. They will discuss their business ideas and products with the investors."

Rocket Week Launching at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility

"Students and educators from across the country will experience what it is like to be a rocket scientist during "Rocket Week," June 16-22, at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. More than 100 participants will receive hands-on training in building payloads for spaceflight, learn the basics of rocketry and develop activities for the classroom through the fifth annual RockOn! workshop for university-level participants and the concurrent second annual Wallops Rocket Academy for Teachers and Students (WRATS) for high school teachers."

Ohio Workshop Seeks Ideas For Manufacturing Innovation Network

"NASA and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) are sponsoring the second in a series of regional public workshops to gather ideas and suggestions on the design of the proposed National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). The workshop will be held July 9 at the Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland. "Designing for Impact II: Workshop on Building the NNMI" is a partnership between the interagency Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office in Gaithersburg, Md., and local Cleveland organizations that include NASA's Glenn Research Center, Cuyahoga Community College and Case Western Reserve University. Confirmed workshop speakers are NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver, NIST Director Patrick Gallagher and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown. Invited speakers include congressional, state and local leaders."

Astronomers Map 40 Million Stars

"Astronomers will soon have access to a new map of the sky that accurately measures the brightness and position of over 40 million stars. This map is a result of the AAVSO Photometric All-Sky Survey, which has completely covered the sky at a level 100 times fainter than any prior stellar catalog. Millions of stars will have their brightness and color measured accurately for the first time in this survey. The survey is predominantly a pro-am volunteer effort. A team of professional astronomers is primarily responsible for the photometry while a team of amateur astronomers is helping with the equipment, purchased with support from the Robert Martin Ayers Sciences Fund."

NASA's Undersea Mission Submerges in the Atlantic

"An international crew of aquanauts is settling into its home on the ocean floor, where the team will spend 12 days testing concepts for a potential asteroid mission. The expedition is the 16th excursion of the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO). The crew of four began its mission in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Aquarius Reef Base undersea research habitat off the coast of Key Largo, Fla., at 11:04 a.m. EDT Monday."

Challenger Center to host Exciting Interactive Webcasts with NASA NEEMO

The Crazy DIY Spaceflight Project That Just Might Work

"Keith Cowing, editor of NASAWatch.com, said Copenhagen Suborbitals has yet to convince anyone that they've built something safe to fly in. Spine-severing vibration, blackout-inducing acceleration and catastrophic hardware failures could each doom a would-be passenger. "But the fact that I'm not making fun of this and worrying about detailed technical aspects is fascinating. We don't giggle at it anymore," said Cowing, a former biologist who did payload integration for NASA and has completed suborbital scientist astronaut training. "In the past few years, it's no longer considered lunacy to try and build a rocket ship that you or someone could get into and take you to edge of space," he said. "I think we're watching something that may be bigger than we realize it is. Copenhagen Suborbitals is an extreme example."

The new Russian module MRM1, the route to my Soyuz capsule. This photo was taken on May 16, 2012 by International Space Station astronaut Andre Kuipers using a Nikon D2Xs. Credit: ESA/NASA Larger image

The new Russian module MRM1, the route to my Soyuz capsule. This photo was taken on May 16, 2012 by International Space Station astronaut Andre Kuipers using a Nikon D2Xs. Credit: ESA/NASA Larger image

Mauritania as photograph by International Space Station astronaut Andre Kuipers on 10 May 2012 using a Nikon D2Xs. Larger image

What: NASA/MIT Innovative Conceptual Engineering Design 2012 - Innovation Bootcamp - Solving NASA's Epic Challenges

When: June 24-June 29, 2012

Where: Multiple locations over the 1-week period (Burton Conner House, 33-116, 9-057)

Contact: Sydney Do sydneydo@mit.edu

- Are you passionate about solving "epic" multidisciplinary problems, while inspiring and educating high school students in STEM disciplines?

- Want to learn methods for fostering your own creativity as you develop concepts to address tough research problems?

- NASA and MIT AeroAstro are running the ICED2012 Program, aimed at using the creativity of the crowds to address some of NASA's biggest challenges related to the human exploration of Mars

- We are looking for grad students with diverse research backgrounds to come up with out-of-the-box ideas, and teach high school students to do the same

- More information and application details here http://bit.ly/ICED2012


NASA's Cassini spacecraft has spied long-standing methane lakes, or puddles, in the "tropics" of Saturn's moon Titan. One of the tropical lakes appears to be about half the size of Utah's Great Salt Lake, with a depth of at least 3 feet (1 meter).

Building a terrestrial planet requires raw materials that weren't available in the early history of the universe.

NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) launched into the morning skies over the central Pacific Ocean at 9:00:35 a.m. PDT (12:00:35 p.m. EDT) Wednesday, beginning its mission to unveil secrets of buried black holes and other exotic objects.

The Veil Nebula, left behind by the explosion of a massive star thousands of years ago, is one of the largest and most spectacular supernova remnants in the sky. The image was taken with Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 in November 1994 and August 1997. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration; Acknowledgment: J. Hester (Arizona State University). :arger image.


It's been a busy first year in space for Aquarius, NASA's pioneering instrument to measure ocean surface salinity from orbit.

Educators Selected For NASA Explorer Schools Summer Workshops

"NASA has selected 50 elementary, middle and high school educators from across the nation to work side by side with agency scientists and engineers to learn research techniques and identify connections to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. The educators were chosen for these workshops because they demonstrated exemplary classroom practices and innovative use of NASA Explorer Schools (NES) resources to engage students in STEM activities. They will participate in one of four workshops that will take place between June 18 and July 26 at various NASA centers."

NASA Video: Morpheus Tether Test #16

"The Morpheus vertical test bed successfully executed a 16th tether test on June 11, 2012. This was the first flight after the team integrated ALHAT (Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance Technology) into the vehicle."


NASA's Aqua satellite passed over the High Park Fire in Colorado on June 10, 2012 at 2030 UTC (4:30 p.m. EDT) and captured this visible image of the thick pall of smoke blowing east, just north of Fort Collins.


Two of our Milky Way's neighbor galaxies may have had a close encounter billions of years ago, recent studies with the National Science Foundation's Green Bank Telescope (GBT) indicate.

Two of our Milky Way's neighbor galaxies may have had a close encounter billions of years ago, recent studies with the National Science Foundation's Green Bank Telescope (GBT) indicate. The new observations confirm a disputed 2004 discovery of hydrogen gas streaming between the giant Andromeda Galaxy, also known as M31, and the Triangulum Galaxy, or M33.

New evidence from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory challenges prevailing ideas about how black holes grow in the centers of galaxies. Astronomers long have thought that a supermassive black hole and the bulge of stars at the center of its host galaxy grow at the same rate -- the bigger the bulge, the bigger the black hole. However, a new study of Chandra data has revealed two nearby galaxies with supermassive black holes that are growing faster than the galaxies themselves.

An international crew of aquanauts is settling into its home on the ocean floor, where the team will spend 12 days testing concepts for a potential asteroid mission. The expedition is the 16th excursion of the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO).


The governing Council of the European Southern Observatory has today approved the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) programme -- the world's largest ground-based optical telescope.

This Dawn framing camera (FC) image of Vesta shows Aquilia crater. Aquilia is the large crater in the top right of the image that is nearly 37 kilometers (23 miles) in diameter. Part of Aquilia's rim is fresher than the other part. The bottom part of the rim is especially degraded.


NASA has narrowed the target for its most advanced Mars rover, Curiosity, which will land on the Red Planet in August. The car-sized rover will arrive closer to its ultimate destination for science operations, but also closer to the foot of a mountain slope that poses a landing hazard.


The following article is a free sample from the current issue of Space Quarterly Magazine. It is our hope that if you enjoy this article you will consider subscribing to the magazine.

NASA Solicitation: Space Technology Research Opportunities: Erly Stage Innovations

"NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) solicits proposals from accredited U.S. universities for innovative, early-stage space technology research of high priority to NASA's Mission Directorates and OCT. Eligibility requirements are detailed in the solicitation. ESI-STRO is focused on low Technology Readiness Level (TRL) space technologies. The goal of this low-TRL technology endeavor is to accelerate the development of push technologies (technology development not directed at a specific mission) to support the future space science and exploration needs of NASA, other government agencies, and the commercial space sector. These Early Stage Innovation technology efforts complement the NASA Mission Directorates' focused technology activities which typically begin at TRL 3 or higher. The TRL of the efforts to be funded as a result of this call will be TRL 1 or TRL 2 at the beginning of the selected effort and TRL 2 or TRL 3 at the end of the effort."


Astronomers are getting to know the neighbors better. Our Sun resides within a spiral arm of our Milky Way galaxy about two-thirds of the way out from the center.


A team led by the University of Colorado Boulder looking for organisms that eke out a living in some of the most inhospitable soils on Earth has found a hardy few.

Sunsets started to tease the Arctic horizon as scientists on board the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy headed south in the Chukchi Sea during the final days collecting ocean data for the 2011 ICESCAPE mission.

NASA image captured June 5-6, 2012. On June 5-6 2012, SDO is collecting images of one of the rarest predictable solar events: the transit of Venus across the face of the sun. This event happens in pairs eight years apart that are separated from each other by 105 or 121 years. The last transit was in 2004 and the next will not happen until 2117. Credit: NASA/SDO, AIA. Larger image.

Snow blanketed southern Patagonia in late May 2012. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color image on May 30, when snow cover extended from the mountains of Chile eastward across the plains of Argentina. In hues of teal and navy blue, glacial lakes stood out from the snow.

GMES Masters competition 2012

"Following its debut in 2011, the GMES Masters competition is open once again. As one of seven challenges in Europe's innovation competition for Earth observation, the Agency is staging the ESA App Challenge with a prize worth E 60 000. The GMES Masters competition awards prizes for the best projects and business ideas involving commercial Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) applications. Its purpose is to support the development of market-oriented applications that use data from the programme. This year's App challenge will give the entrant behind the most innovative smartphone App, based on the use of GMES data, the opportunity to begin an incubation programme to the value of O60 000 at one of the six ESA Business Incubation Centres in Europe."

Move An Asteroid 2012: International Student and Young Professional Technical Paper Competition

"Thousands of astronomers across the world are on a daily search for undiscovered asteroids and comets, some of which, large or small, may hit the Earth in the future. Thankfully, the kilometer sized asteroids seen in movies that are large enough to cause mass-extinctions are incredibly rare. However, 10 to 100 meter rocks are big enough to destroy a city and hit roughly every 100 years, with the last recorded one 104 years ago (the Tunguska Event). With the latest technology, it is now possible to spot some of these smaller sized objects with enough time for missions to be launched and warnings to be sent out. This competition challenges students and young professionals worldwide to come up with original ideas relating to Earth-threatening Near Earth Objects (NEOs)."

NASA Television helped observe the last transit of Venus we'll see here on Earth until 2117 by showcasing live-streaming Websites the world over, including observations made by scientists in central Australia, by the NASA Edge team, stationed atop the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii, by scientists at NASA Headquarters and other NASA Centers around the country.

U.S. Agencies Unveil Competition to Develop Personal Pollution Sensor, Science

"In a first, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is jumping into the science prize game. EPA, together with the National Institutes of Health's (NIH's) National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the Department of Health and Human Services, today announced a nationwide competition to develop new, highly portable sensors that can measure air quality while monitoring a person's physiological response to air pollution. Four finalists in the My Air, My Health Challenge will receive $15,000 and the opportunity to present a working prototype to judges, with $100,000 going to the winner."

My Air, My Health: An HHS/EPA Challenge

"Plans to develop personal devices are required - these must sensitively and frequently measure air quality, along with one or more physiological markers linked to the air quality metric that is measured. The system should be designed with input from a community or target population that would benefit from the solution. A design for a personal integrated system is required, together with a development plan and a proposal for a proof of concept study."

The faint, lumpy glow given off by the very first objects in the universe may have been detected with the best precision yet, using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. These faint objects might be wildly massive stars or voracious black holes. They are too far away to be seen individually, but Spitzer has captured new, convincing evidence of what appears to be the collective pattern of their infrared light.

Scientists have made a biological discovery in Arctic Ocean waters as dramatic and unexpected as finding a rainforest in the middle of a desert. A NASA-sponsored expedition punched through three-foot thick sea ice to find waters richer in microscopic marine plants, essential to all sea life, than any other ocean region on Earth.


ESA's Mars Express has provided images of a remarkable crater on Mars that may show evidence that the planet underwent significant periodic fluctuations in its climate due to changes in its rotation axis.

ESA's Mars Express has provided images of a remarkable crater on Mars that may show evidence that the planet underwent significant periodic fluctuations in its climate due to changes in its rotation axis.

On 19 June 2011, Mars Express pointed its high-resolution stereo camera at the Arabia Terra region of Mars, imaging the Danielson and Kalocsa craters.

On June 5, 2012, Hinode captured these stunning views of the transit of Venus -- the last instance of this rare phenomenon until 2117. Hinode is a joint JAXA/NASA mission to study the connections of the sun's surface magnetism, primarily in and around sunspots. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages Hinode science operations and oversaw development of the scientific instrumentation provided for the mission by NASA, and industry. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass., is the lead U.S. investigator for the X-ray Telescope. Image credit: JAXA/NASA/Lockheed Martin

This digital image from the Expedition 31 crew aboard the International Space Station is one of a series from a mounted, automated, and nighttime session of a still camera when viewed in sequence shows the flame-ring associated with wild fires in the Southwest slip by in the upper right while the lights of the El Paso-Las Cruces rise from bottom center. A Russian spacecraft is docked to the station ISS031-E-84006 (2 June 2012) --- high res (0.9 M) low res (54 K)

Linear dunes in the Great Sand Sea in southwest Egypt are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 31 crew member on the International Space Station. In southwestern Egypt, deep in the Sahara Desert, the action of wind dominates landscapes today much as it has done for the past several thousand years.

Enterprise, the prototype for the space shuttle fleet, arrived at the Intrepid Museum in New York City on Wednesday, June 6, 2012, to the museum's Space Shuttle Pavilion, which will open to the public on July 19. Thousands however, got a sneak peek as they watched the shuttle move up the Hudson River. In this image, the shuttle is being towed by barge from a port in Jersey City, N.J. to the Intrepid, a retired World War II aircraft carrier that is now used to house aerospace and maritime exhibits. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls. Larger image

NASA Leads Federal Government In World IPv6 Launch

"NASA is the first U.S. federal agency to participate in the World IPv6 Launch. Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) will replace IPv4 as the communication protocol used to direct most of the traffic on the Internet. IPv6 will enable an increase in the number of IP addresses, support more devices and users and improve the efficiency of traffic routing the traffic on the Internet. Organized by the Internet Society of Reston, Va., World IPv6 Launch on June 6, 2012 is intended to motivate organizations across the industry - including Internet service providers (ISPs), hardware makers, and web companies - to prepare for and permanently enable IPv6 on their products and services as IPv4 address space runs out."

NASA, State Department and Veteran Affairs Innovation Initiative Host Open Source Summit

"Registration for the second Open Source Summit, hosted by NASA, the U.S. State Department and the Veteran Affairs Innovation Initiative to advance the use of open source software in government, is under way. The event will be held June 20-21 at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md. The summit will convene leaders from government and industry as well as software practitioners to discuss the development, release and use of open source software, which is characterized by a collaborative development process and free user access."

Unique Global Competition Encourages Student Teams Worldwide to "Get Their Genius on" and Innovate

"Thanks to the Spirit of Innovation Challenge (Conrad Challenge), the world will not have to wait for solutions to affordable water filtration in Haiti, self-regulating temperature fabrics for harsh environments, eco-friendly pop-up toilets for emergency distressed areas, and many other game-changing innovations. It also means that young innovator/ entrepreneurs don't have to graduate from high school before their commercially-viable, technology-based ideas can be realized and applied to real-world issues! The 2012-2013 Spirit of Innovation Challenge invites student teams from around the world, ages 13-18, to innovate new products by combining creative thinking with science and technology skills to solve real-world challenges."

Release of OCT Space Technology Research Opportunities Early Stage Innovations NRA

"NASA is seeking proposals from accredited U.S. universities focused on innovative, early-stage space technologies that will improve shielding from space radiation, spacecraft thermal management and optical systems. Each of these technology areas requires dramatic improvements over existing capabilities for future science and human exploration missions. Early stage, or low technology readiness level (TRL) concepts, could mature into tools that solve the hard challenges facing future NASA missions. Researchers should propose unique, disruptive or transformational space technologies that address the specific topics described in this new solicitation."


Astronomers may have detected evidence of a possible planet disintegrating under the searing heat of its host star located 1,500 light-years from Earth. Similar to a debris-trailing comet, the super Mercury-size planet candidate is theorized to fashion a dusty tail. But the tail won't last for long. Scientists calculate that, at the current rate of evaporation, the dusty world could be completely vaporized within 200 million years.

Astronomers may have detected evidence of a possible planet disintegrating under the searing heat of its host star located 1,500 light-years from Earth. Similar to a debris-trailing comet, the super Mercury-size planet candidate is theorized to fashion a dusty tail. But the tail won't last for long. Scientists calculate that, at the current rate of evaporation, the dusty world could be completely vaporized within 200 million years.

The United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space will hold its 55th session in Vienna, Austria, from 6 to 15 June. Among topics discussed will be space and climate change, space and water, use of space technology in the United Nations system, in particular how to strengthen the relevance of space science and technology and their applications in meeting the outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

Launched on Feb. 11, 2010, the Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, is the most advanced spacecraft ever designed to study the sun. During its five-year mission, it will examine the sun's atmosphere, magnetic field and also provide a better understanding of the role the sun plays in Earth's atmospheric chemistry and climate. SDO provides images with resolution 8 times better than high-definition television and returns more than a terabyte of data each day.

This image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows Venus as it nears the disk of the sun on June 5, 2012. Venus's 2012 transit will be the last such event until 2117.

Credit: NASA/SDO, AIA Larger image


It is one of those rare events that captures the imagination of people around the Earth for more than a few minutes. While the headlines were filled with what is considered newsworthy yesterday, people around the world took the time, if the weather permitted, and location, to view an event most will likely never see again.

An international team of astronomers using data from the European Space Agency's (ESA) XMM-Newton satellite has identified a long-sought X-ray "echo" that promises a new way to probe supersized black holes in distant galaxies.


The following article is a free sample from the current issue of Space Quarterly Magazine. It is our hope that if you enjoy this article you will consider subscribing to the magazine.


Astronomers have found strong evidence that a massive black hole is being ejected from its host galaxy at a speed of several million miles per hour. New observations from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory suggest that the black hole collided and merged with another black hole and received a powerful recoil kick from gravitational wave radiation.


On Tuesday, 5 June 2012, Venus will cross the face of the sun - as seen from Earth beginning at 22:09 UT (6:09 PM EDT). These transits are rare - they occur in pairs and only very century or so. The last transit was in 2004. The next one will be in 2117. Below are a series of links to various resources you can use to best appreciate this once in a lifetime experience.


The latest edition of Space Quarterly magazine is now available. Highlights of our U.S. edition include a look at the Democratic and Republican space polices leading up to the election along with what budget cuts mean for NASA's flagship programs.

This Dawn framing camera (FC) image of Vesta shows many curved ridges that are typical of Vesta's southern hemisphere. These curved ridges are oriented diagonally across the image and are typically around 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) in length. The curved ridges are not visible in the top part of the image. Also in this image, there are two nice examples of craters that have formed on the rim of another crater. One is located in the top left of the image and the other is offset from the center of the image.


Aurora Australis and star streaks over the South Pacific Ocean are featured in this photograph taken by one of the Expedition 31 crew members when the International Space Station was above a point on Earth located at approximately 40.7 degrees south latitude and 162.9 degrees west longitude.

Aurora Australis and star streaks over the South Pacific Ocean are featured in this photograph taken by one of the Expedition 31 crew members when the International Space Station was above a point on Earth located at approximately 40.7 degrees south latitude and 162.9 degrees west longitude. Two Russian spacecraft, docked to the station, are seen in the foreground. ISS031-E-066053 (22 May 2012) high res (0.7 M) low res (43 K)

During the reentry of SpaceX's Dragon capsule, NASA and the United States Navy flew a P-3 Orion Cast Glance aircraft to capture airborne views of the spacecraft's descent. The aircraft, based at the Navy's VX-30 squadron at the Naval Air Station Point Mugu, Calif., was able to record Dragon's reentry, parachute chute deployment and the capsule in the water.

Beginning this summer and over the next several years, NASA will be sending unmanned aircraft dubbed "severe storm sentinels" above stormy skies to help researchers and forecasters uncover information about hurricane formation and intensity changes.

Robonaut 2 or R2 autonomously operating its taskboard on the International Space Station. This interaction with human mechanical interfaces is key to Robonaut's mission on the ISS.

Robonaut 2 or R2 autonomously operating its taskboard on the International Space Station. This interaction with human mechanical interfaces is key to Robonaut's mission on the ISS.


The border region of southern Kenya and northern Tanzania - with a small portion of south eastern Uganda - is pictured in this Envisat image. Lake Victoria straddles all three countries.

The border region of southern Kenya and northern Tanzania - with a small portion of south eastern Uganda - is pictured in this Envisat image. Lake Victoria straddles all three countries. Named after Queen Victoria in the mid-1800s, it is the largest African lake by area and supports the continent's largest inland fishery.


The long and tumultuous history of asteroid (21) Lutetia is revealed by a comprehensive analysis of the data gathered by ESA's Rosetta spacecraft when it flew past this large main-belt asteroid on 10 July 2010.

The long and tumultuous history of asteroid (21) Lutetia is revealed by a comprehensive analysis of the data gathered by ESA's Rosetta spacecraft when it flew past this large main-belt asteroid on 10 July 2010. New studies have revealed the asteroid's surface morphology, composition and other properties in unprecedented detail. In particular, extensive studies of Lutetia's geological features have opened a unique window into the complex history of this peculiar object.

Face it: no one outside of the space community is listening to space advocates.

Photo by Gwen Griffin who is currently on the Kirby Corp's barge along side. More photos below.

Zero Gravity Toilet in orbit on the International Space Station: Source photo

Zero Gravity Toilet in orbit on the International Space Station: Source photo