Saturday, July 4, 2015

V404 Cygni

V404 Cygni is a system containing one smallish star in a tight orbit around a larger black hole.  The black hole is slowly devouring the star.

Periodically, the system flares as large chunks of the star crash into the black hole.  The latest such flare occurred last month.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Houston Spaceport

The FAA has approved licensing Ellington Airport in Houston as a spaceport.

The  spaceport will handle, for now, only flights that take horizontally.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

No More Hazards At Pluto

The New Horizons probe has found no additional moons of Pluto nor any rings, so the flight should go as planned.

The flyby is set for July 14.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Mars Glider

A team of engineers is working on building a one pound glider that would fly in the skies of Mars for perhaps ten minutes, maybe imaging possible sites for manned landings.

The team says the glider could go along on a NASA rover mission to launch in the 2022-2024 period.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Exomoons

A new study argues that huge exoplanets, several times bigger than Jupiter, could have moons as large as Mars.

Such super Jupiters orbiting in a star's habitable zone would not be good candidates to be the home of civilizations, but big exomoons could be.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Falcon 9 Explosion

SpaceX' Falcon 9 exploded two minutes into its cargo flight to ISS yesterday.

Oddly, it was the third flight to resupply ISS to fail in less than a year, and three separate launchers were involved-- rockets from Orbital Sciences, Russia, and SpaceX.  A common weakness, therefore, seems unlikely.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Closing On Pluto

The New Horizons spacecraft is already delivering fantastic images of the Pluto system, among them photos of a dark patch in the polar region of the largest moon, Charon, and others showing a Pluto of an incredible range of terrain types.

Closest approach to Pluto is next month.