Wednesday, October 1, 2014

India, NASA Join Hands

NASA and India have agreed to cooperate in space, specifically in Mars exploration and in studying the effects of climate change on Earth.

The cooperation under these agreements could begin at Mars with the current missions of India's MOM and NASA's MAVEN probes.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Titanic Mystery

A feature on the surface of Saturn's moon Titan that seems to be an island in a hydrocarbon sea has doubled in size over the last (Earth) year.

Scientists as yet have no explanation for the change.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Old Water

A new study argues that much of the water on Earth and elsewhere in the Solar System is older than the Sun, having existed in interstellar space before our star formed.

Of course, if space generally is awash in water, the odds for life throughout the universe tick up.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Moonwalking

A new study indicates astronauts should be able to walk faster on low gravity worlds like the Moon, Mars, and asteroids, than previously thought, thus making exploration of those worlds more efficient.

The study is part of an effort to build spacesuits that allow more mobility.  Apollo astronauts tended to hop on the Moon because spacesuit designers of that era were more concerned with safety than mobility, and moving the legs to walk was more difficult than hopping in the light lunar gravity.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Curiosity Drills

Curiosity has drilled its first hole into the Martian mountain, Mount Sharp, to collect rock samples for analysis.

The rover's main mission has always been to climb the mountain, taking samples along the way, to study the natural history of the area.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

HAT-P-11b

Astronomers have found traces of water vapor in the atmosphere of an exoplanet designated HAT-P-11b, a Neptune-sized world 124 light years away.

It's the first time water vapor has been detected in the atmosphere of so small an exoplanet.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

MOM At Mars

India's MOM probe successfully inserted itself into Mars orbit last night, a major accomplishment for the Indian space agency.  Only NASA, ESA, and the former Soviet Union have successfully reached Mars orbit previously.

MOM is largely a technology demonstration mission, but it will do some science, including searching for methane in the Martian atmosphere.