6 Things to Know About NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter

The first helicopter attempting to fly on another planet is a marvel of engineering. Get up to speed with these key facts about its plans. When NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida later this summer, an innovative experiment will ride along: the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. Ingenuity may…

NASA’s AIRS Sees Hurricane Douglas, Tropical Storm Hanna From Space

Wild weather sweeping in from the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico is bringing flooding rains, high winds, and dangerous storm surges to Hawaii and Texas. NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) was monitoring two storm systems as they took aim at portions of Hawaii and Texas on July 26. Perched on NASA’s Aqua satellite, AIRS…

Tiny Asteroid Buzzes by Earth – the Closest Flyby on Record

An SUV-size space rock flew past our planet over the weekend and was detected by a NASA-funded asteroid survey as it departed. Near Earth Asteroids, or NEAs, pass by our home planet all the time. But an SUV-size asteroid set the record this past weekend for coming closer to Earth than any other known NEA:…

Kepler signs launch agreement with Exolaunch

SAN FRANCISCO — Kepler Communications announced a launch agreement Aug. 18 with Exolaunch of Germany for two cubesats scheduled for flight in September on a Russian Soyuz rocket rideshare mission. Under the contract, Exolaunch will provide launch, mission management, integration and deployment services for Kepler’s two six-unit XL cubesats built by the University of Toronto Institute…

Astronomers bounced a laser off a spacecraft whirling around the moon

For the first time, scientists have successfully bounced a laser off a mirror that’s attached to a spacecraft whirling around the moon. Bouncing lasers off mirrors on the lunar surface is an old trick. Astronauts walking on the moon first left reflectors behind in 1969. And since then, researchers have bounced lasers off those reflectors…

Space Chat with Space.com: Tune in Fridays for science, space and more!

This Friday, “Space Chat” explores the extraterrestrial. This week, Space.com staff writer Chelsea Gohd will dive into the history of the search for alien life as this past week, the Pentagon created the Navy-led “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force,” which will monitor unidentified aerial objects.  Every Friday at 1 p.m. EDT (17000 GMT), Gohd hosts…

Volunteers spot almost 100 cold brown dwarfs near our sun

Citizen scientists have spotted almost 100 of our sun’s nearest neighbors.  In a new study, members of the public — including both professional scientists and volunteers — discovered 95 brown dwarfs (celestial objects too big to be considered planets and too small to be considered stars)  near our sun through the NASA-funded citizen science project…

SN Military Space | U.S. military foresees need for space logistics • SPACECOM gets new boss • Space Force swears in its first female general

You’re reading SN Military Space, a weekly newsletter for national security space professionals. To get these insights every Tuesday morning, sign up for a free subscription. Today’s briefing• Space Force thinking about logistics • SPACECOM prepares for change of command • Armagno becomes the first female Space Force general   FUTURE SPACE OPERATIONS: The old…

Watch SpaceX boat catch falling payload fairing in giant net (video)

SpaceX just plucked another payload fairing out of the sky, and you can see video of the dramatic cosmic catch. The net-equipped SpaceX boat GO Ms. Tree snagged half of a falling payload fairing Tuesday (Aug. 18), shortly after a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket launched 58 Starlink internet satellites and three Earth-observation spacecraft into orbit. …

Trump administration urges more commercial activities in space

The Trump administration has taken another small step towards its larger leap to commercialize space laboratory activities, even as NASA struggles to put current commercialization plans into place. A new White House memo released Friday (Aug. 14) said that low Earth orbit research “on new platforms” — commercial facilities that could succeed the International Space…

Mysterious gamma-ray 'heartbeat' detected from cosmic gas cloud

A cosmic gas cloud has a mysterious gamma-ray “heartbeat” that appears to be in sync with a neighboring black hole. Using data from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico and NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, an international team of researchers found the “heartbeat” in a cosmic gas cloud in the constellation Aquila, the eagle. The…

Op-ed | China must be held accountable for its actions on Earth and in space

Whether the issue is trade, pandemic response, or outer space, the United States expects China to accept Western norms of behavior. In the South China Sea, Beijing has tried to literally change the facts on the ground in order to reinforce its claims. This has led to the most massive land reclamation effort in the…

Indian Earth observation startup Pixxel raises $5 million

SAN FRANCISCO – Indian Earth observation startup Pixxel announced Aug. 19 it raised $5 million in a seed investment round for a constellation of Earth observation satellites. Indian venture capital firms, Lightspeed India Partners, Blume Ventures and growX ventures, led the round, which included contributions from Inventus Capital, Stanford Angels and Ryan Johnson, former founder…

Celestron NexStar Evolution 8 telescope: Full review

Celestron’s telescopes continue to evolve and improve, and they have done an amazing job of merging their highly-regarded Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes with a computerized, single-fork mount for an easier and much more enjoyable experience when observing the night sky — meet the NexStar Evolution. Granted, the NexStar Evolution has quite a moderate price tag (RRP $2,262),…

Compatibility issue adds new wrinkle to Europa Clipper launch vehicle selection

WASHINGTON — A long-running debate about how to launch a multibillion-dollar NASA mission to Jupiter is now further complicated by potential technical issues involving one of the vehicles. At an Aug. 17 meeting of NASA’s Planetary Science Advisory Committee, Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s planetary science division, said the Europa Clipper mission had recently discovered…

SpaceX raises $1.9 billion in equity

WASHINGTON — SpaceX has raised $1.9 billion this month as part of its second capital raise since the year began.  Some 75 investors made equity investments in the Hawthorne, California-based launch company, according to an Aug. 18 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  SpaceX is selling another $165 million in common stock during…

What is an equinox?

Twice a year, day and night are about the same length in both the Southern and Northern Hemispheres. This phenomenon is called an equinox, which comes from the Latin words “aequus” (equal) and “nox” (night). What causes an equinox? The Earth orbits the sun, at a tilt of about 23.5 degrees. This means that different…

UAE's Hope Mars orbiter nails first big maneuver in deep space

The #HopeProbe has successfully completed its first trajectory correction manoeuvre – a major milestone in its journey to #Mars. This marks the first firing of the probe’s six Delta-V thrusters, for course correction that will see the probe directly targeting Mars’ capture orbit. pic.twitter.com/fYRWunYFbMAugust 17, 2020 The United Arab Emirates’ first-ever interplanetary spacecraft, Hope, has…

Japan's final HTV cargo spacecraft leaves space station for fiery end

Japan’s “white stork” has taken flight from the International Space Station for the last time. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) ninth H-II Transfer Vehicle, or HTV-9, was released from its temporary perch at the end of the space station’s robotic arm on Tuesday (Aug. 18) at 1:36 p.m. EDT (1736 GMT). The uncrewed cargo…

Arabsat orders all-electric Airbus satellite

WASHINGTON — Fleet operator Arabsat of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, announced Aug. 18 it ordered a geostationary communications satellite from Airbus Defence and Space. Arabsat said it plans to spend $300 million on the manufacture, launch, insurance and ground infrastructure for the satellite, called Badr-8.  The satellite is expected to launch in 2023 to provide C-…