Recent News from the Commercial Space Gateway

(Space Fellowship) A Night at Poker Flat

Four NASA suborbital sounding rockets leapt into the night on January 26, from the University of Alaska's Poker Flat Research Range. This time lapse composite image follows all four launches of the small, multi-stage rockets to explore winter's mesmerizing, aurora-filled skies. During the exposures, stars trailed around the North Celestial Pole, high above the horizon at the site 30 miles north of Fairbanks, Alaska. Lidar, beams of pulsed green lasers, also left traces through the scene. Ope [...]
  

(Commercial Space Watch) SpaceWorks Releases 2015 Nano/Microsatellite Market Assessment

SpaceWorks has released its 2015 Nano/Microsatellite market assessment report in which it states they tracked 158 Nano/Microsatellites in 2014 of which 106 were commercial and they continue to track almost 1,100 future launches between 2015 - 2017.

  

(ScienceDaily) Satellites can improve regional air quality forecasting

Researchers found that data gathered from geo-stationary satellites -- satellites orbiting Earth at about 22,000 miles above the equator and commonly used for telecommunications and weather imaging -- can greatly improve air-quality forecasting.   

(ScienceDaily) The tell-tale signs of a galactic merger

Astronomers have captured a striking view of spiral galaxy NGC 7714. This galaxy has drifted too close to another nearby galaxy and the dramatic interaction has twisted its spiral arms out of shape, dragged streams of material out into space, and triggered bright bursts of star formation.   

(ScienceDaily) Hubble spies a loopy galaxy

This Hubble Space Telescope photograph of an oddball arc of stars in galaxy NGC 7714 tells of a 100-million-year-old close encounter.   

(ScienceDaily) Could a new proposed particle help to detect Dark Matter?

Researchers have proposed a new fundamental particle which could explain why no one has managed to detect 'Dark Matter', the elusive missing 85 per cent of the Universe's mass. Dark Matter is thought to exist because of its gravitational effects on stars and galaxies, gravitational lensing (the bending of light rays) around these, and through its imprint on the Cosmic Microwave Background (the afterglow of the Big Bang). Despite compelling indirect evidence and considerable experimental effort, no one has managed to detect Dark Matter directly.   

(ScienceDaily) Astronomers gain a new view of galaxy M 82

Astronomers have used the giant radio telescope Lofar to create the sharpest astronomical image ever taken at very long radio wavelengths. A new image shows the glowing center of the galaxy Messier 82 -- and many bright remnants of supernova explosions. A supernova remnant is a shining shell of shock waves from an exploded star, ploughing into its surroundings.   

(Discovery News) DNews: How Often Do Asteroids Buzz Earth's Tower?

A recent asteroid flyby might freak some of us out a little bit, even though it was no danger to Earth. It turns out that kind of thing happens all the time.   

(euronews) Dark matter, dark energy: ESA and CERN set to unravel mysteries of the cosmos

All we can see around us, from planet Earth to distant galaxies, represents just five per cent of the universe - the rest is either ==dark energy or…




  

(euronews) The Astronaut Academy: 'Learning Russian is the biggest challenge'

Denmark's first astronaut Andreas Mogensen says learning Russian is the biggest challenge as he trains to fly to space this year. "I’m more of a math…




  

(euronews) Bonus interview: Frank De Winne

Frank is a former Belgian air force test pilot, and the first-ever European commander of the ISS. He now heads the European Astronaut Centre. Frank…




  

(euronews) Bonus interview: Andreas Mogensen

Denmark’s first astronaut, Andreas Mogensen will accompany opera singer-turned space tourist Sarah Brightman to the ISS on 1st September 2015 on a 10…




  

(Space Fellowship) CAT Scan of Nearby Supernova Remnant Reveals Frothy Interior

Cambridge, MA - Cassiopeia A, or Cas A for short, is one of the most well studied supernova remnants in our galaxy. But it still holds major surprises. Harvard-Smithsonian and Dartmouth College astronomers have generated a new 3-D map of its interior using the astronomical equivalent of a CAT scan. They found that the Cas A supernova remnant is composed of a collection of about a half dozen massive cavities - or "bubbles." "Our three-dimensional map is a rare look at the insides of an explode [...]
  

(Space Fellowship) Pair of Space Freighters Packed for Departure

A pair of docked space freighters is being loaded in preparation for next month’s departure activities. The ISS Progress 57 (57P) resupply ship is being packed with trash and discarded gear for a fiery disposal over the Pacific Ocean. The SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft is being loaded with experiment samples, spacesuit gear and other hardware to be returned to Earth when the ship splashes down off the Pacific coast of Baja California. The International Space Station is getting ready f [...]
  

(Discovery News) Could Violent Red Dwarfs Turn Mini-Neptunes into Exo-Earths?

New research suggests that the frozen cores of 'mini-Neptunes' could be transformed into habitable worlds with a little help from their red dwarf hosts.   

(ScienceDaily) CAT scan of nearby supernova remnant reveals frothy interior

Cassiopeia A, or Cas A for short, is one of the most well studied supernova remnants in our galaxy. But it still holds major surprises. Astronomers have now generated a new 3-D map of its interior using the astronomical equivalent of a CAT scan. They found that the Cas A supernova remnant is composed of a collection of about a half dozen massive cavities -- or 'bubbles.'   

(Space Fellowship) Hubble Spies a Loopy Galaxy

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope photo of NGC 7714 presents an especially striking view of the galaxy's smoke-ring-like structure. The golden loop is made of sun-like stars that have been pulled deep into space, far from the galaxy's center. The galaxy is located approximately 100 million light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Pisces. The universe is full of such galaxies that are gravitationally stretched and pulled and otherwise distorted in gravitational tug-o'-wars w [...]
  

(Space Fellowship) Close Encounter with M44

On Monday, January 26, well-tracked asteroid 2004 BL86 made its closest approach, a mere 1.2 million kilometers from our fair planet. That's about 3.1 times the Earth-Moon distance or 4 light-seconds away. Moving quickly through Earth's night sky, it left this streak in a 40 minute long exposure on January 27 made from Piemonte, Italy. The remarkably pretty field of view includes M44, also known as the Beehive or Praesepe star cluster in Cancer. Of course, its close encounter with M44 is only [...]
  

(ScienceDaily) Cassini catches Saturn's moon Titan naked in the solar wind

Researchers studying data from NASA's Cassini mission have observed that Saturn's largest moon, Titan, behaves much like Venus, Mars or a comet when exposed to the raw power of the solar wind. The observations suggest that unmagnetized bodies like Titan might interact with the solar wind in the same basic ways, regardless of their nature or distance from the sun.   

(ScienceDaily) Some potentially habitable planets began as gaseous, Neptune-like worlds

Two phenomena known to inhibit the potential habitability of planets -- tidal forces and vigorous stellar activity -- might instead help chances for life on certain planets orbiting low-mass stars, astronomers have found.   

(ScienceDaily) Engineer advances new daytime star tracker

NASA is developing a precision attitude sensor or star tracker that would be able to locate points of reference, or in other words, stars, during daylight hours.   

(Space Fellowship) Cassini Catches Titan Naked in the Solar Wind

Researchers studying data from NASA's Cassini mission have observed that Saturn's largest moon, Titan, behaves much like Venus, Mars or a comet when exposed to the raw power of the solar wind. The observations suggest that unmagnetized bodies like Titan might interact with the solar wind in the same basic ways, regardless of their nature or distance from the sun. Titan is large enough that it could be considered a planet if it orbited the sun on its own, and a flyby of the giant moon in Dec.  [...]
  

(Discovery News) Staring into the Maw of a Mysterious Cosmic Globule

Hiding deep inside the Gum Nebula, some 1,300 light-years from Earth, are a collection of mysterious objects that look like comets -- but they're certainly NOT comets.   

(ScienceDaily) Gully patterns document Martian climate cycles

Gullies carved into impact craters on Mars provide a window into climate change on the Red Planet. A new analysis suggests Mars has undergone several ice ages in the last several million years. The driver of these climate swings is likely the Red Planet's wobbly axis tilt.   

(ScienceDaily) Quantum computer as detector shows space is not squeezed

Ever since Einstein proposed his special theory of relativity in 1905, physics and cosmology have been based on the assumption that space looks the same in all directions -- that it's not squeezed in one direction relative to another. A new experiment by physicists used partially entangled atoms -- identical to the qubits in a quantum computer -- to demonstrate more precisely than ever before that this is true: to one part in a billion billion.   

(Discovery News) Water May Have Once Gushed From Massive Asteroid

Liquid water apparently flowed on the surface of the huge asteroid Vesta briefly in the relatively recent past, a surprising new study suggests.   

(ScienceDaily) The two faces of Mars: Moon-sized celestial object crashed into south pole

The two hemispheres of Mars are more different from any other planet in our solar system. Non-volcanic, flat lowlands characterize the northern hemisphere, while highlands punctuated by countless volcanoes extend across the southern hemisphere. Although theories and assumptions about the origin of this so-called and often-discussed Mars dichotomy abound, there are very few definitive answers. Geophysicists are now providing a new explanation.   

(Space Fellowship) The Mouth of the Beast

Like the gaping mouth of a gigantic celestial creature, the cometary globule CG4 glows menacingly in this new image from ESO’s Very Large Telescope. Although it appears to be big and bright in this picture, this is actually a faint nebula, which makes it very hard for amateur astronomers to spot. The exact nature of CG4 remains a mystery. In 1976 several elongated comet-like objects were discovered on pictures taken with the UK Schmidt Telescope in Australia. Because of their appearance, th [...]
  

(ScienceDaily) New instrument to study the extreme universe -- the X-Ray polarimeter X-Calibur

X-ray polarimetry promises to give qualitatively new information about high-energy astrophysical sources, such as black hole systems, the bright and active centers of galaxies, compact neutron stars, and gamma-ray bursts. The instrument will measure the polarization of 20-80keV X-rays. The detector is completed, tested, and fully calibrated and ready to be flown on a high-altitude balloon.   

(Discovery News) DNews: How NASA Snaps Such Cool Pics of the Blazing Sun

On Earth, the sun usually looks like an orange blob or a yellow blob, depending on the time of day. Fascinating, sure, but - a blob. If you want to take the boring out of the sun, you need NASA images. Amy explains how the agency gets its cool shots.   

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