Tag Archives: space

One year after it was shot into space, let’s check in on Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster

One year after it was shot into space, let’s check in on Elon Musk’s Tesla RoadsterIt's hard to believe it's already been a year, but exactly 12 months ago today was the first launch of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy. The rocket launch was a huge success and while SpaceX hasn't launched Heavy again in the time since, it was still a very big deal for the company.Falcon Heavy, which has since been usurped by new SpaceX projects including Starship and Super Heavy, flew skyward one year ago and took Elon Musk's own Tesla Roadster along for the ride. The pricey payload, with its Starman mannequin seated behind the wheel, has been flying through space ever since.Let's check on its progress, shall we?Figuring out exactly where the Roadster and its Starman passenger are at any given point is incredibly easy thanks to the handy website whereisroadster.com, which tracks the progress of the vehicle every moment of every day.Going by the site's statistics, the Roadster is currently around 226 million miles from Earth and 163 million miles from Mars, and it got to its current position by traveling at a speed of approximately 5,149 miles per hour. That's an incredibly speedy vehicle, and it won't be slowing down any time soon.As far as total distance traveled, the car has cruised for a whopping 473.3 million miles as of this writing. It'll take approximately 557 days for the Roadster to make a full orbit around the Sun, and it's projected to continue to travel through space for a long, long time to come.As LiveScience notes, scientists believe the Roadster will eventually crash into either Earth or Venus. However, it could take many millions of years for that to happen, and the odds of it slamming into either planet in the next million years are significantly less than ten percent.It's worth noting that by the time the Roadster meets its end, it will likely look a whole lot different than it did when it initially took off. Telsa vehicles might look nice and shiny here on Earth, but the harsh conditions of space are likely to wreak havoc on the exterior as well as Starman himself.



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The Polar Vortex Looks Absolutely Chilling From Space

The Polar Vortex Looks Absolutely Chilling From SpaceThe purple is below 40.



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Ex-kidnapping victims: Jayme Closs needs space, time to heal

Ex-kidnapping victims: Jayme Closs needs space, time to healCHICAGO (AP) — Katie Beers' joy quickly turned to deep concern when she learned 13-year-old Jayme Closs had been found alive in rural Wisconsin nearly three months after police say a man shot and killed her parents then abducted the girl from their home.



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Scientists detect a repeating signal from deep space, but its origin is a mystery

Scientists detect a repeating signal from deep space, but its origin is a mysteryTo begin, there's zero evidence it's aliens. But for just the second time, a team of astronomers detected a flash of repeating of radio waves emanating from beyond our Milky Way galaxy. Using a new, sprawling Canadian telescope dubbed CHIME — which is the size of six hockey rinks — scientists identified the short, repeating burst in the summer of 2018 and published their results Wednesday in the journal
Nature.   The source of these super distant signals, from some 1.5 billion light years away, is still largely a mystery. What's agreed upon is that for these radio waves to travel millions of light years and arrive at Earth as strong signals, they must have a profoundly potent origin — perhaps a powerful explosion in another galaxy.  "We don’t know what can cause an emission that is that powerful," Shriharsh Tendulkar, an astrophysicist at McGill University and study coauthor, said in an interview. "We really don’t know what they are," added Marc Kamionkowski, a professor of physics and astronomy at Johns Hopkins University who had no involvement in the study, in an interview. "There is good evidence they’re coming from outside the Milky Way."  Radio waves are a form of light — though they're not visible.Image: nasaWhile scientists have detected more than 60 instances of fast radio bursts — which last just milliseconds — this is just the second known signal coming from the same location. Lots of things in space produce radio waves, and many of these signals hit Earth. "There are all sorts of radio waves arriving at all times," said Tendulkar. The sun is constantly sending radio waves through the solar system. And there's a number of powerful phenomena in the deep universe that blast radio waves into the cosmos — like black holes. Scientists are certainly deep in thought about where these distant, quick bursts might come from.  "There is a lot of speculation in the astrophysical transient community about the origin of these events and a number of theories have been put forward to explain how they are formed," Kate Maguire, a researcher at the Astrophysics Research Center at Queen’s University Belfast who had no involvement in the study, said over email. SEE ALSO: How NASA recorded the eerie Martian wind, without a microphone A leading theory, however, is that the leftover cores of exploded massive stars, known as neutron stars, may be releasing the short, powerful signals, said Maguire.  "Most people forced to bet would say they have something to do with neutron stars," noted Kamionkowski.  Tendulkar agrees: "Neutron stars are our best bet." When some old, massive stars collapse, they're believed to squish down into a mass the size of a city, forming a neutron star. Consequently, neutron stars are believed to be the densest known objects in the universe. And presumably, they can release a lot of energy. An artist's conception of a type of neutron star called a magnetar.Image: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/S. WiessingerOne type of neutron star, called a magnetar, is suspected to have a magnetic field trillions of times stronger than Earth's. So when that ultra-dense object changes or ruptures, an extraordinary amount of energy might be unleashed into space.  "It has to be powerful," said Tendulkar. What's more, these repeating radio waves show signs of "scattering" — which suggests that the waves traveled through a turbulent patch of space filled with interstellar gases. That means the signals likely came from a place where there's a denser clump of stuff, like the remnants of an exploded star (called a supernova), University of Toronto astronomer and study coauthor Cherry Ng said in a statement.  Although there are only hypotheses for how these potent radio waves form, natural cosmic phenomena are the exceedingly likely answer — as opposed to smart aliens.  "I can understand the public's imagination would go that way [aliens], but there are a lot of simpler explanations than extraterrestrial intelligence," said Tendulkar. Astronomers and astrophysicists are eager for the new telescope, CHIME, to pick up more signals and gather more evidence. Or as Tendulkar put it, to "paint a broader picture" of what might be happening out there, in the depths of intergalactic space. WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?



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NASA space probe 'phones home' in landmark mission to solar system's edge

NASA space probe 'phones home' in landmark mission to solar system's edgeThe nuclear-powered space probe has traveled 4 billion miles (6.4 billion km) to come within 2,200 miles (3,540 km) of Ultima Thule, an apparently peanut-shaped, 20-mile-long (32-km-long) space rock in the uncharted heart of the Kuiper Belt. Engineers at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland cheered when the spacecraft’s first signals came through the National Aeronautic and Space Agency’s Deep Space Network at 10:28 a.m. EST (1528 GMT). “We have a healthy spacecraft,” Mission Operations Manager Alice Bowman declared.



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NASA space probe 'phones home' in landmark mission to solar system's edge

NASA space probe 'phones home' in landmark mission to solar system's edgeThe nuclear-powered space probe has traveled 4 billion miles (6.4 billion km) to come within 2,200 miles (3,540 km) of Ultima Thule, an apparently peanut-shaped, 20-mile-long (32-km-long) space rock in the uncharted heart of the Kuiper Belt. Engineers at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland cheered when the spacecraft’s first signals came through the National Aeronautic and Space Agency’s Deep Space Network at 10:28 a.m. EST (1528 GMT).



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NASA probe nears distant space rock for landmark flyby  

NASA probe nears distant space rock for landmark flyby  At 12:33 a.m. Eastern time (0533 GMT), the New Horizons probe will arrive at the “third zone” in the uncharted heart of the Kuiper Belt, scientists said. In this peripheral layer of icy bodies and leftover fragments from the solar system’s creation, the interplanetary probe will position its seven on-board instruments for the first close-up glance of Ultima Thule, a cool mass roughly 20 miles (32 km) long and shaped like a giant peanut. Scientists had not discovered Ultima Thule when the probe was launched, according to NASA, making the mission unique in that respect.



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NASA probe believed to have passed distant space rock on landmark mission  

NASA probe believed to have passed distant space rock on landmark mission  The body is farther from Earth than any other that has had such a close encounter with a NASA probe, scientists believe. The New Horizons probe was slated to reach the “third zone” in the uncharted heart of the Kuiper Belt at 12:33 a.m. Eastern. Scientists will not have confirmation of its successful arrival until the probe communicates its whereabouts through NASA’s Deep Space Network at 10:28 a.m. Eastern, about 10 hours later.  Once it enters the peripheral layer of the belt, containing icy bodies and leftover fragments from the solar system’s creation, the probe will get its first close-up glance of Ultima Thule, a cool mass shaped like a giant peanut, using seven on-board instruments.



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Mysterious deep space world Ultima Thule already looks weird — and we've only had a glimpse

Mysterious deep space world Ultima Thule already looks weird — and we've only had a glimpseUltima Thule — an uncharted world over 4 billion miles away — is coming into view. On Monday, planetary scientists released a fuzzy image of Ultima Thule, snapped the day prior by the New Horizons exploration spacecraft from some 1.2 million miles away. Previously, New Horizons swooped by Pluto in 2015, capturing the icy, mountainous world in unprecedented detail. Increasingly rich, detailed images of Ultima will start arriving on January 2, but already the deep space object looks elongated, not round, said New Horizons deputy project scientist John Spencer from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, the Maryland headquarters of the New Horizons program. The program is a collaborative effort between NASA, the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), and the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, where scientists navigate and control the spacecraft. "It’s the first glimpse of what's going to get rapidly better from here on — it’s our first taste," Spencer said.  Ultima Thule as an elongated blob.Image: JHuAPL/NasaWhether Ultima's surface is heavily cratered and if it has a rich surface geology — like that of Pluto — remains to be seen.  "Anything is possible out there in this very unknown region," he said.  Ultima lies 1 billion miles beyond Pluto, in a ring of icy worlds known as the Kuiper Belt. Planetary scientists believe the objects out there have been frozen in time for some 4 billion years — preserving what happened during our solar system's early formation, long ago. SEE ALSO: How NASA recorded the eerie Martian wind, without a microphone "The Kuiper Belt is just a scientific wonderland,” Alan Stern, principal investigator of the New Horizons mission, said on Sunday.  “We've never, in the history of spaceflight, gone to a target that we know less about," Stern added. Already, Ultima has proven mysterious. As New Horizons travels closer to the object, the pattern of light reflecting off of Ultima, or its light curve, is inconsistent. With most other objects, these light patterns repeat as the objects spin.  An artist's conception of what Ultima Thule might look like.Image: nasa"It's really a puzzle," said Stern in a statement last week. But much of Ultima's mystery will diminish in the next few days. Just 33 minutes into the new year local time, New Horizon's will swoop some 2,200 miles above Ultima, capturing detailed snapshots of the uncharted world. But because Ultima is so far away, these rich images won't be immediately available. The data will be transmitted back to Earth, and on January 2 the first detailed snapshots will emerge of this elongated, though still largely mysterious, object. Ultima will soon become the most distant world humanity has ever visited. WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?



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Beyond Pluto: Spacecraft to fly by distant space rock 'Ultima Thule' on New Year's Day

Beyond Pluto: Spacecraft to fly by distant space rock 'Ultima Thule' on New Year's DayNASA's unmanned New Horizon spacecraft, now zooming into outer space beyond Pluto, will fly by a small space rock known as Ultima Thule on New Year's.



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