Archive by category | Space and astronomy

Researcher posts protected Science Curiosity papers on blog

An American scientist and noted blogger has posted copies of newly published papers about NASA’s Curiosity expedition on his personal website, potentially breaking copyright laws.  Read more

European Research Council funds arXiv — a taste of changes to come

European Research Council funds arXiv — a taste of changes to come

The European Research Council (ERC) announced today that it has joined the list of more than 170 institutions to financially support arXiv, the major online repository for pre-print papers operated by Cornell University Library in Ithaca, New York.  Read more

NASA’s Deep Impact spacecraft is spinning out of control

NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft is spinning out of control

NASA’s Deep Impact spacecraft is in deep trouble. The craft, famous for blasting a projectile into the Comet Tempel 1 in 2005, lost contact with Earth sometime between 11 August and 14 August. Recent commands to put the craft in hibernation, or safe mode, were unsuccessful and Deep Impact is now spinning out of control, says principal investigator Michael A’Hearn of the University of Maryland in College Park. The mission was renamed Epoxi when it was extended to observe comets and stars with transiting exoplanets.  Read more

Magnetic bubbles may mean Voyager 1 has left the Solar System

Leaving the Solar System is like leaving any familiar territory without maps — you have no idea what’s coming next, or even what you’ve just journeyed through. Such is the fate of NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft, which, at 18.7 billion kilometres from the sun, has been flirting with the edge of interstellar space for the past year. Conflicting data from its various experiments suggest that it both has and hasn’t left the Solar System.  Read more

Europe launches massive laser communications satellite

Europe launches massive laser communications satellite

On Thursday Europe launched into orbit the most massive telecommunications satellite ever built on the continent. Managed by the European Space Agency and commercial operator Inmarsat, the 6.6-tonne Alphasat will relay data between different spots on the globe—using radio waves in the already crowded L-band frequency range. But it will also test out a laser communication device that could give a boost to space communications.  Read more

Cassini probe captures view of Earth from Saturn

Cassini probe captures view of Earth from Saturn

The blue dot on the centre-right of this photograph is us. This picture was taken by NASA’s Cassini probe on 19 July, while the spacecraft’s orbit took it into the shadow of Saturn — meaning that the Sun was eclipsed by the gas giant.  Read more