1. discoverynews:

    Monster Rare Yellow Hypergiant Star Discovered

    A gargantuan star, measuring 1,300 times the size of our sun, has been uncovered 12,000 light-years from Earth — it is one of the ten biggest stars known to exist in our galaxy. The yellow hypergiant even dwarfs the famous stellar heavyweight Betelgeuse by 50 percent. While its hulking mass may be impressive, astronomers have also realized that HR 5171 is a double star with a smaller stellar sibling physically touching the surface of the larger star as they orbit one another. Read more

    For some scale, via NewScientist.com:

     

  2. guardian:

    Nasa release images to coincide with Gravity Oscar win

    After the film Gravity picked up a handful of Oscars, including for best cinematography and best visual effects, Nasa releases images of the real thing. See more

    Click photos for captions and credit

    (Source: theguardian.com, via n-a-s-a)

     

  3. colchrishadfield:

    Mars sends love to us all on Valentine’s Day - hearts abounding from the romantics at NASA JPL

     

  4. pbsthisdayinhistory:

    January 27, 1967: Apollo 1 Practice Launch Ends in Tragedy

    On this day in 1967, tragedy struck the space program. Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee had been selected as the crew for Apollo 1, the first flight of the next generation of spacecraft succeeding the Gemini program.

    During a practice launch countdown, a flash fire erupted inside the sealed cockpit. Within seconds the men were unconscious; minutes later they were dead. Because of the pressure of the fire, and the fact that the spacecraft’s hatch opened inward, there was no hope of escape.

    Learn more about the Apollo missions with American Experience's “Race to the Moon.”

    Photo: Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee, Apollo 1 crew (NASA).

    (Source: nasa.gov)

     

  5. thewoodlanders:

    With one exception, I regarded the other astronauts more as professional comrades than as truly intimate friends. The exception was Ed White.

    The Whites lived catercorner from us, and Ed’s and my off-duty hours were totally oriented towards our wives and children. We weren’t the only family men of course, but being close neighbors in addition to our shared philosophy bought us close together. Yet Ed didn’t limit his friendship to me – I don’t know of any astronaut who was more genuinely liked and admired.

    Ed’s death hit me hard too. We had lost many friends before, but never had we lost someone so close, nor anyone in the space program who had been killed in a spacecraft. He might as well have been the brother I never had, a man of gentle strength and quiet humor.

    Frank speaking about Ed White in Countdown

    2nd photo shows the astronauts paying respect to their comrade and friend. From l-r, Frank (standing separately), Jim L, Buzz, Neil and Pete.

    (via spaceandstuffidk)

     


  6. lightthiscandle:

    I can’t recommend this photo tribute enough. Instead of focusing on the actual tragedy, it focuses on the lives of the crew and shows us why they were so special. (It also contains some great pictures that I’ve never seen before.)

    (via spaceandstuffidk)

     

  7. canadian-space-agency:

    Pure delight in the European Space Operations Centre Mission Control as a signal is received from the spacecraft Rosetta on January 20th 2014 after 31 months of deep space hibernation.

    Learn more about the ESA Rosetta mission here.

    Photo Credit: ESA

     

  8. popmech:

    Scientists devise clever way for the blind to experience the wonder of space: 3D-printed images from the Hubble telescope

    (via n-a-s-a)

     

  9. we-are-star-stuff:

    Biggest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2013

    From intergalactic neutrinos and invisible brains, to the creation of miniature human “organoids”, 2013 was an remarkable year for scientific discovery. Here are some of the biggest scientific breakthroughs, innovations and advances of 2013.

    Voyager I Leaves the Solar System

    Escaping the solar system is no mean feat. For 36 years, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft has putting distance between itself and the Sun at speeds approaching 11 miles per second. At a pace like that, scientists knew Voyager was approaching the fringes of the heliosphere that surrounds and defines our solar neighborhood – but when would it break that barrier? When would it make the leap to interstellar space? After months of uncertaintyNASA finally made the news official this September. "Voyager 1 is the first human-made object to make it into interstellar space" said Don Gurnett, lead author of the paper announcing Voyager’s departure; “we’re actually out there.”

    The Milky Way is Brimming with Habitable Worlds

    Planet-hunting scientists announced in November that 22% of sunlike stars in the Milky Way are orbited by potentially habitable, Earth-size worlds. This remarkable finding suggests there could be as many as two-billion planets in our galaxy suitable for life — and that the nearest such planet may be only 12 light-years away. Is Earth 2.0 out there? With figures like that, it’s hard to imagine otherwise. Who knows – with all the Kepler data we’ve got to sift through, there’s a chance we’ve already found it. 

    Curiosity Confirms Mars Was Once Capable of Harboring Life

    In March, NASA scientists released perhaps the most compelling evidence to date that the Red Planet was once capable of harboring life. Earlier this year, Curiosity drilled some samples out of a sedimentary rock near an old river bed in Gale Crater. This geological area used to feature a series of stream channels, leaving behind finely grained bedrock indicative of previously wet conditions. Using the rover’s onboard instrumentation, NASA scientists analyzed these samples to detect some of the critical elements required for life, including sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and carbon. The rover is currently on a trek to its primary scientific target – a three-mile-high peak at the center of Gale Crater named Mount Sharp – where it will attempt to further reinforce its findings.

    Researchers Detect Neutrinos from Another Galaxy

    By drilling a 1.5 mile hole deep into an Antarctic glacier, physicists working at the IceCube South Pole Observatory this year captured 28 neutrinos, those mysterious and extremely powerful subatomic particles that can pass straight through solid matter. And here’s the real kicker: the particles likely originated from beyond our solar system – and possibly even our galaxy. ”This is a landmark discovery,” said Alexander Kusenko, a UCLA astroparticle physicist who was not involved in the investigation, “possibly a Nobel Prize in the making.”

    NASA Discovers “A Previously Unknown Surprise Circling Earth”

    NASA’s recently deployed Van Allen probes — a pair of robotic spacecraft launched in August 2012 to investigate Earth’s eponymous pair of radiation belts — turned out out some very unexpected findings in February, when they spotted an ephemeral third ring of radiation, previously unknown to science, surrounding our planet.

    Human Cloning Becomes a Reality

    A scientific milestone 17 years in the making, researchers announced in May that they had derived stem cells from cloned human embryos.The controversial technology could lead to new treatments for diseases like Parkinson’s and diabetes — while bringing us one step closer to human reproductive cloning.

    Giant “Pandoravirus” Could Redefine Life as we Know it

    Scientists in July announced the discovery of a pair of viruses that defy classification. Bigger and more genetically complex than any viral genus known to science, these so-called “pandoraviruses” could reignite a longstanding debate over the classification of life itself.

    Brain-to-Brain Interfaces Have Arrived

    Back in February, researchers announced that they had successfully established an electronic link between the brains of two rats, and demonstrated that signals from the mind of one could help the second solve basic puzzles in real time — even when those animals were separated by thousands of miles. A few months later, a similar connection was established between the brain of a human and a rat. Just one month later, researchers published the results of the first successful human-to-human brain interface. The age of the mind-meld, it seems, is near at hand.

    There is Life at the End of the World

    There is life in Lake Whillans. For millions of years, the small body of liquid water has lurked hundreds of meters below Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf, sealed off from the outside world and the scientists who would explore its subglacial depths. Earlier this year, a team of researchers led by Montana State University glaciologist John Priscu successfully bored a tunnel to Whillans and encountered life, making Priscu and his colleagues the first people in history to discover living organisms in the alien lakes at the bottom of the world.

    Doctors Cure HIV in a Baby Born With the Disease

    In a monumental first for medicine, doctors announced in March that a baby had been cured of an HIV infection. Dr. Deborah Persaud, who presented the child’s case at the 20th annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infection, called it “definitely a game-changer.”

    Newly Discovered Skulls Could Prune Humans’ Evolutionary Tree

    An incredibly well-preserved, 1.8-million-year-old skull from Dmanisi, Georgia suggests the evolutionary tree of the genus Homo may have fewer branches than previously believed. In a report published in October, a team led by Georgian anthropologist David Lordkipanidze writes that it is “the world’s first completely preserved hominid skull.” And what a skull it is. When considered alongside four other skulls discovered nearby, it suggests that the earliest known members of the Homo genus (H. habilisH.rudolfensis and H. erectus) may not have been distinct, coexisting species, at all. Instead, they may have been part of a single, evolving lineage that eventually gave rise to modern humans.

    Neuroscientists Turn Brains Invisible

    Gaze upon the stunning effects of CLARITY, a new technique that enables scientists to turn brain matter and other tissues completely transparent. It’s been hailed as one of the most important advances for neuroanatomy in decades, and it’s not hard to see why.

    [source | gifs → galaxyclusters]

    (via n-a-s-a)

     

  10. thescienceofreality:

    Our Pale Blue Dot Imaged by Various Spacecrafts. Image Credits: From Quarks to Quasars, jaxa/nhk, Cassini, MESSENGER, NASA, Juno, JPL.

    (via spaceandstuffidk)

     

  11. time-engineer:

    sci-universe:

    Reminder that there are great space agencies out there.

    NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    ESA - European Space Agency
    CNSA - China National Space Administration
    JAXA - Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
    CSA - Canadian Space Agency
    ROSCOSMOS - Russian Federal Space Agency

    And about 1/2 of them look like the Starfleet symbol

    (Source: knowledgethroughscience, via spaceandstuffidk)

     

  12. Water seems to flow freely on Mars

    Any areas of water could be off-limits to all but the cleanest spacecraft.

    Dark streaks that hint at seasonally flowing water have been spotted near the equator of Mars1. The potentially habitable oases are enticing targets for research. But spacecraft will probably have to steer clear of them unless the craft are carefully sterilized — a costly safeguard against interplanetary contamination that may rule out the sites for exploration.

    River-like valleys attest to the flow of water on ancient Mars, but today the planet is dry and has an atmosphere that is too thin to support liquid water on the surface for long. However, intriguing clues suggest that water may still run across the surface from time to time.

    In 2011, for example, researchers who analysed images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft observed dark streaks a few metres wide that appeared and lengthened at the warmest time of the year, then faded in cooler seasons, reappearing in subsequent years2. “This behaviour is easy to understand if these are seeps of water,” says planetary scientist Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona in Tucson, who led that study. “Water will darken most soils.”

    The streaks, known as recurring slope lineae, initially were found at seven sites in Mars’s southern mid-latitudes. The water may have come from ice trapped about a metre below the surface; indeed, the MRO has spotted such ice in fresh impact craters at those latitudes.

    McEwen and his colleagues have now found the reappearing streaks near the equator, including in the gargantuan Valles Marineris canyon that lies just south of it. The MRO has turned up 12 new sites — each of which has hundreds or thousands of streaks — within 25 degrees of the equator. The temperatures there are relatively warm throughout the year, says McEwen, and without a mechanism for replenishment, any subsurface ice would probably already have sublimated.

    He says that this suggests that water may come from groundwater deep in the crust, which could have implications for Martian life: “The subsurface is probably the best place to find present-day life if it exists at all because it is protected from the radiation and temperature extremes,” he says. “Maybe some of that water occasionally leaks out onto the surface, where we could see evidence for that subsurface life.”

     

  13. n-a-s-a:

    Everest Panorama from Mars
    Image Credit: Mars Exploration Rover Mission, Cornell, JPL, NASA

     

  14. Saturn’s rings appear to form a majestic arc over the planet in this image from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.

    This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 17 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on June 15, 2013 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 705 nanometers.

    The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 657,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 2 degrees. Image scale is 37 miles (60 kilometers) per pixel.

    The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

    For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov.

    Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

     

  15. bobbycaputo:

    Atlantis shuttle experience simulates outer space for NASA

    Simulating outer space, the Atlantis shuttle experience is boldly going where no other has gone before,suspending an orbiter 30 feet in the air to display it in full flight mode. dedicated to NASA’s space shuttle program, the $100 million exhibit uses tunable lighting techniques to celebrate a technological marvel – as it would have appeared in action. installed in the 90,000 square feet museum at The Kennedy Space Center, american architects Pgav Destinations in collaboration with design firm Fisher Marantz stone used over 250 LED fixtures from Lumenpulse to create the dynamic scheme. the fixtures can be varied in color temperature and hue to recreate the unusual lighting conditions in space, and make it seem as if sunlight is reflecting off the orbiter.

    (Continue Reading)

    (via itsfullofstars)