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Latest headline news from Space with momentary update to provide the online news, world news, sports news, family news, health news, video news, national news, food news and politics news from Space.



x-37b launches on 1st top-secret orbital mission

hanneke joined the team at space.com in august 2016 as a staff writer and producer. she's a self-proclaimed science geek from the south with a passion for all things out of this world! she has previously written for scholastic, medpage today, scienceline, and oak ridge national lab. after studying physics at the university of tennessee in her home town of knoxville, she moved to new york city and earned her graduate degree in science, health and environmental reporting (sherp) from new york university. to keep up with hanneke's latest work, follow her on twitter, facebook or google+.





celebrate earth day with nasa's terra tools and posters

to celebrate earth day (april 22) this year, nasa invites everyone to share views of earth with the world — and to tack up artists' perspectives of our home planet on their walls. the agency recently gathered several earth day posters on one handy website, allowing people to download artists' impressions of a boat among sea creatures, a person relaxing by a lake and a face artfully made up of plants, among other scenes.  if you're more interested in real-life images and data, check out nasa's eyes on the earth app, which shows where all of the agency's earth-orbiting satellites are right now. [earth from space! nasa's classic photos]to celebrate earth day (april 22) 2018, nasa is highlighting a variety of innovative technologies and encouraging the public to use several online tools and the hashtag #nasa4earth.credit: nasa once inspired by such pictures, you can then share your data for earth science, thanks to some other nasa tools.worldview allows anyone using a tablet, laptop or desktop to look at changing views of earth's surface. you can zoom in to any area of the world and share a gif showing raging wildfires, tropical storms or whatever else may be happening in that particular spot. nasa's free earth day 2018 poster uses the words of carl sagan to remind us of the beauty of our planet and its place in space.credit: nasa and the free globe observer smartphone app helps the public track the breeding sites and larvae of mosquitoes. the ai...





darpa announces responsive launch prize competition

colorado springs — the defense advanced research projects agency announced a prize competition april 18 to demonstrate the ability to rapidly launch small satellites, a competition whose regulatory challenges may tower over its technical ones. the darpa launch challenge, formally announced at the 34th space symposium here but previewed at a february conference, will offer a top prize of $10 million to the team whose vehicle is able to perform two launches of small satellites, from two different sites, on short notice. as currently envisioned, the competition will have teams perform a first launch in late 2019. the location of the launch site will be announced only weeks in advance, and teams will have only days to integrate and launch the darpa-provided payload. [military space: spacecraft, weapons and tech] each team that successfully carries out that initial launch will receive $2 million and will be eligible for a second launch at a different site, again on short notice. darpa will then award prizes based on a combination of time to launch, mass launched and orbital accuracy. the exact scoring process using those factors is still being developed, todd master, program manager for the competition, said in a briefing here. the winning team will receive $10 million, while the competition will also offer second and third prizes of $9 million and $8 million, respectively. all teams that qualify for the competition will receive $400,000. the competitio...





star 'dna' survey could reunite the sun with its long-lost siblings

is the sun due for a cosmic family reunion? a new survey of 1 million stars in the milky way galaxy could help astronomers link our sun to its long-lost siblings. the survey will identify stellar "dna": the amounts of chemical elements — such as iron, aluminum and oxygen — that the stars contain. astronomers could then use this data to find stars that emerged from the same birth clusters in galaxies' stellar nurseries, thereby matching stars to their "birth families," according to a statement released by the university of sydney, one of several institutions participating in the astronomical survey. [what will happen to earth when the sun dies?] when the universe formed after the big bang, only two elements were present: hydrogen and helium. elements that emerged later helped to shape stars and planets, making it possible for life to take hold on earth. this new survey is measuring elements in more stars than in any previous project and at an unprecedented level of precision, which will help astronomers understand how galaxies form and change over time, university representatives said. wednesday (april 18) marked the first data release from the enormous observational project, known as galactic archaeology with hermes (galah). the project launched in 2013 and brings together astronomers from europe and australia, with the goal of observing more than 1 million stars. galah uses the hermes instrument — its name stands for high efficiency and reso...





the most amazing space stories this week!!

after an unprecedentedly long and contentious nomination process, the u.s. senate voted along party lines to confirm congressman jim bridenstine (r-okla.) as nasa's new administrator. the 50-49 vote took place april 19. bridenstine faced criticism for lacking scientific credentials, in addition to his statements about the lgbtq community and climate change. [full story: senate votes to confirm bridenstine as nasa administrator] [see also: new nasa chief jim bridenstine faces 'uphill climb' after contentious confirmation]





the most amazing space photos this week!

an asteroid gave earth a close shave on sunday (april 15), just one day after astronomers discovered the object. the asteroid, designated 2018 ge3, made its closest approach to earth at around 2:41 a.m. edt (0641 gmt) at a distance of 119,400 miles (192,000 kilometers), according to nasa's center for near earth object studies. amateur astronomer michael jäger of weißenkirchen, austria, captured this video of asteroid 2018 ge3 zooming through the constellation serpens on april 14 at 7:20 p.m. edt (2320 gmt). ['tunguska'-size asteroid makes surprise flyby of earth ]





when, where & how to see it

in late april, skywatchers in the northern hemisphere will get a view of the lyrid meteor shower, the dusty trail of a comet with a centuries-long orbit around the sun. the lyrid meteors streak across the sky between april 16 and april 25, so skywatchers have a chance to see them during that window, weather permitting. the best day to see lyrid meteors will be extremely early in the morning on sunday, april 22, nasa meteor expert bill cooke told space.com. as with most meteor showers, the peak viewing time will be before dawn. the timing of the lyrids in 2018 make them an earth day meteor shower, with the best observing times overnight saturday and sunday (april 21 and 22).lyrid meteor shower 2018 peaks this weekend: what to expectthe most amazing lyrid meteor shower photos of all timehow to see the best meteor showers of 2018astrophotographer mark lissick sent in a photo of lyrid meteors and the milky way, taken on april 22, 2013, in hope valley, california (near lake tahoe).credit: mark lissick/wildlight nature photography cooke said the average lyrid shower produces 15 to 20 meteors per hour; this year, the meteor shower should hit about 18 per hour. some years, the lyrid meteor shower intensifies and can produce up to 100 meteors per hour in what's called an "outburst," but it is difficult to predict exactly when that will happen.  "people say there is some periodicity there," cooke said, "but the data doesn't support that." although there is a...





why this bold idea is right

paul sutter is an astrophysicist at the ohio state university and the chief scientist at cosi science center. sutter is also host of ask a spaceman and space radio, and leadsastrotours around the world. sutter contributed this article to space.com's expert voices: op-ed & insights. at 13.8 billion years ago, our entire observable universe was the size of a peach and had a temperature of over a trillion degrees. that's a pretty simple, but very bold statement to make, and it's not a statement that's made lightly or easily. indeed, even a hundred years ago, it would've sounded downright preposterous, but here we are, saying it like it's no big deal. but as with anything in science, simple statements like this are built from mountains of multiple independent lines of evidence that all point toward the same conclusion — in this case, the big bang, our model of the history of our universe. [the universe: big bang to now in 10 easy steps] but, as they say, don't take my word for it. here are five pieces of evidence for the big bang: #1: the night sky is dark imagine for a moment that we lived in a perfectly infinite universe, both in time and space. the glittering collections of stars go on forever in every direction, and the universe simply always has been and always will be. that would mean wherever you looked in the sky — just pick a random direction and stare — you'd be bound to find a star out there, somewhere, at some distance. that's th...





1st space funeral launches on 'founders flight' (video)

hanneke joined the team at space.com in august 2016 as a staff writer and producer. she's a self-proclaimed science geek from the south with a passion for all things out of this world! she has previously written for scholastic, medpage today, scienceline, and oak ridge national lab. after studying physics at the university of tennessee in her home town of knoxville, she moved to new york city and earned her graduate degree in science, health and environmental reporting (sherp) from new york university. to keep up with hanneke's latest work, follow her on twitter, facebook or google+.





why should we believe the big bang?

paul sutter is an astrophysicist at the ohio state university and the chief scientist at cosi science center. sutter is also host of ask a spaceman and space radio, and leadsastrotours around the world. sutter contributed this article to space.com's expert voices: op-ed & insights. 13.8 billion years ago, our entire observable universe was the size of a peach and had a temperature of over a trillion degrees. that's a pretty simple, but very bold, statement to make, and it's not a statement that's made lightly or easily. indeed, even a hundred years ago it would've sounded downright preposterous, but here we are saying it like it's no big deal. but as with anything in science, simple statements like this are built from mountains of multiple independent lines of evidence that all point towards the same conclusion. in this case: the big bang, our model of the history of our universe. [the universe: big bang to now in 10 easy steps] but, as they say, don't take my word for it: evidence #1: the night sky is dark imagine for a moment that we lived in a perfectly infinite universe, both in time and space. the glittering collections of stars go on forever in every direction, and the universe simply always has been and always will be. that would mean wherever you look in the sky — just pick a random direction and stare — you are bound to find a star out there, somewhere, at some distance. that's the inevitable result of an infinite universe. and if that...





mushroom clouds burst through neutron stars, and nasa can watch it happen

columbus, ohio — giant, energetic explosions create mushroom clouds on distant neutron stars, and a new nasa telescope can watch them rise, cool and collapse in real time. astronomers had suspected the existence of these mushroom clouds for a long time. but even though the clouds may have shapes similar to the doomsday puffs resulting from nuclear explosions, the cosmic type had been far too faint and far away to make out in detail, nasa scientist zaven arzoumanian said during a talk sunday (april 15) here at the april meeting of the american physical society. to older instruments, the explosions looked just like two mysterious blips in the light coming from distant neutron stars, which are the strange, tiny, ultradense remains of ancient stellar explosions called supernovas. "there's a very rapid rise in flux [the brightness of the star as seen from earth] and then a drop, and then it comes back and slowly fades," arzoumanian said. "it didn't take much head-scratching before people figured out that what we're probably seeing is a mushroom cloud on a neutron star, rising and cooling to the point that it leaves the sensitivity range [of our existing sensors] and then falling back to the surface and reheating." [the 10 greatest explosions ever] but beyond those two blips appearing periodically in neutron-star observations, researchers hadn't been able to observe these mushroom clouds, technically called "photospheric radius expansion bursts," in muc...





proton launches russian military communications satellite

washington — russia's proton rocket launched for the first time this year april 18 with a military communications satellite for the federation's ministry of defense. liftoff took place from the baikonur cosmodrome in kazakhstan at 6:12 p.m. eastern. russian state corporation roscosmos confirmed separation of the satellite from the rocket's breeze-m upper stage in its intended orbit approximately 10 hours later. the federally operated proton launch, handled by the rocket's manufacturer khrunichev, carried the second of four blagovest satellites designed for internet, television and radio services. russia's ministry of defense said april 19 that the satellite is being controlled from the country's titov main test and space systems control centre. an issue with one of the satellite's devices delayed the launch from december to february, according to russian news outlet tass. russian satellite manufacturer iss reshetnev built the satellite on its largest express-2000 platform, the company said. tass said another two blagovest satellites are planned to complete the constellation by 2020, with their construction completed this year. proton has five missions this year, four for the russian government and one commercial dual launch of the eutelsat 5 west b telecom satellite and orbital atk's first satellite-servicing mission extension vehicle, mev-1. international launch services is handling the commercial mission, scheduled toward the en...





'interplanetary shock wave' spawns electric-blue auroras

a moderate geomagnetic storm kicked up in earth's skies friday morning (april 20), bringing green and rare electric-blue auroras that stretched as far south as indiana. the space-weather news site spaceweather.com reported that an "interplanetary shock wave" hit earth's magnetic field at about 3:50 a.m. edt (2350 on april 19 gmt), quadrupling the intensity of the flow of particles streaming from the sun toward earth, called the solar wind. the incoming wave of material resulted in a g2-level, or moderate, geomagnetic storm, according to the national oceanic and atmospheric administration's space weather prediction center (swpc). these types of storms can cause power grid fluctuations and have some impact on radio communications. [see spectacular photos of auroras from space] and they also cause enhanced auroras. this storm led to auroras possibly reaching through canada and as far south as new york, wisconsin and washington state in the u.s., the swpc said. spaceweather.com reported that auroras stretched as far south as six northern u.s. states in the northern hemisphere, and could also be seen in the southern hemisphere over tasmania. (auroras form near both the north and south poles, although the northern ones are more well-known.) pilot matt melnyk caught a view of electric-blue auroras streaking through the sky from 39,000 feet (12,000 meters) while flying over canada.he told spaceweather.com, "i've been flying airplanes for 20 years and photo...





new shepard: rocket for space tourism

new shepard is a rocket manufactured by blue origin for space tourism. the rocket is designed to take passengers into suborbital space inside of a crew capsule. the capsule features six large observation windows, which blue origin says are the largest ever constructed for a spacecraft. new shepard is fully reusable and as of april 2018, it has made seven test launches. in november 2015, it was the first reusable rocket to successfully make a soft landing on the ground, beating out the more famous spacex falcon 9 booster by several weeks.  blue origin was founded by entrepreneur jeff bezos, who made his fortune with amazon. bezos also purchased the washington post in 2013. forbes magazine ranked him as the richest person in the world in march 2018, with a net worth of $112 billion. rocket and capsule descriptionrocket height: 60 feet (18 meters)rocket stages: 1 (liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen)carry capacity to suborbital space: not disclosedapproximate altitude: 307,000 feet (93,573 m)spacecraft crew capacity: 6 peoplespacecraft volume: 530 cubic feet (15 cubic meters) blue origin likely will not bring passengers into space before late 2018 (according to a 2017 article from spacenews), but it has released details of the flight path. when passenger flights happen, new shepard will launch vertically for about two and a half minutes before main engine cut-off.  the capsule will then separate from the rocket; passengers will be weightless for about fo...





netflix doc 'mercury 13' chronicles first us women tested for spaceflight

a famous scene from space history gets an unexpected twist in the first moments of "mercury 13," a new documentary now streaming on netflix. "that's one small leap for a woman, another giant step for mankind." that line, which comes across as both familiar and foreign, is delivered in a woman's voice with the archival footage of men walking on the moon. it underscores what might have been — and the overall theme of the one-hour, 18-minute film from directors david sington and heather walsh. [story of 'almost-first' woman astronaut appears off-broadway] "it did not enter into my consciousness there was anything unusual about the fact it was twelve men who had walked on the moon," said sington of his perspective while he was directing the 2007 documentary film "in the shadow of the moon" about the apollo missions. "of course, when i came across this story and was invited to do a bit of directing on the topic by my colleagues at netflix, i quickly realized that i had made this assumption that it was just natural." "but it wasn't natural. it was a choice that had been made," he said."mercury 13," released by netflix on friday (april 20), tells the history of the u.s. women pilots who were privately put through the same medical, physiological and psychological testing as nasa's original, all-male mercury 7 astronauts. had history played out differently, one or more members of the fellow lady astronaut trainees, or flats, could have joined...





us military's mysterious x-37b space plane spotted by satellite trackers

the u.s. air force's secretive x-37b space plane has apparently been spotted by satellite watchers. the craft's latest mystery mission, known as otv-5 (short for orbital test vehicle-5), began on sept. 7, 2017, when the robotic spacecraft launched atop a spacex falcon 9 rocket from nasa's kennedy space center (ksc) in florida. the air force doesn't reveal much about otv missions, keeping most details about the space plane's operations and orbit secret. and satellite trackers have had trouble finding the x-37b on its latest jaunt — until recently. [the x-37b space plane: 6 surprising facts] chance sighting skywatcher cees bassa from the netherlands reported a chance sighting of a bright satellite of unknown identity, observed early on april 11. he estimated a circular orbit of about 54.5 degrees inclination and 220 miles (355 kilometers) altitude. bassa alerted the global satellite-observing network and others that this could be otv-5. another satellite spotter — russell eberst in edinburgh, scotland — had reported seeing a satellite of similar brightness and orbit last october. "i produced rough search elements that proved too rough to recover the object," said ted molczan, a toronto-based satellite analyst. "i found, with very slight tweaks, the preliminary orbit that cees had posted could be made to fit both his and russell's observations," molczan told inside outer space.artist's illustration of the x-37b orbiting earthcred...





elon musk says 'humans are underrated'

tesla founder and ceo elon musk just paid a rare compliment to his own species, calling humans "underrated" on twitter last week. what brought about this somewhat underwhelming accolade? musk had directed tesla to adopt advanced automation as the assembly line for tesla's new sedan, the model 3 electric car. but now that tesla is behind in making the cars, its customers on the waiting list are grumbling. "yes, excessive automation at tesla was a mistake," musk wrote in the april 13 tweet. "to be precise, my mistake. humans are underrated." [super-intelligent machines: 7 robotic futures] the model 3 is tesla's first midpriced, mass-produced electric car, according to cbs news. its more affordable price tag, starting at $35,000, prompted many people to preorder it, and the company responded by saying it would produce 5,000 new cars each week. however, the actual output has been much lower. at the end of march, tesla hit a production pace of 2,000 cars per week, according to usa today. part of the reason for the production delay is the technology at the plant, in fremont, california, musk said. in fact, the model 3 assembly line is seen as one of the most robot-heavy car plants on the planet, cbs news reported. "we put too much new technology into the model 3 all at once," musk told gayle king, a co-host at "cbs this morning." musk added that instead of speeding up model 3 production, the robots actually slowed it down. "we had this craz...





inside the hangar at bankrupt xcor aerospace (photos)

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bankrupt spaceflight company's assets to help young minds soar

mojave, calif. – before it went bankrupt last year, xcor aerospace had ambitious plans to fly tourists to space with the company's fully reusable lynx suborbital vehicle. but now, the company's assets will be used for a more down-to-earth purpose: giving high school and college students hands-on experience with rockets and space technology.  a nonprofit organization called build a plane purchased xcor's assets at auction for just under $1.1 million, according to court records. the amount was slightly above the $1 million bid by space florida, an agency that supports space in the sunshine state and that was also one of xcor's largest creditors. build a plane plans to use the assets for a new school the organization wants to build in lancaster, california, said the nonprofit's founder, lyn freeman. [ex-space plane: inside the hangar at bankrupt xcor aerospace (photos)] "the idea being that we could get kids — if we had a stellar faculty — that we could get students from all over the country who were to come and learn about aerospace and rocketry specifically," he said. "the cool thing is that this school would be co-located with a functioning aerospace company, so that when they designed rocket components, for example, they could then open the doors and step out into 20,000 square feet [1,858 square meters] of aerospace fabrication equipment and engineers and people that were in the business doing it right then and there." the partner for th...





'ready play one' has an important message about not just virtual reality, but reality itself

carie lemack is co-founder and ceo of dreamup, the first company to bring space into classrooms and classrooms into space. a former national security policy expert/advocate and a producer of an academy award-nominated film, lemack is a proud alumna of space camp and a supporter of all space cadets reaching for the stars. lemack contributed this article to space.com's expert voices: op-ed & insights. the critical and commercial success of "ready player one," steven spielberg's film adaptation of ernest cline's book of the same name, is a testament to effective storytelling and excellent special effects. the fictional story portrays a contest between the allure of virtual reality (vr) and the seemingly awful life on a desolate planet earth, where people would rather spend their lives in a simulation than deal with the reality of their physical existence. but the truth is that this isn't a dystopian future but a reality we live with today: we often ignore the natural world around us because we are consumed by tech, our heads buried in our smartphones, vr goggles, computers and whatever other notifications we are receiving other than the ones coming from the real world surrounding us. the movie features a dystopian future where income inequality has prompted a mass migration of the poor to a wasteland of shipping containers made into "houses" stacked as high as skyscrapers in exoskeletons of plastic tubing and rusted scaffolding. while vr goggles and gloves are th...