A trio of small robots call Astrobees will soon be assisting space travelers aboard the International Space Station. The first two have already arrived at the space station, and another will soon join the pair. Known as Honey, Queen, and Bumble, these robotic bees will record experiments, gather supplies, and track inventory as they float around the space station. This will free human researchers of mundane tasks, allowing them to concentrate on experiments.Read More You Know What this Space Station Needs? Bees!
Jerrie Cobb, a pioneer in the quest for women in space, has passed away at the age of 88. Born in 1931, she first flew an aircraft at age 12, and earned her pilot’s license at 16. Cobb was a member of the Mercury 13, a group of women who underwent all the same testing as the men of the Mercury Seven, but never saw spaceflight, due to their gender. Cobb was the author of two books about her life, and was the subject of an off-Broadway play.Read More Celebrating Jerrie Cobb, Pioneer for Women in Space
Mice aboard the International Space Station have not only adapted to the microgravity environment, but they have invented a new game to play. Led by the young females, these mice started chasing each other around the walls and ceiling of their enclosure, a feat not possible on Earth. Researchers dubbed the behavior racetracking. NASA is studying mice in space, since the animals are similar to humans in behavior and physiology.Read More Mice in Space Invent New Game and it’s Adorable
Seas on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, have disappeared, prompting astronomers to question why three bodies of liquid once seen by the Cassini spacecraft could have left that world. The seas are composed of liquid methane and ethane, and they were first seen by the Cassini spacecraft. When the orbiter returned for a second view, they were gone. When the seas were discovered, it was winter in the northern hemisphere of Titan, and they were gone in summer, prompting astronomers to speculate the seas may have been lost to evaporation and soaking into the surface of that world. Titan is the only body in the Solar System, other than the Earth, known to possess liquid seas at its surface.Read More Phantom Lakes Found on Titan Pose a Deep Question
Jupiter likely formed in the outer reaches of the Solar System, and migrated inward to its current position billions of years ago, according to new computer simulations from Lund University in Sweden. Two groups of asteroids, called Trojans, follow the giant planet in its journey around the Sun. The distribution of these bodies can only be explained if Jupiter was once four times more distant from the Sun than it is today, researchers discovered. In 2021, NASA will launch the Lucy mission to the Trojan asteroids, in order to learn more about the ancient Solar System.Read More Are you Trying to Suggest that Jupiter Migrates?
The spacecraft OSIRIS-REx has reveled a wealth of new information about Bennu, a large, ancient asteroid. On March 19th, researchers released a wide range of scientific papers, providing a new look at this diamond-shaped body. New data shows Bennu is covered in massive boulders, which could hinder the spacecraft from gathering materials from the surface. Researchers have also spotted evidence water once existed on the body from which Bennu broke free. Gravity on the asteroid was also found to act in a strange manner, causing anything just outside its equator to be pulled toward the center of the asteroid, and shot into space.Read More OSIRIS-REx Reveals Secrets of Bennu — The Doomed Asteroid
A pulsar known as J0002 has been clocked traveling more than 1,100 kilometers (700 miles) per second away from the place it was created in a supernova explosion. Astronomers are calling this rapidly-spinning neutron star a cannonball pulsar, as it races away from the center of the nebula which resulted from the massive explosion which created the object. This pulsar, rotating 8.7 times a second, is located 6,500 light years from Earth.Read More Faster than a Speeding Pulsar
Calculations show the Universe should be teeming with life, yet we have not yet made contact with alien beings. These facts have led to the Fermi Paradox, which simply asks why we have not yet contacted life on other worlds. Some of the top researchers in the world gathered in Paris on March 18 to discuss possible answers to this paradox. One group, called Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or METI, believes we may need to send information out to other worlds via radio telescopes, as a means of inviting communication.Read More Where are the Aliens? Answering the Fermi Paradox
The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has taken a wealth of new photographs of the Martian surface, including one showing the InSight lander, which recently touched down on the Red Planet. The images show the great geological diversity of Mars, as well as dunes and evidence of dust devils on the planet. Researchers hope to utilize these photographs during planning for future robotic missions.Read More New Images of Mars from the ExoMars Orbiter Features Photo of InSight Lander Seen from Space
The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan reports finding 83 previously-unknown super-massive black holes from the early Universe. These objects, seen in the form of powerful quasars, are observed as they appeared 13 billion years ago, just as the first stars, galaxies, and black holes were forming. Nearly every galaxy we see today is thought to have a super-massive black hole at its center, including our own Milky Way.Read More Astronomers Spot 83 Super-massive Black Holes from Earliest Days of the Universe