The Parker Solar Probe became the fastest spacecraft in history on October 29, as it came closer to the Sun than any other vehicle. The spacecraft reached speeds of nearly 247,000 kilometers per hour, or more than 153,000 miles per hour, faster than any other man-made object. Parker also came within 42.7 million kilometers or 26.6 million miles, of our stellar companion. The spacecraft was launched on August 12th 2018.Read More Parker Solar Probe Flies Faster and Closer to the Sun than Any Previous Mission
The Hubble Space Telescope has been shut down temporarily following the failure of one gyroscope and unexpected behavior from a backup system. These units are used to properly orient the orbiting observatory to its desired target. NASA officials hope to get the system back online soon, restoring full capability to the 28-year-old telescope. If this proves impossible, the HST can operate in a limited capacity using only one of the remaining gyroscopes.Read More Hubble Space Telescope Shut Down Following Equipment Failure
Astronomers have discovered a previously-unknown dwarf planet, nicknamed Goblin, orbiting beyond the orbit of Neptune. This tiny world takes 40,000 years to travel once around the Sun, and it never comes closer than 65 times the distance between the Earth and our parent star. Computer simulations show the orbit of this world may be influenced by a distant, larger body astronomers are dubbing Planet X.Read More Goblin the Dwarf Planet Discovered at the Edge of the Solar System
The Japanese space agency JAXA has landed two small hopping rovers on the surface of the asteroid Ryugu. These rovers are each seven inches in diameter, and will explore the asteroid by hopping around its surface. Each 50-foot hop will take 15 minutes to complete, due to the extremely weak gravity on the body. These will be followed by two other landers, and the orbiter itself will collect samples of Ryugu to return to Earth in 2020.Read More JAXA Lands Two Hopping Rovers on Asteroid – See the First Picture
Astronomers from the University of Florida announced they have found a new exoplanet much like the planet Vulcan from Star Trek. Strangely enough, the actual planet was found almost exactly where the science-fiction series placed it decades ago. The planet orbits the star 40 Eridani A, just over 16 light years from Earth. The discovery was made using a 50-inch telescope on Mount Lemmon, near Tucson, Arizona.Read More Astronomers Find Mr. Spock’s Home World of Vulcan from Star Trek
A small hole was discovered on a Soyuz space capsule docked to the International Space Station on August 30th. Preliminary investigation revealed the hole, roughly 1/12th of an inch in length, was caused by a drill being operated from inside the craft. Russian media outlet Kommersant published a theory that American astronauts purposely sabotaged the spacecraft in order to return a sick crew member to Earth early while avoiding having to pay for a new Soyuz. Occupants of the space station and the Russian government deny the story.Read More Did an American Astronaut Sabotage the International Space Station?
The Opportunity rover on Mars fell silent on June 10th following a massive dust storm on the Red Planet. Now, as the storm begins to clear, NASA officials hope to once again hear from the intrepid robotic explorer. The space agency will listen in for 45 days after the storm clears, hoping to receive a signal. The spacecraft landed on Mars in 2004, and has been exploring the alien landscape for nearly 15 years.Read More The Plan to Rescue the Opportunity Rover from a Deep Slumber on Mars
Planet Nine could exist at the most distant reaches of our solar system, according to observations of the orbits of far-flung objects. This theoretical world would be 10 times as massive as Earth, and take between 10 and 20,000 years to orbit the Sun. However, such a planet would be so dark and distant that some astronomers speculate it may be 1,000 years before we discover it.Read More Is Planet Nine Hiding at the Edge of the Solar System?
Water ice has been confirmed on The Moon for the first time ever. This discovery, made by the Indian Space Research Organization, was announced by NASA. Ice was seen collecting in areas near the northern and southern poles of the Moon, which are always in shadow. This finding could make it easier for humans to colonize the Solar System.Read More Water Ice Confirmed on the Moon – What does this mean for the Future of Space Travel?
A supermassive black hole has been discovered within a tiny galaxy called UCD3. This finding, carried out by an international team at the Very Large Telescope in Chile, is only the fourth of its kind. Star families like UCD3 have masses tens of millions of times greater than the Sun, sitting in clusters just 300 light years in diameter.Read More Supermassive Black Hole Seen in Tiny Galaxy called UCD3