Blastoff of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on April 18, 2014.   Credit:  Alan Walters/AmericaSpace

Blastoff of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on April 18, 2014. Credit: Alan Walters/AmericaSpace

The powerful SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that launched successfully on a cargo delivery run for NASA bound for the Space Station on Friday, April 18, from Cape Canaveral, Fla, also had a key secondary objective for the company aimed at experimenting with eventually recovering the rockets first stage via the use of landing legs and leading to the boosters refurbishment and reuse further down the road.

Marking a first of its kind test, this 20 story tall commercial Falcon 9 rocket was equipped with a quartet of landing legs to test controlled soft landing techniques first in the ocean and then back on solid ground at some later date this year or next. [click to continue…]

We need to say it: astrophotographer Thierry Legault has done it again! Here’s an absolutely fantastic capture of the SpaceX Dragon capsule just 25 minutes after it launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, as it passed over Europe. Here, Legault captured footage of Dragon crossing the Big Dipper as seen from Paris at 19:50 UTC, April 18, 2014.

“It was an incredible vision: 4 bright dots moving together!” Legault told Universe Today via email.

Incredibly, Legault was even able to see the solar arrays deployed on the spacecraft.

Check out more of his amazing astrophotography and even some of his tips and tricks at Thierry’s website.
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SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon resupply ship launch from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on April 18, 2014.   Credit:  Jeff Seibert/Wired4Space

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon resupply ship launch from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on April 18, 2014. Credit: Jeff Seibert/Wired4Space
See expanding launch gallery below

A mighty SpaceX rocket carrying the firms commercial Dragon resupply ship loaded with nearly 2.5 tons of NASA science instruments and critical supplies thundered to space this afternoon on a two day journey bound for the International Space Station.

The Dragon vessel launched atop the 20 story tall, upgraded Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida precisely on time at 3:25 p.m. EDT (1925 GMT), Friday, April 18. [click to continue…]

Ancient Martian Life May Be Preserved in Glass

by Jason Major on April 18, 2014

A fresh impact left this 30-meter-wide crater on Mars, imaged by HiRISE in Nov. 2013 (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona )

A fresh impact left this 30-meter-wide crater on Mars, imaged by HiRISE in Nov. 2013 (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona )

When large asteroids or comets strike the Earth — as they have countless times throughout our planet’s history — the energy released in the event creates an enormous amount of heat, enough to briefly melt rock and soil at the impact site. That molten material quickly cools, trapping organic material and bits of plants and preserving them inside fragments of glass for tens of thousands, even millions of years.

Researchers studying impact debris on Earth think that the same thing could very well have happened on Mars, and that any evidence for ancient life on the Red Planet might be found by looking inside the glass.

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Host: Fraser Cain
Guests: Casey Dreier, Brian Koberlein, Jason Major, Sondy Springmann, David Dickinson
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