Animation Caption: Possible landing sites on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The model shows the illumination of the comets surface and regions under landing site consideration for the Philae lander on board ESA’s Rosetta spececraft . Credit: CNES

“The race is on” to find a safe and scientifically interesting landing site for the Philae lander piggybacked on ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft as it swoops in ever closer to the heavily cratered Comet67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko since arriving two weeks ago after a decade long chase of 6.4 billion kilometers (4 Billion miles).

Rosetta made history by becoming the first ever probe from Earth to orbit a comet upon arrival on Aug. 6, 2014. [click to continue…]

Sunlight and shadow combine in this photo of Saturn and its rings taken Aug. 19, 2014. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Sunlight and shadow combine in this photo of Saturn and its rings taken Aug. 19, 2014. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

When Saturn is at its closest to Earth, it’s three-quarters of a billion miles away — or more than a billion kilometers! That makes these raw images from the ringed planet all the more remarkable.

Nearly every day, the Cassini spacecraft beams back what it sees at Saturn and the images are put up on this NASA website. This week, for example, it was checking out Saturn’s rings. We have a few of the pictures below, plus an older picture of the entire planet for reference.

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Space Shapes: Watch This Origami Solar Array Prototype Unfurl

by Elizabeth Howell on August 21, 2014

From paper cranes to solar sails, looks like the Japanese art of origami is making its way into the space world. As you can see in the video above, origami serves a great purpose for launching sails into space — it makes them easy to fold. And this makes it easier to pack into a rocket for the crucial launch phase, before unfurling in orbit.

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What is Nothing?

by Fraser Cain on August 21, 2014

Is there any place in the Universe where there’s truly nothing? Consider the gaps between stars and galaxies? Or the gaps between atoms? What are the properties of nothing?
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The ozone hole over Antarctica on Aug. 18, 2014. Purple and blue represent zones with the least ozone, while yellow and red show thicker areas. Data sources come from multiple NASA, European Space Agency and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellites. Credit: NASA

The ozone hole over Antarctica on Aug. 18, 2014. Purple and blue represent zones with the least ozone, while yellow and red show thicker areas. Data sources come from multiple NASA, European Space Agency and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellites. Credit: NASA

Some bad news in the fight to protect Earth’s ozone — one of the banned compounds that attacks this protective atmospheric layer is still being produced, somehow.

That compound is called carbon tetrachloride, which used to be common in fire extinguishers and dry cleaning. But those who have signed the Montreal Protocol in 1987 reported no new emissions between 2007 and 2012.

So how is it that new research found atmospheric emissions are persisting at 30% of peak production, even with no new emissions being reported?

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