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Monday October 20th 2014

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Space and Astronomy News Headlines – Yahoo! News

Get the latest Space and Astronomy news headlines from Yahoo! News. Find breaking Space and Astronomy news, including analysis and opinion on top Space and Astronomy stories, photos and more.

Comet Buzzes Mars in Once-in-a-Lifetime Flyby

Comet Buzzes Mars in Once-in-a-Lifetime FlybyA comet zoomed by Mars today (Oct. 19) in an extremely rare close encounter that scientists billed as a "once-in-a-lifetime" event that may help researchers better understand the earliest days of our solar system. At the time of closest approach, the comet barreled by at 126,000 mph (203,000 km/h) relative to the Red Planet, NASA officials said. It is incredible luck that it is saving us the trouble of going to it, as it flies by Mars, which is being explored by seven active robots," Mark Lemmon of Texas A&M University, a camera team member for NASA's Curiosity and Opportunity Mars rovers, said in a statement. Planetary scientist David Grinspoon, who tracked Comet Siding Spring flyby in real-time during a live webcast by the Slooh Community Observatory, compared the significance of the event with the epic impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter in 1994. 

Posted on 19 October 2014 | 8:05 pm

Comet Flies By Mars Today in Rare Encounter: Watch It Online

Comet Flies By Mars Today in Rare Encounter: Watch It OnlineEditor's Update for 4 p.m. ET: Comet Siding Spring has completed its close Mars flyby. The Slooh Community Observatory will host two Comet Siding Spring webcasts on its website (http://www.slooh.com/) at 2:15 p.m. EDT and 8:30 p.m. EDT (1815 GMT and 0030 Oct. 20 GMT). "The uncertainty in how Comet Siding Spring will look, including the length and shape of its tail or tails, and its behavior during this extremely close encounter with Mars, provides plenty of excitement for Slooh members who have been tracking the comet for months," Slooh astronomer Bob Berman said in a statement. "But the general public will also have the opportunity to get a first look of Comet Siding Springs live from Slooh as it nears Mars." 

Posted on 19 October 2014 | 1:17 pm

Virgin Galactic Will Fly Rocket-Powered SpaceShipTwo Test Flights Soon

Virgin Galactic Will Fly Rocket-Powered SpaceShipTwo Test Flights SoonThe private spaceflight company Virgin Galactic will soon begin a new round of rocket-powered test flights of the commercial spaceliner SpaceShipTwo to prepare for eventual passenger flights to space. Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said the company could resume rocket-powered test flights with SpaceShipTwo "hopefully quite soon" now that the spaceliner's rocket motor has passed vital qualification tests. "We've done a lot of development tests over the years, but what we've been doing recently are qualification tests where you're firing the same motor design multiple times to make sure you're seeing the same thing every time," Whitesides told Space.com Wednesday (Oct. 15) here at the International Symposium on Personal and Commercial Spaceflight. Whitesides did not specify an exact timeline for the test flights.

Posted on 18 October 2014 | 2:13 pm

Your Help Wanted to Name Rosetta Mission’s Comet Landing Site

Your Help Wanted to Name Rosetta Mission's Comet Landing SiteThe European Space Agency (ESA) doesn't want the first-ever soft landing on a comet to take place at "Site J." If your entry is selected, you'll have a chance to watch the landing live from ESA's mission control center in Darmstadt, Germany. The $1.3 billion Rosetta mission launched in March 2004 and finally caught up with Comet 67P this year. Mission officials hope to make some more history with the bold Nov. 12 attempt, which will send a lander named Philae spiraling slowly down to 67P's surface.

Posted on 18 October 2014 | 2:13 pm

Comet Siding Spring at Mars: How a Rare Celestial Event Was Discovered

Comet Siding Spring at Mars: How a Rare Celestial Event Was DiscoveredA comet that was born before the Earth formed is flying in from the edge of the solar system, bound for a dramatic date with Mars on Sunday (Oct. 19). Comet Siding Spring — unknown and undiscovered until 2013 — will zoom past the Red Planet Sunday afternoon in an encounter that could help scientists better understand how the solar system came to be. Siding Spring will fly 87,000 miles (139,500 kilometers) from Mars at 2:27 p.m. EDT (1827 GMT) Sunday, about one-third of the distance from the Earth to the moon. Researchers will observe the close encounter with the fleet of orbiters and rovers at the Red Planet.

Posted on 18 October 2014 | 2:13 pm

Moon to Meet Jupiter in Early Saturday Morning Sky

Moon to Meet Jupiter in Early Saturday Morning SkyJupiter and the moon are set to meet up in the early morning sky on Saturday (Oct. 18). If your sky is clear early tomorrow morning, you'll be treated to a lovely celestial scene as a fat, waning crescent moon passes just over 7 degrees below and to the right of the largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter. Jupiter should look like a brilliant, nontwinkling star. It shines at magnitude minus 2.0, meaning that it shines nearly twice as brightly as Sirius, the brightest star in the sky.

Posted on 17 October 2014 | 9:01 pm

Comet’s Mars Flyby Sunday Has Scientists Abuzz

Comet's Mars Flyby Sunday Has Scientists AbuzzA comet's close shave with Mars this weekend could reveal some key insights about the Red Planet and the solar system's early days, researchers say. "On Oct. 19, we're going to observe an event that happens maybe once every million years," Jim Green, director of NASA's planetary science division, said in a news conference earlier this month. Siding Spring, whose core is 0.5 to 5 miles (0.8 to 8 km) wide, likely formed somewhere between Jupiter and Neptune about 4.6 billion years ago — just a few million years after the solar system began coming together. Many of the objects in the region where the comet was born were incorporated into newly forming planets, but a different fate awaited Siding Spring, researchers said: It apparently had a close encounter with one of these planets and was booted out into the Oort Cloud, a frigid comet repository at the very outer reaches of the solar system.

Posted on 17 October 2014 | 8:28 pm

NASA Probe Zapped by Saturn Moon’s Static

NASA Probe Zapped by Saturn Moon's StaticA spacecraft exploring the Saturn system was zapped by static electricity sent out by one of the ringed wonder's many moons in 2005, a new study suggests. In fact, scientists have found that the Cassini spacecraft was "briefly bathed in a beam of electrons" coming from the moon Hyperion's surface, NASA officials said. No, this isn't proof of alien life: The particle beam was likely generated by the odd, porous moon's exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun and Saturn's magnetic field, researchers said. "It was rather like Cassini receiving a 200-volt electric shock from Hyperion, even though they were over 2,000 kilometers [1,200 miles] apart at the time," Tom Nordheim, a doctoral candidate at Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL), University College London, said of the new finding in a statement.

Posted on 17 October 2014 | 8:28 pm

X-37B Military Space Plane Lands After Record-Shattering Secret Mission

X-37B Military Space Plane Lands After Record-Shattering Secret MissionAir Force's X-37B space plane has returned to Earth after spending nearly two years on a hush-hush orbital mission. The X-37B space plane touched down at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday (Oct. 17) at 9:24 a.m. local Pacific time (12:24 p.m. EDT; "I'm extremely proud of our team for coming together to execute this third safe and successful landing," said Col. Keith Balts, commander of the 30th Space Wing, which is headquartered at Vandenberg, in a statement. Just what the space plane was doing up there for so long remains unclear;

Posted on 17 October 2014 | 6:45 pm

How to Safely Watch Next Week’s Partial Solar Eclipse

How to Safely Watch Next Week's Partial Solar EclipseMillions of people across North America could have a chance to observe a partial solar eclipse next week, weather permitting. The sight of the moon gradually moving across the face of the sun fills most people with awe. The best views of the eclipse will be in the north, in Alaska and the Canadian arctic, but everyone in North America should see some of it, except in the extreme northeast of the continent. In eastern North America, the eclipse will only be visible near or at sunset, so a low western horizon is essential.

Posted on 17 October 2014 | 11:36 am

Space – Google News

Space science moves forward despite the loss of geckos – Russia Beyond the Headlines


Space science moves forward despite the loss of geckos
Russia Beyond the Headlines
In the beginning of September, five geckos died in a Russian Photon-M satellite as part of an experiment examining how bio-organisms cope with the challenge of living in space. According to the director of the experiment, Sergei Saveliev, the autopsy …

Posted on 20 October 2014 | 6:52 am

Florida’s space race: The politicians battling over the cosmos – BBC News


BBC News

Florida's space race: The politicians battling over the cosmos
BBC News
"I wanted to be one of the founders of human civilisation in space," he tells the BBC. But colonies on the moon or Mars simply haven't transpired yet. And until then, Rothblatt aims to remove any political red tape stopping humans from making them a

and more »

Posted on 20 October 2014 | 12:32 am

Unmanned X-37B space plane lands, its exact mission a mystery – kfor.com


Unmanned X-37B space plane lands, its exact mission a mystery
kfor.com
CNN – Whatever it was doing up in space, we may never know, but the U.S. Air Force's unmanned X-37B space plane returned to Earth this week, with still no details from the military on the nearly two-year mission. “The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle mission

Posted on 19 October 2014 | 11:52 pm

12 Join International Space Hall of Fame – Alamogordo Daily News


12 Join International Space Hall of Fame
Alamogordo Daily News
Janessa Maxilom — Daily News Chuck Beams, Kevin Wiseman, Norma Wendt, Anousheh Ansari, Elna Schukina, David Kelly, Joan Kelly and Thomas Kelly Jr. hold International Space Hall of Fame awards Saturday at the New Mexico Museum of Space …

Posted on 19 October 2014 | 7:45 pm

The real space oddity, Chris Hadfield, is down-to-Earth – Ars Technica


Ars Technica

The real space oddity, Chris Hadfield, is down-to-Earth
Ars Technica
That's the question facing Chris Hadfield, who capped 25 years of NASA service by commanding both the International Space Station and an audience of millions on YouTube and Twitter. Hadfield gave a partial answer recently during a public talk at the …
University, NASA to help astronauts by sending mice into spaceThe Weather Network

all 3 news articles »

Posted on 19 October 2014 | 6:07 pm

Deep space ‘snowball’ nears close shave with Mars – Yahoo News


Yahoo News

Deep space 'snowball' nears close shave with Mars
Yahoo News
That is because the comet is believed to have originated billions of years ago in the Oort Cloud, a distant region of space at the outskirts of the solar system. "Comets such as C/2013 A1 are essentially dirty icy snowballs with rocks and dust embedded
Comet Flies By Mars Today in Rare Encounter: Watch It OnlineSpace.com
Martian Robots Brace For Close Encounter With Comet Siding Springio9
Once in a million yrs: Siding Spring comet flies by MarsRT
Sci-News.com
all 408 news articles »

Posted on 19 October 2014 | 5:46 pm

Mysterious Military X-37B Space plane Lands after Nearly Two Years in Orbit – Universe Today


Universe Today

Mysterious Military X-37B Space plane Lands after Nearly Two Years in Orbit
Universe Today
The US Air Force's unmanned, X-37B military space plane made an autonomous runway landing on Friday, Oct. 17, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., concluding an orbital test flight nearly two years in duration on a record breaking mission whose goals …
Secretive X-37B space plane lands after 2 yearsUSA TODAY
Space plane lands after 674-day secret missionChicago Tribune
US Air Force's Secret X37-B Space Plane Lands After 2 Year MissionABC News
The Guardian -Space.com
all 369 news articles »

Posted on 18 October 2014 | 5:58 pm

Space plane lands after record 674-day secret mission – CBS News


CBS News

Space plane lands after record 674-day secret mission
CBS News
An unpiloted Air Force space plane glided back to Earth Friday after a record 674-day stay in orbit, closing out a clandestine military mission with a computer-controlled landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The Boeing-built X-37B Orbital Test

Posted on 18 October 2014 | 3:08 am

Secretive X-37B space plane returns to Earth, two years on – CNET


CNET

Secretive X-37B space plane returns to Earth, two years on
CNET
The Air Force has said precious little — ever — about its X-37B missions, leading to wide-ranging speculation about what the diminutive space vehicle has been up to up there, or is building toward. Theories hit on everything from terrestrial

Posted on 17 October 2014 | 8:57 pm

X-37B Military Space Plane Lands After Record-Shattering Secret Mission – Space.com


X-37B Military Space Plane Lands After Record-Shattering Secret Mission
Space.com
The U.S. Air Force's X-37B space plane has returned to Earth after spending nearly two years on a hush-hush orbital mission. The X-37B space plane touched down at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday (Oct. 17) at 9:24 a.m. local Pacific

Posted on 17 October 2014 | 6:22 pm

NASA Breaking News

A RSS news feed containing the latest NASA news articles and press releases.

NASA Partners with Leading Technology Innovators to Enable Future Exploration

Recognizing that technology drives exploration, NASA has selected four teams of agency technologists for participation in the Early Career Initiative (ECI) pilot program. The program encourages creativity and innovation among early career NASA technologists by engaging them in hands-on technology development opportunities needed for future missions.

Posted on 17 October 2014 | 4:00 pm

Boeing Concludes Commercial Crew Space Act Agreement for CST-100/Atlas V

Boeing has successfully completed the final milestone of its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) Space Act Agreement with NASA. The work and testing completed under the agreement resulted in significant maturation of Boeing’s crew transportation system, including the CST-100 spacecraft and Atlas V rocket.

Posted on 17 October 2014 | 4:00 pm

New Commercial Rocket Descent Data May Help NASA with Future Mars Landings

NASA successfully captured thermal images of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on its descent after it launched in September from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The data from these thermal images may provide critical engineering information for future missions to the surface of Mars.

Posted on 17 October 2014 | 4:00 pm

NASA’s Hubble Finds Extremely Distant Galaxy through Cosmic Magnifying Glass

Peering through a giant cosmic magnifying glass, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has spotted a tiny, faint galaxy — one of the farthest galaxies ever seen. The diminutive object is estimated to be more than 13 billion light-years away.

Posted on 16 October 2014 | 4:00 pm

NASA Begins Sixth Year of Airborne Antarctic Ice Change Study

NASA is carrying out its sixth consecutive year of Operation IceBridge research flights over Antarctica to study changes in the continent’s ice sheet, glaciers and sea ice. This year’s airborne campaign, which began its first flight Thursday morning, will revisit a section of the Antarctic ice sheet that recently was found to be in irreversible decline.

Posted on 16 October 2014 | 4:00 pm

NASA TV to Air Russian Spacewalk from International Space Station

NASA Television will broadcast live coverage of a six-hour spacewalk by two Russian crew members aboard the International Space Station beginning at 9 a.m. EDT Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Posted on 16 October 2014 | 4:00 pm

NASA Spacecraft Provides New Information About Sun’s Atmosphere

NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) has provided scientists with five new findings into how the sun’s atmosphere, or corona, is heated far hotter than its surface, what causes the sun’s constant outflow of particles called the solar wind, and what mechanisms accelerate particles that power solar flares.

Posted on 16 October 2014 | 4:00 pm

NASA’s Hubble Telescope Finds Potential Kuiper Belt Targets for New Horizons Pluto Mission

Peering out to the dim, outer reaches of our solar system, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered three Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) the agency’s New Horizons spacecraft could potentially visit after it flies by Pluto in July 2015.

Posted on 15 October 2014 | 4:00 pm

NASA Soil Moisture Mapper Arrives at Launch Site

A NASA spacecraft designed to track Earth’s water in one of its most important, but least recognized forms — soil moisture — now is at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, to begin final preparations for launch in January.

Posted on 15 October 2014 | 4:00 pm

NASA Mission Provides Its First Look at Martian Upper Atmosphere

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft has provided scientists their first look at a storm of energetic solar particles at Mars, produced unprecedented ultraviolet images of the tenuous oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon coronas surrounding the Red Planet, and yielded a comprehensive map of highly-variable ozone in the atmosphere underlying the coronas.

Posted on 14 October 2014 | 4:00 pm