Cassini makes deepest dive yet into Saturn moon’s jets

Cassini NASA

NASA’s Cassini probe has made its deepest dive to date into the plumes spewing from Saturn’s moon Enceladus
(Image: Cassini Imaging Team/SSI/JPL/ESA/NASA)

Researchers have been fascinated with Enceladus since July 2005, when Cassini revealed plumes of ice particles and water vapour shooting out from the moon’s south pole.

The origin of the plumes is still being debated. But evidence is mounting that the moon may have liquid water beneath its surface, a potential habitat for life.

Read the full article at New Scientist here…

NASA’s Fermi Telescope Detects Gamma-Ray From “Star Factories” in Other Galaxies

Nearby galaxies undergoing a furious pace of star formation also emit lots of gamma rays, say astronomers using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. Two so-called “starburst” galaxies, plus a satellite of our own Milky Way galaxy, represent a new category of gamma-ray-emitting objects detected both by Fermi and ground-based observatories.

Read the entire article at

First-ever Satellite To Attempt To Measure Ocean Salinity From Space

SMOS Satellite

Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity satellite. (Credit: ESA)

Professor Meric Srokosz of the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, a co-investigator on the mission, has been involved in the project since its inception, having proposed the mission with colleagues in France and Spain back in 1998. He said: “Eleven years has been a long wait. Obviously, I am excited and absolutely delighted that the launch has gone to plan. I am now looking forward to using data from the satellite in my research.”

SMOS is the first-ever satellite to attempt to measure ocean salinity from space. It will provide global maps of soil moisture over land and surface salinity over the ocean.

Read full article here…

V (Visitors): A new TV-series that comes from space and 1983

It hasn’t exactly been a banner season for TV drama. The only breakout hit has been NCIS: Los Angeles, a rather formulaic spin-off of a rather formulaic show.

At least ABC saved the best for last: V, a remake of the 1983 made-for-TV sci-fi classic.

A fleet of alien spaceships suddenly appears, hovering over Earth’s largest cities (and, for some inexplicable reason, the Egyptian pyramids). Our “Visitors” (or V’s for short) look just like us, only better. Apparently, they come from a planet of catalog models.

Read more here…

NASA preps for final shuttle launch

Shuttle launch NASA

NASA picked up a practice countdown at Kennedy Space Center this morning as the agency pressed ahead with preparations for the planned Nov. 16 launch of Atlantis and six astronauts on an International Space Station outfitting mission.

Atlantis and a crew led by veteran shuttle pilot Charlie Hobaugh are slated to blast off at 2:28 p.m.

Read full article here…

Nasa space map uses quasars to guide GPS satnavs

The GPS technology behind satnavs work in the same way as sailors navigating by the stars – they use seemingly fixed landmarks to establish the position of the satellites, and then the GPS receiver works out its position using its distance from the satellites.

Dr Chopo Ma of Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center, says: “For GPS to work, the orbital position, or ephemeris, of the satellites has to be known very precisely.

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NASA Apollo 11 Owner’s Workshop Manual, no kidding

Apollo 11 Manual

I think it should be a quick fix. Ha-ha.

It’s been a busy week for the star gazers. Super computers have modelled the universe using just one small piece of fairy cake, the Ares 1-X prototype blasted off into suborbital space and the Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter has been exploring the Apollo 17 landing site.

Since NASA have moved onto the Ares 1-X, that can only mean that the Saturn V rocket is out of copyright, way out. So feel free to build your own with the Haynes NASA Apollo 11 Owner’s Workshop Manual.

No joke.

Read the rest of the article here…

Europe launches two satellites: star bright, star light

THE EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY (ESA) has added two satellites to the collection of orbiting space debris, one to help monitor climate change and another to test a range of the latest technologies.

The SMOS and Proba-2 satellites were launched early this morning from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Northern Russia atop a Rockot launch vehicle.

Some 70 minutes after launch, The 658kg SMOS successfully separated from the Rockot’s Breeze-KM upper stage to take up a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of around 760km. SMOS boasts a Microwave Imaging Radiometer using Aperture Synthesis that will help it map sea surface salinity as well as monitor soil moisture on a global scale through the passive surveying of the water cycle between the oceans, atmosphere and land.

Full article here…

China chief says space arms inevitable: state media

Rockets on display

Visitors view Chinese-made rockets at the Beijing Military Museum (AFP)

A top China air force commander has called the militarisation of space an “historical inevitability”, state media said Monday, marking an apparent shift in Beijing’s opposition to weaponising outer space.

In a wide-ranging interview in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Daily, air force commander Xu Qiliang said it was imperative for the PLA air force to develop offensive and defensive operations in outer space.

Read more…

We are thirsty, as European space search for water launches

A satellite looking for water and monitoring climate change was successfully launched from northern Russia this morning (November 2).

The European Space Agency’s Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission was one of two launches carried out at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome launch pad at 1:50am local time.

Read full article here…