Current Spacecraft News and Events

Current Spacecraft News and Events, Spacecraft News Articles.
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SwRI scientists image a bright meteoroid explosion in Jupiter's atmosphere
From aboard the Juno spacecraft, a Southwest Research Institute-led instrument observing auroras serendipitously spotted a bright flash above Jupiter's clouds last spring. The Ultraviolet Spectrograph (UVS) team studied the data and determined that they had captured a bolide, an extremely bright meteoroid explosion in the gas giant's upper atmosphere. (2021-02-22)

Astronomers estimate Titan's largest sea is 1,000-feet deep
Far below the gaseous atmospheric shroud on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, lies Kraken Mare, a sea of liquid methane. Cornell University astronomers have estimated that sea to be at least 1,000-feet deep near its center - enough room for a potential robotic submarine to explore. (2021-01-20)

NASA explores solar wind with new view of small sun structures
Scientists have combined NASA data and cutting-edge image processing to gain new insight into the solar structures that create the Sun's flow of high-speed solar wind, detailed in new research published today in The Astrophysical Journal. This first look at relatively small features, dubbed ''plumelets,'' could help scientists understand how and why disturbances form in the solar wind. (2021-01-19)

Remote sensing data sheds light on when and how asteroid Ryugu lost its water
Rocks on Ryugu, a 'rubble pile' near-Earth asteroid recently visited by Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft, appear to have lost much of their water before they came together to form the asteroid, new research suggests. (2021-01-05)

SwRI models point to a potentially diverse metabolic menu at Enceladus
Using data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft, scientists at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) modeled chemical processes in the subsurface ocean of Saturn's moon Enceladus. The studies indicate the possibility that a varied metabolic menu could support a potentially diverse microbial community in the liquid water ocean beneath the moon's icy facade. (2020-12-16)

Researchers discover a new superhighway system in the Solar System
Researchers have discovered a new superhighway network to travel through the Solar System much faster than was previously possible. Such routes can drive comets and asteroids near Jupiter to Neptune's distance in under a decade and to 100 astronomical units in less than a century. They could be used to send spacecraft to the far reaches of our planetary system relatively fast, and to monitor and understand near-Earth objects that might collide with our planet. (2020-12-09)

Researchers get a look at the sun's dusty environment
Scientists say that how dust moves and transforms around the sun may give them new insights to how Earth and its neighboring planets formed more than 4.5 billion years ago. (2020-12-09)

Aluminium alloy research could benefit manned space missions
Manned space missions in spacecraft made of aluminium that is light yet resistant to radiation could be a step nearer following research involving a world-leading facility at the University of Huddersfield. (2020-12-07)

Image-based navigation could help spacecraft safely land on the moon
In research recently published in the AIAA Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, a multidisciplinary team of engineers demonstrated how a series of lunar images can be used to infer the direction that a spacecraft is moving. This technique, sometimes called visual odometry, allows navigation information to be gathered even when a good map isn't available. The goal is to allow spacecraft to more accurately target and land at a specific location on the moon without requiring a complete map of its surface. (2020-12-07)

Voyager spacecraft detect new type of solar electron burst
The Voyager spacecraft continue to make discoveries even as they travel through interstellar space. In a new study, University of Iowa physicists report on the Voyagers' detection of cosmic ray electrons associated with eruptions from the sun--more than 14 billion miles away. (2020-12-03)

Hubble captures fading of the stingray nebula
Astronomers have caught a rare glimpse of a rapidly fading shroud of gas around an aging star. Archival data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope reveal that the nebula Hen 3-1357, nicknamed the Stingray nebula, has faded precipitously over just the past two decades. Witnessing such a swift rate of change in a planetary nebula is exceedingly without precedent, researchers say. (2020-12-03)

RUDN University professor suggested how to clean up space debris
A specialist in spacecraft movement control analyzed the process of placing vehicle stages, boosters, and other space debris into the so-called disposal orbit and suggested cleaning lower orbits up with a spacecraft that has modules with engine units on board. These modules will attach to space debris objects and move them away. As for the geostationary orbit, a preferable way to clean it up would be a towing spacecraft that transports space debris objects into the disposal orbit. (2020-12-02)

Researchers discovered solid phosphorus from a comet
An international study led from the University of Turku, Finland, discovered phosphorus and fluorine in solid dust particles collected from a comet. The finding indicates that all the most important elements necessary for life may have been delivered to the Earth by comets. (2020-11-26)

NIST designs a prototype fuel gauge for orbit
Liquids aren't as well behaved in space as they are on Earth. Inside a spacecraft, microgravity allows liquids to freely slosh and float about. This behavior has made fuel quantity in satellites difficult to pin down, but a new 3D-imaging fuel gauge engineered at the National Institute of Standards and Technology could offer an ideal solution. (2020-11-12)

Transport of water to mars' upper atmosphere dominates planet's water loss to space
Instead of its scarce atmospheric water being confined in Mars' lower atmosphere, a new study finds evidence that water on Mars is directly transported to the upper atmosphere, where it is converted to atomic hydrogen that escapes to space. (2020-11-12)

SwRI scientist studies tiny craters on Bennu boulders to understand asteroid's age
Last week NASA snagged a sample from the surface of asteroid Bennu, an Empire State Building-sized body that Southwest Research Institute scientists have helped map with nearly unprecedented precision. Using orbital data from the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, researchers measured centimeter- to meter-sized craters on the boulders scattered around its rugged surface to shed light on the age of the asteroid. (2020-11-10)

New remote sensing technique could bring key planetary mineral into focus
The mineral olivine, thought to be a major component inside all planetary bodies, holds secrets about the early formation of the solar system, and a team of Brown University researchers has a new way to study it remotely. (2020-11-02)

Asteroid's scars tell stories of its past
Asteroid Bennu, which was just sampled by NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission, only recently migrated into Earth's neighborhood, according to a detailed analysis of impact marks on boulders on its surface. The report provides a new benchmark for understanding the evolution of asteroids and offers insights into space debris hazardous to spacecraft. (2020-10-30)

OSIRIS-REx TAGs surface of asteroid Bennu
Captured on Oct. 20, 2020 during the OSIRIS-REx mission's Touch-And-Go (TAG) sample collection event, this series of images shows the SamCam imager's field of view as the NASA spacecraft approaches and touches down on asteroid Bennu's surface, over 200 million miles away from Earth. (2020-10-22)

Mass loss driven shape evolution model unveils formation of flattened 'snowman' (486958) Arrokoth
An international research team led by Assoc. Prof. ZHAO Yuhui from the Purple Mountain Observatory has built and applied a mass-loss-driven shape evolution model (MONET) and suggested that the current flattened shape of Arrokoth could be of evolutionary origin due to volatile outgassing in a timescale of about 1-100 Myr, which provides a natural explanation for the flattening shape of the body. (2020-10-12)

New findings from OSIRIS-REx detail complex history of Asteroid Bennu
Six new studies in Science and Science Advances present results from the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft and reveal insights about the near-Earth asteroid Bennu. (2020-10-08)

Planetary astronomer co-authors studies of asteroid as member of NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission
NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft mission's first attempt to pick up the sample is scheduled for Oct. 20, 2020, and the spacecraft is scheduled to return the sample back to Earth on Sept. 24, 2023. In advance of the sample collection, the science team published a set of six papers in Science and Science Advances to share its scientific findings to date while building interest in the upcoming event. (2020-10-08)

SwRI scientists study the rugged surface of near-Earth asteroid Bennu
As the days count down to NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft's Touch-And-Go asteroid sample collection attempt, Southwest Research Institute scientists have helped determine what the spacecraft can expect to return from the near-Earth asteroid Bennu's surface. Three papers published online by Science on Oct. 8 discuss the color, reflectivity, age, composition, origin and distribution of materials that make up the asteroid's rough surface. (2020-10-08)

Scientists peer inside an asteroid
New findings from NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission suggest that the interior of the asteroid Bennu could be weaker and less dense than its outer layers--like a crème-filled chocolate egg flying though space. (2020-10-08)

SwRI instruments aboard Rosetta help detect unexpected ultraviolet aurora at a comet
Data from Southwest Research Institute-led instruments aboard ESA's Rosetta spacecraft have helped reveal auroral emissions in the far ultraviolet around a comet for the first time. (2020-09-21)

Solar storm forecasts for Earth improved with help from the public
Scientists used observations recorded by members of the public to increase accuracy of computer model predictions of when harmful CMEs will hit Earth. (2020-09-18)

SwRI-led study indicates sand-sized meteoroids are peppering asteroid Bennu
A new study published this month in JGR Planets posits that the major particle ejections off the near-Earth asteroid Bennu may be the consequence of impacts by small, sand-sized particles called meteoroids onto its surface as the object nears the Sun. The study's primary author is Southwest Research Institute scientist Dr. William Bottke, who used data from NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission. (2020-09-09)

Where rocks come alive: NASA's OSIRIS-REx observes an asteroid in action
In a special collection of research papers published Sep. 9 in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, the OSIRIS-REx science team reports detailed observations that reveal Bennu is shedding material on a regular basis. (2020-09-09)

How small particles could reshape Bennu and other asteroids
NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft observed tiny bits of material jumping off the surface of the asteroid Bennu. A new study tracks where those particles went. (2020-09-09)

Where rocks come alive: OSIRIS-REx observes an asteroid in action
While studying asteroid Bennu up close, NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft witnessed periodic outbursts of material being kicked up from the surface. A dedicated observation campaign revealed details of the activity and the processes likely causing it: impacts by small space rocks known as meteoroids and rocks cracking from thermal stress as Bennu's surface heats up when exposed to the sun and cools during nighttime. (2020-09-09)

Huge ring-like structure on Ganymede's surface may have been caused by violent impact
Image data reanalysis by researchers from Kobe University and the National Institute of Technology, Oshima College have revealed that ancient tectonic troughs are concentrically distributed across almost the entire surface of Ganymede. Computer simulation results suggest that this giant crater could have resulted from the impact of an asteroid with a 150km radius. If so, this the largest impact structure identified in the solar system so far. (2020-08-07)

NASA's Maven observes martian night sky pulsing in ultraviolet light
Vast areas of the Martian night sky pulse in ultraviolet light, according to images from NASA's MAVEN spacecraft. The results are being used to illuminate complex circulation patterns in the Martian atmosphere (2020-08-06)

A new look at Mars' eerie, ultraviolet nighttime glow
An astronaut standing on Mars couldn't see the planet's ultraviolet ''nightglow.'' But this phenomenon could help scientists to better predict the churn of Mars' surprisingly complex atmosphere. (2020-08-06)

Ammonia sparks unexpected, exotic lightning on Jupiter
NASA's Juno spacecraft -- orbiting and closely observing the planet Jupiter -- has unexpectedly discovered lightning in the planet's upper atmosphere, according to a multi-institutional study led by the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). (2020-08-05)

A new, physics-based model predicts imminent large solar flares
Severe space weather could be forecast with greater accuracy and reliability than ever before, according to a new study, which presents a physics-based method for predicting imminent large solar flares. (2020-07-30)

Mars 2020 mission to be guided by USGS astrogeology maps
When NASA's Perseverance rover lands on Mars next year, it will be equipped with some of the most precise maps of Mars ever created, courtesy of the USGS Astrogeology Science Center. Not only are the new maps essential for a safe landing on Mars, but they also serve as the foundation upon which the science activities planned for the Mars mission will be built. (2020-07-27)

ESA/NASA's solar orbiter returns first data, snaps closest pictures of the sun
The first images from ESA/NASA's Solar Orbiter are now available to the public, including the closest pictures ever taken of the Sun. (2020-07-16)

Hubble watches the "flapping" of cosmic bat shadow
The young star HBC 672 is known by its nickname of Bat Shadow because of its wing-like shadow feature. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has now observed a curious ''flapping'' motion in the shadow of the star's disc for the first time. The star resides in a stellar nursery called the Serpens Nebula, about 1300 light-years away. (2020-06-25)

Spacecrafts get a boost in 'aerogravity assisted' interactions
In a recently published paper in EPJ Special Topics, Jhonathan O. Murcia Piñeros, A post-doctoral researcher at Space Electronics Division, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, São José dos Campos, Brazil, and his co-authors map the energy variations of the spacecraft orbits due to 'Aerogravity Assisted' manoeuvres. (2020-06-18)

University of Melbourne to build and launch innovative satellite
Funding helps develop cutting edge space capabilities in Australia and collaboration with multiple Australian space industry companies and the Italian Space Agency (2020-06-16)

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