Research


Geminid meteor shower to peak Thursday and Friday - plus, a comet! Geminid meteor shower to peak Thursday and Friday - plus, a comet!
- December 13, 2018

Some years over 100 meteors per hour, originating from the constellation of Gemini, it's bright star Castor in the east at this time of year. The meteors, which are unusually bright and multi-colored, can appear anywhere in the sky, and longer streaks of light should be visible closer to sunset. (more...)
A 'Christmas Comet' will be visible in Irish skies this festive season A 'Christmas Comet' will be visible in Irish skies this festive season
- December 13, 2018

Since it was first discovered, the comet has been observed nearly every year, but is tricky to spot due to its orbit resulting in it being faint, even with large telescopes. Although it may be seen with the naked eye, the best ways to get a glimpse of this comet will be with binoculars or a telescope. That's according to Astronomy Ireland anyway, who are going to be setting up a viewing point at its headquarters in Blanchardstown to give everyone a good old look at the festive comet. (more...)
The Leonid meteor shower peaks this weekend. Here's how to see it. The Leonid meteor shower peaks this weekend. Here's how to see it.
- December 13, 2018

At 5 p.m. MT on Saturday, the Earth will pass through the thickest part of the Leonid meteors. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Leo but can appear anywhere in the sky. Although such an event has been associated with the Leonid meteor shower before, the last storm event happened in 2001. While the meteors will appear to be coming from the constellation Leo, for which they are named, that is not the best place to look for them as the meteors will be more dramatic across the night ... (more...)
Aussie Great Barrier Reef changing amid frequent heat waves Aussie Great Barrier Reef changing amid frequent heat waves
- December 13, 2018

Map and factfile on Australia's Great Barrier Reef . The reason why there was less bleaching a year ago was that the more susceptible species of corals died off in 2016. "We can no longer assume that future bleaching events, in say a decade or two, will have the same effect that they have now, because of these changes in physiology in the mix of species", he told the ABC . (more...)
Cosmonauts examine 'mysterious hole' on ISS spacewalk
- December 12, 2018

This might have been lost in the relentless cacophony of absurdity that was all of the news of 2018, but do you by any chance remember how back in September the Russians found a hole that appeared to be deliberately drilled in the Soyuz module docked with the International Space Station? The hole was repaired on the same day restoring the hermetic integrity of the ISS. (more...)
Chang’e-4 Lunar probe is on its way to the moon Chang’e-4 Lunar probe is on its way to the moon
- December 12, 2018

The launch marked the start of the journey to the unexplored side of the moon, which is mountainous and rugged. Xinhua reported that the probe, called the Chang'e-4, is expected to be the first to make a soft-landing on the far side of the Moon. (more...)
NASA’s Voyager 2, Launched in 1977, Reaches Interstellar Space NASA’s Voyager 2, Launched in 1977, Reaches Interstellar Space
- December 10, 2018

Nasa said the twin probes have left the heliosphere but have not yet left the solar system "and won't be leaving anytime soon". Mission scientists determined that the probe crossed the outer edge of the heliosphere - known as the heliopause , on November 5. (more...)
NASA's InSIght Lander Sent Photos From Mars NASA's InSIght Lander Sent Photos From Mars
- December 10, 2018

The NASA InSight took this photo of the surface of Mars using its robotic arm-mounted, Instrument Deployment Camera after touching down on the surface of the planet, November 26, 2018. As new Science Minister I am excited to see what more we can achieve on land and in outer space. The wind vibrations were detected by two sensitive sensors on the InSight spacecraft: an air pressure sensor inside the lander and a seismometer sitting on the lander's deck. (more...)
China Preparing For Mission To Far Side Of The Moon China Preparing For Mission To Far Side Of The Moon
- December 10, 2018

EST (1823 GMT; 2:23 a.m. on December 8 local China time). To land on the far side of the moon and oversee the mission from Earth, China launched a satellite called Queqiao back in May for the sole objective of aiding the communication between the upcoming Chang'e 4 and the China National Space Administration. (more...)
China launches pioneering Chang'e 4 mission to far side of Moon China launches pioneering Chang'e 4 mission to far side of Moon
- December 10, 2018

There will also be mineral and radiation tests, the Xinhua news agency said. The blast-off marked the start of a long journey to the far side of the moon for the Chang'e-4 mission, expected to land around the New Year to carry out experiments and survey the untrodden terrain. (more...)
EPA Ready to Kill Greenhouse Gas Rule on New Coal Power Plants EPA Ready to Kill Greenhouse Gas Rule on New Coal Power Plants
- December 09, 2018

Also on Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed rolling back an Obama-era rule requiring new U.S. coal plants to slash carbon emissions , a move that could crack open the door in coming years for new plants fired by the fossil fuel. (more...)
SpaceX botched booster landing, but Christmas dinner made it to ISS SpaceX botched booster landing, but Christmas dinner made it to ISS
- December 08, 2018

The owner of SpaceX Elon Musk on this occasion, wrote on Twitter that a bad landing caused by a problem with a hydraulic pump. "The important point here is we have a safety function on board that makes sure the vehicle does not go on land until everything is OK, and that worked perfectly", SpaceX vice president Hans Koenisgman said . (more...)
NASA's Insight lander records wind heard on Mars NASA's Insight lander records wind heard on Mars
- December 08, 2018

The very first time that humans have heard the sounds of the winds on Mars! The air pressure sensor detected the air vibrations directly while the seismometer recorded vibrations caused by the Martian wind blowing across InSight's solar panels. (more...)
SpaceX Looks to Launch Supply Mission to International Space Station SpaceX Looks to Launch Supply Mission to International Space Station
- December 08, 2018

However, the launch was marred by a system failure on the rocket which caused it to land in the sea, instead of on land SpaceX at Landing Zone 1 (LZ-1) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station , Florida, as planned. It seems that once the stalled fin extended fully, the rocket nearly regained control and came in for a landing almost like normal, but off target, in the water. (more...)
Melting rate of mile-thick ice sheet ‘at fastest ever’ Melting rate of mile-thick ice sheet ‘at fastest ever’
- December 07, 2018

Trusel said the new research provides evidence rapid melting observed in recent decades is highly unusual when put in historical context. From these numbers, the researchers estimated that ice sheet-wide levels of meltwater runoff have jumped 50 per cent in the past 20 years compared with pre-industrial times. (more...)
Endangered Hawaiian monk seals face new challenge: eels stuck up their noses Endangered Hawaiian monk seals face new challenge: eels stuck up their noses
- December 07, 2018

A juvenile Hawaiian monk seal was spotted with a spotted eel in its nose at French Frigate Shoals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands this past summer. 'In all cases the eel was successfully removed and the seals were fine. So, they go for the food, like eels, whose strategy is to hide. One theory is that seals, which often regurgitate their meals, are simply throwing up eels through their noses. (more...)
Next US moon landing will be by private companies, not NASA Next US moon landing will be by private companies, not NASA
- December 07, 2018

Meanwhile, a startup called Orbit Beyond is in the running for NASA's moon payloads, and it's working with TeamIndus, the Indian spaceflight company that nearly won the Lunar X Prize competition. This announcement and its press conference demonstrate the continuing shift in NASA's direction, driven by Space Policy Directive 1 . The American plan for space exploration will unfold in stages, starting with the transition from the current model of human space activities in low-Earth orbit to a ... (more...)
Soyuz rocket: First astronauts to launch since October failure Soyuz rocket: First astronauts to launch since October failure
- December 06, 2018

The Soyuz lifted off at 1131 GMT from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko , NASA astronaut Anne McClain and the Canadian Space Agency's David Saint-Jacques. "I know that it's something that means a lot to him and his family and the team that got him there", she said. The crew heading to the ISS dismissed any possible concerns about their safety. (more...)
SpaceX launches cargo, but fails to land rocket
- December 06, 2018

The rocket brought a turkey, helpings of cranberry sauce, candied yams and a fruitcake to allow the crew to enjoy Christmas as they might have back on Earth. The stage, he noted, continued to work even after tipping over into the water, going through a standard post-landing safing sequence and transmitting data. (more...)
2nd LD Writethru: NASA's spacecraft arrives at asteroid Bennu 2nd LD Writethru: NASA's spacecraft arrives at asteroid Bennu
- December 06, 2018

The mission team expects to narrow the possibilities to two sites by July 2020, which is when the sample collection is scheduled to take place. NASA's Osiris-Rex spacecraft is now just a few miles from a skyscraper-sized asteroid, Bennu , which has the potential to hit Earth in just over 150 years time . (more...)