Category: space

From: GeekWire - Spacewalkers help get station ready for space taxis during first of three outings

Thomas Pesquet on spacewalk
Spacewalkers made progress today on preparations at the International Space Station for the arrival of the first commerclal space taxis. During today’s operation, which lasted just over six and a half hours, NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet disconnected cables and electrical connections on a big piece of equipment known as the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3, or PMA-3. NASA said the astronauts also lubricated parts on the Dextre manipulator that’s at the end of the station’s Canadian-built robotic arm, inspected a radiator valve and replaced some external cameras. PMA-3 serves as the interface between the ports on the station’s… Read More

From: BGR - This rogue black hole is flying through space, eating everything in its path

Supermassive black holes are one of the scariest, most destructive and utterly intimidating forces in the universe, but the good news is that they usually don’t do a whole lot of moving around. They often reside at the center of large galaxies, like our own Milky Way, with a gravitational pull keeps us all swirling around it. So what could be more frightening than a stationary black hole? How about one that is flying through space like a colossal vacuum, sucking up whatever it happens upon? Astronomers think they’ve spotted one doing exactly that.

Researchers using the ever reliable Hubble Space Telescope compiled data gathered by the device and compared it with readings from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, all of which support the theory that the supermassive black hole at the center of quasar 3C 186 has gone rogue. The quasar — which is the cloud of gas and material surrounding a black hole — was spotted a significant distance from the center of the galaxy it is believed to have helped form, meaning that some extremely powerful force has caused it to fly free.

Using the positional readings of the quasar the scientists were able to calculate an estimated speed that they believe the black hole is moving, and it’s pretty insane. The giant celestial object is cruising along at a breakneck speed of approximately 4.7 million miles per hour. If we were able to travel at that speed, astronauts could travel from Earth to Mars in just over seven hours. Thankfully, space is big, and the rogue black hole doesn’t pose any immediate threat to our own galaxy. At least for now.

From: GeekWire - Video provides another look at Amazon delivery drone (and Blue Origin spaceship)

Amazon drone with Bloe Origin spaceship at MARS 2017
We already knew that Amazon provided a rare public demonstration of its delivery drone dropping off some sunscreen at this week’s MARS 2017 conference in Palm Springs, Calif. We also knew that Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital rocket ship, which went to space and back five times, was on display at the invitation-only event, organized by Amazon to show off frontier technologies in Machine learning, home Automation, Robotics and Space exploration. Nevertheless, it’s nice to see a fresh video showing the drone at work with the spaceship in the background. This video was passed along by CNET’s Ben Fox Rubin, who’s just now catching… Read More

From: GeekWire - ‘Life’ horror movie sparks reality check on procedures for studying Mars samples

Planetary protection officer in "Life"
Spoiler Alert! This article doesn’t reveal any major plot twists, but wait to read it if you’re trying to stay totally in the dark about the plot of the movie “Life.” Let sleeping Martians lie, particularly if they have a strong grip: That’s one of the lessons you could take away from “Life,” the first monster movie set on the International Space Station. Previously: ‘Life’ draws upon real-life biology and worst-case space scenarios The movie – which opens today and stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds – blends the gory horror of “Alien” with the harrowing suspense of “Gravity.” It’s a… Read More

From: BGR - Giant, hyper-detailed Moon model is now making its way around the world

It takes just about 27 days for the Moon we all know and love to make its way around the Earth, but it’s going to take far longer for a giant model of the Moon to do the same. Museum of the Moon is an art exhibit that provides visitors with an up-close-and-personal look at our planet’s only natural satellite, and it’s currently traveling between festivals and universities so that everyone can experience its awesomeness.

Created by artist Luke Jerram, Museum of the Moon is described as “a fusion of lunar imagery, moonlight and surround sound composition.” In practical terms, it’s a huge model of the Moon measuring 30 feet in diameter, with every square inch of its sphere covered in ultra high-resolution NASA imagery of the lunar landscape. At 1:500,000 scale, each centimeter of the manmade Moon represents just over three miles of the real lunar surface.

The idea behind the project is to showcase how the Moon has impacted civilization since the dawn of mankind. To that end, the touring artwork will collect new bits of Moon lore from each place it visits, bringing new stories, beliefs, and traditions to every new location. The mini Moon has already visited France, the UK, Belgium, and the Netherlands, and will hop between festivals in Europe for much of the remainder of 2017.