NASA’s newest spacecraft will fly through the Sun’s scorching hot atmosphere

Plans to send a probe into the Sun’s corona date back to 1958 and the very start of NASA. At the space agency’s inception, a special committee listed 14 different missions that NASA should pursue, including visiting all the planets of the Solar System. All 14 missions have been accomplished in some form apart from one: a probe to visit near the Sun.

Source: NASA’s newest spacecraft will fly through the Sun’s scorching hot atmosphere – The Verge

Why selling off the International Space Station would be a tricky mission for the U.S.

The Trump administration’s proposed 2019 budget says the U.S. will end its funding of the International Space Station by 2025. The news led to speculation the goal is to simply sell off the ISS to private enterprise. But experts say it’s not so simple.

Source: Why selling off the International Space Station would be a tricky mission for the U.S.

“There is a democratization of space going on … that you could never imagine 10 years ago.”

Blast off! Rocket Lab successfully reaches orbit on second attempt

Following successful first and second-stage burns, Electron reached orbit and deployed customer payloads at 8 minutes and 31 seconds after lift-off.

“Rocket Lab was founded on the principle of opening access to space to better understand our planet and improve life on it.

Source: Blast off! Rocket Lab successfully reaches orbit on second attempt

The Search for Aliens Starts Now—in Antarctica

Like many subsea drones, the 10-foot-long Icefin is shaped like a torpedo. It made headlines in 2014 as one of the prototype drones that plumbed the Antarctic as part of a NASA program to test the technology. Now, a new program called the Ross Ice Shelf and Europa Underwater Probe (RISE UP), NASA is funding three expeditions to put an upgraded Icefin under the ice. This was its first deployment..

Source: The Search for Aliens Starts Now—in Antarctica

When Icefin dove to the sea floor it found odd, feathery creatures waiting for them. “My favorite moments from the seafloor were our visits by crinoids…it was incredible to behold,” she says, referring to the to the odd, feathery dwellers that call Antarctica home.

Schiaparelli Mars probe’s parachute ‘jettisoned too early’

For the moment, all Esa has to work with is the relatively large volume of engineering data Schiaparelli managed to transmit back to the “mothership” that dropped it off at Mars – the Trace Gas Orbiter.

Source: Schiaparelli Mars probe’s parachute ‘jettisoned too early’ – BBC News

But officials here have tried to emphasise Schiaparelli’s role as a technology demonstrator – a project to give Europe the learning experience and the confidence to go ahead with the landing on Mars in 2021 of an ambitious six-wheeled rover.

Philae Found! Rosetta Spies Dead Comet Lander

Now, in photographs taken by Rosetta’s OSIRIS camera as the spacecraft zoomed within 2.7 kilometers (1.6 miles) of the comet’s surface on Sept. 2, the guesswork of Philae’s fate can be put to rest. The lander really did end up on its side, with two of its three legs awkwardly poking upwards. It seems to be jammed in a dark crack, proving why it was so hard to maintain contact with the robot after landing.

Source: Philae Found! Rosetta Spies Dead Comet Lander

NanoRacks To Catalyze Concepts for Deep Space Habitats

The Ixion Team is a new addition to NASA’s NextSTEP effort, and will begin by conducting a comprehensive feasibility study evaluating the conversion of rocket upper stages into habitats. This innovative approach offers a pathway that is more affordable and involves less risk than fabricating modules on the ground and subsequently launching them into orbit.

Source: NanoRacks To Catalyze Concepts for Deep Space Habitats

More than 1,200 new planets confirmed using new technique for verifying Kepler data

The Vespa technique works by comparing the details of a transiting planet signal — specifically its duration, depth and shape — against simulated planetary and false positive signals to indicate the type of signal the candidate most likely is. At the same time, Vespa factors in the projected distribution and frequency of star types in the galaxy from which the signal originated to determine the chances that a planet with the characteristics being analyzed would exist.

Source: Princeton University – More than 1,200 new planets confirmed using new technique for verifying Kepler data

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

If JWST works as expected, it’s carrying enough fuel on-board that it should operate from 2018 through 2028, and although it’s never been done, the potential exists for a robotic (or crewed, if the technology gets developed by then) re-fueling mission to L2, which could increase the telescope’s lifetime by another decade. Just as Hubble’s been in operation for 25 years and counting, JWST could give us a generation of revolutionary science if things work out as well as they could. It’s the future of astronomy, and after more than a decade of hard work, it’s almost time to come to fruition. The future of space telescopes is almost here!

Source: The Future Of Astronomy: NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope – Forbes