Snippets

compiled by Arlene & David Kaplan

Fastest Orbiting Asteroid Found In Our Solar System
A newly discovered asteroid is sticking close to our sun — much closer than our own planet Earth. The asteroid, called 2021 PH27, completes an orbit around the sun every 113 days and comes within 12.4 million miles (20 million kilometers) of our star. That gives this space rock the distinction of having the shortest known orbital period for an asteroid …more

The European Space Agency is proposing a precise navigation system at the Moon, much like the sat-nav technology we have here on Earth. It would enable spacecraft and astronauts to know exactly where they are when moving around the lunar body and to land with precision. The initiative, known as Moonlight, would also incorporate a telecommunications function. A large flotilla of lunar missions will be launched this decade…more

Deflecting an Asteroid Before It Hits Earth May Take Multiple Bumps. After years of shooting meteorites with a special gun owned by NASA, researchers highlighted challenges for a preferred method of planetary defense. There’s probably a large space rock out there, somewhere, that has Earth in its cross hairs. Scientists have in fact spotted one candidate…more

Boeing’s Starliner Launch Is Delayed, Again, Possibly Until Next Year Problems with the capsule’s propulsion system require more troubleshooting, a setback for a program to carry NASA astronauts to the space station…more

Astronomers See Galaxies in Ultra-High Definition Astronomers have captured some of the most detailed images ever seen of galaxies in deep space. They are in much higher definition than normal and reveal the inner workings of galaxies in unprecedented detail. Many of the images could yield insights into the role of black holes in star and planet formation. The researchers say that the pictures will transform our understanding of how galaxies evolve…more 

Where Dark Skies Draw Star-Gazers, Wildfire Smoke Spoils the View Parts of the Mountain West still largely free of light pollution or cloudy weather are losing their famed spectacular views of the night sky to smoke from fires burning hundreds of miles upwind…mor

–NYT

Mars Has Auroras and a U.A.E. Spacecraft Captured New Pictures of Them When barrages of charged protons and electrons erupted from the sun head our way, Earth’s magnetic field deftly deflects them around the planet. This buffeting generates shimmering, glowing curtains of color known as the aurora borealis in the Northern Hemisphere’s polar regions, and aurora Australis in the south. That same phenomenon happens on Mars, too. …more

–NYT

Astronomers See Moons Forming in Disk Around Distant Exoplanet Scientists have never before gotten such a clear view of moons in the making…more

Gilbert V. Levin, Who Said He Found Signs of Life on Mars, Dies at 97 - The  New York Times
–NYT

Gilbert V. Levin, Who Said He Found Signs of Life on Mars, Dies at 97 Most planetary scientists dismissed his conclusions, but he remained steadfast that the experiment he conducted in the mid-1970s had been a success…more

2 Red Objects Were Found in the Asteroid Belt. They Shouldn’t Be There. The space rocks may have come from beyond Neptune, and potentially offer hints at the chaos of the early solar system…more

 

NASA Says an Asteroid Will Have a Close Brush With Earth. But Not Until the 2100s. Scientists have improved their forecast of the orbital path of Bennu, a space rock the size of the Empire State Building that was visited by the OSIRIS-REX spacecraft…more

Toshihide Maskawa, 81, Dies; Nobelist Helped Unlock a Cosmic Mystery - The  New York Times
–NYT

Toshihide Maskawa, 81, Dies; Nobelist Helped Unlock a Cosmic Mystery Why did the universe not destroy itself in the Big Bang, in a collision of matter and antimatter? A eureka moment in the bathtub led to an answer…more

Biggest ever rocket is assembled briefly in Texas - BBC News
–BBC

Biggest ever rocket is assembled briefly in Texas The American SpaceX company has stacked the biggest rocket ever constructed. The vehicle’s two segments – an upper-stage called Starship and a booster called Super Heavy – were connected together at the firm’s Starbase R&D facility in Boca Chica, Texas. Standing roughly 120m (400ft) in height, the SpaceX rocket dwarfs any previous launch system…more

Perseverance Mars rover's first rock sample goes missing - BBC News
–BBC

Perseverance Mars Rover’s First Rock Sample Goes Missing Engineers are trying to work out what went wrong when the US space agency’s Perseverance rover tried to gather its first rock core on Mars. The robot’s mechanisms seemed to work perfectly but when a metal tube expected to hold the sample was examined, it was found to be empty. The mission team think the particular properties of the target rock may have been to blame…more

Peculiar Galaxies
–NASA

Hubble Returns to Full Science Observations and Releases New Images NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is back in business, exploring the universe near and far. The science instruments have returned to full operation, following recovery from a computer anomaly that suspended the telescope’s observations for more than a month. Science observations restarted the afternoon of Saturday, July 17. The telescope’s targets this past weekend included the unusual galaxies shown in the images above…more

What Animals See in the Stars, and What They Stand to Lose - The New York  Times
–NYT

Man who 'killed Pluto' has no regrets - BBC News
–BBC

The man who ‘killed’ Pluto In 2005 Professor Mike Brown and his team discovered a new dwarf planet at the edge of our solar system. Eris, as it is now known, was more massive than Pluto and left astronomers with a dilemma: whether to add it and other larger bodies, to the list of planets or to strip Pluto of its 75-year status as the ninth planet…more

The International Space Station (ISS) could suffer “irreparable” failures due to outdated equipment and hardware, a Russian official has warned. At least 80 percent of in-flight systems on the Russian segment of the ISS had passed their expiry date, Vladimir Solovyov told state media. He also said small cracks had been discovered that could worsen over time…more

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