SpaceX, Boeing land NASA contracts for manned spaceflight

NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) has captured video of a coronal mass ejection — solar material shooting out of the sun — in unprecedented detail.

With IRIS, scientists are trying to get to the bottom of what is known as “the solar corona mystery” (a phrase that a cursory Google search suggests is not yet a band name, if you were wondering).

Reporter Deborah Netburn talked to an IRIS scientist about the project.

Video: NASA

Sometime between 11 p.m. tonight and 1 a.m. Saturday morning, the Earth is expected to pass through a trail of dust shed by the comet 209P/LINEAR hundreds of years ago. That could — emphasis on could — mean the peak of a never-before-seen meteor shower, the May Camelopardalids. The astronomy website Slooh.com has partnered with NASA to provide this live feed from cameras in Alabama.

Here, science reporter Deborah Netburn explains what may happen when we pass through that debris field — and why we may see nothing at all.

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is the smallest it’s been since astronomers began keeping track of it.

Video via the HubbleESA YouTube channel.

We don’t own the moon! We don’t need a national park on the moon even if we did.

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare on April 2, and NASA captured it in this video, which, the agency says, “shows the flare in a blend of two wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light: 171 Angstroms and 304 Angstroms, colorized in yellow and red, respectively.”

Astronomers using NASA’s NuSTAR X-ray telescope have mapped out the radioactive elements in a supernova for the first time.

Video: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

What you’re looking at right now are some of the earliest galaxies ever observed by human eyes, dated to just 500 million years after the big bang.
Science reporter Amina Khan has the full story on these crazy astronomical spirals here.

What you’re looking at right now are some of the earliest galaxies ever observed by human eyes, dated to just 500 million years after the big bang.

Science reporter Amina Khan has the full story on these crazy astronomical spirals here.

The Last Launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour

Space Shuttle Endeavour has retired from service, and for the moment NASA is reliant on Russian rockets to keep the International Space Station stocked up and operating. NASA is developing a replacement for the Shuttle – the Orion CEV – but for the moment, lets take a look at the Shuttle and remember the many years of sterling service it has given us.

Image credit: Dan Winters

Some incredible photos, and another reminder of the Endeavour’s victory lap around Los Angeles before settling down in the California Science Center.

test reblogged from theatlantic

Greetings from the new Space Race

So long, Russia vs. U.S. galactic rivalry: With NASA hobbled by budget cuts, the pool of nations vying for the top spot beyond the Earth has grown to dozens of countries, punctuated by China’s recent success on the moon.

It was a moment of national pride when images of the six-wheel rover, dubbed Jade Rabbit, were transmitted live back to Earth, showing the redand gold Chinese flag on the moon for the first time.

"Now as Jade Rabbit has made its touchdown on the moon surface," the state-run Xinhua news agency said, "the whole world again marvels at China’s remarkable space capabilities."

Find out who’s looking to challenge Russia and China in the new race to space here.

Photos: Xinhua / AFP

Take a look at Saturn’s bizarre, mysterious hexagonal storm

The six-sided weather pattern currently sitting atop the planet’s north pole, which contains a gigantic hurricane - has been raging since 1981.

Read more on the strange storm over at Science Now.

Photo: NASA

If I had an unlimited budget, I would really be probing that question of life, because we know what the questions are, and we know what the destinations are