When successfully launched, NASA’s Psyche spacecraft will require an innovative propulsion system to power itself through deep space. Rather than rocket fuel, its solar electric propulsion is not only efficient, but provides the force that the spacecraft needs to journey all the way to the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, eventually reaching the metal-rich asteroid also called Psyche. Read more for two videos and additional information.
Ever wonder what it looks like when a black hole devours a star? If so, then the data collected by a team of astronomers led by Sixiang Wen, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Arizona Steward Observatory, shows you just that. This was made possible using the X-rays emitted by a tidal disruption event known as J2150 to make the first measurements of both the black hole’s mass and spin. Read more for a video and additional information.
Researchers at China’s Capital Normal University discovered a 99-million-year-old adult spider protecting an egg sac underneath her body with approximately 100 spiderlings encased in the amber. The piece was extracted from a mine in Myanmar that contained entombed spiders, and the team determined that the spider was a member of the extinct Lagonomegopidae family. They also found three more pieces of amber that contained baby spiders and spider thread. Read more for additional pictures and information.
European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet likes to spend his free time aboard the International Space Station capturing photographs as well as stunning video footage, and the latest is of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. Although the exact location wasn’t provided, he did say that clouds competed for attention in this aurora time-lapse over a sparkling blue ocean. Read more for the video and additional information.
Photo credit: Asad Ansari
Anyone who wanders into the Tayma Oasis in Saudi Arabia’s Tabuk province may stumble upon a bizarre formation, or to be more specific, a 4,000-year-old rock formation. It’s called Al-Naslaa and appears to be laser cut with precision right down the middle. To date, scientists and researchers have not yet been able to confirm how it was formed. The structure consists of two sandstones supported by a naturally-formed pedestal with a perfect cut down the middle. Read more for two videos and additional information.
Did you come across an excerpt of this documentary recently on social media? Well, here’s the backstory behind this anthill excavation. It’s from “Ants! Natures Secret Power” and shows scientists excavating an anthill that was previously inhabited a colony of grass-cutter ants. A total of 10-tons of cement was pumped into the abandoned anthill over the span of 3-days, and a few more weeks were required to uncover the megalopolis. Read more for the video and additional information.
Scientists discovered that they could make a cosmic concrete using a protein from human blood combined with a compound from urine, sweat or tears. These ingredients are then glued together to simulate Moon or Mars soil, resulting in a material that is far stronger than ordinary concrete, making it perfect for construction work in extra-terrestrial environments, possibly even a Mars base. Read more for another picture and additional information.
Photo credit: Tomoaki Ishiyama
An international team of researchers has generated an entire virtual universe for anyone to explore for free on the cloud. Called Uchuu (“Outer Space” in Japanese), this is currently the largest and most realistic simulation of the universe yet, consisting of 2.1 trillion particles in a computational cube spanning an unprecedented 9.63 billion light-years to a side. To put things into perspective, this is approximately three-quarters the distance between Earth and the most distant observed galaxies. Read more for a video and how to explore for yourself.
Photo credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA, A. Sarajedini
NASA / ESA’s Hubble Space Telescope has imaged NGC 6717, a dazzling globular cluster of stars located over 20,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Sagittarius. This spherical collection of stars are tightly bound together by gravity, with more in the centers than its outer fringes. When looking at NGC 6717, we see sparsely populated edges instead of the massive collection of stars at its center. Read more for two videos on globular clusters and additional information.
Climeworks officially launched Orca, the world’s first and largest direct air capture (DAC) plant, on September 8, 2021. Located in Iceland, this plant aims to take carbon dioxide removal to the next level by combining the company’s direct air capture technology with the underground storage of carbon dioxide provided by Carbfix. If all goes smoothly, it’s estimated to capture 4000-tons of CO₂ per year. Read more for two videos and additional information.