NASA awarded a $73.3-million contract to Made In Space for them to demonstrate the ability to 3D-print and assmeble spacecraft parts in orbit using Archinaut One. This robotic manufacturing ship is set to launch in 2022 aboard the Rocket Lab Electron rocket and 3D-print two 32-foot beams on each side. These beams will unfurl into two solar arrays that could produce up to five times more power than traditional panels found on spacecraft this size. Read more for a video and additional information.
NASA’s Hubble space telescope discovered a supermassive black hole that shouldn’t exist, since it defies existing theories about the universe. The black hole, which is approximately 250 million times heavier than the sun, lies at the heart of the spiral galaxy NGC 3147 and is about 140 million light-years from Earth. What’s really strange is they found a thin “accretion disk” around the black hole that contains debris and gas rapidly pacing around the edge. Read more for a video and additional information.
NASA’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) captured this incredible image of the Curiosity Rover from space on May 31, 2019, which appears as a bluish speck. Curiosity was examining a location called “Woodland Bay” in an area referred to as the “clay-bearing unit” on the side of Mount Sharp, a 3-mile-tall mountain inside of Gale Crater. When it was photographed, the rover was facing 65° counterclockwise from north, placing the mast in the right location to produce this bright spot in the upper-left corner. Read more for another video and additional information.
We have seen the future of space travel and the luggage is out of this world. Introducing the Horizn ONE by Horizn Studios and Alyssa Carson. It features a graphene-enhanced carbon fiber structure for flexibility and lightness, while an electromagnetic base allows you to secure it to the floor or walls of the spacecraft for easy access in zero gravity. Plus, its extendable straps let you wear it like a backpack. Smart features include graphene supercapacitors and an inductive charging field allow for highly efficient energy storage and wireless charging of electronic devices. Ther’s even an integrated smart display to allow travelers to stay in touch and share experiences with those back on Earth. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.
Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft successfully touched down on asteroid 162173 Ryugu for a second time last night (July 10th), and transmitted incredible photos back to JAXA. They show different perspectives as captured by two cameras – main navigation camera and a publicly funded camera pointed past the sampling mechanism – onboard the spacecraft. The former provides views of Ryugu’s surface at touchdown, while the latter shows the nearby rock it collected samples from. “The touchdown is successful,” said JAXA spokesman Takayuki Tomobe Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.
Make sure your telescope is ready tonight as Saturn with its ring system shines brighter than any other time of the year. Beginning Tuesday, Saturn will be at opposition, which means it will rise opposite the sun in the Earth’s sky, thus providing the best views of the gas giant and a number of its moons. The planet will be visible to the naked eye, but you’ll need a telescope to see its iconic rings, and can be spotted in the “teapot” of the Sagittarius constellation. Read more for a another video and additional information.
Photo credit: The Planetary Society
The Planetary Society’s LightSail 2 mission have been revealed, as its flight controllers successfully deployed the CubeSat’s dual-sided solar panels Friday evening when it flew south of mission control at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in California. These photos were captured shortly after by the spacecraft’s solar panel-mounted cameras, which show a crescent Earth as it heads into orbital sunset. The image above has not been digitally altered, so you’ll spot a number of lens flare artifacts caused by sunlight scattering around the camera optics. Read more for another picture and additional information.
Dutch astronomer Ralf Vandeberg spotted something unusual in the sky, and no, it wasn’t a UFO, but rather the top secret U.S. Air Force X-37B spaceplane. So far, the public knows absolutely nothing about its mission, which has lead some conspiracy theorists to claim that the payload could be used for intelligence-gathering. “Thanks to the amateur satellite observers-network, it was rapidly found in orbit again and I was able to take some images on June 30 and July 2,” said Mr Vandebergh on Twitter. The craft measures about 29 feet (8.8 meters) long and 9.5 feet (2.9 m) tall, with a wingspan of less than 15 feet (4.6 m). Read more to see the image that Vandeberg shot of the craft.
The LEGO Apollo 11 Lunar Lander is a magnificent kit with 1,087 pieces, but what could make it even better? Turning it into a short film, complete with NASA sound effects. That’s exactly what aerospace engineer Adam Woodworth did. However, there were some modifications that needed to be made, starting with clearing out the ascent stage for a battery, and then adding a flight controller as well as some rotors. Read more for the video and additional pictures of the build.
Launched into space last week aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the crowdfunded LightSail 2 solar spacecraft left Prox-1, its carrier vehicle, and transmitted the first signals back to Earth. This 11 ponund cubesat is designed to prove that solar sailing is a practical way of keeping satellites moving, so future missions into the deep space can be propelled by photons, or particles of light released by the sun, rather than fuel. Read more for another video and additional information.