China-based Space Transportation is currently developing Tiangxing I, a space plane designed for suborbital tourism and point-to-point travel. The company hopes to have a full-sized prototype ready by 2023, with a first flight set for 2024 and a crewed flight by 2025. In its final form, the space plane should be able to achieve a top speed of 2,671 miles per hour, or twice the speed of Concorde, cutting some transatlantic routes to 1-hour or less. Read more for additional pictures and information.
Photo credit: ICRAR
Astronomers have discovered an unusual flickering object in the Milky Way, located approximately 4,000 light-years from the Sun, that giant bursts of energy toward Earth three times an hour before disappearing several hours later. Officially called radio transients, these brief flashes of radio signals have been seen before, but have not been previously detected appearing and disappearing over a few hours. Read more for a short video and additional information.
It’s official as of 2 p.m. EST today, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope fired its onboard thrusters for nearly five minutes to complete the final postlaunch course correction to Webb’s trajectory. This inserts the telescope toward its final orbit around the second Sun-Earth Lagrange point, or L2, which is almost 1-million miles away from Earth. The final mid-course burn added around 3.6mph to Webb’s speed, which was all that was required to send it to its preferred “halo” orbit around the L2 point. Read more for a video and additional information.
Radian Aerospace is currently developing the world’s first fully reusable horizontal takeoff and landing, single-stage to orbit spaceplane, and the company recently closed $27.5 million in seed funding. Future applications of this spaceplane include the delivery of people as well as light cargo to low earth orbit (LEO) with aircraft-like operations. It has the ability to reach space, perform a mission, return, refuel, and fly again near immediately within 48-hours. Read more for additional pictures and information.
There are over 2,700 active artificial satellites orbiting Earth as of now, and many of them are equipped with advanced cameras. Some managed to capture amazing footage of an underwater volcano that erupted in the South Pacific kingdom of Tonga, or more specifically, on the island Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai. The eruption sent ash plumes up to 12 miles into the air, stretching to have a radius of over 161 miles thus far. Read more for two videos and additional information.
Researchers in China are building an artificial moon research facility to simulate low-gravity environments using magnetism. These experiments will take place within a 2-foot-diameter vacuum chamber that make gravity essentially “disappear.” This chamber is going to be filled with rocks and dust to simulate the lunar surface, and touted as the “first of its kind in the world” and is capable of maintaining such low-gravity conditions for as long as necessary. Read more for a video and additional information.
Scientists, such as Dr Paul Sutter, believe that beneath the surface layers of two ice giants – Uranus and Neptune – there may be a constant rain of diamonds. These two planets mainly consist of water, ammonia and methane, which were all in solid form when they were primarily incorporated into the planets during their formation. They have rocky cores surrounded by elements that are probably compressed into exotic quantum states. Read more for two videos and additional information.
Let’s face it, with our current technology, mankind would not survive any kind of interstellar voyage due to the vast distance between Earth and the nearest stars. NASA’s Voyager may have made the 12-billion mile trek, but it took 40 years to just exit our solar system, while the closest star would require some 80,000 years to reach. Fortunately, tardigrades can be placed in suspended animation in which nearly all of their metabolic function is stopped. Read more for two videos and additional information.
Remember that mysterious cube that China’s Yutu-2 rover discovered around a month ago? Well, the mystery has been revealed, and it’s uneventful to say the last. The China National Space Administration (CNSA) estimated the cube-like object to be around 262-feet away and would take 2-3 months to reach. Fortunately, it was able to get close enough to snap a photograph and shows that it’s actually just a strange rock formation. Read more for a video and additional information.
Astronomers have just announced that they have observed a red supergiant star exploding into a supernova for the first time ever. Officially named supernova (SN) 2020tlf, it was studied for 130 days leading up to the explosion, which showed the death of a star, about 10 times more massive than our own Sun, approximately 120 million light-years away from Earth in the NGC 5731 galaxy. Read more for a video and additional information.