SpaceX rocket blasts off with world’s first all-electric satellites
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla (Reuters) - A Space Exploration Technologies rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Sunday to put the world’s first all-electric communications satellites into orbit. The 22-story tall booster soared off its seaside launch pad at 10:50 a.m. EST, the third flight in less than two months for SpaceX, as the privately owned, California-based company is known. Perched on top of the rocket were a pair of satellites built by Boeing and owned by Paris-based Eutelsat Communications and Bermuda-based ABS, whose majority owner is the European private equity firm Permira. The satellites launched on Sunday are outfitted with lightweight, all-electric engines, rather than conventional chemical propulsion systems, to reach and maintain orbit.
Astronauts Add Antennas, Cables to Space Station in 3rd Spacewalk
The International Space Station is now three steps – or rather spacewalks – closer to being ready for the arrival of new U.S. commercial crewed spacecraft with the successful completion of a two-astronaut outing on Sunday morning (March 1). NASA astronauts Terry Virts and Barry "Butch" Wilmore ventured outside the orbiting outpost for the third time in eight days to prepare the station for new docking ports to be added later this year. On Sunday, Virts and Wilmore routed some 400 feet (122 meters) of cables and installed two antenna booms that will provide navigational data to spacecraft approaching the complex. Virts and Wilmore completed the 5-hour, 38-minute spacewalk at 12:30 p.m. EST (1730 GMT), having started the excursion at 6:52 a.m. EST (1152 GMT).
Astronauts breeze through spacewalk to rig station for U.S. space taxis
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla (Reuters) - Two U.S. astronauts whipped through a third spacewalk outside the International Space Station on Sunday to rig parking spots for new U.S. space taxis. Station commander Barry "Butch" Wilmore and flight engineer Terry Virts expected to spend about seven hours installing antennas, cables and navigation aides on the station's exterior truss. Instead, the astronauts, who were making their third spacewalk in eight days, were back inside the space station in 5.5 hours. The purpose of the outings was to prepare berthing slips for spaceships being developed by Boeing and Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX.
Artist's 'Apollo 18' Moon Mission Launching Onto Times Square Billboards
The countdown is on to the launch of Apollo 18 and you're invited to witness it from New York City's Times Square. "Apollo XVIII," created by artist Marco Brambilla, weaves archival footage from real NASA missions with computer-generated imagery to form a countdown to a fictional flight to the moon. It will be shown on Times Square's electronic billboards from 11:57 p.m. to midnight each night in March as part of "Midnight Moment," a presentation by the Times Square Advertising Coalition and Times Square Arts.
Big Bang, Deflated? Universe May Have Had No Beginning
If a new theory turns out to be true, the universe may not have started with a bang. In the new formulation, the universe was never a singularity, or an infinitely small and infinitely dense point of matter. "Our theory suggests that the age of the universe could be infinite," said study co-author Saurya Das, a theoretical physicist at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada. The new concept could also explain what dark matter — the mysterious, invisible substance that makes up most of the matter in the universe — is actually made of, Das added.
Rare Roman Tombstone Discovered in England
A 1,800-year-old tombstone was discovered at a Roman cemetery in England this week. Because of its inscription, archaeologists know who was buried in the grave: a 27-year-old woman named Bodica. "It's incredibly rare," Neil Holbrook, of Cotswold Archaeology, told Live Science. For the last two months, Holbrook's team has been excavating a Roman cemetery just outside the ancient city walls of Cirencester, a town in Gloucestershire, to make way for the construction of a new office park.
NASA Satellite Captures Amazing 3D Videos of Rain, Snow
Mesmerizing and swirling animations of rain and snow dance across a map of the Earth, shown in a video released yesterday (Feb. 26) by NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. The NASA video captures worldwide precipitation from April to September 2014, and even shows Hurricane Arthur twist into a tropical storm from July 2 to 4 in the Atlantic Ocean, said Gail Skofronick-Jackson, a GPM project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The "GPM mission is the first coordinated international satellite network that provides near real-time global estimates of rain and snow," Skofronick-Jackson said at news conference yesterday. The video is the product of the GPM Core Observatory, launched one year ago on Feb. 27 by NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
NASA resolves issue with spacesuit helmet water leak
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Water that leaked into an astronaut’s helmet after a spacewalk on Wednesday poses no threat, clearing the way for another outing to rig the International Space Station for new space taxis, NASA said on Friday. Space station flight engineer Terry Virts was back in the station’s airlock on Wednesday following a successful spacewalk when he noticed a small amount of water in his helmet. Another astronaut nearly drowned during a July 2013 spacewalk due to a helmet leak. Virts, who was making his second spacewalk in a week, was never in any danger, NASA said.
White & Gold or Blue & Black? Science of the Mystery Dress
David Williams, a vision scientist at the University of Rochester in New York, has a theory. Light is made up of different wavelengths, which the brain perceives as color.
Monsanto says GM corn trial in final stage in India
By Mayank Bhardwaj and Krishna N. Das NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Monsanto's Indian subsidiary expects to submit final trial results for its genetically modified (GM) corn to lawmakers within a year for the government to then decide on a commercial launch, the company's country head said on Friday. India does not currently allow the growing of GM food crops but the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, keen to improve farms' productivity, has encouraged open field trials after a five-year de facto ban. "We are close to the final stage in corn," Shilpa Divekar Nirula, chief executive of Monsanto India, told Reuters.