In addition to filling balloons at birthday parties, helium can be found scattered throughout the cosmos. To date, however, scientists have struggled to detect the ubiquitous element on distant worlds, even though the gas is certain to be there. But that’s now changed, thanks to the discovery of helium on a Jupiter-sized world located 200 light-years from Earth—but that’s only part of the story. Continue reading The First Exoplanet Known to Contain Helium Is a Truly Alien World
Over the past 28 years, the Hubble Space Telescope has inspired a generation of astronomers with insanely dramatic views of the universe, but it’s hardly done blowing our minds. NASA has unveiled a new fly-through video of the Lagoon Nebula. Located in the center of the Milky Way, NASA calls it a “raucous star nursery” full of dust and star formation with “Herschel 36,” a star 200,000 times larger than our sun, at its center. Continue reading Hubble flies through the Milky Way’s ‘raucous star nursery’
President Trump’s proposed 2019 budget calls for deep cuts to research, and while it is unlikely to gain traction in Congress, it is a troubling statement of the administration’s priorities. As Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted, “The fastest way to Make a America Weak Again: Cut science funds to our agencies that support it.” Continue reading NASA almost never came to be. Its creation is a lesson in political power.
The space-based telescope responsible for detecting 2,245 exoplanets, and another 2,342 yet to be confirmed, is running out of fuel and may have just a few months left before its lights go out. The Kepler spacecraft will go down in history as one of the greatest astronomical tools ever used to scan the heavens. Continue reading NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope Has Only a Few Months to Live
Our solar system now is tied for most number of planets around a single star, with the recent discovery of an eighth planet circling Kepler-90, a Sun-like star 2,545 light-years from Earth. The planet was discovered in data from NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope. Continue reading Artificial Intelligence, NASA Data Used to Discover Eighth Planet Circling Distant Star
If the world gets warmer by two degrees Celsius, we’re screwed. To prevent that, the United Nations signed the Paris Agreement, an international treaty designed to keep the average global temperature “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels”…A.K.A. what the Earth was like before factories started spewing greenhouse gases into the air.
If the US government plans to stop funding the International Space Stationat the end of 2024, there’s a big question: what happens next? Hand the keys over to the private sector, apparently. The Washington Post has obtained a NASA document outlining a plan to privatize the ISS as part of a Trump administration budge request. The plan would request funding (starting with $150 million in fiscal 2019) to foster “commercial entities and capabilities” that could fill the ISS’ role, potentially including “certain elements or capabilities” of the station itself.