Commerical Space Flights Could Start in 2 Years

Favorite
space flights starting in 2017
- -

Via Space.com:

The private spaceflight companies Boeing and SpaceX are on track to start launching NASA astronauts to the International Space Station by 2017, representatives of both firms said Monday (Jan. 26).

In September 2014, SpaceX and Boeing were awarded contracts under NASA's commercial crew program to help them start flying astronauts on missions to the space station from U.S. soil in the next few years. SpaceX and Boeing are planning to launch a series of tests of their spaceships — capsules called Dragon V2 and the CST-100, respectively — from this year through 2017. The tests will make sure the launch systems are in good shape before the spacecraft make their first official runs to and from the station.

The Tail of Comet Lovejoy

Favorite
comet lovejoy has a complex tail
- -

Via NASA:

What causes the structure in Comet Lovejoy's tail? Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy), which is currently at naked-eye brightness and near its brightest, has been showing an exquisitely detailed ion tail. As the name implies, the ion tail is made of ionized gas -- gas energized by ultraviolet light from the Sun and pushed outward by the solar wind. The solar wind is quite structured and sculpted by the Sun's complex and ever changing magnetic field. The effect of the variable solar wind combined with different gas jets venting from the comet's nucleus accounts for the tail's complex structure. Following the wind, structure in Comet Lovejoy's tail can be seen to move outward from the Sun even alter its wavy appearance over time. The blue color of the ion tail is dominated by recombining carbon monoxide molecules, while the green color of the coma surrounding the head of the comet is created mostly by a slight amount of recombiningdiatomic carbon molecules.

Two More Planets May Exist Out Past Pluto in Our Solar System

Favorite
Two More Planets May Exist Out Past Pluto in Our Solar System
- -

Via NBC:

"Planet X" might actually exist — and so might "Planet Y."

At least two planets larger than Earth likely lurk in the dark depths of space far beyond Pluto, just waiting to be discovered, a new analysis of the orbits of "extreme trans-Neptunian objects" (ETNOs) suggests.

Researchers studied 13 ETNOs — frigid bodies such as the dwarf planet Sedna that cruise around the sun at great distances in elliptical paths.

NASA Wants to Explore Venus With Manned Airships

Favorite
nasa,venus,awesome,science,airship
- -

NASA's focus for human spaceflight seems to change every few years as we learn something new about what it will take to keep human beings alive out there. However, NASA usually picks one of a few targets. Will we go to Mars next, maybe back to the Moon, or perhaps an asteroid is a better option? NASA's Langley Research Center has put forward an interesting proposal — instead of the traditional choices, why not make the trip to Venus?

Sure, a human would be almost instantly annihilated on Venus' hellish surface, but not if they're floating among the clouds in a solar powered airship. This mission calls for a 129-meter airship, called the High Altitude Venus Operational Concept (HAVOC), which has a small habitat suspended below and solar panels for power.


Orion Launch Was Scrubbed This Morning

Favorite
science news Orion nasa
- -
NASA's Orion spacecraft, which could one day send astronauts to Mars, is stuck on terra firma for at least another day after the space agency's mission control was unable to satisfactorily resolve a number of issues before a 9:45 a.m. ET launch window closed.

The unmanned vehicle is awaiting its first test in Earth orbit. But after multiple delays for high winds and a stuck liquid-oxygen drain valve on one or more of the Delta IV Heavy rocket's booster engines, NASA didn't have time to get the rocket off the pad. It will try again Friday morning.
Download the new Cheezburger app for a chance to win a PS4! in Cheezburger 's Hangs on LockerDome