Four astronauts – three from the US and one from Japan – have launched from Florida on a mission to the International Space Station (ISS). It’s only the second time the firm has supplied the service. The US space agency Nasa has said it is now entering a new era in which routine astronaut journeys to low-Earth orbit are being conducted by commercial providers.
Scientists have detected mysterious and powerful radio signals originating from within the Milky Way. Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are a puzzling phenomenon first detected in 2007 – but previous observations have never identified them from within our own galaxy. They are brief, but incredibly powerful – emitting much more energy in a single millisecond that the sun does all day.
A study of dog DNA has shown that our “best friend” in the animal world may also be our oldest one. The analysis reveals that dog domestication can be traced back 11,000 years, to the end of the last Ice Age. This confirms that dogs were domesticated before any other known species. Our canine companions were widespread across the northern hemisphere at this time.
NASA announced it has discovered water on the sunlit surface of the moon. The water was spotted near the Clavius crater, Paul Hayne, a planetary scientist at the University of Colorado, said. Casey Honniball, lead author of the other study, said there are between 100 and 400 parts per million of water, or “roughly the equivalent of a 12-ounce bottle of water within a cubic meter of lunar soil.”
Scientists have discovered a new organ in the throat while carrying out research on prostate cancer. Previously experts thought there were only microscopic salivary glands inside the nasopharynx region behind the nose. But researchers at the Netherlands Cancer Institute discovered a new set of salivary glands around 1.5in in length. They named them the tubarial salivary glands due to their location over a piece of cartilage called the torus tubarius.
SpaceX has safely delivered two astronauts back to Earth for NASA, following an historic two-month mission to the International Space Station (ISS). With the help of four white and orange parachutes, test pilots Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico at 18:48 GMT on Sunday. As soon as the capsule hit the water, the recovery crews went to work on retrieving the parachutes and saving the capsule.
The Perseverance rover is finally ready to launch on its journey to Mars. So far, reports from the US Air Force 45th Weather Squadron predict an 80% chance of favorable conditions for the Thursday morning launch. The biggest concern is thick clouds. After traveling through space for about seven months, Perseverance is scheduled to land at Jezero Crater on Mars on February 18, 2021.
History was set to be made today as NASA and SpaceX geared up to launch Americans into space from American soil and on American equipment for the first time in nearly a decade. The launch has been called off for the day, less than 20 minutes before scheduled liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, due to inclement weather. It has been rescheduled for Saturday, May 30.
Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit rocket has failed to launch a test satellite into space on its maiden voyage. The first test launch of the new rocket appeared to be going well until moments after it was dropped from beneath the left wing of the jumbo jet, Cosmic Girl. Virgin Orbit tweeted: “Cosmic Girl and our flight crew are safe and returning to base.”
The head of Nasa’s human spaceflight program has stepped down just days before a “historic” launch. Doug Loverro resigned on Monday, Nasa announced, less than a year after his appointment. No official reason for Mr Loverro’s departure has been announced, but a leaked copy of an email sent to Nasa employees mentioned a risk taken earlier in the year “because I judged it necessary to fulfill our mission”.