Space Science Archive » Lucid thoughts
Home » Archive for category 'Space Science'

Space Science Archive

The astronauts of the International Space Station welcomed the arrival of what we call the “Bigelow Bungalow”, officially known as the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) on April 10. If all goes to plan, the station’s robotic arm will install the module later this week. Although, according to NASA’s Kirk Shireman, it won’t be inflated […]

Be the first to comment

The long hunt for new objects in our expanding solar system

Posted February 4, 2016 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Kevin Orrman-Rossiter, University of Melbourne and Alice Gorman, Flinders University Recognise these planet names: Vulcan, Neptune, Pluto, Nemesis, Tyche and Planet X? They all have one thing in common: their existence was predicted to account for unexplained phenomena in our solar system. While the predictions of Neptune and Pluto proved correct, Nemesis and Tyche probably […]

Be the first to comment

Read More …

Posted July 17, 2015 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Finding Pluto: the hunt for Planet X Kevin Orrman-Rossiter, University of Melbourne and Alice Gorman, Flinders University Our solar system’s shadowy ninth (dwarf) planet was the subject of furious speculation and a frantic search for almost a century before it was finally discovered by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930. And remarkably, Pluto’s reality was deduced using […]

Be the first to comment

Introduction Here I will be arguing that comets were not instrumental in the emergence of modern astronomy in the 17th century. This view, most notably propounded by Kuhn and Hellman , where observations of comets were of paramount importance in ushering in a post-Newtonian modern astronomy by the end of the 17th century. Heidarzadeh posits […]

Be the first to comment

Apollo 11: it was 45 years ago today

Posted July 20, 2014 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

What a time to ‘have to’ go and buy milk. Mid-morning Monday, July 21 1969, and my mother sends me up the street to get some milk. No big deal, you might say. However, a few hours prior to then, at 6:17 AEST that morning to be precise, a fragile craft, called the Eagle, had […]

Be the first to comment

The Right Stuff: astronaut biographies from Glenn to Hadfield

Posted April 15, 2014 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

An enduring image of an ‘astronaut’ was created for the public by NASA, Time magazine, and Tom Woolf’s The Right Stuff. These caricatures of  the original seven American astronauts, the so-called Mercury-7, chosen to assert American supremacy over the communist threat of Sputnik have seemingly endured way past their use by date. A resurgence in […]

Be the first to comment

Missions to Mars

Posted March 28, 2014 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Forty years ago we last stepped foot on the Moon. Currently, with our occupation of the low-Earth orbit international space station, we are space residents. In the visionary Mission to Mars (National Geographic Society, 2013), moon-walker, space advocate, Gemini 12 and Apollo 11 astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, challenges us to take a further step and colonise […]

Be the first to comment

Pluto’s new moons named: Spock still homeless

Posted July 8, 2013 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

The dwarf planet, Pluto, can still generate public interest – if the naming of its two recently discovered moons is anything to go by. After their discovery, the leader of the research team, Mark Showalter, called for a public vote to suggest names for the two objects. The contest, aptly named ‘Pluto Rocks!‘, concluded with […]

1 Comment. Join the Conversation

Another step in China’s ‘Long March’ into space

Posted June 16, 2013 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

The colorful and polished launch of Shenzhou 10 confirms that China has come of age as a spacefaring nation.  At 19:40 AEST on Tuesday June 11 (17:40 local time) three ‘yuhangyuan’, Chinese astronauts, embarked on China’s sixth crewed space mission. This second mission to Tiangong 1, the Chinese space station, is a credible step in […]

Be the first to comment

Explainer: the International Space Station

Posted April 25, 2013 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

As the most visible man-made object in the night sky the International Space Station (ISS) is of significance to humankind. It takes humans from being explorers of space to being residents of space. The Russians launched Zarya, the first module of the ISS, on November 20, 1998. It has grown considerably since then and has […]

Be the first to comment

Kepler meets Einstein: a gravity-bending feat

Posted April 13, 2013 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

NASA’s Kepler space telescope has witnessed the effects of a dead star bending the light of its companion star. The findings are among the first detections of this phenomenon — a prediction of Einstein’s general theory of relativity — in binary, or double, star systems. The dead star, called a white dwarf, is the burnt-out […]

Be the first to comment

New light on dark matter: space station magnet attracts praise

Posted April 4, 2013 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter, University of Melbourne Nobel prizewinner Samuel Ting, early this morning (AEDT), announced the first results from the Alpha Magnetic Spectrophotometer (AMS) search for dark matter. The findings, published in Physical Review Letters, provide the most compelling direct evidence to date for the existence of this mysterious matter. In short, the AMS results […]

Be the first to comment

Long distance weather reports are now a commonality. The report for 2MASSJ22282889-431026 is somewhat unusual. It forecasts wind-driven, planet-sized clouds, with the light varying in time, brightening and dimming about every 90 minutes. The clouds on 2MASSJ22282889-431026 are composed of hot grains of sand, liquid drops of iron, and other exotic compounds. Definitely not the first […]

Be the first to comment

NASA discovers a new radiation belt around Earth

Posted March 2, 2013 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter, University of Melbourne NASA revealed Friday morning (AEST) that its Van Allen Probes have discovered a third, previously unknown, radiation belt around Earth. The belt appears to be transient, depending strongly on solar activity. The Probes mission is part of NASA’s Living With a Star geospace program to explore the fundamental processes […]

Be the first to comment

Interstellar travel: how to spot a ‘starman’ going by

Posted February 23, 2013 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Massive objects moving at near light speeds do not occur naturally in the universe as we know it. If we detect such objects it is a reasonable to assume they are artificial artifacts from advanced intelligent life. This according to Garcia-Escartin and Chamorro-Posada, authors of a recent paper, is a low-cost, sure-fire way of searching […]

Be the first to comment

The perils of space exploration: last flight of space shuttle Columbia

Posted January 25, 2013 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

The 28th and last flight (STS-107) of the space shuttle Columbia was ten years ago. Launched on January 16, 2003 Columbia was destroyed at about 0900 EST on February 1, 2003 while re-entering the atmosphere after its 16-day scientific mission. The destruction of the shuttle killed all seven astronauts on board. An illustrious career Columbia […]

2 Comments so far. Join the Conversation

Joy to the world: an ode to outer space at Christmas

Posted December 24, 2012 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

  By Alice Gorman, Flinders University and Kevin Orrman-Rossiter, University of Melbourne Christmas – whether you’re religious or not – is a time when people gather their families together to reinforce the bonds that make us human. In the era of modern telecommunications, distance no longer separates people the way it once did. Whether you’re […]

1 Comment. Join the Conversation

NASA’s Curiosity shows there’s more to life than life

Posted December 13, 2012 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter, University of Melbourne and Helen Maynard-Casely, Australian Synchrotron The Curiosity rover has landed on Mars, driven around, started its scientific mission and, as of 4am today (AEDT), started reporting integrated science results. In a news conference at the American Geophysical Union NASA’s Curiosity mission team presented a measured, low-key and hype-free discussion […]

Be the first to comment

Its a wheel! its a wheel – a wheel on Mars!

Posted August 25, 2012 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

NASA’s rover Curiosity was safely on Mars.  It was a perfect landing.  The novel sky-crane method had proved its detractors wrong and its designers right.  What was needed then was signs that Curiosity was working as designed.  NASA had said that the first pictures may be anything up to 2 hours after landing.  A long […]

2 Comments so far. Join the Conversation

NASA landing Curiosity, science, and technology on Mars

Posted August 11, 2012 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Go to NASA TV or Ustream, now.  Otherwise you may be missing your ‘Apollo’ moment .  In about an hour’s time the NASA control room in Pasadena will be strained, hushed, waiting to hear these joyful words, “touchdown signal detected.” The signal that the rover, Curiosity, has has landed safely on Mars. After a picture […]

Be the first to comment

The NASA rover Curiosity is expected to be landing on Mars at 3:31 am August 6, 2012 (AEST).  It’s mission, lasting one Martian-year (98 Earth weeks),  is of scientific significance and perhaps even of human significance.  Curiosity will be fulfilling the prospecting stage of a step-by-step program of exploration, reconnaissance, prospecting and mining evidence for […]

Be the first to comment

It is the year 2023 and humans have settled on Mars

Posted June 24, 2012 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Do you wish to become a Martizen, a citizen of Mars, anytime in the near future?  If you are serious about this then Dutchman, Bas Lansdorp, CEO of Mars One, is your man. Bas Lansdorp is a person with an audacious ambition.  Through his company, Mars One, he plans to establish the first human settlement […]

Be the first to comment

Here be Dragons

Posted May 3, 2012 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

On May 11, a Dragon will mate with the International Space station.  Rather than some mythical creature, this Dragon is of human artifice.  The Dragon’s rendezvous and berthing with the International Space Station presages a new chapter in human exploration of space. The significance of this event is Dragon is a reusable spacecraft, developed, and […]

3 Comments so far. Join the Conversation

The Earth just aged a little bit more

Posted April 12, 2012 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter
This composite image of the Tycho supernova remnant combines X-ray and infrared observations obtained with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and Spitzer Space Telescope, respectively, and the Calar Alto observatory, Spain. It shows the scene more than four centuries after the brilliant star explosion witnessed by Tycho Brahe and other astronomers of that era.  Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO, Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech; Optical: MPIA, Calar Alto, O.Krause et al.

Have you ever had a moment when person responds to you in a way that just makes you feel a little bit older than you did before?  You comment, for example, about a music group to someone, only to be met with that incredulous stare that conveys the message to you that their parents liked […]

Be the first to comment

Who found the water on the Moon?

Posted March 28, 2012 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

At just over two tonnes, the second stage of an Atlas V rocket makes for an unusual ‘kinetic probe’.  Nonetheless on October 9, 2009 NASA deliberately impacted a spent Centaur rocket into the lunar south polar crater Cabeus.  The target area was a permanently shadowed region within this crater.  The impact, not surprisingly, ejected a […]

1 Comment. Join the Conversation

Hubble finds a dark matter puzzle

Posted March 9, 2012 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Astronomers using data from NASA’s Hubble Telescope have observed what appears to be a clump of dark matter left behind from a wreck between massive clusters of galaxies. The result could challenge current theories about dark matter that predict galaxies should be anchored to the invisible substance even during the shock of a collision. Abell […]

1 Comment. Join the Conversation

Earth’s exoplanet ‘siblings’ can be different

Posted February 25, 2012 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

The finding of numerous exoplants, planets outside of our own solar system or extra-solar planets, have made astrophysics once again a hot topic.  A week does not seem to go by without a new discovery of an exoplanet by NASA’s Hubble telescope.  At the same time intense activity is taking place to understand the nature […]

Be the first to comment

Chandrayaan-1, India’s lunar water finder, close to a Moon ending

Posted February 5, 2012 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

India an emerging force in space exploration Sometime in later this year it is expected that India’s first lunar spacecraft is set to crash into the Moon.  Currently the 675kg spacecraft is silently orbiting the Moon.  Silently as since August 29 2009 radio contact has been lost with the craft. Now, every 2 hours or […]

3 Comments so far. Join the Conversation

The curious science of life in space

Posted December 31, 2011 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

“Packing for Mars: the curious science of life in space” by Mary Roach 2010 Oneworld Books, Oxford UK, ISBN 978-1-85168-823-4. Reading this book was a little like watching street opera designed by a fifteen year old male.  In street opera you get just the arias – opera with all the boring bits removed.  Or so […]

Be the first to comment

Curiosity about life on Mars

Posted December 11, 2011 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

On July 20, 1969 Neil Armstrong uttered one of the most remembered quotes of the 20th century, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind….” Millions of people heard these words as they watched, via grainy black and white television images, Neil Armstrong step from the landing pad of the Lunar Module […]

4 Comments so far. Join the Conversation