News That Matters

Tag: Earth

Space agencies aim to deliver rocks from Mars to Earth

Space agencies aim to deliver rocks from Mars to Earth

Science
The US and European space agencies are edging towards a joint mission to bring back rock and soil samples from Mars.Nasa and Esa have signed a letter of intent that could lead to the first "round trip" to another planet.The move was announced as a meeting in Berlin, Germany, discussed the science goals and feasibility of a Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission.The venture would allow scientists to answer key questions about Martian history.Those questions include whether the Red Planet once hosted life.Scientists at the Mars meeting said that there was only so much they could learn from Martian meteorites and from the various rovers and static landers sent to the Red Planet.The next step had to be a mission that would retrieve samples from the Martian surface, blast them into space in a capsule...
Where Chinese space station Tiangong falls to Earth still a mystery

Where Chinese space station Tiangong falls to Earth still a mystery

Science
March 30 (UPI) -- The best guess of expert astronomers and space junk-trackers is that China's decommissioned, out-of-control space station, Tiangong-1, will reenter Earth's atmosphere anywhere between late Friday night and Sunday.In the words of the European Space Station: "This is highly variable."What is clear, is that it's very hard to track pieces of space junk like Tiangong."There are many factors acting on an object as it decays and reenters the atmosphere," Maj. Cody Chiles, spokesperson for the Joint Force Space Component Command, told UPI. "These factors include how it tumbles and breaks up, variations in the gravitational field of a landmass or ocean, solar radiation pressure and atmospheric drag.""These factors complicate our ability to predict what happens after reentry occurs...
China's defunct space lab hurtling toward Earth for re-entry

China's defunct space lab hurtling toward Earth for re-entry

Technology
China's defunct and reportedly out-of-control Tiangong 1 space station is expected to re-enter Earth's atmosphere sometime this weekend. It poses only a slight risk to people and property on the ground, since most of the bus-size, 8.5-ton vehicle is expected to burn up on re-entry, although space agencies don't know exactly when or where that will happen. Below are some questions and answers about the station, its re-entry and the past and future of China's ambitious space program. ——— WHAT WILL HAPPEN AND HOW GREAT IS THE DANGER? The European Space Agency predicts the station will re-enter the atmosphere between Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon — an estimate it calls "highly variable," likely because the ever-changing shape of the upper atmosphere affects the speed of objects fallin
Chinese space station to crash to Earth on Easter

Chinese space station to crash to Earth on Easter

Technology
China's first prototype space station is to crash to Earth over Easter scientists expect, amid rumours that the Chinese space agency has lost control of the craft.Known as Tiangong-1 - meaning "heavenly palace" in Chinese - the craft is expected to drop out of orbit over the next week and plummet through Earth's atmosphere at a speed of seven kilometres per second.Although the bus-sized spacecraft is most likely to burn up upon re-entry, some scientists fear that debris could survive the atmosphere and land anywhere 43 degrees either side of the equator.Reseachers have warned that a number of the spacecraft's parts - including its dense rocket engines - would be unlikely to burn up, leaving chunks of the craft to crash towards the planet's surface.The not-for-profit Aerospace Corporation p...
Alien atmospheres recreated on Earth

Alien atmospheres recreated on Earth

Science
Researchers have recreated the chemistry of atmospheres on distant planets for the first time in the lab, according to two new papers. They found that hazes, such as the hydrocarbons that shroud Saturn's moon Titan, can be produced on a class of exoplanets known as super-Earths and mini-Neptunes.Chemical hazes and clouds can influence surface temperature and the potential for a planet to support life.The work can help guide future studies.Exoplanets, or extra-solar planets, orbit stars other than our own.The team now has further work to do, analysing the composition of the haze particles they have generated."We're really excited to figure out where particles form, what they're made out of, and what that means for organic inventories for the origin of life," Dr Sarah Hörst, lead author of