In their search for life on other planets, scientists say they want to start using a new sense: smell. They’re hoping that by sniffing out and tracking down chemicals like methane and carbon dioxide via telescope, they’ll be able to find more places that could be good breeding grounds for microbes, even if there’s no oxygen present. Is anybody out there? It’s a question astronomers wonder as they probe distant corners of the universe, tirelessly searching for signs of life outside of Earth. A new study from scientists at the University of Washington argues that telescopes could perform a new kind of “sniff test” for life, looking for gases like methane and carbon dioxide that might bring new clues about where life could exist. The idea posited in the study, published in the journal Science Advances Wednesday, is that telescopes could track down “atmospheric chemical disequilibrium,” a … [Read more...] about NASA could detect alien life on other worlds using a telescope-powered ‘sniff test’
NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps, who was slated to become the first African American crew member to live on board the International Space Station, was unexpectedly pulled from her June flight.In a brief news release Thursday, NASA announced that Serena Auñón-Chancellor, a fellow member of Epps’s astronaut class who was scheduled to launch later in the year, would be bumped up to take Epps’s place. Epps, who had already started training for her role on Expedition 56/57, will return to Johnson Space Center in Houston, where she will be a candidate for future crews.NASA did not give an explanation for the crew change. But Epps’s brother blamed racism at the space agency.“My sister Dr. Jeannette Epps has been fighting against oppressive racism and misogynist in NASA and now they are holding her back and allowing a Caucasian Astronaut to take her place!” Henry Epps wrote in a Facebook post Saturday (the post has since been removed). He linked to a … [Read more...] about NASA pulls Black astronaut from International Space Station crew. Her brother blames racism.
Earth’s long-term warming trend continued in 2017, government scientists reported Thursday, with average surface temperatures only slightly below the record heat of the previous year. But unlike 2016, last year’s warmth was not aided by El Nino, the Pacific weather pattern that is usually linked to record-setting heat.NASA ranked 2017 as the second-warmest year, after 2016. Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who use a different analytical method, ranked it third, behind 2016 and 2015. Though 2015 was not technically an El Nino year, the phenomenon contributed to heat records that year and in 2016.By both analyses, 17 of the 18 warmest years since modern record keeping began in 1880 have occurred since 2001. Overall, fuelled by emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, temperatures have increased more than 1 C since the late 19th century.In order to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, scientists say global … [Read more...] about 2017 was the second hottest year on record, NASA says. And it wasn’t even an El Nino year
Congress held a hearing on Wednesday to address NASA’s program to build new spaceships to reach the International Space Station. Boeing and SpaceX, the two contractors in the program, are experiencing delays due to NASA’s stringent safety requirements. The only means of reaching the ISS – Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft – may not be able to fly astronauts after 2019. This could mean astronauts will soon have no way to get to and from NASA’s $100-billion investment in the sky. NASA has spent the better part of 20 years and $100 billion working on the International Space Station. But in just a couple of years, astronauts may have no way to get to and from the US space agency’s football-field-size laboratory in the sky, according to testimonies government officials gave on Wednesday. The problem is a lack of available spaceships, both foreign and domestic. NASA … [Read more...] about Astronauts may soon have no way to reach NASA’s $100 billion space station
NASA’s $1 billion Juno spacecraft completed its 10th high-speed trip around Jupiter on December 16. The robot gets relatively close to the gas giant planet and takes new photos with its JunoCam instrument roughly every 53 days, while traveling at speeds up to 130,000 mph. It can take days or sometimes weeks to receive the images, but the wait is worth it. The latest batch of photos features countless swirling, hallucinatory clouds and storms. Researchers at NASA and the Southwest Research Institute uploaded the raw image data to their websites in late December. Since then, dozens of people have processed the black-and-white files into gorgeous, calendar-ready color pictures. “As pretty as a planet can get, but get too close and Jupiter will END YOU,” Sean Doran, a UK-based graphic artist who regularly processes NASA images, said about the new images in a tweet. Here are some of the best new photos and animations made with JunoCam data by … [Read more...] about NASA’s $1 billion Jupiter probe has taken mind-bending new photos of the gas giant