Ancient Mars lake could have supported life, Curiosity rover finds
If the lake supported life, scientists think that it was likely similar to extremophiles found on Earth that thrive in caves and hydrothermal vents.
'The ultimate battle of fire and ice': Watch live as the 'comet of the century' hurtles toward the sun
NASA is calling on the space-obsessed to pull out some popcorn and watch the show on Thursday as the ‘comet of the century’ hurtles toward the sun.
The comet, called ISON, has been on stargazers’ radar since late last year when it was seen hurtling towards the sun and showing every sign of passing very close to the centre of the solar system.
If the stars align, the large comet rocketing towards the sun will be putting on a show to delight more than just the world’s astronomers. (NASA)
What up, Jups?
(Source: senshuk, via therecipe)
Saturn’s Moons Dance
Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
A quintet of Saturn’s moons dance elegantly above the planet’s famed rings in this photo taken by the Cassini spacecraft and released November 4.In orbit around the ringed planet since 2004, Cassini has offered unparalleled views of Saturn’s rings and moons, including this picture shot from slightly above the plane of the rings.
On the right, the closest moon is Rhea, which is Saturn’s second-largest satellite, and in the center is Enceladus, shining brightly with frost vented from its south pole geysers.
(via: National Geo)
Scientist Offers Mushy New Theory About The Moon
Where in the Solar System Has Voyager 1 Wound Up?
NASA confirmed Thursday that the Voyager 1 probe, launched 36 years ago, has achieved a milestone beyond any other man-made object. In August 2012, it broke free of the bonds of the sun and its dainty solar wind in a magnetic cage — its heliosphere — and now travels in the interstellar medium, where high-energy particles dart hither and yon. This is astonishing and marvelous.
But, no, it has not left the solar system — by at least one definition that’s easy to support. Despite every headline you’ve read! Despite the fact that you may believe NASA has announced and retracted it leaving the solar system over and over again. (Which is hasn’t, either. Thursday was the first time the NASA and JPL scientists concurred with outside researchers that the previously conceived-of model was incorrect, and it’s gone beyond a critical point.)
Boldly Going ... Going ... Gone! Why Voyager 1's Entrance Into Interstellar Space Is Such a Big Deal -
An explainer starring Neil deGrasse Tyson, Wil Wheaton, LeVar Burton, and other space celebrities.
This afternoon, NASA made a big announcement: Its Voyager 1 spacecraft, launched from Earth 36 years ago, has entered interstellar space. Nerds the world over — your correspondent included — proceeded to freak out. This is big.
The sun's magnetic field is about to flip -
Something big is about to happen on the sun. According to measurements from NASA-supported observatories, the sun’s vast magnetic field is about to flip.
"It looks like we’re no more than three to four months away from a complete field reversal," said solar physicist Todd Hoeksema of Stanford University. "This change will have ripple effects throughout the solar system."
The sun’s magnetic field changes polarity approximately every 11 years. It happens at the peak of each solar cycle as the sun’s inner magnetic dynamo re-organizes itself. The coming reversal will mark the midpoint of Solar Cycle 24. Half of “solar max” will be behind us, with half yet to come.
Hoeksema is the director of Stanford’s Wilcox Solar Observatory, one of the few observatories in the world that monitors the sun’s polar magnetic fields. The poles are a herald of change. Just as Earth scientists watch our planet’s polar regions for signs of climate change, solar physicists do the same thing for the sun. Magnetograms at Wilcox have been tracking the sun’s polar magnetism since 1976, and they have recorded three grand reversals — with a fourth in the offing.