Category: Space

Image: ESA’s Large Space Simulator

This circular enclosure, made to appear larger still by an array of mirrors at its end, is ESA’s Large Space Simulator. Some 15 m high and 10 m in diameter, it is cavernous enough to accommodate an upended double decker bus.

China has a plan to clean up space junk with lasers

Orbital debris (aka. space junk) is one of the greatest problems facing space agencies today. After 60 years of sending rockets, boosters and satellites into space, the situation in the low Earth orbit (LEO) has become rather crowded. Given how fast debris in orbit can travel, even the tiniest bits of junk can pose a major threat to the International Space Station and threaten still-active satellites.

UFO believers got one thing right—here’s what they get wrong

The past few weeks have been good for UFO believers. For decades they’ve clamored for “disclosure”—an admission by the government that it knows of galactic gatecrashers, and that aliens are irrefutably here. This always struck me as a classic argument from ignorance: We lack good evidence to prove our case because it’s been hidden.

Image: European Columbus module packed up and loaded for transport

The European Columbus module is packed up and loaded for transport to the US in this image from 2006. Built in Turin, Italy, and Bremen, Germany, the completed module was shipped to NASA’s facilities in Cape Canaveral, Florida ahead of its February 2008 launch aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis.

Odd behavior of star reveals lonely black hole hiding in giant star cluster

Astronomers using ESO’s MUSE instrument on the Very Large Telescope in Chile have discovered a star in the cluster NGC 3201 that is behaving very strangely. It appears to be orbiting an invisible black hole with about four times the mass of the Sun—the first such inactive stellar-mass black hole found in a globular cluster and the first found by directly detecting its gravitational pull. This important discovery impacts on our understanding of the formation of these star clusters, black holes, and the origins of gravitational wave events.

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