Plants in space are important to grow food, but they may also play a key role in maintaining the psychological well-being of space crews. The next frontier of space plant experimentation is to examine the psychological impact of plant life on astronauts.
Since NASA's Dawn spacecraft detected localized organic-rich material on Ceres, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has been digging into the data to explore different scenarios for its origin. After considering the viability of comet or asteroid delivery, the preponderance of evidence suggests the organics are most likely native to Ceres.
Plasma technology could hold the key to creating a sustainable oxygen supply on Mars, a new study has found. It suggests that Mars, with its 96 percent carbon dioxide atmosphere, has nearly ideal conditions for creating oxygen from CO2 through a process known as decomposition.
On August 17, 2017, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars -- the dense, collapsed cores that remain after large stars die in a supernova explosion. The merger is the first cosmological event observed in both gravitational waves -- ripples in the fabric of spacetime -- and the entire spectrum of light, from gamma rays to radio waves. University of Maryland researchers played key roles in detecting signals of the historic event.
For the first time, scientists worldwide and at Penn State University have detected both gravitational waves and light shooting toward our planet from the birthplace of a new black hole created by the merger of two neutron stars. The discovery marks the beginning of a new era of "multi-messenger" + "multi-wavelength" space exploration with a global network of many types of observatories focusing their special detection powers simultaneously on one fleetingly explosive point in space.
A team of Carnegie astronomers provided the first-ever glimpse of neutron stars colliding August 17. With UC Santa Cruz colleagues, they used the Swope telescope at Las Campanas Observatory to discover the light produced by the merger, pinpointing the origin of a gravitational wave signal less than 11 hours after it was detected. They also obtained the earliest spectra of the collision, which may allow them to explain the origin of the universe's heavy elements.
Twelve volunteers will arrive this week at the German Space Agency's (DLR) Institute of Aerospace Medicine's :envihab facility to lie in bed for a month in the name of science. NASA's Human Research Program, in partnership with DLR, is sponsoring investigations in this study to observe and analyze the effects of fluid pressure on astronauts' eyes and optic nerves.
Current robotic missions to Mars that have not been appropriately cleaned and sterilized must steer clear of designated Special Regions to avoid introducing Earth-borne biological and organic contaminants.
To guarantee a safe environment for astronauts on long-duration space missions such as a journey to Mars, it is important to monitor how microorganisms such as bacteria adapt to the confined conditions onboard spacecraft, according to a study published in the open access journal Microbiome.
New research published in the journal Nature suggests that Type I and Type II active galaxies do not just appear different -- they are, in fact, very different from each other, both structurally and energetically. According to the results of a new study, the key factor that distinguishes Type I and Type II galaxies is the rate at which their central black holes -- or active galactic nuclei -- consume matter and spit out energy.