Put a big red circle on your calendar for Thursday night (Nov. 21), for skywatchers will be out in force, anxiously waiting for and hoping to get a view of a meteor shower that almost nobody has heard of. But the Alpha Monocerotids are this autumn's skywatching wild card.
Inside his lab in Israel, Jeff Steinhauer crafts microscopic black holes. These objects are but humble specks, lacking the spaghettifying suction strength of an actual dead star. But Steinhauer, a physicist at the research university Technion, assures me that he’s constructed them mathematically to scale. Zoom in far enough, and you’ll see a miniature event horizon restaging the drama of a true black hole.
Once again, Congress is poised to approve a second continuing resolution (CR) to keep the U.S. government running when the current resolution expires Nov. 21. As some congressional leaders noted, it is unlikely Congress will reach agreement on any of the 12 fiscal year (FY) 2020 spending bills by the expiration date, raising serious concerns that funding will remain flat for government agencies into, or even through, 2020.
Last year, President Trump signed an Executive Order to coordinate federal actions related to ocean science and technology and ocean resource management, and established an interagency ocean policy committee to do so. As co-chairs of the committee, our charge, in part, is to collaborate with the ocean community, identify priority ocean research and technology needs and maximize the effectiveness of federal investments in ocean research.
This bill expands and improves upon the bipartisan legislation Sen. Cruz introduced in December 2018 and provides the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) the clear direction needed to advance our nation's space initiatives and investments and assert the United States' global leadership in the final frontier.
NASA will shake things up a bit in low Earth orbit to get ready for the giant leap to Mars. The agency has viewed the International Space Station (ISS) as a key training ground for trips farther afield since the first astronauts visited the orbiting lab in November 2000. But NASA plans to beef up this role for the station in the near future, treating the ISS more explicitly as a "Mars transit analog" to prep for crewed missions to the Red Planet in the 2030s.
For the last time in this decade, Mercury has passed in front of the Sun in what's known as a transit - a rare chance to see a planet cross the face of our home star. And the images are truly something to behold.
Voyager 1 has a companion in the realm of the stars. Researchers at the University of Iowa report that the spacecraft Voyager 2 has entered the interstellar medium (ISM), the region of space outside the bubble-shaped boundary produced by wind streaming outward from the sun. Voyager 2, thus, becomes the second human-made object to journey out of our sun's influence, following Voyager 1's solar exit in 2012.
Scientists at Johnson Space Center's Lunar Curation Laboratory in Houston opened the Apollo 17-recovered sample on Tuesday (Nov. 5). The 1.5-inch-wide (4-centimeter) tube holding the small stash of moon rocks and dust was sealed by astronauts Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt during the second of their three moonwalks on Dec. 12, 1972.
NASA’s New Horizons probe reached Pluto in 2015, but it zoomed past the dwarf planet in a matter of minutes because of its tremendous velocity. Now, the agency is considering the possibility of sending another mission to Pluto, but this one would stay in orbit to study the surface. A NASA-commissioned study from the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) lays out what it would take to establish a long-term presence in the space around Pluto.