Thanks to the now-defunctKepler telescope, last week NASA announced 715 new exoplanets in every Dr. Seussian size and makeup imaginable, and nearly doubled the number of exoplanets known to humanity. And more keep on pouring in. With that horde of new worlds, you might have missed a smaller announcement by a group of astrophysicists at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK, who just tacked on eight more exoplanets right around the corner in our cosmic neighborhood.
Even with the space shuttle in retirement, Cape Canaveral remains a busy spaceport. But can Florida’s Space Coast regain its hallowed place as the world’s capital of human spaceflight? Popular Mechanics tours the Cape to glimpse the present and future in heavy-lift rocket country.
Astronaut Luca Parmitano was about 44 minutes into a space walk in July 2013 when he felt something that shouldn’t be there—water inside his helmet and on the back of his head. He and partner Chris Cassidy continued their work on EVA-23 (EVA means extra-vehicular activity, which is NASA-speak for a space walk.) But shortly thereafter, water moved to Parmitano’s face and went up his nose, and he lost some communication with the ground. That forced the astronauts retreat back into the International Space Station, where they found about a liter and a half of water in Parmitano’s helmet.
Hennessey took the 1244-hp Venom GT to Kennedy Space Center and unleashed his boutique hypercar on the runway NASA used for space shuttle landings. The result? 270.49 miles per hour, besting the fastest number recorded by the Bugatti, 269.86 mph.
Unmanned NASA spacecraft have spent decades traversing the solar system, snapping photos of planets and their moons and sending the data back home. One result of all that data is a series of detailed maps of mysterious moons. Just this week scientists released a complete geological map of one of Jupiter’s moons, Ganymede, which inspired us to gather some our favorite moon maps.
They call it the successor to Hubble. But the James Webb Space Telescope is something more than the next great observatory to provide breathtaking views of nebulae and new insights to our place in the cosmos. It is also nearly all of NASA’s eggs in one basket, one that appears to be perpetually near the brink of disaster. But things are looking up. Relatively speaking.