This is one of the most exciting times in the history of space exploration. Both the public and private sectors are pushing the limits as to what we can accomplish in the world of astronomy and space exploration. In case you have missed some of the most recent news, here are four of the top stories so far this year, happening in space.
1) SpaceX Announces New Plans For Falcon 9
SpaceX is looking to make history again. They are looking to have Falcon 9 return to Earth and land upright on a ship, which happens to be moving. SpaceX has been pioneering the use of reusable rockets; last month they made history by launching Falcon 9 into space and bringing it back to solid ground at Cape Canaveral, Florida. That was the first time a rocket had ever launched into orbit and landed back to the planet safely.
2) New Method To Measure Gravitational Pull
Astronomers have discovered a new method that allows them to gather more accurate data about the pull of gravity in distance stars. “Our technique can tell you how big and bright is the star, and if a planet around it is the right size and temperature to have water oceans, and maybe life,” stated Prof Jaymie Matthews. The researchers have managed to show that variations in the brightness of even distant stars can be used for more accurate measurements of surface gravity. These findings have been published in the journal, Science Advances.
3) Scientists Discover The Longest Galaxy Tail Ever
A ribbon of hot gas trailing behind a galaxy has recently been discovered. The length of this tail is believed to be at least 250,000 light years; this would be the largest tail ever detected. For comparison, the Milky Way is only about 100,000 light-year across. The galaxy with the enormous X-ray tail is a member of a galaxy cluster known as Zwicky 8338, which is located almost 700 million light years from earth.
4) The European Space Agency Looks To Establish Lunar Colony
The European Space Agency recently hosted a two-day symposium, which included over 200 scientists and space officials from 28 different countries. They came together to discuss ways in which they can get back to the Moon. They believe that this will allow them to springboard human exploration into the solar system. “The ESA space-exploration strategy sets the moon as a priority destination for humans on the way to Mars, and the recent talk of a ‘Moon Village’ certainly has generated a lot of positive energy in Europe,” NASA’s Kathy Laurini, co-chair for the Exploration Roadmap Working Group for the Global Exploration Roadmap, said to space.com. “The timing is right,” Laurini said, “to get started on the capabilities which allow Europe to meet its exploration objectives and ensure Europe remains a strong partner as humans begin to explore the solar system.”