Carnival of Space 395

The Carnival of Space 395 is up at Everyday Spacer.

Examiner – Scientists mull how to find life on Europa

Ever since the Europa mission had been given the official nod of approval by NASA, scientists have been giddy with excitement at the prospect of exploring a new world where life might reside. The likely model for the mission is the Europa Clipper, which will orbit Jupiter and fly by the moon multiple times. According to a Tuesday story in the New Scientist, researchers are mulling over how to use the Europa Clipper to search for life.

Ordinarily, detecting life on Europa using a remote sensing satellite would be problematic at best. Whatever life that might exist on Europa would reside in the subsurface ocean, deep beneath the ice crust, warmed by the tidal forces exerted by Jupiter. Accessing that ocean would require a lander with a drill that would penetrate the ice crust.

However, in 2013, data gathered by the Hubble space telescope suggested that geysers of water from the interior ocean were escaping through vents in the ice crust.

NASA is planning the next round of planetary missions (Mark Wittington |

While attention has been focused on a multi-billion dollar mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa, NASA is planning a number of new planetary missions. Most are grouped under the Discovery Program, small-scale missions with a cap of $450 million, and the New Frontier Program, which has a cap of $1 billion, according to a Tuesday story in Spaceflight Now.

Exploring an alien sea: NASA designs submarine to send to Titan

NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and ESA’s (European Space Agency) XMM-Newton telescope are showing that fierce winds from a supermassive black hole blow outward in all directions — a phenomenon that had been suspected, but difficult to prove until now. This discovery has given astronomers their first opportunity to measure the strength of these ultra-fast winds and prove they are powerful enough to inhibit the host galaxy’s ability to make new stars. Supermassive black holes blast matter into their host galaxies, with X-ray-emitting winds traveling at up to one-third the speed of light. In the new study, astronomers determined PDS 456, an extremely bright black hole known as a quasar more than 2 billion light-years away, sustains winds that carry more energy every second than is emitted by more than a trillion suns.

Leonard Nimoy, the actor best known for playing the emotionless, pointy-eared Spock on the “”Star Trek”” television series, died on Friday. He was 83.

His granddaughter, Dani, confirmed the death on Twitter. She called him “”an extraordinary man.”” Nimoy revealed a year ago that he had been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

NASA Dawn’s spacecraft will insert into dwarf planet Ceres orbit late next week and then spiral down for 20 months. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will be in orbit around Ceres in one more week. NASA has released a photo of Ceres

Dwarf planet Ceres continues to puzzle scientists as NASA’s Dawn spacecraft gets closer to being captured into orbit around the object. The latest images from Dawn, taken nearly 29,000 miles (46,000 kilometers) from Ceres, reveal that a bright spot that stands out in previous images lies close to yet another bright area.