NASA is on the hunt for a "planetary protection officer" who can protect humankind from alien bugs hitching a ride to Earth.It's looking for a recruit who can help stem the spread of extraterrestrial debris when spacecraft return from space.Vice versa, they'll also be tasked with making sure we don't pollute other planets and space rocks with our own grubby Earthling species, too.The US space agency already has a set of rules in place to make sure this doesn't happen but they are looking for someone who can make sure astronauts and space officials stick to them.The job advert states: "Nasa maintains policies for planetary protection applicable to all space flight missions that may intentionally or unintentionally carry Earth organisms and organic constituents to the planets or other solar system bodies, and any mission employing spacecraft intended is intended to return to Earth and its biosphere with samples from extraterrestrial targets of exploration."This policy is based on federal … [Read more...] about Nasa hiring ‘planetary protection officer’ to defend Earth from alien contamination – so, is there something they aren’t telling us?
Mission to planet earth
TIM Peake has revealed his concern for planet Earth during an appearance on ITV's This Morning.The British astronaut joined Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield on the This Morning couch to discuss his mission to the International Space Station.Recalling his experience, he told the hosts: "One thing that really struck me is how thin the Earth's atmosphere is."You realise that the only reason we have life on planet earth is because of this tiny strip of our atmosphere."The spaceman added: "And when you see how thin it is, you realise that there's not much of it and we need to look after it."Tim was launched into space in December before coming back to Earth six months later.He told Holly and Phil: "That is the hardest part of being in space - being away from friends and family."Also that you're isolated and not able to support them, but my training in the military helped me to cope with that."Tim has now released a book of pictures taken during his mission, called Hello, is this … [Read more...] about Astronaut Tim Peake reveals his concern for planet Earth on This Morning
A EUROPEAN spacecraft is ready to send a robot lander to the surface of Mars after a 310million-mile voyage across the solar system.Controllers today uploaded time-saved command signals to the ExoMars 2016 craft in preparation for landing on the Red Planet on October 19.The European Space Agency probe, part of an ambitious mission to search for evidence of life on Mars, was launched on March 14.On October 16 the small Schiaparelli lander will split off from the mother ship and begin its descent.Three days later, Trace Gas Orbiter probe will fire its brakes to slow it down just enough so it enters an elliptical orbit around the planet - while Schiaparelli enters the Martian atmosphere and parachutes down to the surface.The 8ft wide disc-shaped craft will aim for Meridiani Planum, a flat region near the equator.Its main mission is to pave the way for ExoMars Rover, a British-built hi-tech six-wheeled mobile laboratory due to be launched in 2020.Schiaparelli … [Read more...] about Robot lander prepares for touchdown in mission to seek out life on the Red Planet
NASA has sent a robotic exploration craft on a mission to investigate an asteroid that's threatening to wipe out humanity.The first NASA explorer of its kind took off on a seven-year quest, chasing after a big, black, unexplored asteroid to gather a few handfuls of gravel for return to Earth.These bite-size bits of ancient space rock from asteroid Bennu could hold clues to the origin of life, not just on our planet but potentially elsewhere in the solar system.But the asteroid could also spell doom for us, because it's feared it could one day smash into our planet.Nicknamed "The Doombringer", there is a small chance of the rock hitting us between the years of 2175 and 2196.Thousands gathered to witness the evening launch of Osiris-REx, a robotic hunter that looks something like a bird with its solar wings. The spacecraft took flight atop an Atlas V rocket, which soared a little before sunset on the mission, a U.S. first.Victory was declared an hour later; launch controllers shook … [Read more...] about NASA sends robotic spacecraft on mission to intercept asteroid threatening to WIPE OUT humanity
ELON Musk’s SpaceX rocket has returned safely to Earth after its mission to the International Space Station.The Falcon 9 spacecraft touched down at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, USA, yesterday morning.Incredible footage shows the craft firing its engines to soften its landing as it gently reaches the ground.Shortly before the historic landing, Elon Musk posted on Instagram: "Baby came back."Unlike previous rockets, the Falcon 9 is designed to be reusable.It has already successfully landed five times on sea platforms but this is the first time on land.Just minutes before its historic landing, the rocket had taken off into the atmosphere, carrying supplies for astronauts orbiting the planet.It blasted off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Centre just after 9.30am local time.The rocket, from Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, quickly disappeared into a low cloud deck after a successful take off.The Falcon 9 rocket was launched with 5,500 pounds … [Read more...] about Incredible moment Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket touches back down at Cape Canaveral after mission to the International Space Station
THE United Arab Emirates is preparing to become the first Islamic nation to launch a mission to Mars.In 2020, an unmanned craft called Hope will take off from Japan and travel to the Red Planet.Last year, religious leaders in the UAE issued a fatwa forbidding Muslims from landing on Mars.However, the robotic spaceship will not actually touch down on the Martian surface.It will blast off aboard a Japanese rocket and then go into orbit around the planet."We are delighted to launch the UAE's Mars explorer by the Japanese launch vehicle H-IIA from Tanegashima Space Center in Japan in 2020," said Yuichi Yamaura, vice president of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency."We are confident that we will accomplish our responsibility, together with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries."The UAE first created its space agency in 2014 with the express aim of becoming the first Arab nation to launch a Mars mission.In the same year, the nation's General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment issued a fatwa … [Read more...] about United Arab Emirates to launch first ever Islamic mission to Mars
MANKIND's fastest spacecraft is reaching the final stages of its five-year 445 million-mile flight to Jupiter.On Monday, the unmanned Juno will hit the brakes at 150,000mph and slow to 1,200mph, shifting into position above the planet's radioactive clouds.From there it will transmit data and pictures back to Earth.Here, GRANT ROLLINGS explains how the mission could help uncover the secrets of how our solar system formed.Launched on an Atlas V rocket from the US on August 5, 2011Will have travelled 1.7 billion miles to get to Jupiter (445 million miles away at launch) as it needed to orbit the sun and Earth on first legIf Juno flew at the speed of a passenger jet (600 mph) it would take 342 years to complete the missionOnce June arrives at Jupiter, it will travel 348 million miles and orbit the planet at 130,000 mph - the fastest spacecraft to enter orbit around a planetIt is the first mission to fly as close as 2,600 miles to Jupiter's cloud tops and will be able to look below its … [Read more...] about How much Juno about the ‘Lego’ mission to Jupiter?
NASA is preparing to launch a mission to explore a mysterious "metal world" which was formed during the turbulent birth of our solar system.The massive object is called 16 Pysche and is believed to made of iron and nickel."Psyche is by far the largest metal object in the solar system," Benjamin Weiss, professor of planetary sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told The Sunday Times."Psyche would be the first and only metal world to be visited by humanity. This is true exploration."The metal asteroid is likely to be a leftover from the tumultuous early days of our star system, when planets formed before being smashed apart."Often large things blew apart into small again," said Linda Elkins-Tanton, director of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University."Planets could be built, torn asunder and rebuilt in 10 million years or less."Now scientists want to work out if the asteroid has a magnetic field like Earth's, which would suggest … [Read more...] about NASA prepares for mission to mysterious ‘metal world’ made of iron and nickel
It all comes down to a precision brake procedure. If things go well, NASA's Juno spacecraft will get sucked into Jupiter's orbit by the planet's gravity. "Jupiter's got a really interesting system," astronomer and Nobel Laureate Brian Schmidt told DW. "It's a mini-star, it's got Europa - it's got all this action going on with its moons - so it's an interesting place in the solar system." It's an interesting place about which we know relatively little. And if Juno fails to make Jupiter's orbit, this five year, billion dollar mission could end in a simple fly by. The basic facts about the Juno mission The Juno mission was launched on August 5, 2011. At the time of launch, the distance from Earth to Jupiter was 716 million kilometers (445 million miles). The mission costs about 1.13 billion dollars (1 billion euros) in total, including, among other things, spacecraft development, science instruments, science data processing and relay support for 78 months. Officially, the mission … [Read more...] about What good is the Juno mission to Jupiter?
NASA's next mission to Mars has been grounded, the US space agency announced on Tuesday. The space agency has said they are suspending the March 2016 launch of its InSight mission to Mars because of problems with a scientific instrument. The faulty instrument is a seismometer and is tasked with measuring ground movements on the Red Planet. It has been experiencing multiple leaks, and most recently failed during a vacuum test on Monday in extreme cold temperatures. "We're close enough to launch but unfortunately we don't have enough time to try to identify the leak, fix it and recover and still make it to the launch pad in March," said John Grunsfeld, NASA's science mission chief. NASA managers said a redesign of the part could take up to five years. Months of analysis is expected before they decide on how to proceed. Insight, which stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, is the spacecraft due to be launched. The spacecraft is designed to help scientists … [Read more...] about NASA suspends InSight mission to Mars