Russia: Failed probe to fall to Earth in days
The nearly 15-ton probe is projected to be over the Indian Ocean on Sunday afternoon.
January 11th, 2012
07:02 PM ET

Russia: Failed probe to fall to Earth in days

A Russian probe that was supposed to reach one of Mars' moons but failed to escape Earth orbit is expected to fall to Earth between Saturday and Monday, Russia's space agency said.

It's too early to say where pieces of the unmanned Phobos-Grunt probe could fall. But on Sunday afternoon - the middle of the re-entry window - the nearly 15-ton probe is projected to be over the Indian Ocean, hundreds of miles southwest of Indonesia, the Roscosmos space agency said Wednesday.

Twenty to 30 fragments, weighing a total of up to 440 pounds, could survive the heat of re-entry, but the 7.5 tons of toxic fuel it is carrying is expected to burn up, Roscosmos said, according to the state-run Ria Novosti news agency.

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January 11th, 2012
02:39 PM ET

Wallops Launch on Jan. 11, 2012

"A NASA Terrier-Improved Malemute suborbital sounding rocket was successfully launched this morning, Jan. 11, 2012, at 8:25 from the Wallops Flight Facility. This was a test flight of the vehicle being developed to support NASA suborbital science missions."

Source: NASA

Filed under: Light up the screen
January 11th, 2012
01:01 PM ET

A planet for every star

Researchers have concluded that each star in the Milky Way galaxy likely has at least one planet orbiting it, meaning that our galaxy has at least 100 billion planets to its name.

Given that it's news every time Kepler discovers a new exoplanet (a planet orbiting a star other than our sun), how did astronomers come to this conclusion?

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Filed under: In Space • Kepler • News
Yes, the Milky Way is really white
This galaxy that resembles the Milky Way may be a close approximation of what our galaxy looks like from a distance.
January 11th, 2012
11:20 AM ET

Yes, the Milky Way is really white

We've been calling it the Milky Way, but its true color has actually been unknown. Now, a team of scientists has determined more precisely that our galaxy is indeed white.

The Milky Way is the color of snow when viewed one or two hours after dawn, says Jeffrey Newman, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh. Newman and colleagues set out to put the Milky Way in context in terms of its color.

"The Milky Way is well within range you would see as white," Newman says, adding that it is bluer than light from an incandescent bulb, but redder than sunlight at noon.

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Filed under: In Space

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