In a bipartisan bid to encourage commercial exploitation of outer space, the U.S. Senate this week unanimously passed the Space Act of 2015, which grants U.S. citizens or corporations the right to legally claim non-living natural resources—including water and minerals—mined in the final frontier.
The legislation – described by IGN‘s Jenna Pitcher as “a celestial ‘Finders Keepers’ law” – could be a direct affront to an international treaty that bars nations from owning property in space. The bill will now be sent back to the House of Representatives, which is expected to approve the changes, and then on to President Barack Obama for his anticipated signature.
A massive space rock that will shave by Earth on Halloween looks like a dead comet with a skull face, NASA said after gaining a closer look at the spooky space object.
Astronomers initially thought the object was an asteroid when they spotted it in early October, and named it Asteroid 2015 TB145.
But using the US space agency’s Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, experts “have determined that the celestial object is more than likely a dead comet that has shed its volatiles after numerous passes around the sun,” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement late Friday.
Scientists have also spotted an eerie skull-like resemblance on the face of the rock, based on radar data from the National Science Foundation’s 305-meter (1,000-foot) Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.
– NASA estimates 1 billion ‘Earths’ in our galaxy alone (Washington Post, July 24, 2015):
There are a billion Earths in this galaxy, roughly speaking. Not a million. A billion. We’re talking 1 billion rocky planets that are approximately the size of the Earth and are orbiting familiar-looking yellow-sunshine stars in the orbital “habitable zone” where water could be liquid at the surface.
That’s a billion planets where human beings, or their genetically modified descendants, as well as their dogs and cats and tomato plants and crepe myrtle trees and ladybugs and earthworms and whatnot, could plausibly live.
– NASA Has Released The Largest Picture Ever Taken And It Will Shake Up Your Universe (Scoop Whoop, Jan 16, 2015):
Have you seen the largest picture ever taken? For the record, it’s a mammoth 1.5 billion pixel image (69,536 x 22,230) and requires about 4.3 GB disk space. Oh, and it’ll take your breath away.
On January 5, NASA released an image of the Andromeda galaxy, our closest galactic neighbour, captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The full image is made up of 411 Hubble images, takes you through a 100 million stars and travels over more than 40,000 light years. Well, a section of it anyway.
Prepare to feel extremely tiny and insignificant as you marvel at this fly-through video created by YouTuber daveachuk and make sure you stick around till the end. Seriously.
Well done, NASA. Our mind has been blown.
– World lit up: Stunning European night sky as seen from ISS (VIDEO) (RT, April 11, 2015):
A recently released time-lapse clip filmed from the International Space Station (ISS) shows European and North African cities lighting up the sky, in contrast to the dark expanses of the Mediterranean Sea at night.
ISS Expedition 43 captured the footage, as the spacecraft was traveling over the Mediterranean region on March 28. It was then merged into a video and uploaded to YouTube on Thursday.
The breathtaking views of European cityscapes from the Strait of Gibraltar to the Balkans are revealed from two different angles, with the northern coast of Africa also partly visible.
And watch the stock market on March 20.
– Upcoming ‘Supermoon’ eclipse will dazzle Britain, but hit Europe’s power grids hard (RT, March 8, 2015):
This spring should reward plenty of star-gazers, especially in Britain, which will experience its deepest solar eclipse in 15 years, as well as a Supermoon, all at the same time – an event that will sink the island into twilight for two whole hours.
The Supermoon eclipse, as the phenomenon is known, is an astronomical alignment where the Moon is sent on a trajectory between the Sun and the Earth, depriving us of light. The event will occur on March 20 at around 8:40GMT.