The Mars helicopter's scary sixth mission

The helicopter's sixth mission almost went down in disaster.

Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
  • The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter was out on a photo-taking mission when it started to act strangely.
  • It kept changing its speed and tipping back and forth.
  • A single error threw its entire navigation system into confusion.
Keep reading Show less

Sorry, the EmDrive doesn’t work

The EmDrive turns out to be the "um..." drive after all, as a new study dubs any previous encouraging EmDrive results "false positives."

Credit: AndSus/zolotons/Adobe Stock/Big Think
  • The proposed EmDrive captured the public's imagination with the promise of super-fast space travel that broke the laws of physics.
  • Some researchers have detected thrusts from the EmDrive that seemed to prove its validity as a technology.
  • A new, authoritative study says, no, those results were just "false positives."
Keep reading Show less

A new minimoon is headed towards Earth, and it’s not natural

Astronomers spot an object heading into Earth orbit.

Credit: Gabriel on Unsplash
  • Small objects such as asteroids get trapped for a time in Earth orbit, becoming "minimoons."
  • Minimoons are typically asteroids, but this one is something else.
  • The new minimoon may be part of an old rocket from the 1960s.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Closest images ever taken of the sun reveal "nanoflares"

    The Sun, as its never been seen before.

    Credit: Solar Orbiter/EUI Team (ESA & NASA); CSL, IAS, MPS, PMOD/WRC, ROB, UCL/MSSL
  • ESO's Solar Orbiter has sent back new images from halfway between the Earth and the Sun.
  • The images show far more "nanoflares" than ever seen before.
  • The discovery raises more questions about how the Sun works.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Ask an astronomer: What makes neutron stars so special?

    Astrophysicist Michelle Thaller talks ISS and why NICER is so important.

    • Being outside of Earth's atmosphere while also being able to look down on the planet is both a challenge and a unique benefit for astronauts conducting important and innovative experiments aboard the International Space Station.
    • NASA astrophysicist Michelle Thaller explains why one such project, known as NICER (Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer), is "one of the most amazing discoveries of the last year."
    • Researchers used x-ray light data from NICER to map the surface of neutrons (the spinning remnants of dead stars 10-50 times the mass of our sun). Thaller explains how this data can be used to create a clock more accurate than any on Earth, as well as a GPS device that can be used anywhere in the galaxy.
    Quantcast