Saturday, April 27, 2013

Kepler discovers more super-Earths and other space and astronomy news

This week's featured story comes from Discovery News on YouTube and

The Hunt For A Second Earth

NASA's Kepler telescope was launched to find other planets just like earth-- and now, scientists think they may have found not just one, but three! Trace shows us where they are in the solar system and why the discovery is so important.
It's Time for Next Phase in Search for Alien Life, Scientists Say
by Mike Wall, Senior Writer
Date: 19 April 2013 Time: 06:30 AM ET
With more and more Earth-like alien planets being discovered around the galaxy, humanity should now start planning out the next steps in its hunt for far-flung alien life, researchers say.

On Thursday (April 18), scientists announced the discovery of three more potentially habitable exoplanets — Kepler-62e, Kepler-62f and Kepler-69c — further suggesting that the cosmos is jam-packed with worlds capable of supporting life as we know it.

So the time is right to get the ball rolling beyond mere discovery to the detailed study and characterization of promising alien planets, researchers said — a task that will require new and more powerful instruments.
More stories after the jump.

NASA Television on YouTube: Antares Anticipating Launch on This Week @ NASA

The Antares rocket remains at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport's Pad 0-A at Wallops Flight Facility -- awaiting launch on its first test flight under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services, or COTS program. Orbital Sciences Corporation canceled the countdown during Wednesday's initial launch attempt when a data umbilical connection prematurely separated from the rocket. On this demonstration flight, Antares will carry a simulated Cygnus spacecraft to orbit. The real Cygnus will deliver cargo to the International Space Station. Also, Orion's Progress , Gathering for Impact!, Three More Planets for Kepler , Station Spacewalk, Moonbuggy Preps, Hubble's Infrared Horsehead and more!
Daily Kos: This week in science: The far lighter side
by DarkSyde

NASA Television on YouTube: 2014 NASA Budget Briefed on This Week @ NASA

Administrator Charles Bolden, Deputy Administrator Lori Garver, Chief Financial Officer Beth Robinson and Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot unveiled the President's Fiscal Year 2014 budget request for NASA during a town hall-style all-hands briefing at Headquarters. The proposal would leverage the agency's capabilities to make significant-yet-affordable advances for the nation while meeting the space goals set by the Obama Administration. One presidential goal, to send humans to an asteroid by 2025, is targeted by what would be the first-ever mission to identify, capture, and relocate an asteroid to a stable Earth-moon orbit. There, it could be explored by astronauts using the Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System. Also, ANTARES AWAITS, CURIOSITY ROVER UPDATE, XOMBIE FLIES HIGH, FROZEN WINGS, EARTH MONTH TREE PLANTING, @NASA GETS SHORTY and more!
NASA Television presents a more detailed presentation of the agency's budget in NASA's Next Budget Advances US Leadership in Space and Science.  It also describes more of NASA's social media outreach in NASA Television Viewer Stats Soaring on YouTube.  Both videos follow.

President Obama's Fiscal Year 2014 budget request for NASA is a $17.7 billion investment in our nation's future. NASA's budget ensures the United States will remain the world's leader in space exploration and scientific discovery for years to come, while making critical advances in aerospace and aeronautics to benefit the American people.
An upbeat animated thirty second promo video reveals astonishing numbers of YouTube viewers visiting the NASA YouTube Channel. Four Oddball Alien Planets Get Fingerprinted Staff
Date: 18 April 2013 Time: 05:00 AM ET
Scientists have collected the startling chemical fingerprints of four huge alien planets, successfully sifting through the blinding light of their parent star.

The atmospheric composition of the four warm, cloud-covered alien planets orbiting the star HR 8799 — a star five times brighter than our sun that lies 128 light-years away from Earth — took researchers by surprise.

"These warm, red planets are unlike any other known object in our universe," astronomer Ben Oppenheimer, chair of the astrophysics department at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, said in a statement. "All four planets have different spectra, and all four are peculiar. The theorists have a lot of work to do now." Saturn Moon Titan's Methane May Dry Up
by Megan Gannon, News Editor
Date: 17 April 2013 Time: 03:40 PM ET
Today, methane sloshes around in pools on the surface of Titan, but the hydrocarbon may eventually vanish from Saturn's giant moon, according to a new study.

Images and data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft show that the compound doesn't seem to be getting replenished fast enough on Titan's surface to keep the methane cycle sustainable, scientists say.

Besides Earth, Titan is the only known place in our solar system to have stable liquids on its surface. The huge moon's clouds, lakes and rain are made up of hydrocarbons, or molecules composed of hydrogen and carbon, such as methane and ethane.
ScienceAtNASA on YouTube: ScienceCasts: Comet ISON Meteor Shower

Sungrazing Comet ISON, expected to become a bright naked-eye object later this year, might dust the Earth with meteoroids in early 2014. Researchers discuss the possibilities in this week's ScienceCast.
Purdue University on YouTube: Boiler Bytes: NEIL ARMSTRONG

Reflections on the life and legacy of famed alumnus Neil Armstrong. World's Oldest Spacewalker: Russian Cosmonaut Makes Space History at 59
by Megan Gannon, News Editor
Date: 19 April 2013 Time: 03:07 PM ET
Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov made spaceflight history high above Earth on Friday (April 19) when, at age 59,  he became the oldest person ever to venture outside a spacecraft during a spacewalk that was only marred by the last-minute loss of an experiment.

Vinogradov, a veteran cosmonaut, took his seventh cosmic excursion in 16 years during Friday's spacewalk. He donned a bulky spacesuit and left the confines of the International Space Station just after 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT) to upgrade the orbiting lab with new experiments.

Vinogradov paired up with 41-year-old fellow cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, a first-time spacewalker but second-generation cosmonaut. Romanenko's father, former cosmonaut Yuri Romanenko, logged more than 10 spacewalking hours in his career. What Does Life in Space Do To You?
From trouble sleeping to wimpy muscles, living on board the International Space Station really does a number on the human body.

Get to know how your body could react to life in orbit with these 6 fun facts: Named Official Webby Awards Honoree Staff
Date: 18 April 2013 Time: 05:41 PM ET, the premier destination for innovation, technology, entertainment, astronomy and space news, announced yesterday (April 17) that it has been selected as an Official Honoree in the Science category of the 17th Annual Webby Awards.

This marks's second Webby Awards distinction, following their 2010 Official Honoree selection in the 14th Annual Webby Awards. was one of only 11 entries afforded Official Honoree status in the Science category, sharing the honor with websites from some of the most influential technology and science organizations in the world, including NASA (Eyes on Earth by NASA) and MIT (MIT Technology Review).
And that's it for last week's news.  Time to start compiling this week's.

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