Company's goal is to build orbiting space hotel by 2025

The Gateway Foundation is a private company that claims they could build the first orbital space hotel by 2025. According to their site, the Von Braun Rotating Space Station is designed "to accommodate both national space agencies conducting low gravity research and space tourists who want to experience life on a large space station with the comfort of low gravity and the feel of a nice hotel" large enough for 450 visitors. From Space.com:

Gateway Foundation officials acknowledge that the station might not be entirely finished by 2025, but the group aims to develop the station's main structure and basic functions by then. "We expect the operation to begin in 2025, the full station will be built out and completed by 2027. … Once the station's fully operational, our hope, our goal and our objective is to have the station available for the average person," (lead architect Timothy) Alatorre said. "So, a family or an individual could save up reasonably … and be able to have enough money to visit space and have that experience. … It would be something that would be within reach...

Alatorre said that the Gateway Foundation feels that such a project is now possible because the growing success of commercial aerospace companies like SpaceX has made launch options more affordable.

He added that the company admits that it's possible its timeline is pushing it somewhat. "We completely understand that delays are almost inevitable with aerospace, but based on our internal projections and the fact that we're already dealing with existing technology, we're not inventing anything new.

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Enjoyable website presents the size of space

Neal Agarwal made this website about the size of space. You click through it one page at a time, starting with a single astronaut and ending with the observable universe. Read the rest

Voyager 2's new messages home illuminate the mysteries of interstellar space

In 1977, NASA launched two spacecraft, Voyager 1 and 2, on a grand tour of the solar system and into the mysteries of interstellar space. Famously attached to each of these probes is the Voyager Golden Record containing a message for any extraterrestrial intelligence that might encounter it, perhaps billions of years from now. Voyager 1 entered interstellar space in 2012. Last year, Voyager 2 joined its twin beyond the heliosphere, described by NASA as "the protective bubble of particles and magnetic fields created by our Sun." Today sees the publication of several scientific papers analyzing the data that Voyager 2 has sent back since its crossing. Congratulations to the inspiring scientists and engineers behind these latest papers and the incredible Voyager mission, still going strong 40+ years later! From NASA:

Each paper details the findings from one of Voyager 2's five operating science instruments: a magnetic field sensor, two instruments to detect energetic particles in different energy ranges and two instruments for studying plasma (a gas composed of charged particles). Taken together, the findings help paint a picture of this cosmic shoreline, where the environment created by our Sun ends and the vast ocean of interstellar space begins.

The Sun's heliosphere is like a ship sailing through interstellar space. Both the heliosphere and interstellar space are filled with plasma, a gas that has had some of its atoms stripped of their electrons. The plasma inside the heliosphere is hot and sparse, while the plasma in interstellar space is colder and denser.

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Samsung satellite crashes in family's yard

Nancy Mumby-Welke lives in rural Saginaw County, MI; yesterday morning she was about to let her horses out when she discovered the crashed, humming remains of a Samsung satellite on her property. Read the rest

International Space Station's "Plastic Recycler" machine will crank out 3D printer feedstock in orbit

Next Saturday, Made In Space's Plastic Recycler will be delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) to convert certain waste plastic into feedstock for the company's Additive Manufacturing Facility, a 3D printer operating aboard the ISS (image below). From Made In Space:
The Plastic Recycler was developed through a partnership with Brazil-based, Braskem, Americas’ largest thermosplastic resin producer. The partnership adopted Green Plastic, a bio-based resin made from sugarcane, for the printing of tools and spare parts by astronauts. GreenTM polyethylene is made from ethylene derived from sugarcane ethanol.

From Braskem's prior description of the device:

The machine consists of a plastic crushing and extrusion system that produces a filament that can be used by the 3D printer already installed on the ISS. The recycler will allow astronauts to, among other applications, use the Green Polyethylene tools and parts previously fabricated by the 3D printer, as well as other plastic materials already on the ISS that no longer are being used, such as food packaging.

More at Space.com: "Plastic Recycler Will Turn Space Station Trash into 3D Printing Stock"

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LIVE: Watch the first all-woman spacewalk

NASA is streaming the first all-woman spacewalk from 8 a.m. eastern time. Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are fixing a failed power controller on the International Space Station.

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NASA videos on the harshness of space and a cool new space suit for exploring the Moon

We're going back out there, but it's dangerous out there and y'all better know it.

Space travel is hard and unforgiving, but we have never been more ready to meet the unknown.

Team members from NASA’s #Artemis program share the risks and rewards of this next era of exploration. Artemis will push the boundaries of human exploration and send the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024, preparing for missions to Mars and beyond.

SO. How about an awesome new space suit for exploring the polar south pole?

At NASA Headquarters on Oct. 15, 2019, Administrator Jim Bridenstine introduced the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) and Orion Crew Survival System suit which will be will be worn by first woman and next man as they explore the Moon as part of the #Artemis program.

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Fantastic marching band tribute to the Apollo 11 moon landing

In celebration of this year's 50th anniversary of the first humans on the moon, the Ohio State Marching Band staged this wonderful performance on Saturday.

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Girl Scouts can now earn badges in space sciences like astronomy and the search for ET

Through a collaboration with NASA and the SETI Institute, Girl Scouts can now earn badges in space science, from astronomy to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

“Part of science literacy is understanding our place in the big world, in the solar system, in the universe," Pamela Harman, the director of education at the SETI Institute, told Air & Space Magazine. "Once we realize that, I think it’s easier to think about protecting our planet.”

From Air & Space:

Girl Scout cadettes (grades 6-8) can earn the space science researcher badge by investigating properties of light and observing the night sky; seniors (grades 9-10) can obtain the space science expert badge by classifying stars and studying their life cycles; and ambassadors (grades 11-12) seeking the space science master badge will explore exoplanets through activities such as designing a habitat for an alien world.

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20 mini-moons spotted orbiting Saturn

Saturn "has overtaken" Jupiter as the planet with the most satellites, at least in our own system: 82 to the larger world's 79. A team "discovered a haul of 20 new moons" around the ringed gas giant, as the BBC puts it, putting it in the lead.

The moons were discovered using the Subaru telescope on Maunakea, Hawaii.

Each of the newly discovered objects in orbit around Saturn is about 5km (three miles) in diameter; 17 of them orbit the planet "backwards".

This is known as a retrograde direction. The other three moons orbit in a prograde direction - the same direction as Saturn rotates.

I suspect they were there all along. Read the rest

Listen to 'dinks and donks,' Marsquakes, and other weird sounds from the Red Planet

The NASA Insight lander on the Martian surface is equipped with an ultrasensitive seismometer to detect and record vibrations, from marsquakes to soft breezes to other unidentified vibrations. Listen below. From Space.com:

If we were on Mars with our ears to the ground, our ears wouldn't be sensitive enough to detect marsquakes. Even the recordings taken by Insight are too low to be audible to humans, but by speeding up the audio and lightly processing it, you can listen to marsquakes that Insight captured earlier this year...

As of now, Insight has heard and recorded over 100 events on Mars. But while scientists are fairly certain that 21 of these events are marsquakes, the remaining could be quakes — or something else. Scientists think these remaining events could also be caused by other sources of vibration on the planet.

Being so sensitive, the SEIS instrument detects just about everything, from the movement of the lander's robotic arm to Martian wind gusts.

The Insight team has noticed that, particularly at night, the instrument picks up strange sounds that they refer to as "dinks and donks," according to the statement. They think that these strange sounds could be caused by the instrument cooling down.

More: "NASA's InSight 'Hears' Peculiar Sounds on Mars" (NASA)

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Space Nerds in Space: a free/open co-op multiplayer spaceship landing simulator with combat, NPCs and more

Space Nerds in Space is a free/open source team game where players take on the roles of Navigation, Weapons, Engineering, Communications, Damage Control and work their controls to safely land a spaceship on a variety of planets, each with their own challenge -- and once your team is practiced, you can use a multi-team server to compete against other teams, NPCs, and even engage in multi-team, player-to-player combat. Read the rest

This space geek built a DIY radio telescope for $150

David Schneider built his own radio telescope out of roof flashing, an empty paint thinner can, a free software-defined radio app, USB receiver, and a length of coaxial cable. The whole project cost him less than $150 and he's already used it to detect galactic hydrogen and monitor the motion of our Milky Way galaxy's spiral arms. (With a radio telescope, you look for and measure radio-frequency radiation emitted by astronomical objects.) From IEEE Spectrum:

Point at Cygnus and you’ll receive a strong signal from the local arm of the Milky Way very near the expected 1420.4-MHz frequency. Point it toward Cassiopeia, at a higher galactic longitude, and you’ll see the hydrogen-line signal shift to 1420.5 MHz—a subtle Doppler shift indicating that the material giving off these radio waves is speeding toward us in a relative sense. With some hunting, you may be able to discern two or more distinct signals at different frequencies coming from different spiral arms of the Milky Way.

Don’t expect to hear E.T., but being able to map the Milky Way in this fashion feels strangely empowering. It’ll be $150 well spent.

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Watch the trailer for "Snoopy In Space"

Snoopy has been a NASA mascot for more than 50 years going back to the Apollo missions. Now, Snoopy is headed to the International Space Station for a new cartoon series, Snoopy In Space, launching November 1 on Apple TV+.

NASA image below: "Headed for the launch pad, Apollo 10 Commander Tom Stafford pats the nose of a stuffed Snoopy held by Jamye Flowers (Coplin), astronaut Gordon Cooper’s secretary."

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Incredible photo from the space station that astronaut Christina Koch took of her best friend headed to meet her in orbit

NASA astronaut Christina Koch, currently on board the International Space Station, took this stunning image of her pal Jessica Meir launching into space toward the ISS.

"What it looks like from @Space_Station when your best friend achieves her lifelong dream to go to space," Koch tweeted. From Space.com:

NASA astronaut Jessica Meir, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka and United Arab Emirates spaceflight participant Hazzaa Ali Almansoori blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan today (Sept. 25) at 9:57 a.m. EDT (1457 GMT or 6:57 p.m. local time). They were bound to join a crew of six currently living and working on board the International Space Station, including Meir's astronaut training classmate, Christina Koch.

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Distant gas giant challenges our understanding of planetary formation

A giant exoplanet orbits a tiny star, upending scientists' understanding of planetary formation. The newly-discovered world and its pathetic little sun were announced in the latest issue of Science.

"It's exciting because we've wondered for long a time whether giant planets like Jupiter and Saturn can form around such small stars," said Prof Peter Wheatley, from the University of Warwick, UK, who was not involved with the latest study.

"I think the general impression had been that these planets just didn't exist, but we couldn't be sure because small stars are very faint, which makes them difficult to study, even though they are much more common than stars like the Sun," he told BBC News.

These things are all relative; the M-type red dwarf is still has 270 times the mass of the planet, which has about half the mass of Jupiter.

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Solar eclipse on Jupiter

The shadow of the Jovian moon Io was captured by NASA's Juno probe. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill) Read the rest

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