Mapping out Earth’s place in the universe among ‘Council of Giants’

We live in a galaxy known as the Milky Way – a vast conglomeration of 300 billion stars, planets whizzing around them, and clouds of gas and dust floating in between. Though it has long been known that the Milky Way and its orbiting companion Andromeda are the dominant members of a small group of galaxies, the Local Group, which is about 3 million light years across, much less was known about our immediate neighbourhood in the universe. Now, a new paper by York University Physics & Astronomy Professor Marshall McCall, published today in the Monthly Notices of the Royal … Continue reading Mapping out Earth’s place in the universe among ‘Council of Giants’

Gaia, ESA’s “Phenomenal” Milky Way Mapper, Is Set to Launch

Photo: ESA Gaia, the European Space Agency’s long-awaited space observatory, is set to launch on Thursday from the agency’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. The €700 million mission is designed to pin down the three-dimensional positions and velocities of a billion Milky Way stars, which amounts to roughly one out of every 100 stars in the galaxy. Gaia is only the second space telescope dedicated to astrometry, the measurement of stellar distances. The first, Hipparcos, launched in 1989. It carried pre-CCD technology and was capable of measuring just one star at a time using a photomultiplier tube. Gaia, in contrast, has a bank of … Continue reading Gaia, ESA’s “Phenomenal” Milky Way Mapper, Is Set to Launch

Full-scale, driveable Lego car is Raul Oaida’s latest work of genius

Chances are good that you’ve built a car or two out of Lego bricks before, but you’ve never built anything like this. Romanian genius builder Raul Oaida constructed an actual car that you can really drive. Well, not you per se, but it can be driven. Raul’s cautious test run in Melbourne only pushed the Lego hot rod up to around 20km/h. The crew wanted to keep speeds low to prevent any structural integrity issues. Building the car required more than 500,000 Lego bricks, and they aren’t just forming a geek-tastic shell that cleverly cloaks an automobile chassis. Everything from the doors and seats to the … Continue reading Full-scale, driveable Lego car is Raul Oaida’s latest work of genius

Astronomers may have found the first-ever exomoon seen by humans

We’re living in an age where astronomers can find exoplanets that we can’t actually see. What we haven’t seen yet though, is an exoplanet’s moon, as they’re much smaller than the exoplanets themselves. Now, though, astronomers at University of Notre Dame claim they have seen the human race’s first-ever exomoon. Using the method of analyzing how gravity affects and intensifies otherwise undetectable starlight (gravitational microlensing), the team found a planet-like object — too small to be a planet — that’s orbiting what appears to be a larger object. The larger object does not appear to be a star, which would likely make … Continue reading Astronomers may have found the first-ever exomoon seen by humans

Russia To Open A Hotel In Space by 2016

By Awaissoft The rich and famous look for the most exotic places to spend their vacations. Orbital Technologies, a Russian company, has announced plans to make one of the most exotic hotel ever. Their idea to create a space hotel for commercial use is both metaphorically and literally out of this world. The hotel, officially called Commercial Space Station, will be able to accommodate seven guests in four cabins. It will orbit the earth at a height of 350 kilometers above the earth’s surface. Guests will be able to relax in zero-gravity and can pass the time by watching TV, … Continue reading Russia To Open A Hotel In Space by 2016

Russian Robonaut to Travel to Space Station Within Two Years

At a space industry conference last week, Russian officials announced that their version of Robonaut, the SAR-400, is currently undergoing testing at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre Research Institute, and will be making its way to the International Space Station (ISS) within just a few years. In many ways, the SAR-400 is a lot like the NASA/GM Robonaut 2 that we’ve come to know and love. It’s not intended to be autonomous (yet), but is instead teleoperated from the ground. Users put on gloves that directly control the robot’s arms and hands, while also providing real-time force feedback. On Earth, it … Continue reading Russian Robonaut to Travel to Space Station Within Two Years