News Archive


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This page contains a number of links to news items we highlighted in 2018. Please scroll down to see more information.

It's Official - Uranus Stinks

Image: NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft. NASA

Astronomers have spectroscopically detected

hydrogen sulphide in Uranus’ atmosphere, a gas

encountered in rotten eggs.


Stephen Hawking Paper


image: Graham CopeKoga/Cambridge University Library.

Prof Stephen Hawking’s final theory on the origin

of the universe, written in collaboration with Prof

Thomas Hertog from KU Leuven, has been

published in the Journal of High Energy Physics.

The theory was submitted for publication before

Hawking’s death earlier this year.


Is Life Possible Above Venus?

Image: NASA's Mariner 10 mission (1974)

An international team of researchers has

presented a case for the atmosphere of

Venus as a possible niche for extraterrestrial

microbial life. Although surface conditions are

inhospitable, space probes to the planet have

shown that temperature and pressure in the

lower and middle portions of the atmosphere

might be able to support microbial life.


ESA: Clean Space Challenges & Solutions

Image: ESA

View an animated introduction to ESA's Clean

Space initiative, dedicated to safeguarding

the Earth and space environments on ESA's

'Clean Space Blog'


CHEOPS Rocket Logo Chosen

Winning design. Credit: ESA/D. Vrenko

ESA has announced the winner of a competition to

design a logo for its CHEOPS mission, which will

measure the size of planets as they cross before

of their parent stars. CHEOPS (CHaracterising

ExOplanets Satellite) will be launched aboard a

Soyuz rocket and the design will be seen on the

ocket's shell that protects the satellite during

launch and as it passes into space.




January / February 2018

Interstellar Asteroid is Dark, Red

..... and Very Long

First interstellar asteroid

Image: ESO/M. Kornmesser

Artist's impression of interstellar asteroid

`Oumuamua, which seems to be a dark red

& highly-elongated metallic or rocky object,

about 400 metres long. Oumuamua is unlike

anything normally found in the Solar System.

Private Mission May Reach Enceladus

Before NASA

Moon Enceladus

Image: NASA

RUSSIAN billionaire Yuri Milner, founder of the

$100 million Breakthrough Starshot project to send

small probes to Alpha Centauri, has announced

plans to explore funding a mission to Enceladus.


Unst in Shetland to Aim for

Space Programme !

Other links :





An Atmosphere Around the Moon?

Recent  research suggests that the

Moon had a significant atmosphere in the

past which was thicker than the atmosphere

of Mars today.  This could also be a source

for some of the water detected


Analysis of Comet 67P's Dust Jet


Whilst orbiting comet 67P in July 2016, ESA’s

Rosetta spacecraft flew through an errupting

dust jet and used all five of its instruments to

record it. Analysis of the data is now complete


Voyager Golden Record Finally

Available on Earth

Carl Sagan and the golden record

Carl Sagan and the golden record

The Golden Record is a 90-minute message

of goodwill from Earth to any extraterrestrials

who might find one of the two Voyager

spaceships. The brainchild of astronomer

Carl Sagan, the record contains engraved

sounds and images chosen to represent

the diversity of Earth. After a crowd funding

campaign, LP and CD versions will be

released for the first time by specially formed

'Ozma records'.The content includes opera,

rock 'n' roll, blues, classical music and field



Russia and USA to Build Moon

Space Station Together

image credit: NASA

Russian space agency Roscosmos has

announced it will be collaborating with

NASA to facilitate scientific missions

in the moon's orbit and to its surface.

The agencies "intend to develop

international technical standards which

will be used later, in particular to create

a space station in lunar orbit".

"Roscosmos and NASA have also

agreed on standards for a docking

unit of the future station.”


Weird Weather on Mercury

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics

Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

The planet Mercury has very little atmosphere,

but it does have a strange weather pattern:

morning micro-meteor showers


United Emirates Plans 'Mars City'

in Desert

Image credit: Dubai Media Office

The United Arab Emirates is constructing a

giant “space city” in the desert to simulate

conditions on Mars as realistically as possible.

The planned city will cover 1.9 million square

feet and will simulate conditions for a

settlement on the Red Planet.

You can learn more about other aspects of the

Emirates' Mars Mission here..


Webb Space Telescope Launch

Delayed Until 2019

Webb space Telescope

NASA has announced that the James

Webb space telescope will stay on Earth

for slightly longer than intended, to allow

more time for testing. The launch aboard

an Ariane V booster, was originally

scheduled for October 2018. The telescope

will now be launched sometime between

March and June 2019


Mars Rover Opportunity Prepares for

Winter Stopover


As Winter approaches, Opportunity searches

for a good place to rest, tilted towards the

Sun to and recharge its solar batteries


New Study of Variable Stars

in the Pleiades

Credit: NASA / Aarhus University / T. White

Scientists have used a new algorithm and

data from the Kepler space telescope for the

most detailed study to date of the Seven

Sisters star cluster (the Pleiades)


Cressida: Uranus Moon that Would Float

in a Gigantic Tub of Water

Image: Erich Karkoschka/Univ. of Arizona, Voyager 2, NASA

Astronomers at the University of Idaho

(Moscow) have calculated Cressida’s density

and mass using variations in an inner ring of

the planet as Uranus passed in front of a

distant star.


The Tail of the Disappearing Comet

Getting ready to count shooting stars this

Autumn? Want to read a clear explanation

of meteor showers in plain English? 

Pop over to the Universe Aware site for

a clear run down of the basic facts

... not just for children !


Download Free E-books from NASA

Image: NASA

Did you know you can download NASA ebooks

from their website. Books are in the categories

History, Aeronautics and Science. Apps, ringtones

and podcasts are also available.