Showing posts from May, 2021

Record-Setting Flare Spotted on the Nearest Star to the Sun. Source: By  Katherine Kornei , Eos/AGU.  Excerpt: As stellar neighbors go, the Sun is a pretty good one—it occasionally produces a sizeable solar flare, but mostly, it leaves Earth well enough alone. The Proxima Centauri solar system isn’t so lucky, however: Blasts of electromagnetic radiation from Proxima Centauri, the next nearest star to our own, can be potentially lethal to nearby planets. Researchers recently spotted the brightest stellar flare ever detected from Proxima Centauri. That flare might have contributed to stripping away the atmosphere of one of its planets, a roughly Earth mass world that potentially hosts liquid water on its surface. ...Destroyer of Atmospheres ...Proxima Centauri’s faintness stems from its low mass—it’s what astronomers refer to as an M dwarf star, defined as having a mass between roughly 10% and 50% the mass of the Sun. M dwarf stars are the most common stars in the

China lands rover on Mars in ‘milestone’ achievement Source: By   Antonia Noori Farzan , The Washington Post.  Excerpt: China successfully landed a rover-carrying spacecraft on Mars for the first time, state-run media reported Saturday, marking another major victory for the country’s ambitious space program.... China now joins the United States as the only other nations to have successfully landed and operated rovers on Mars, and Chinese President Xi Jinping hailed a   “milestone”  achievement. The Tianwen-1 spacecraft, launched from the Chinese province of Hainan in July, has been orbiting Mars since February while looking for potential landing sites. Early Saturday, it released an entry capsule containing a lander and a rover that began to plummet through the Mars atmosphere, according to   state-run Xinhua News Agency . The entry capsule safely touched down in a flat plane on Mars’ surface at 7:18 a.m. Beijing time (7:18 p.m. Friday Eastern time), though it took about a

NASA Mars Helicopter Makes One-Way Flight to New Mission Source: By  Kenneth Chang , The New York Times.  Excerpt: On Friday, Ingenuity, which last month became the first machine to fly like an airplane or a helicopter on another world, took off for the fifth time. It made a successful one-way trip to another flat patch of Mars more than the length of a football field away. The spot where it landed will serve as its base of operations for the next month at least, beginning a new phase of the mission where it will serve as a scout for its larger robotic companion, the Perseverance rover....