An instrument similar to those used on Earth by art detectives and to sense explosives at airports will be taken into space for the first time by ExoMars, the European Space Agency's mission to Mars in 2018. This Raman spectrometer will help space scientists to hunt for traces of Martian life.
Unresolved questions about the nature of supermassive black holes, gravitational monsters at the heart of nearly all large galaxies, were at the forefront of a recent conference at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Mars rovers, such as Curiosity, currently can't make science decisions on their own. That has to change if future rover missions are to make discoveries further out in the solar system, scientists say. To help future rover missions spend less time waiting for instructions from Earth, scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., developed an advanced two-lens camera, called TextureCam, that can think about the pictures it snaps and make science-based decisions.
Astronomers discover how the image of a distant quasar splits into multiple images by the effects of a cloud of ionized gas in our own Milky Way Galaxy. Such events were predicted as early as in the 1970s, but the first evidence for one now has come from observations performed with the telescope array VLBA and analysed in the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy.
Astronomers using a worldwide network of radio telescopes have found strong evidence that a powerful jet of material propelled to nearly light speed by a galaxy's central black hole is blowing massive amounts of gas out of the galaxy. This process, they said, is limiting the growth of the black hole and the rate of star formation in the galaxy, and thus is a key to understanding how galaxies develop.
Scientists, including University of New Hampshire astrophysicists involved in NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer mission, have discovered that the particles streaming into the solar system from interstellar space have likely changed direction over the last 40 years.
Astronomers are constantly on the hunt for ever-colder star-like bodies, and two years ago a new class of such objects was discovered. However, until now no one has known exactly how cool their surfaces really are -- some evidence suggested they could be room temperature. A new study shows that while these brown dwarfs, sometimes called failed stars, are warmer than previously thought with temperatures about 250-350 degrees Fahrenheit.
How many different molecules can be created when you release one of the universe's most reactive substances, hydrogen cyanide, in the lab? And will the process create some particularly interesting molecules?
In 2012, Astronomy and Astrophysics published a statistical study of the isotopic records of solar activity, in which Abreu et al. claimed that there is evidence of planetary influence on solar activity. A+A is publishing a new analysis of these isotopic data by Cameron and Schuessler. It corrects technical errors in the statistical tests performed by Abreu et al. They find no evidence of any planetary effect on solar activity.