For the past five billion years, the expansion of the Universe has been speeding up, powered by the mysterious repulsive force known as 'dark energy'. But thanks to a new technique for measuring the three-dimensional structure of the distant Universe, astronomers from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-III) have made the first measurement of the cosmic expansion rate just three billion years after the Big Bang.
Like in the Shenzhou-9 mission, the crew might include two men astronauts and a woman, who are scheduled to enter the Tiangong-1 space lab module, Niu Hongguang, deputy commander-in-chief of China's manned space program, said on the sidelines of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.
In 1958, the first US rocket - known as Explorer 1 and led by James Van Allen at the University of Iowa - was launched. By providing observations of a giant swath of magnetized radiation trapped around Earth, now known as the Van Allen Belts, Explorer 1 confirmed that Earth's magnetic environment, the magnetosphere, was not a simple place.
DARPA has created SpaceView, a space debris tracking project that provides amateur astronomers with the means to make a difference. Amateur astronomers will have their first opportunity to sign up in person for the program at the Arizona Science and Astronomy Expo in Tucson, November 10-11, 2012.
Miniature satellites weighing under 100 kilograms (kg) are a less expensive and easier-to-launch alternative to large spacecraft. EU-funded scientists are developing a "thruster-on-a-chip" to provide the necessary boost.
The complexities of traveling to and working in space present challenges to astronauts that NASA scientists and engineers have been working on since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first stepped on the moon more than 43 years ago.
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. is using a method called selective laser melting, or SLM, to create intricate metal parts for America's next heavy-lift rocket. Using this state-of-the-art technique will benefit the agency by saving millions in manufacturing costs.
Astronomers have discovered a new super-Earth in the habitable zone, where liquid water and a stable atmosphere could reside, around the nearby star HD 40307. It is one of three new super-Earths found around the star that has three other low-mass planets orbiting it.
European astronomers have discovered a new source of cosmic rays emanating from the vicinity of the Arches cluster, near the centre of the Milky Way. According to the researchers, these particles are accelerated in the shock wave generated by tens of thousands of young stars moving at a speed of around 700 000 km/h.