Earth’s Van Allen Radiation Belt to be Probed by NASA Satellites

van-allen-radiation-belts

On August 23rd, NASA will launch the Radiation Belt Storm Probes, a pair of specially designed satellites to gather information about the Earth’s Van Allen radiation belts, the concentric bands of plasma that protect the biosphere of the planet from highly charged particles.

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Spacecraft to Explore Supermassive Black Holes at Center of Galaxies

NASA-NuSTAR

By the standards of space-based astronomy, NASA’s new NuSTAR (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array) telescope that will be launched later this month has a modest budget of $165 million. However, it and XMM-Newton will try to probe the insides of the supermassive black holes hidden inside of galaxies.

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Private Rocket Launch Tests Supersonic Parachute and Reusable Tech

armadillo-aerospace-ballute

A private spaceflight company, Armadillo Aerospace, is reviewing their test data from a rocket test in the New Mexico desert. The flight encountered problems while testing a new launch and balloon parachute technologies, but the company remains one of the leading private entities in the alt.space industry.

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NASA’s Kepler Mission Discovers 11 New Extrasolar Systems with 26 Exoplanets

extra-solar-planet

NASA’s Kepler mission has discovered 11 new planetary systems, with an additional 26 confirmed planets, which actually doubles the number of verified Kepler planets and triples the number of stars known to have more than one planet. It’s hoped that such systems might elucidate how planets are formed.

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