A meteor streaked across the sky in Russia today, reportedly causing hundreds of injuries. The meteor, which was captured on video, came as many were focused on another space object, 2012 DA14, which will fly within a few thousand miles of Earth today. Neil deGrasse Tyson is the director of the Hayden Planetarium and host of Star Talk Radio.
After half a century at the forefront of space exploration, NASA’s been hit by hard times. Last year, its groundbreaking and celebrated space-shuttle program was shuttered. The cosmos won’t see another American spacecraft for at least another decade, and that once dreamed of trip to Mars — not too long ago a serious interest of the U.S. government — isn't even close to being a priority.
NASA’s Kepler mission has confirmed the discovery of a planet in the habitable zone of a sun-like star. A NASA researcher says the Earth-like planet would have a surface temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it a so-called "Goldilocks planet" — not too hot, not too cold, just right to support life. Researchers have also measured the largest black holes yet. A team of UC Berkeley scientists have confirmed the discovery of the two biggest black holes yet to be documented. Each black hole is 10 billion times larger than our sun.
On Thanksgiving week, the big stories were the consumer's holiday shopping start-up — Black Friday, of course. The turkey was barely cold this year before family members were out the door to hit the box stores for the biggest deals of the season. In Washington, the debt committee was the most expected failure all year. And pepper spray went from a crime deterrent to an Internet meme.
On Saturday, NASA will be launching the new rover "Curiosity," also known as Mars Science Laboratory. The mission is meant to examine chemical ingredients to see if the planet can support human life. The spacecraft will explore a crater the size of a large lake. Curiosity is delivering a rover equipped to test if there is methane in the air. This could be a key sign that the "Red Planet" may be able to support life.
Just a few months ago, the future of NASA seemed in doubt. But the space agency announced on Wednesday a new rocket design that it says will be the centerpiece of a deep-space exploration program for decades to come. The Space Launch System could lift astronauts farther than ever before, making it eventually possible to journey to Mars.
The space shuttle Atlantis returned this morning, marking the end of an era. The space shuttle program began with the launch of Columbia on April 12, 1981. The program advanced space exploration into the twenty-first century. Contrary to the Apollo missions, which sparked fierce competition between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, the space shuttle program existed mostly in an era of collaboration and cooperation between nations.
The largest flare on the sun since December of 2006 has erupted, sending up a large cloud of charged magnetic particles, which appeared to cover almost half of the solar surface. The National Weather Service Space Weather Prediction Center warns that this will likely lead to geomagnetic storm activity. Neil deGrasse Tyson speaks with us. deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist, director of the Hayden Planetarium at New York's American Museum of Natural History, and host of NOVA scienceNOW, produced by our partner WGBH.
Photographs of Mercury have come to earth for the first time. The Messenger spacecraft entered Mercury's orbit on March 17 and has just sent back its first batch of photographs. The very first image received shows a crater near the planet's southern pole, an area that has never been seen before. Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist and Director of the Hayden Planetarium and host of "Star Talk Radio." He helps explain why these photos are important.
When the space shuttle Discovery lands at Kennedy Space Center later today, its odometer will read somewhere in the neighborhood of 150,000,000 miles. The shuttle has flown 39 missions in its 27 year career. After today's landing, it will retire on planet earth. With Discovery's retirement, an era of American space exploration comes to a close; and, due to political and economic realities at home, future chapters remain in doubt. Yesterday, the US National Research Council reported that two planned rover missions to Mars, which NASA intended to launch along with ESA in 2018, may be about $1 billion outside of the U.S. budget.
For the first time in over four hundred years, a lunar eclipse lands on the winter solstice. On the morning after this auspicious coincidence, we catch up with some professional star gazers to get a sense of the event’s astronomic and historical significance. We speak with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium and host of NOVA's "Science Now," along with Cameron Hummel, a PhD Student at Columbia University’s Department of Astronomy.
Eighty years ago an astronomer named Clyde Tombaugh, who worked at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, made a discovery that would capture the imagination of space enthusiasts for generations. He found Pluto.