Uri Geller, who is certainly no stranger to 'out there' claims, recently commented on the news that NASA's Voyager 1 probe - now the furthest man-made object in history - was experiencing technical problems in the form of readouts from its attitude articulation and control system (AACS) which don't seem to reflect what's happening onboard.
Everything on the spacecraft appears to be working correctly - it is successfully receiving and executing commands and its high-gain antenna is still pointing back towards the Earth.
The telemetry data, however, is gibberish - appearing either randomly generated or reflecting an invalid state for the AACS.
As things stand, Voyager 1 doesn't appear to be in any immediate danger, however NASA will continue to work on the problem in an effort to determine what might be going wrong.
Uri Geller, meanwhile, believes that he knows what's up... aliens.
"The Voyager 1 probe left earth in 1977 and is now 14.5 billion miles away!" he wrote on Twitter.
"But NASA is now receiving what it calls 'impossible data' from it. Their leading theory = a glitch in its articulation and control system... but perhaps it is a controlled signal?"
A tiny rock fragment has hit the new James Webb Space Telescope's main mirror. The damage inflicted by the dust-sized micrometeoroid is producing a noticeable effect in the observatory's data but is not expected to limit the mission's overall performance. James Webb was launched in December to succeed the revolutionary - but now ageing - Hubble Space Telescope.
Astronomers are due to release its first views of the cosmos on 12 July.
The US space agency Nasa said these images would be no less stunning because of what's just happened.
The incident appears to have occurred sometime between 23 and 25 May. Analysis indicates the mirror segment known as C3 - one of the 18 beryllium-gold tiles that make up Webb's 6.5m-wide primary reflector - was struck. The contact left a "dimple" in the segment, Nasa told the Reuters news agency.
The speed at which things move through space means even the smallest particles can impart a lot of energy when colliding with another object. Webb has now been hit five times with this latest event being the most significant.
Webb has an open design; its mirrors are not guarded by the kind of tubular baffle seen on other space telescopes, such as Hubble. Instead, the reflectors sit behind one giant sunshield that allows them to maintain the stable, cold temperatures needed to detect infrared light.
The possibility of micrometeoroid hits was anticipated and contingencies were incorporated into the choice of materials, the construction of components and the different modes of operating the telescope.
"We always knew that Webb would have to weather the space environment, which includes harsh ultraviolet light and charged particles from the Sun, cosmic rays from exotic sources in the galaxy, and occasional strikes by micrometeoroids within our Solar System," said Paul Geithner, technical deputy project manager at Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
"We designed and built Webb with performance margin - optical, thermal, electrical, mechanical - to ensure it can perform its ambitious science mission even after many years in space."
Engineers will adjust the positioning of the affected mirror segment to cancel out a portion of the introduced distortion, but they can't remove it all. Webb is currently gathering observations of the Universe, near and far, to demonstrate its capabilities. Astronomers will present these pictures to the world next month.
Longer term, the scientists intend to use Webb to try to see the very first stars to light up the cosmos more that 13.5 billion years ago. They'll also train the telescope's big "eye" on the atmospheres of distant planets to see if those worlds might be habitable.
The re-entry window of the space debris has narrowed as its orbit decays, and it is no longer possible for the rocket booster stage to fall into the atmosphere over the United States. However, populated areas in Mexico, including the Baja California peninsula near Cabo San Lucas, as well as parts of South America and Southeast Asia remain under the potential re-entry path, according to the latest assessment from the Aerospace Corporation. The falling space junk is the 23-ton booster stage of the Long March 5B-Y3 rocket - China's most powerful - that was launched on July 24 to deliver the Wentian module to China's Tiangong Space Station.
We're landing them vertically like Destination Moon on robot barges and those a******s are dropping their junk on people's heads. Revealing mindset - they don't care about anyone else. They've blown up satellites in the past and made a mess. Released deadly viruses too, while we're making a list.
There's supposed to be an agreement that Apollo landing sites are supposed to be off limits and preserved for history. Taking any bets on whether that actually happens or not?
The Space Launch System is a new rocket for a new era of lunar exploration
The American space agency Nasa is rolling out its giant new Moon rocket to prepare it for a maiden flight.
Known as the Space Launch System (SLS), the vehicle is being taken to Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a lift-off scheduled for 29 August.
The debut outing is a test with no crew aboard, but future missions will send astronauts back to the lunar surface for the first time in over 50 years.
The near 100m-tall (328ft) SLS is riding an immense tractor to the pad.
It started moving from its assembly building at Kennedy late on Tuesday evening, local time, but with a cruising speed of just over 1km/h (under 1mph), it could take 8-10 hours to complete the 6.7km (4.2 miles) journey.
No humans are aboard, but sensor-laden mannequins will record conditions during the mission
This is a key moment for Nasa, which will celebrate in December the half-century anniversary of Apollo 17, the very last human landing on the Moon.
The agency has vowed to return with its new Artemis programme, using technology that befits the modern era (Artemis was Greek god Apollo's twin sister and goddess of the Moon).
Nasa sees a return to the Moon as a way to prepare to go to Mars with astronauts sometime in the 2030s or soon after.
The SLS will have 15% more thrust off the pad than Apollo's Saturn V rockets. This extra power will allow the vehicle to not only send astronauts far beyond Earth but, additionally, so much equipment and cargo that those crews could stay away for extended periods.
The crew capsule, also, is a step up in capability. Called Orion, it is much more spacious, being a metre wider, at 5m (16.5ft), than the historic command modules of the 1960s and 70s.
"To all of us that gaze up at the Moon, dreaming of the day humankind returns to the lunar surface - folks, we're here! We are going back. And that journey, our journey, begins with Artemis 1," said Nasa Administrator Bill Nelson.
"The first crewed launch, Artemis 2, is two years from now in 2024. We're hoping that the first landing, Artemis 3, will be in 2025," he told BBC News.
Nasa has promised that this third mission will witness the first woman to put her boots down on the Moon's surface.
Once the SLS arrives at its launch pad, engineers will have just over a week and a half to get the vehicle ready for flight.
Three possible launch opportunities exist at the end of the month, starting with Monday 29 August.
If technical issues or inclement weather prevent the rocket from getting off Earth on this date, a further attempt can be made on Friday 2 September, and, failing that, on Monday 5 September.
The scope of the mission is to send Orion looping around the back of the Moon before bringing it home for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off California.
A major objective of the test fight is to check the heatshield on the capsule can survive the heat of re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.
Artwork: The conical Orion capsule is pushed through space by the European Service Module
A key partner on the upcoming mission is Europe.
It is providing the propulsion module that sits on the back of Orion, pushing it through space.
"More than 10 countries in Europe have been working on this European Space Agency contribution. It's a hugely important moment for us," explained Siân Cleaver from aerospace manufacturer Airbus.
"The European Service Module is not just a payload, it's not just a piece of equipment - it's a really critical element because Orion can't get to the Moon without us."
While Nasa is developing the SLS, the American rocket entrepreneur Elon Musk is preparing an even larger vehicle at his R&D facility in Texas.
He calls his giant rocket the Starship, and it will play a role in future Artemis missions by linking up with Orion to get astronauts down to the surface of the Moon.
Last man on the Moon: Gene Cernan commanded the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972
Like SLS, Starship has yet to have a maiden flight. Unlike SLS, Starship has been designed to be totally reusable and ought therefore to be considerably cheaper to operate.
A recent assessment from the Office of Inspector General, which audits Nasa programmes, found that the first four SLS missions would each cost more than $4bn to execute - a sum of money that was described as "unsustainable".
The agency said changes made to the way it contracts industry would bring down future production costs significantly.
After Second Failed Launch, NASA Decides To Scrap Artemis Program And Just Fake Another Moon Landing TECH·Sep 5, 2022 · BabylonBee.com
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL – After yet another delay, NASA is halting immediate plans to pursue an Artemis I launch and will scrap the program altogether and fake another moon landing instead.
Future launch periods began to look uncertain, so the team decided that faking another moon landing is superior to continuing to plan and then postpone launches.
"This is just cheaper," said Jim Free, associate administrator for NASA's vaunted Exploration Systems division. "No one will be able to tell the difference anyway. The tech has gotten much better since the last time we faked a moon landing. It's not even close."
Free said the new plan will give his team a much-needed break. "With CGI and other technological leaps we've made since 1969, we basically don't have to do anything. This is much easier, and I've been saying we should do it this way for months."
NASA administrator Bill Nelson added that the team has gotten lots of practice at faking things ever since Biden came into office. "Those speeches where he sounds coherent and not senile?" said Nelson. "One thousand percent us. And let me tell you, those are a lot harder to fake than any moon landing. This is off the record, right?"
The fake landing is scheduled for November 14th in Burbank, California.
In the new picture, released on Sept. 21 by the European Space Agency (ESA), our solar system's eighth planet Neptune shimmers like a glorious crystal ball, with a stack of gauzy rings wrapped magically around it.
Image source, NASA/JHU-APL
Artwork: Only in the last 50 minutes or so before impact will Dart discern its target as a separate body
In the coming hours, the American space agency will crash a probe into an asteroid.
Nasa's Dart mission wants to see how difficult it would be to stop a sizeable space rock from hitting Earth.
The demonstration is taking place some 11 million km away (7 million miles) on a target called Dimorphos.
The agency says the rock is not currently on a path to hit the Earth, nor will the test accidentally send it in our direction.
The impact is timed for 23:14 GMT, Monday (00:14 BST, Tuesday). Telescopes will be watching from afar, including the new super space observatory James Webb.
We've all seen how Hollywood would do it, with brave astronauts and nuclear weapons. But how do you protect Earth from a killer asteroid for real?
Nasa is about to find out. Its idea is simply to smash a spacecraft into one.
The thinking is you would only need to change the rock's velocity by a small amount to alter its path so that it misses Earth - provided you do it far enough in advance.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (Dart) mission will check out this theory with a near-head-on crash into 160m-wide Dimorphos at over 20,000km/h.
This should change its orbit around a much larger asteroid, called Didymos, by just a few minutes every day.
Nasa is promising some spectacular images from the 570kg-Dart probe as it goes in for the hit.
"Dart is the first planetary defence test mission to demonstrate running a spacecraft into an asteroid to move the position of that asteroid ever so slightly in space," explained Dr Nancy Chabot from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, which leads the mission for Nasa.
"This is the sort of thing, if you needed to, that you would do years in advance to just give the asteroid a small nudge to change its future position so that the Earth and the asteroid wouldn't be on a collision course," she told BBC News.
Hitting Dimorphos will be quite the challenge. It's only in the last 50 minutes or so that Dart will be able to distinguish its target from 780m-wide Didymos.
Navigation software must then adjust the spacecraft's trajectory to make a direct hit.
"Because of the speed of light and the distances involved, it's really not feasible for there to be a pilot sitting on the ground with a stick controlling the spacecraft. There just isn't enough time to respond," said Dr Tom Statler, the Dart programme scientist at Nasa.
"We've had to develop software that can interpret images taken by the spacecraft, figure out what is the right target and make the course correction manoeuvres by firing thrusters."
Dart will be returning images to Earth at the rate of one per second as it heads towards its "deep impact". What at first will appear as a dot of light in the pictures will quickly grow to fill the entire field of view, before the feed then suddenly cuts out as the spacecraft is destroyed.
Fortunately, that's not the end of the story. Dart has carried with it a 14kg Italian cubesat that was released some days ago. Its job is to record what happens when Dart digs out a crater.
Its pictures, snapped from the safe distance of 50km, will be beamed back to Earth over the coming days.
"LiciaCube will pass about three minutes after Dart's impact," said Simone Pirrotta from the Italian space agency (ASI).
"This timing has been selected in order to allow the plume of ejecta to be completely developed, because one of the major contributions of LiciaCube is to document the plume to support the measurement of the parameters that confirm the deflection of the orbit."
Currently, Dimorphos takes roughly 11 hours and 55 minutes to circle Didymos. The impact is expected to change the smaller object's momentum such that the orbital period is reduced to something in the order of 11 hours and 45 minutes. Telescope measurements will confirm this in the weeks and months ahead.
Image source, HERA/ESA
Artwork: Europe's follow-up Hera mission will inspect the damage on Dimorphos
Surveys of the sky combined with statistical analyses suggest we have identified more than 95% of the monster asteroids that could initiate a global extinction were they to collide with Earth (they won't; their paths have been computed and they won't come near our planet). But this still leaves many so-far undetected smaller objects that could create havoc, if only on the regional or city scale.
An object like Dimorphos, were it to hit Earth (it won't), might dig out a crater perhaps 1km across and a couple of hundred meters deep. The damage in the vicinity of the impact would be intense.
Four years from now, the European Space Agency (Esa) will have three spacecraft - collectively known as the Hera mission - at Didymos and Dimorphos to make follow-up studies.
Artemis: Nasa expects humans to live on Moon this decade
The Orion capsule looks back towards the Earth
By Rob Corp
Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg
Humans could stay on the Moon for lengthy periods during this decade, a Nasa official has told the BBC.
Howard Hu, who leads the Orion lunar spacecraft programme for the agency, said habitats would be needed to support scientific missions.
He told Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg that Wednesday's launch of the Artemis rocket, which carries Orion, was a "historic day for human space flight".
Orion is currently about 134,000km (83,300 miles) from the Moon.
The 100m-tall Artemis rocket blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center as part of Nasa's mission to take astronauts back to Earth's satellite.
Sitting atop the rocket is the Orion spacecraft which, for this first mission, is uncrewed but is equipped with a 'manikin' which will register the impacts of the flight on the human body.
Wednesday's flight followed two previous launch attempts in August and September that were aborted during the countdown because of technical woes.
Howard Hu is in charge of the Orion spacecraft
Mr Hu told Laura Kuenssberg that watching Artemis lift off was "an unbelievable feeling" and "a dream".
"It's the first step we're taking to long-term deep space exploration, for not just the United States but for the world," he said.
"And I think this is an historic day for Nasa, but it's also an historic day for all the people who love human space flight and deep space exploration.
"I mean, we are going back to the Moon, we're working towards a sustainable programme and this is the vehicle that will carry the people that will land us back on the Moon again."
Mr Hu explained that if the current Artemis flight was successful then the next would be with a crew, followed by a third where astronauts would land on the Moon again for the first time since Apollo 17 50 years ago in December 1972.
The current mission was proceeding well, he told the BBC, with all systems working and the mission team preparing for the next firing of Orion's engines (what is known as a burn) at lunchtime on Monday to put the spacecraft into a distant orbit of the Moon.
Mr Hu admitted that watching the mission from Earth was not unlike being an anxious parent, but he said seeing the images and the videos coming back from Orion "really gives that excitement and feeling of, 'wow, we are headed back to the Moon'".
Watch: Nasa's Artemis I rocket blasts off
One of the most critical phases of the Artemis I mission is getting the Orion module safely back to Earth. It will re-enter the planet's atmosphere at 38,000km/h (24,000mph), or 32 times the speed of sound and the shield on its underside will be subjected to temperatures approaching 3,000C.
Once the safety of Artemis's components and systems has been tested and proven, Mr Hu said the plan was to have humans living on the Moon "in this decade".
A large part of the reason for going back to the Moon is to discover whether there is water at the satellite's south pole, he added, because that could be converted to provide a fuel for craft going deeper into space - to Mars, for example.
"We're going to be sending people down to the surface and they're going to be living on that surface and doing science," Mr Hu said.
"It's really going to be very important for us to learn a little bit beyond our Earth's orbit and then do a big step when we go to Mars.
"And the Artemis missions enable us to have a sustainable platform and transportation system that allows us to learn how to operate in that deep space environment."
The Orion capsule is due back on Earth on 11 December.