Scientists Discover 2nd Alien Planet Around Star Beta Pictoris — and It’s Huge

The solar system around a star called Beta Pictoris was already a pretty interesting place, with a large planet scientists have actually seen and a huge amount of rubble flying around. But it just got even more intriguing.

That’s because astronomers now think they’ve picked up on a second planet orbiting the nearby star. The discovery is based on more than 10 years of data about miniscule changes in the star’s orbit caused by the gravitational tug between the star and what scientists now believe to be a planet.

Read more

Marshall selected to lead NASA human lunar lander program

DALLAS — NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center will manage the agency’s efforts to develop a lander needed to achieve the goal of landing astronauts on the moon by 2024, an announcement overshadowed by political wrangling about what center should be responsible.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, speaking at Marshall and flanked by three House members from Alabama and Tennessee, said that the Huntsville, Alabama, center will have overall responsibility for the Human Landing System program, which will oversee industry development of a human-rated landing system.

Read more



Watch SpaceX Catch a Falling Rocket Fairing

The speedy, net-equipped SpaceX boat plucked a payload fairing out of the sky for the second time ever on Tuesday evening (Aug. 6), during the launch of the Amos-17 communications satellite atop a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket.

“Rocket fairing falls from space & is caught by Ms Tree boat,” SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said about 75 minutes after liftoff via Twitter, where he posted a 28-second-long video of the fairing half settling into GO Ms. Tree’s net in the Atlantic Ocean, far off the Florida coast.

Read more

NASA is planning to spice up space, literally

Space is about to get spicy. The American space agency, NASA, is planning to blast New Mexico chile pepper plants out of the Earth’s atmosphere in March 2020 and grow the fruiting blooms on the International Space Station. Researchers hope it will lead to improved meals for astronauts, as well as a deeper understanding of how to someday grow food on the moon and Mars.

The “Improved Española” breed of New Mexico chile plants will be the first fruit Americans grow aboard the space station. NASA astronauts in 2015 ate lettuce grown in space for the first time, and a zinnia bloomed on the space station in 2016. But Russians were the first to grow produce on the ISS, beginning with peas in 2003, before Americans began extraterrestrial gardening activities.

Read more