Reports of an out-of-control space station hurtling towards Earth may sound like a bad April Fools’ prank. However, this was no joke. At 5:16 pm PDT on April 1 (April 2, 00:16 GMT), China’s school bus-sized Tiangong-1 met a fiery end over the South Pacific, ending weeks of uncertainty as to when and where it would land.
Kids News - Space Articles
With over 3,500 exoplanets confirmed as of January 2018 and more being observed on a regular basis, the discoveries have become almost routine. However, all the planets found thus far have been within the Milky Way, the galaxy that contains our solar system. Now, scientists from the University of Oklahoma believe they may have found evidence of trillions of planets beyond our galaxy.
RZ Piscium, a star located 550 light years away in the constellation Pisces, has long intrigued researchers with its strange “winking” behavior. During the erratic episodes, which last as long as two days, the celestial body becomes about ten times dimmer and discharges a larger than normal amount of energy at infrared wavelengths, indicating the presence of enormous dust clouds.
Teacher Resource & Giveaway
Uncover the Flashback Four series from New York Times bestselling author Dan Gutman. Flashback Four blends fascinating history with madcap adventure, following four kids who must travel back in time to snap rare photos of real historic events! From Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address to the sinking of the Titanic to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Pompeii, the Flashback Four series makes history fun! Enter to win a FREE copy for your class.
Science fiction thrillers frequently feature accidents that cause astronauts to float away into space. Though this has yet to happen in the real world, it is a risk every astronaut is well-aware of when embarking on a spacewalk or Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA). To prevent the nightmare scenario, space explorers are not only tethered to the spacecraft but also fitted with a backup safety kit.
After almost two years of traveling through space, on September 22, 2017, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx (Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer) made its closest flyby of Earth. Moving at speeds of about 19,000 mph, the spacecraft passed within 11,000 miles of the planet’s surface just south of Chile, before zooming over Antarctica. The carefully orchestrated encounter was designed to take advantage of the Earth’s gravity to help launch OSIRIS-REx towards a tiny asteroid named Bennu. Referred to as the slingshot effect, or gravity assist, the ingenious method helps propel spacecrafts to great distances without expending precious fuel.
After providing the world with spectacular close-up images of Pluto and its icy moons in the summer of 2015, NASA’s New Horizons is zipping off into uncharted territory a billion miles away. On January 1, 2019, the spacecraft will fly past the most remote world ever explored by mankind. Dubbed (486958) 2014 MU69, the small frozen object that lies in the Kuiper Belt may help scientists reveal the origins of our solar system. To mark this historic event, the US Space Agency is asking the public to help find a nickname that is easier to remember than the elaborated moniker assigned by researchers.
Many kids dream of venturing into space to search for new planets or to conduct cutting-edge research on the International Space Station (ISS). In August 2017, twelve eager men and women came one step closer to realizing their lifelong ambition, when they reported to the Johnson Space Center in Houston to begin two years of grueling training. If they succeed, they will be NASA’s biggest graduating class of astronauts since 2000.
Earlier this month, millions of Americans were treated to a rare spectacle: a total solar eclipse that was visible from coast-to-coast. While Florence, a massive asteroid that will zip past our planet on September 1, will not overshadow the stunning event, it will make history of its own. According to Paul Chodas at the Center for Near Earth Object (NEO) Studies, the space rock is the largest to pass this close to our planet since the first near-Earth asteroid was discovered over a century ago.