Science & Astronomy
14. February 2016

This week’s round of space and science news is again a colleection of articles I posted in my Space & Astronomy Collection on Google+ and in the WSH Crew Community. It’s the big gravitational waves week! The rumours have been running wild since last Autumn and it turns out they were actually right – LIGO had detected gravitational waves already in mid-September, but it took a while to be really sure that it was the real thing. Other news were somewhat dwarfed by this announcement, but there was actually a lot going on from some rocket launches, to strange reports about a fatal meteorite strike, two postponed launches, North Korea’s satellite going wonky, saying goodbye to Philae and the 2017 NASA budget proposal.

» Einstein’s gravitational waves found at last (Nature) – This is actually the very first article that broke the news on Friday, but the LIGO website has the best resources including all the data. The funniest thing was that the embargo was actually broken by a cake!

» Delta IV successfully lifts classified Radar Satellite into Unique Backwards Orbit (Spaceflight101) – Rocket launches may not be so special anymore, but this one actually was because of its unusual target orbit.

» Scientists discover hidden galaxies behind the Milky Way (International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research) – Our own galactic neighbourhood gets in the way and the only way to look behind it is radio astronomy. Enter the venerable Parkes radio telescope!

» Was A Man Struck And Killed By A Meteorite In India? (Universe Today) – There were a lot of strange articles about this supposed deadly meteorite strike in India, but no real evidence surfaced.

» SES applauds SpaceX’s willingness to skip landing attempt to give SES-9 a bigger boost (SpaceNews) – The next SpaceX launch on February 24 will not attempt to land the first stage in favour of giving the payload more velocity.

» First locks released from Lisa Pathfinder’s cubes ( – Now that we have gravitational waves detected with Earth-bound instruments, LISA Pathfinder can go start looking in space.

» Russia Enters New Space Race, Revealing Their Manned Lunar Lander (Futurism) – Roscosmos shows off a design concept of a Lunar Lander, but if it gets ever built is still very much in the future.

» The Impossible Particle: Japanese Physicists Say They’ve Found The Tetraneutron (Futurism) – There’s evidence of a particle with only four neutrons and not a single proton – it’s not exactly peer-reviewed or confirmed with more experiments, but it could be possibe.

» China’s nuclear fusion machine just smashed Germany’s hydrogen plasma record (ScienceAlert) – Either this is just Chinese scientists bragging or they are really doing something better than the German

» North Korean satellite experiences problems in orbit (SpaceflightInsider) – It looks like the so-called ‘satellite’ North Korea shot into space last week seems to be tumbling uncontrolled in orbit.

» Mold contamination delays Orbital ATK cargo flight to ISS (SpaceNews) – Luckily the mold was not found in the spacecraft itself, but in the cargo – but this might be the first time a flight has been delayed for such a problem!

» Launch of Japanese X-ray observatory postponed (SpaceflightNow) – Another postponed launch, but this time thankfully only because of weather issues.

» Farewell to Philae as Rosetta probe goes into ‘eternal hibernation’ (The Guardian) – Philae doesn’t phone home anymore, but the little probe on the comet did so much better than everyone expected.

» Obama Administration Proposes Smaller 2017 NASA Budget of $19 Billion with Big Exploration Cuts (Universe Today) – It could have been worse, but it’s not that great either. At least everything that’s currently in space can continue working.

» Video of the Week: OK Go’s Upside Down & Inside Out music video, filmed in real zero-g and with some interesting behind-the-scenes facts from none other than Phil Plait!

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