Today in Space

Planet found with double suns (just like in Star Wars)

Awesome, further proof George Lucas knows more than he's letting on... because Saturn's Moon Iaepetus is the deathstar. First the Iaepetus/Deathstar photo, then on with Kepler-16b.

(go read about Iapetus over at Enterprise Mission)

Star Wars fans will appreciate this bit of news from NASA: The double sunset observed by Luke Skywalker on the fictional planet Tatooine is a reality on a planet about 200 light years away from Earth.

The planet, called Kepler-16b, is cold and gaseous — in other words, Luke isn’t there. But it orbits two stars, making it the first circumbinary planet ever officially confirmed by astronomers.

Read more about this Star Wars-like planet HERE


Senate saves the James Webb Space Telescope

Yay! I can't wait till this thing gets finished and launched, it's going to give us lots of awesome stuff!

The 2012 fiscal year appropriation bill, marked up today by the Senate, allows for continued funding of the James Webb Space Telescope and support up to a launch in 2018! Yes, it looks like this bird is going to fly.

Read more about it HERE


Soyuz lands safely in Kazakhstan, rattles nerves

Hopefully this gives some confidence back to the use of the Russian equipment.

A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying three returning astronauts from the International Space Station touched down safely Friday in the central steppes of Kazakhstan, but not without rattling nerves after a breakdown in communications.

Read more about it HERE


How single stars lost their companions

Not all stars are loners. In our home galaxy, the Milky Way, about half of all stars have a companion and travel through space in a binary system. But explaining why some stars are in double or even triple systems while others are single has been something of a mystery. Now a team of astronomers from Bonn University and the Max-Planck-Institute for Radio astronomy (also in Bonn) think they have the answer – different stellar birth environments decide whether a star holds on to its companion. The scientists publish their results in a paper in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Read more about it HERE


NASA Mars research helps find buried water on Earth

A NASA-led team has used radar sounding technology developed to explore the subsurface of Mars to create high-resolution maps of freshwater aquifers buried deep beneath an Earth desert, in the first use of airborne sounding radar for aquifer mapping.

Read more about it HERE