Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Space Highlights - August 10, 2016

August 10, 2016

SpaceVR has signed a launch agreement with SpaceX to place its first virtual reality satellite camera into orbit in the summer of 2017.  The camera's footage would be projected inside an Earth-based sphere, to provide customers with an immersive, streaming footage, orbital virtual-reality experience.

China conducted a surprise launch of its first Tiantong-1 communications satellite this week, aboard a Long March 3B booster.  The launch was not announced prior to lift-off - an event which some locals reported as an "earthquake" after the launch shook windows in nearby towns.

Micro-satellite provider Vector Space Systems has won an agreement from Finland's Iceye for the launch of 21 synthetic aperture radar satellites.

NASA's Curiosity rover recently celebrated its fourth year on the surface of Mars.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has made its deepest plunge to date through the icy water plumes that erupt from the surface of Saturn's moon, Enceladus.

Scientists have been using subtle variations in the orbital trajectory of the Dawn spacecraft to create a gravity map of the surface of the asteroid Ceres, providing insight into the internal structure of the dwarf planet.  The data suggests that Ceres has a complex internal structure with multiple layers where rock and ice have separated during its early history.

Researchers have tracked winds on the exoplanet Kepler 438b that have reached speeds up to 20 times faster than the highest wind speeds recorded on Earth.  The exoplanet was located by the Kepler space telescope, and resides some 470 light years away from Earth.  The planet is only slightly larger than Jupiter, but orbits a flaring red dwarf star at a distance closer than the planet Mercury is to our own Sun.

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