Our solar system may have a ninth planet after all
Two scientists claim that they have found the best evidence yet that a ninth planet exists at the outer limits of the Solar System. It’s called Planet X, and it’s roughly the size of Neptune, the researchers say. The reason we haven’t seen it yet is because it orbits far out from the Sun on a highly elliptical path, which takes 10,000 to 20,000 years to make one full circuit. But no one’s ready to say the Sun has nine planets again — there’s no direct evidence that this object actually exists.
The entire argument about the existence of Planet X is a theoretical one, based on mathematical models made from six Kuiper Belt objects. It’s based on the movements of these objects, which show signs they’ve been affected by something large, the researchers wrote in The Astronomical Journal. Essentially, the objects all have orbits that take them within the same area near the Sun, as if they’ve been pushed there by something bigger. And if Planet X — also sometimes called Planet Nine — exists, it’s way out there; it’s somewhere between 200 and 1,200 times the distance from the Sun to Earth.
India’s PSLV-C31 rocket puts fifth navigation satellite IRNSS-1E in earth’s orbit
India on Wednesday placed its fifth navigation satellite, the IRNSS-1E, in the earth’s lower orbit after a textbook-launch from the PSLV-C31 rocket port here.With this launch, India moves closer to joining a select group of nations having their own satellite-based navigation systems to provide accurate position information services to users across the country and the region, extending approximately 1,500 km around India.
The 44-metre-high polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV-C31), weighing 320 tonnes and carrying the 1,425-kg Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS-1E), soared into a cloudy sky, leaving behind a column of dense orange flame and a huge cloud of fumes at the second launch pad of the Satish Dhawan space centre on the sea coast here, about 80 km north-east of Chennai.
Completion of Orion’s pressure vessel
NASA’s Orion spacecraft is another step closer to launching on its first mission to deep space atop the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.
On Jan. 13, technicians at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans finished welding together the primary structure of the Orion spacecraft destined for deep space, marking another important step on the journey to Mars.
Welding Orion’s seven large aluminum pieces, which began in September 2015, involved a meticulous process. Engineers prepared and outfitted each element with strain gauges and wiring to monitor the metal during the process. The pieces were joined using a state-of-the-art process called friction-stir welding, which produces incredibly strong bonds by transforming metals from a solid into a plastic-like state, and then using a rotating pin tool to soften, stir and forge a bond between two metal components to form a uniform welded joint, a vital requirement of next-generation space hardware.
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Build up your space resume by participating in the project Asterank: to discover an asteroid, watch the animation of the night sky and look for a moving white dot. There’s a good chance that moving dot is an asteroid. The first user to notice the dot gets potential discovery credit and naming rights. You can contribute to the project and help with issues or additional features on GitHub. More information