The Hubble space telescope just spotted a gang of ‘monster’ stars
It’s the biggest gaggle of massive stars we’ve seen since the Academy Awards: New images from The Hubble Space Telescope show a cluster of nine monster stars — each one more than 100 times more massive than our sun. One of them is the previously discovered R136a1, which is the most massive, luminous star in the known universe.
“Together these nine stars outshine the Sun by a factor of 30 million,”according to a statement from the European Space Agency, which operates the telescope with NASA.
In addition to those nine headliners, the young star cluster R136 — located about 170,000 light years away in the Tarantula Nebula — also contains dozens of stars of at least 50 solar masses.
This common bacterium grows 60% better in space than on Earth
It’s something that no one can explain right now, but scientists have found that of the 48 harmless bacteria strains they’ve been raising on the International Space Station, one has not just adapted to its new microgravity environment some 400 km above Earth – it prefers it.
According to a new study, Bacillus safensis JPL-MERTA-8-2 – a strain that was first discovered on one of the Mars Exploration Rovers at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida before they launched in 2004 – grew an impressive 60 percent better in space than the control colonies on Earth, and it’s not yet clear why.
The most obvious difference between the two environments is gravity, but as David Coil, a University of California, Davis microbiologist and lead researcher on the project, said, it’s highly unlikely that gravity makes any difference to individual microbes, seeing as they’re so incredibly minute.
NASA developed a super compact fitness machine for deep space missions
Astronauts at the International Space Station have to work out every day to keep themselves healthy. This means they exercise two hours per day on three different machines—a bike, a treadmill, and the so-called Advanced Restive Exercise Device, ARED—to prevent loss of bone density and muscle mass. On the ISS there is enough space for these machines, but what about the less roomy deep-space vehicles like the Orion Spacecraft, on which NASA wants to send astronauts on long journeys to the moon and Mars?
The answer is a brand new space fitness machine, the Miniature Exercise Device (MED-2), a compact, lightweight, all-in-one exercise machine, designed for future spaceflight missions beyond Low Earth Orbit. It can be used for a total body workout, from squats and bending exercises for the legs, to arm exercises. This little machine really gets a lot done, as the short video published by NASA Johnson Space Center explains below. MED-2 is on its way to the space station for testing in microgravity, on Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft.
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