Van Allen probes revolutionise view of radiation belts

  About 950 km from Earth’s surface is the first of two doughut-shaped electron swarms, known as the Van Allen belts, or the radiation belts. Understanding the shape and size of the belts, which can shrink and swell in response to incoming radiation from the sun, is crucial for protecting our technology in space. The […]

SALT helps to unveil a record-breaking cosmic blast

  A collaboration of telescopes, including a major contribution by the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) in Sutherland, Africa’s giant eye on the universe, has unveiled a cosmic explosion about 200 times more powerful than a typical supernova, events which already rank amongst the mightiest outbursts in the universe. It was more than twice as […]

New green technologies can save the airline industry billions

  The airline industry could realise billions of rand in savings in the near future thanks to green-related technologies developed and refined by NASA’s aeronautics researchers during the past six years. These new technologies, developed under the preview of NASA’s environmentally responsible aviation (ERA) project, could cut airline fuel use in half, pollution by 75% […]

Humans will journey to Mars in the 2030s

  Mars is a rich destination for scientific discovery and robotic and human exploration as we expand our presence into the solar system. Its formation and evolution are comparable to Earth, helping scientists to learn more about planet Earth’s history and future. Mars had conditions suitable for life in its past. Future exploration could uncover […]

Water flows on Mars: NASA

New findings from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provide the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows intermittently on Mars. John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington said that the quest for water on Mars has been to “follow the water,” in search for life in the universe. “Now […]

Optical space research laboratory to study atmospheric gravity waves

  Dr. Sandile Malinga, CEO of the South African National Space Agency (SANSA)  has announced that a state-of-the-art optical space research laboratory (OSR), will be constructed at the South African Astronomical Observatory in Sutherland (the world’s darkest astronomical site) later this year. He was speaking at the 17th European Incoherent Scatter Scientific Association (EISCAT) symposium […]

Scientists develop new tools for predicting arrival and impact of solar storms

  When the sun hurls a billion tons of high-energy particles and magnetic fields into space at speeds of more than a million miles per hour and the “space weather” conditions are right, the resulting geomagnetic storm at Earth can wreak havoc on communication and navigation systems, electrical power grids, and pose radiation hazards to […]

Are we heading for a Maunder Minimum?

  Will history repeat itself? Is the sun gearing for a Maunder Minimum? Prof. Valentina Zharkova, a mathematics professor at Northumbria University believes we are.  She delivered the results of a study which proved that the sun may have two hearts in a presentation at the Royal Astronomical Society’s National Astronomy meeting, held from 5 […]

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