SKA project takes a major step forward

The design of the €650-million first phase of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA1) is now defined, consisting of two complementary world-class instruments: one in South Africa and one in Australia – both expected to deliver exciting and transformational science. At their meeting last week at the SKA Organisation headquarters in Manchester, UK, the SKA Board […]

Fluids in Space – shaken not stirred

The next time you pour yourself a glass of water, pause before you drink it. First, swirl the clear liquid around the glass.  Gently slosh it back and forth. Tap the glass on the tabletop, and watch the patterns that form on the surface. “Now imagine the same exercise… in zero gravity.  Would the waves […]

SMAP to study what drives our living planet

  Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) is a three-year mission that will figuratively scratch below Earth’s surface to expand man’s understanding of a key component of the Earth system that links the water, energy and carbon cycles driving the living planet. SMAP’s combined radar and radiometer instruments will peer into the top 5 cm of soil, through […]

There is more to thunderstorms than what you may think!

  Each day, thunderstorms around the world produce about a thousand quick bursts of gamma rays, some of the highest-energy light naturally found on Earth. Gamma rays have the smallest wavelengths and the most energy of any wave in the electromagnetic spectrum. They are produced by the hottest and most energetic objects in the universe, […]

Where did our planet get its oceans?

  One popular theory holds that water was brought to Earth by the ancient impacts of comets and asteroids. However, new data from the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft indicate that terrestrial water did not come from comets like 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Among planetary scientists, this is one of the most important and perplexing questions about the […]

Max Planck Society funding for MeerKAT S-band receivers

  The Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy will build the S-Band receivers for the Meerkat telescope currently under construction at the SKA site in the Karoo, Northern Cape. The Minister of Science and Technology,  Naledi Pandor  and the president of the Max-Planck-Society (MPG), Martin Stratmann, announced that the MPG and the Max Planck Institute […]

Radio silence please: telescopes ahead

  Farming communities in the Northern Cape have been given a new opportunity to connect with the outside world, both by telephony and the internet, thanks to an innovative project of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) South Africa in partnership with Vox Telecom. The implementation of the Astronomy Advantage Act (AAA) was a great boost […]

Unlocking the promise that space holds for economic growth

  Some say space activity is too expensive. Others say it’s cheap. It’s certainly true that the extraordinary social and economic benefits we see are achieved at a very small percentage of global GDP – less than 0,5%. According to the OECD’s Space Economy at a Glance (2014), the space economy generated USD256,2-billion in revenue […]

Young volcanoes on the moon?

  There’s nothing odd about volcanoes on the moon, per se.  Much of the moon’s ancient surface is covered with hardened lava. The main features of the “Man on the Moon” are, in fact,  old basaltic flows deposited billions of years ago when the moon was wracked by violent eruptions. Back in 1971, Apollo 15 […]