October 2018

Graphics showing heliosphere with the Voyager probes' positions (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA announced that its Voyager 2 space probe could be close to interstellar space. Approximately 17.7 billion kilometers (almost 11 billion miles) from the Sun, it detected an increase in cosmic rays coming from outside the solar system, one of the criteria already used in the past to assess whether its twin Voyager 1 had reached interstellar space, an event confirmed in September 2013. The route of the two probes is different and is the reason why one of the two probes is farther than the other and the heliosphere doesn’t have a fixed size so NASA’s monitoring is continuing but there are no certainties yet.

Artist's concept of the planet Kepler-1625b with its moon and its star in the background (Image NASA, ESA, and L. Hustak (STScI))

An article published in the journal “Science Advances” presents the evidence of the existence of a exomoon, a moon orbiting a planet of another solar system, named Kepler-1625b-I. David Kipping and Alex Teachey of Columbia University used observations of the Kepler and Hubble space telescopes to examine the traces left by the exoplanet Kepler-1625b in front of its star, similar to the Sun. The first indications of the discovery of the exomoon candidate were revealed in July 2017, follow-up observations carried out with the Hubble Space Telescope provided new confirmations.

The discovery images of 2015 TG387 (Image courtesy Scott Sheppard. All rights reserved)

An article submitted for publication in “The Astronomical Journal” describes the discovery of 2015 TG387, an object with a length estimated around 300 kilometers (186 miles) whose distance from the Sun is about 80 times the Earth’s. A team of astronomers led by Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science saw it for the first time on October 13, 2015 during the research of another planet beyond Pluto’s orbit. This orbit of this object – which was nicknamed The Goblin – and those of the dwarf planet Sedna and the possible dwarf planet 2012 VP113 could be explained by the presence of a planet that’s still unknown.

NASA's 60th anniversary logo (Image NASA)

On October 1, 1958, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) began its activity. Officially created on July 29, 1958 following the National Aeronautic and Space Act signed by US President Dwight D. Eisenhower, it replaced NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics), which was created to develop military projects. NASA was created as a civilian agency to carry out development in the aeronautical and, above all, space sector with peaceful goals.