Artist impression of the protoplanetary disc surrounding the young star MWC 480. ALMA has detected the complex organic molecule methyl cyanide in its outer reaches (Image B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF))

For many years, scientists have known that complex molecules can form in space, including some important in the birth of life forms. This month, two studies have been published that prove the presence of various molecules of this type in an infant solar system and even in protostellar clouds in which Sun-like stars are formed together with their planets.

Images of the huge storm on Saturn taken by the Cassini space probe (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI)

In late 2010, NASA’s space probe Cassini started observing a huge storm on Saturn lasting for several months. In recent days, an article was published on the journal “Nature Geoscience” that provides an explanation for this phenomenon that had been observed a number of times in the last 140 years but had remained mysterious. According to a team led by Cheng Li of CalTech, Pasadena, the presence of water is the key to its origin.

The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft at the beginning of its CRS-6 mission blasting off atop a Falcon 9 rocket (Photo NASA)

A few hours ago the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft blasted off on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in its CRS-6 (Cargo Resupply Service 6) mission, also referred to as SPX-6. This is the 6th of 12 missions that for the Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station with a cargo and its return to Earth, again with a cargo.

One of the possible configurations of the Vulcan rocket (Image courtesy ULA. All rights reserved)

Yesterday at the 31st National Space Symposium being held in Colorado Springs the United Launch Alliance (ULA) presented the project of its new carrier rocket Vulcan, formerly known as Next Generation Launch System (NGLS). The idea is to combine the best features of ULA’s rockets, Atlas and Delta, with some changes to get one that is still reliable but that also allows cheaper launches. The development of the possibility to recover the first stage engines for their reuse is part of the plan.