Space & Astronomy News

The Latest in Astronomy and Space News with Summaries by Tony Darnell

JWST Latest Official Launch Date Set: December 18, 2021

8th Sep, 2021

NASA has completed building and testing the JWST and is shipping it to the launch area at ESA's spaceport in French Guyana. There, the spacecraft will be hoisted onto the rocket in a sequence that will take 55 days. I really hope this is the date, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were delayed again. (Ars Technica)

It's Got Resist-o-Jets! Finnish Company Tests Tech to Get Rid of Space Junk Using Cubesats

18th Aug, 2021

Anything that's got resist-o-jets has got to be cool. What are they? Water-based propellant jets that will assist cubesats with detumbling capabilities and propulsion-based attitude control. Getting rid of space junk and cool new tech to go with it. Check it out here: (

NASA Spacecraft Provides Insight into Asteroid Bennu’s Future Orbit

11th Aug, 2021

NASA researchers used precision-tracking data from the agency’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to better understand movements of the potentially hazardous asteroid Bennu, significantly reducing uncertainties related to its future orbit, and improving scientists’ ability to determine the total impact probability and predict orbits of other asteroids.

NASA's Dragonfly mission to Titan Sets its science goals

10th Aug, 2021

You know things are getting serious when a mission gets its science goals set. Before anything gets built, astronomers sit down to decide what they want to learn and that important step has been completed. The plan is to look for biosignatures on the moon of Saturn; investigating the moon's active methane cycle; and exploring the prebiotic chemistry currently taking place in Titan's atmosphere and on its surface. The goals are as big as they are broad. The plan is to launch the mission in 2026 to arrive at Titan in 2034. This mission is one I'm most excited for after JWST (Science Daily)

Welp, NASA Won't Be Landing Astronauts in 2024

10th Aug, 2021

A GAO Report released today says that because of problems with new space suits being designed for Artemis, landing people on the moon in 2024 is not 'feasible'. The delays in getting the new suits ready (called EMU's) were due to to funding shortfalls, COVID-19 impacts, and technical challenges. These factors have put the schedule for the new suits 20 months behind schedule and makes it unlikely NASA will be boots on the ground ready on schedule for 2024. (GAO Report)

TESS Is a Rock Star with Astro Seismology

9th Aug, 2021

TESS has detected over 150,000 pulsing, red giant stars. Because it is so sensitive to small changes in brightness, discovering exoplanets is not all it can do. TESS is also a great tool for measuring variability in stars. (Sci News)