FROM Ian O'Neill
Spacecraft Cassini's grand finale The Cassini spacecraft is one of NASA’s greatest achievements… exploration of the planet Saturn, its moons and its rings. But all good things much come to an end. After 20 years in space, Cassini is running out of fuel. NASA's Cassini spacecraft is shown heading toward the gap between Saturn and its rings in this artist's rendering. Illustration by NASA/JPL-Caltech But last night, just before midnight at the Jet Propulsion Lab in California, Cassini chalked up another accomplishment as the spacecraft passed between Saturn and its closest ring for the first time. Astrophysicist and science writer Ian O'Neill reflects on what he calls a " bittersweet ending ."
Elon Musk's plan to make people an interplanetary species Futurist entrepreneur Elon Musk says humanity has only one alternative to inevitable extinction here on Earth: the colonization of outer space and other planets. He says we can get to Mars in less than 10 years. Elon Musk is a well-known entrepreneur whose projects include electric cars and reusable space rockets. Yesterday, at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, he told an audience that human species has only two alternatives. The first is inevitable extinction by one means or another here on Earth. Astrophysicist Ian O’Neill, senior producer for space at Discovery News , expounds on the other alternative.
In Scientific Milestone, Einstein's Gravitational Waves The world of astronomy is celebrating a discovery most of the rest of us will have trouble understanding. But it's said to provide a whole new way of looking at the universe -- and even listening to it. Image: Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory ( LIGO ) One astronomer says, "the skies will never be the same" after today's announcement that science has finally detected the gravitational waves predicted by Albert Einstein 100 years ago. We hear more from astrophysicist Ian O'Neill, a Space Science Producer for Discovery News , and Nickie Twilley, a contributing writer for the New Yorker and co-host of Gastropod, a podcast about food.
Liquid Water Discovered on Mars Not all the water on Mars was frozen in polar icecaps billions of years ago. Photographs taken from NASA's Reconnaissance Orbiter reveal that there is liquid water, even today, on the surface of the Red Planet. That's according to a paper published today in the journal Nature Geoscience — and the finding is re-igniting an age-old question: is Mars home to some form of life? Ian O'Neill is an astrophysicist and space science producer for Discovery News .
Virgin Galactic Flight Crashes One pilot has died and another is seriously injured after Virgin Galactic's space tourism rocket encountered a problem during a test flight and crashed in the Mojave Desert east of Los Angeles. Ian O'Neill is an astrophysicist and space science producer for Discovery News.
India Launches Its First Mission to Mars After what's called a "textbook launch" watched by millions on TV, another rocket is on its way to the planet Mars. If it reaches the target, India will have joined the US, Russia and Europe in the exploration of Mars. Astrophysicist Ian O'Neill is Space Science Producer for Discovery News .
Rare Mars Meteorite Sheds Light on Planet's History There are only a hundred or so Martian meteorites on earth and scientists have found one that's unlike anything they've seen before. Its official name is NWA 7034, but scientists have nicknamed it Black Beauty. The baseball-sized meteorite, found in the Saharan desert in 2011, has turned out to be one of the biggest finds ever from the Red Planet, opening a whole new window on Mars. Astrophysicist Ian O'Neill is a space science producer at Discovery News .
'Curiosity' Lands Safely on the Red Planet After Curiosity landed last night, it took 14 minutes for the message to arrive in the control room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. The room erupted in cheers and elation. Allen Chen is flight dynamics and operations lead for the Curiosity descent and landing team at JPL . Astrophysicist Ian O'Neill is space science producer for Discovery News .
'Curiosity' Lands Safely on the Red Planet NASA's rover Curiosity survived " seven minutes of terror " last night to begin one of the most ambitious missions to another planet in human history. After Curiosity landed last night, it took 14 minutes for the message to arrive in the control room at the JPL in Pasadena, where it was greeted with cheers and elation. Allen Chen is flight dynamics and operations lead for the Curiosity descent and landing team at Jet Propulsion Laboratory . Astrophysicist Ian O'Neill is space science producer for Discovery News .
The Mars Mission: Made in LA At 10:31 Sunday evening, Pacific Standard Time, the Mars Laboratory called " Curiosity " will land on the Red Planet, after decelerating from 13,000 miles an hour in just seven minutes. We hear about some of the reasons for nail-biting at the Jet Propulsion Lab and Cal Tech in Pasadena.
SpaceX Dragon Capsule on Its Way to the Space Station From Cape Canaveral, Space X has launched a capsule that's operating under its own power. Can it make history by completing a rendezvous with the International Space Station? Astrophysicist Ian O'Neill is Space Science Producer for Discovery News .
Private Enterprise in Low Earth Orbit PayPal billionaire Elon Musk admits, "There's a lot that can go wrong." But his Dragon space capsule could be the first private mission to reach the International Space Station as soon as next week. Launch is scheduled for Saturday from the Air Force Station at Cape Canaveral.
Quantity of Space Junk Reaches 'Tipping Point' In 2009, two satellites — one left over from the Soviet era and another important to current communications — crashed into each other. The result was 1700 pieces of space debris big enough to track from the Earth, so much that NASA is studying cosmic nets, magnets and giant umbrellas to protect satellites and allow for new travel in space. What will it take to retain control of that environment? Ian O'Neill is space science producer for Discovery News .
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.
Janesville and the American Dream Janesville, Wisconsin is the hometown of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he couldn’t prevent the closing of the General Motors factory after 100 years. On this Memorial Day rebroadcast of To the Point, we hear what’s happened to what once was a model of American middle-class unity.
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.