Jonathan Amos
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Antarctic iceberg: Giant 'white wanderer' poised to break free

Antarctic iceberg: Giant 'white wanderer' poised to break free

Everybody is fascinated by icebergs. The idea that you can have blocks of frozen water the size of cities, and bigger, sparks our sense of wonder. British astronaut Tim Peake photographed one from orbit that would just about fit inside Central London's ring road. But at 26km by 13km (16 miles by 8 miles), it was a tiddler compared with the berg that is about to break away from the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. A rift has grown across the edge of the Larsen C Ice Shelf. A thin, 5km-long section of the floating shelf is now all that prevents a 6,000-sq-km berg from drifting away...

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Jonathan Amos
July 5, 2017
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Big Antarctic iceberg edges out to sea

Big Antarctic iceberg edges out to sea

The giant berg A-68 looks finally to be on the move. Recent weeks have seen it shuffle back and forth next to the Antarctic ice shelf from which it broke away. But the latest satellite imagery now indicates the near-6,000 sq km block is swinging out into the Weddell Sea. A wide stretch of clear water has opened up between the berg's southern end and the remaining Larsen shelf structure, suggesting A-68 is set to swing around and head north. This is the direction the Weddell currents should take the iceberg.Polar experts expect the trillion-tonne block to essentially bump along the shelf...

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Jonathan Amos
September 28, 2017
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SpaceX completes launch and landing double bill

SpaceX completes launch and landing double bill

US rocket company SpaceX completed back-to-back launches at the weekend. Late on Friday, it used one of its refurbished Falcon 9 vehicles to put up a Bulgarian satellite from Florida.Then on Sunday, SpaceX lofted another 10 spacecraft for telecommunications company Iridium. This time, the rocket flew out of California.Both missions saw the Falcon first-stages come back to Earth under control to drone ships that had been positioned out on the ocean. It means SpaceX has now had 13 landing successes for those missions it has sought to recover the booster. That said, Friday's first-stage had a...

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Jonathan Amos
June 27, 2017
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Meteorites may be just north of Cheltenham

Meteorites may be just north of Cheltenham

The hunt is on for meteorite fragments that are likely to have fallen to Earth over England on Sunday night.Many people across Northern Europe saw a fireball in the sky shortly before 22:00 GMT, and the streak of light was also caught .Scientists think some pieces will have survived the intense heat of atmospheric entry and hit the ground.A computer model that analysed the camera data suggests the probable site of impact is just north of Cheltenham."We can track the fireball really well, but the 'black magic' starts when it goes dark - when the light goes out and it still has another...

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Jonathan Amos
Mar 1
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Mars landing: Photo shows Perseverance about to touch down

Mars landing: Photo shows Perseverance about to touch down

The American space agency has released an astonishing image sent back from Mars by its Perseverance rover.It shows the robot heading down to the ground on Thursday to make its landing. It was acquired by the rocket cradle that placed the vehicle on the surface.Perseverance has a large amount of data in its memory banks which it is gradually offloading to Earth.Among other pictures is a view from a satellite that captures the rover in the parachute phase of its descent.This also represents an immense technical achievement because the satellite - the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter - was...

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Jonathan Amos
Feb 19
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Emirates Mars Mission: Hope spacecraft enters orbit

Emirates Mars Mission: Hope spacecraft enters orbit

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. Please let us know if you agree to all of these cookies.AcceptRejectBBC Science CorrespondentThe United Arab Emirates is celebrating its first mission at Mars.It has put a probe called Hope in orbit around the planet, making it only the fifth spacefaring entity to do so after the US, the Soviet Union, Europe and India.The spacecraft, which left Earth seven months ago, had to make a braking manoeuvre to be sure of being captured by Mars' gravity.UAE scientists can now look forward to studying the planet's atmosphere.Their satellite...

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Jonathan Amos
Feb 9
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Branson's Virgin rocket takes satellites to orbit

Branson's Virgin rocket takes satellites to orbit

Sir Richard Branson's rocket company Virgin Orbit has succeeded in putting its first satellites in space. Ten payloads in total were lofted on the same rocket, which was launched from under the wing of one of the entrepreneur's old 747 jumbos. Sir Richard is hoping to tap into what is a growing market for small, lower-cost satellites. By using a jet plane as the launch platform, he can theoretically send up spacecraft from anywhere in the world. In reality, of course, his Virgin Orbit system has to be licensed in the locality where it is used, which at the moment is solely California. But...

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Jonathan Amos
Jan 17
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Giant iceberg A68a shatters into large fragments

Giant iceberg A68a shatters into large fragments

The giant iceberg that's been drifting through the South Atlantic looks to have experienced a major break-up.Tuesday's latest satellite imagery reveals major fissures in the tabular berg known as A68a, with huge blocks of ice starting to separate and move away from each other.A68a, which calved from Antarctica in 2017, has been floating off the coast of South Georgia island.Experts have been watching to see if it might ground in shallow water.Were that to happen - and parts of the berg still could - it might cause problems for the British Overseas Territory's penguins and seals as they go...

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Jonathan Amos
Dec 22
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China's Chang'e-5 mission returns Moon samples

China's Chang'e-5 mission returns Moon samples

China's Chang'e-5 mission has returned to Earth with the cargo of rock and "soil" it picked up off the Moon.A capsule carrying the materials landed in Inner Mongolia shortly after 01:30 local time on Thursday (17:30 GMT, Wednesday).It's more than 40 years since the American Apollo and Soviet Luna missions brought their samples home.The new specimens should provide fresh insight on the geology and early history of Earth's satellite.For China, the successful completion of the Chang'e-5 venture will also be seen as another demonstration of the nation's increasing capability in space.Recovery...

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Jonathan Amos
Dec 16
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Nasa successfully flies small helicopter on Mars

Nasa successfully flies small helicopter on Mars

The American space agency has successfully flown a small helicopter on Mars. The drone, called Ingenuity, was airborne for less than a minute, but Nasa is celebrating what represents the first powered, controlled flight by an aircraft on another world.Confirmation came via a satellite at Mars which relayed the chopper's data back to Earth.The space agency is promising more adventurous flights in the days ahead.Ingenuity will be commanded to fly higher and further as engineers seek to test the limits of the technology.The rotorcraft was carried to Mars in the belly of Nasa's Perseverance...

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Jonathan Amos
Apr 19
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