Today is International Guide Dog Day, so let’s honor and celebrate these incredibly hard working service dogs because of their long-standing dedication. Fall season in the Arctic means crunch time for the final preparations for the brutal winter months ahead.
On week ten of the North Atlantic bluefin tuna season in Gloucester, Massachusetts, the competition is heating up, driving captains to push themselves and their crews to the brink with only six weeks of fishing left. Science and film unite on tonight’s episode of StarTalk, when host Neil deGrasse Tyson sits down with director, screenwriter and producer, Christopher Nolan. On tonight’s episode of Animals Gone Wild, the only way to survive in a world of kill or be killed – is to fight back! Last night on Life Below Zero, winter preparations were in full swing as the changing seasons bring the tough transition from fall to winter. Spring in the northern hemisphere officially begins this Sunday, March 20th—coinciding with International Happiness Day! In the dust collector of a NASA probe, citizen scientists helped find particles that probably came from interstellar spacea€”the first that could be studied on Earth. Specks of space dust, like the white wisp above, left hair-size tracks in the aerogel as they plunged into it at more than 13,000 miles an hour. Seven tiny grains of dust snagged by NASA's Stardust space probe and parachuted to Earth in 2006 may well have come from beyond the solar system, astronomers report in the latest issue of Science. The Stardust probe's main mission was actually to collect comet dusta€”which it did successfully in early 2004, catching particles from the halo surrounding comet Wild 2. But as the spacecraft was looping out toward a rendezvous between Mars and Jupiter with comet Wild 2, its handlers turned its dust collector to face the area where they expected particles would be streaming into our solar system from interstellar space.
Scientists have long observed clouds of interstellar dust with telescopes; they've even collected a few grains of it with other spacecraft and done a rudimentary analysis on board. In a NASA clean room a scientist examines aerogel traps containing dust snared by the Stardust probe.

By the end of the mission, when the dust collector had been folded up inside a hard capsule and parachuted safely into the Utah desert, Westphal and his colleagues had figured out a strategy. Since interstellar dust particles are known to be much smaller than comet dust particlesa€”just a few millionths of an inch, or less than one micrometer, acrossa€”the task of finding their tracks is especially laborious. The key test of the particles' origin will be to measure the mix of isotopes, or chemical varieties, of oxygen within thema€”tests that won't be complete for another two to three years. Meanwhile, Westphal and the Dusters will continue to look for more interstellar grain candidates in the aerogel.
The space station gets a delayed delivery, a brilliant explosion lights up the early universe, and more in the week's best space pictures. Russia's Progress 45 spaceshipA approaches the International Space Station in a picture taken November 2. A plume of white ash spreads from an active vent in a satellite picture of the erupting Puyehue-CordA?n Caulle volcano complex in Chile.
The launch of a Delta II rocket creates a bright arc over the California sky in a picture taken October 28. Fields, roads, and buildings sit submerged by sediment-clogged floodwater in a satellite picture of the Thai city of Ayutthaya taken October 23 by NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) spacecraft. If Saturn ever needs a sponge bath, the tiny moon Hyperion would likely be the tool of choice. In Eagle, Andy set off to find elusive moose, as he and Kate need to replenish their red meat supply for the coming winter.
That would make them the first particles of interstellar dust every to be studied in a laboratory on Earth. Its dust collector, shaped like a tennis racket, stuck out into space above the probe's solar panels. One face of the racket was reserved for netting comet dust; the other was supposed to try to catch a few of the far more elusive interstellar grains.

They would identify tracks through the aerogel that marked the path of incoming dust grains, then carefully slice out each grain, track and all.
All but three of the particles that made them were deemed to be debris smashed loose from the Stardust probe itself. Yet the angles of the trails left by the seven incoming particles point back toward the interstellar dust stream. For now the star is heating itself via gravitational collapsea€”as stellar material falls in on itself, the core becomes denser and builds up immense pressure.Eventually the star's core will get dense enough for fusion to begin, and IRAS 10082-5647 will enter what's called the main sequence phase of its life.
The rocket carried NASA's NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) satellite successfully into orbit.The latest addition to the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), NPP is a next-generation Earth-observing probe that will collect data on long-term climate change and short-term weather conditions. Seen in a recently released portrait by NASA's Cassini orbiter, sunlight showcases the icy satellite's unusual texture, likely due to its low density, which astronomer think makes the moon relatively porous.Cassini snapped this shot of Hyperion during a close flyby in September, when the probe passed about 55,000 miles (88,000 kilometers) from the small moon. But beware – underneath their seemingly gentle exterior lives the heart and ferocity of a lion.
From trimming hooves, fixing broken wings, and stitching up paws, Scott is used to a busy schedule. The head of the racket, a bit over a square foot in area, had an aluminum frame and a grid of aluminum cells filled with aerogel, a silica-based foam so light it has the density of air. But, Westphal says, four more particles were found lodged in the aluminum foil surrounding the aerogel. The almost five months of activity has coated nearby lakes as well as the neighboring high plains of Argentina in gray ash. The fun, the abstract, or the absurd–now’s your chance to ask Neil deGrasse Tyson anything you want!

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