Space

Dr. Stephen Parke / Northwest Nazarene University

A satellite built by Northwest Nazarene University students will launch into space in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. The experiment will help NASA find out the best kind of plastics to use on future satellites.

NASA/JPL

Last month, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft disappeared into Saturn’s atmosphere in the grand finale of a 20-year mission to study the giant planet. 

The Exploratorium / NASA

Most hotels and campgrounds in Idaho along the path of the total solar eclipse this August have been sold out for months if not years. But one group still has campsites available near Stanley. They plan to stream the eclipse to those who can’t make it into the backcountry.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (IPAC)

Scientists from Boise State University and the University of Washington are studying a newly found group of planets around a nearby star. They’ll talk about their research Friday night in Boise. Turns out, these planets are good candidates for hosting life outside Earth.

When Sally Ride flew into orbit aboard the space shuttle Challenger in 1983, she made history. As the first American woman in space, Ride helped change perceptions about what women could accomplish and inspired a new generation of girls to literally reach for the stars. But Ride was more than an icon for the U.S. space program – she also was a complex, private woman with singular talents and skills, who continued to contribute to science and education until her death from pancreatic cancer in 2012.

NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory

Next August, eclipse-chasers will converge in Idaho and a handful of other states to watch the first total solar eclipse to cross the continental United States in 38 years. The Boise State Physics Department is getting ready with a special talk Friday.

The last total solar eclipse that crossed the continental U.S. was in 1979 and it crossed over Northern Idaho. This time, the path for best eclipse viewing will travel through the middle of Idaho, just north of Boise.

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

Imagine if Jupiter drifted so close to the sun its atmosphere was burned away and the rocky core that was left orbited our star every three or four hours. Boise State University is leading a group of researchers looking at scenarios like this one in other solar systems.

Using a $166,000 grant from NASA, scientists led by BSU will try to figure out where these exoplanets, which closely hug their host stars, come from.

More than 100 of these ultra-short-period planets have been found, but it’s not clear how they got so close to their stars.

ESO/M. Kornmesser

Late last month, scientists announced they had found an Earth-like planet around a nearby star. Faraway planets, known as exoplanets, have been found before but this one is relatively close to our sun and is in what’s called the habitable zone around its own star. A researcher from Washington says that means it could be in a position to support life.

NASA, ESA, and J. Nichos (University of Leicester)

The NASA space probe Juno arrives at Jupiter on the Fourth of July.

The probe will study Jupiter’s atmosphere, magnetic fields, and auroras. The hope is to better understand the planet's origin and evolution.

Boise State's physics department will use telescopes to get a close-up look at Jupiter Monday night as Juno starts orbiting the planet.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/USGS/Cornell

Mars is making its closest approach to Earth in over a decade, and one scientist says it’s a great time to learn more about the red planet. Boise State University will hold an astronomical viewing party to celebrate Mars Tuesday night.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

A group of Boise State University students got glowing reviews after the tool they built for NASA was put through its paces last month.

The tool, known as the Zero Operable Interplanetary Delivery Based Ergonomics Grabber, is called Zoidberg 2.0 for short. Zoidberg is a character on the cartoon Futurama.

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

Mercury is passing between the Earth and the sun Monday, an event known as a planet transit. It’s an event important to scientists that anyone with a special telescope can watch.

The Physics department at Boise State University is setting up filtered telescopes to watch the event.

Professor Brian Jackson says during the transit, the Earth will be in Mercury’s shadow.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

A local astronomer has made his crowdfunding goal and Boise will soon have an observatory again.

Elizabeth Haslam / Flickr

Sunday night will offer a chance to see the last total lunar eclipse until 2018.

This eclipse is special, says Brian Jackson, an astronomer who teaches at Boise State. That’s because it will also be what’s known as a “Blood Moon.”

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

On top of the tallest academic building on the Boise State campus sits a large metal dome. It is an observatory that has been at the school for more than 35 years. At one point, the dome was a hive of activity, giving students and the public a chance to peer deep into our solar system. Now it sits mostly empty and unused, after years of neglect.

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