NASA's next rocket will sniff the remnants of a supernova

There's been a lot of space stories this week, including rockets going up, satellites coming down and supply craft doing both, but not in the right order. Not to be deterred, NASA is talking up its next big experiment which will send a probe to examine the contents of the Cygnus Loop, a remnant of a supernova that exploded 20,000 years ago. The mission will involve a sounding rocket, which will sniff the x-rays that are still being emitted from the stellar event, which scientists hope will help them understand what it's made up of.

It's also hoped that scientists will gain a better understanding of how the universe is built and maybe even spot some as-yet unobserved matter in the process. OGRESS, short for Off-plane Grating Rocker for Extended Source Spectroscopy, will launch from the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, at 4:30am ET on May 2nd. A following voyage is planned for 2018, although this time the target is the star Capella.

[Image Credit: NASA / Hubble Space Telescope/ J. Hester]