planet

New Horizons spacecraft wakes up to greet Pluto next year

New Horizons spacecraft wakes up to greet Pluto next year

It may be routine procedure, having been performed many times before, but it is symbolically one giant leap for mankind, particularly space exploration. Waking up to Russell Watson's "Where My Heart Will Take Me", long associated with space exploration and even Star Trek, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft became fully activated in preparation for its meetup with the smallest and farthest "former" member of our solar system, Pluto. It marks the near culmination of a journey that has so far lasted nearly nine years and three billion miles, the farthest any space mission has traveled to reach its target.

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Scientists find young star with small planets orbiting

Scientists find young star with small planets orbiting

How did we come to encircle the sun? Why do we orbit as we do, and why are other planets circling the big orange globe with us? Those are questions we may understand to some degree, but a new finding may shed light on how it all really began. A young star has been discovered with some very small planets beginning to form around it, with their orbit already being decided. It may not be the birth of our universe, but it’s very similar.

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Gliese 832c possibly habitable but has extreme seasons

Gliese 832c possibly habitable but has extreme seasons

Don't get your hopes up yet for galactic colonization, but a new planet has just been added to the Habitable Exoplanets Catalog. Gliese 832 c of the Gliese 832 star system is theorized to have temperatures close to Earth's, making it possibly habitable except for one glaring flaw: it has large seasonal shifts.

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NASA Kepler mission discovers 715 new planets

NASA Kepler mission discovers 715 new planets

NASA's Kepler mission has made an exciting discovery and subsequent announcement: the discovery of 715 new planets orbiting 305 stars. Says the space agency, about 95-percent of the newly discovered planets are smaller than Neptune, making them more or less around the size of Earth, and makes for a "significant increase" in known small planets.

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Exoplanets can be weighed using starlight, reveal scientists

Exoplanets can be weighed using starlight, reveal scientists

Two MIT planetary scientists, Julien de Wit and Sara Seager, have published research showing how it is possible to determine the weight of an exoplanet using the surrounding starlight. Not only does this represent a way to determine the weight of something that is seemingly impossible to gauge, it will also facilitate the hunt for planets that are most like our own, possibly expediting the discovery of a planet like Earth.

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Kepler Space Telescope data suggests up to 40 billion Goldilocks planets

Kepler Space Telescope data suggests up to 40 billion Goldilocks planets

A new analysis of Kepler Space Telescope data by Berkeley astronomers suggests that as many as 40 billion planets with climates similar to Earth's may be calculated to exist in the Milky Way galaxy. Of those, 11 billion orbit stars similar to our sun. The rest of the hypothetical planets orbit red dwarf stars, which are the same size as our sun but cooler. New news nicely complements the more in-depth recent mineral analysis of the single planet Kepler Planet 78b.

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Nearest Earth-like planet only 13 light-years away

Nearest Earth-like planet only 13 light-years away

Finding planets that are similar to Earth is a task that scientists and researchers have been working on for a while now, but it seems like they're making great strides in their findings. Astronomers have reported that the nearest Earth-like planet is possibly just 13 light-years away (77 trillion miles).

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