space travel

Astronomers discover real Galaxy Far, Far Away

Astronomers discover real Galaxy Far, Far Away

If George Lucas was a prophet with Star Wars, this week's galaxy discovery might be what he was talking about. A set of scientists have used a set of three different telescopes to capture and calculate the age of the galaxy they call EGS-zs8-1. This galaxy is the furthest away from Earth that any galaxy has ever been discovered. The first image you're seeing in this article (minus the TIE fighter), was captured by NASA's Hubble space telescope back in 2013 and has only just now seen itself the subject of a paper that claims it as our most distant galaxy neighbor.

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Volcanic eruptions on the Super-Earth Diamond Planet

Volcanic eruptions on the Super-Earth Diamond Planet

It would appear that a planet-sized eruption of volcanic heat has occurred over the course of several years on the planet super-Earth 55 Cancri e. There a very hot, very life-unfriendly environment is boiling, and a series of researchers at Cornell University are bringing back information on how extreme this volcanism truly is. These researcher astronomers have used data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, finding a 3x change in temperature over the course of 2 years on the planet. It's getting very hot there, very fast.

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NASA Messenger mission comes to an end, crashes into Mercury

NASA Messenger mission comes to an end, crashes into Mercury

After ten years in space, NASA's Messenger probe purposefully crashed on Mercury. The probe spent four years in a strictly elliptical orbit, using boosts of power from its engine every couple of months, before it finally ran out of fuel. After orbiting Mercury 4,104 times, NASA decided to purposefully crash the probe into the planet's surface using a string of precisely modeled manuevers. When Messenger finally crashed, it hit Mercury at 8,750 mph (14,000 kph) which is about 12 times the speed of sound on earth.

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Pluto no longer just “a point of light”

Pluto no longer just “a point of light”

We're approaching Pluto as we speak. NASA's New Horizons probe is headed towards the most controversial of our planetary siblings, and this week they've shown some of the closest images we've ever bore witness to in the history of humanity. According to New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, "[these images] are just a little bit better than anything that's ever been obtained in history." Details are inbound. Details like a possible polar ice cap at one or both ends of this perpetually cold planetary body.

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Blood Falls give hope for life on Mars

Blood Falls give hope for life on Mars

In Antarctica, Blood Falls spew forth unto the white landscape, gushing dark red liquid into the purity of the snow and ice. This unsettling image is giving scientists hope that one day they might find a mass equally strange on the Red Planet. Blood Falls belch deep water from far beneath the surface of the Antarctic dry valley, showing how areas of low resistivity can be found in areas where otherwise dry permafrost or otherwise high resistivity in glacier ice are dominant. In this brine that bursts from the ice, life can be found.

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Our Universe might just be a hologram

Our Universe might just be a hologram

What's that, you say - our universe is a figment of our imagination? Not so much. When you hear the world "hologram", you might immediately assume that we're talking about something akin to Princess Leia being projected by R2-D2 in Star Wars. She's there, but only sort of. In a study produced by Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien) this week, mathematical researchers suggest that there's a possibility that our universe is, indeed, a hologram. We might just be living in a 2D space, rather than 3.

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Elon Musk insists SpaceX rocket landing will work (eventually)

Elon Musk insists SpaceX rocket landing will work (eventually)

While last week's news of the Falcon 9 rocket's oh-so-close-but-not-quite landing attempt was somewhat disappointing to SpaceX fans and observers, Elon Musk isn't giving up! The SpaceX founder commented in a pair of tweets on Saturday that they had determined the rocket's crash was caused by a slower than expected throttle valve response. The latest event is part of a continued attempt by SpaceX to land a rocket on a floating platform — as opposed to crashing into the sea — in order to reuse it in future launches.

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SpaceX CRS-6 mission success: Tweets from space

SpaceX CRS-6 mission success: Tweets from space

The SpaceX mission known as CRS-6 had two points of success - one up in space at the ISS, another in the Atlantic Ocean. While the Earthbound piece of this pie did not land successfully - but came OH SO CLOSE - the package delivered to the ISS did, indeed, arrive completely safely. Onboard were 2 tons of science and supplies - including coffee - for the crew of the International Space Station for all nations aboard. No more instant coffee for those above our heads doing science!

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Watch the SpaceX rocket landing (now in video form)

Watch the SpaceX rocket landing (now in video form)

Before we'd only had tiny glimpses of the near-landing bit of the Falcon 9 rocket. Now we've got a fully operational video from off the starboard bow. This video shows how the rocket flew in at great speed, nearly - so very, very nearly - landing on the "Just Read The Instructions" autonomous sea craft. But with a final blast, it fell to the wayside. Time to try, try again, of course, as Elon Musk suggests they'll be approaching an 80% success rate by the end of this year.

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SpaceX launch succeeds: even a crash is progress

SpaceX launch succeeds: even a crash is progress

As the latest Falcon 9 Dragon rocket took off yesterday, history was once again made by SpaceX. While some headlines suggest that the "landing" bit of this mission was a failure - we don't see it that way. The first part of the mission was to send supplies to the International Space Station - that part is in progress. The second part was to successfully land the Falcon 9 back on an autonomous barge in the Atlantic Ocean - it succeeded, but also failed. While the rocket is damaged enough now that it cannot be reused, SpaceX has again come far closer than any other organization at landing like this in history.

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