Space

Video: Two Swedes launch donut into space (don’t ask why)

Video: Two Swedes launch donut into space (don’t ask why)

Think about it: have you ever seen an astronaut eat a donut in space? I can’t recall one ever doing so, which is dumb. Donuts are delicious. They’re also weird. So are the Swedes, two of whom are responsible for launching a donut into the atmosphere via a weather balloon. If you’re asking yourself “why”, don’t. There’s no rhyme or reason for this other than the absolute thrill of launching pastry into orbit. It’s believed to be the first donut in space, too, for what it’s worth.

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NASA’s New Horizons teases with Pluto pic ahead of July flyby

NASA’s New Horizons teases with Pluto pic ahead of July flyby

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will be making a historic flyby of Pluto mid-summer this year, and it’ll be capturing during the process humanity’s first close up photographs (and relevant scientific data) of the planet. It will be three months from now before the spacecraft will shuttle its images of Pluto back to its creators on Earth, but in the meantime we’ve a relatively low resolution color image from the spacecraft, the first one it took of both Pluto and Charon, its moon.

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First DES dark matter map reveals the invisible

First DES dark matter map reveals the invisible

The Dark Energy Survey has published its first dark matter map, something that will eventually be joined by more maps comprising a series. The series will feature the most detailed contiguous maps of their size, and they aim to improve scientific understanding of how dark matter influences or otherwise is involved in galaxy formation. With them, we are able to see what is otherwise invisible, a picture that will grow over the next five years for which the program is slated.

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SpaceX landing scrubbed due to anvil cloud

SpaceX landing scrubbed due to anvil cloud

This afternoon SpaceX aborted its second attempt to land a rocket on a ship at sea. This would have been - and still might be - a historic landing, if completed successfully, as it would make the Falcon 9 the first such craft to deliver goods to the International Space Station and return intact and fully reusable. Similar such craft have been successful in heading to space, but once returned, they're pretty much done for. SpaceX intends to reduce the price of space travel significantly with this giant leap forward.

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Mars is moist: evidence of water found in surface salt

Mars is moist: evidence of water found in surface salt

Because Mars no longer has the global magnetic fields required to retain water like we have on Earth, it's not likely we'll find a tiny pool to swim in any time soon. What NASA has found, on the other hand, is new evidence that water can indeed exist on the planet - and that salts on the surface are able to absorb water from the atmosphere, collecting it on land. Again, this isn't the same sort of water we're seeing after a long rainfall on Earth - but it is another positive sign for the future, a future in which humans live on Mars for long periods of time.

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SpaceX retries drone-ship rocket landing after first fiery failure

SpaceX retries drone-ship rocket landing after first fiery failure

As instructions for space flight go, "Just Read the Instructions" seems like basic advice, but that's the last thing SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket will see as it coaxes down onto a floating landing pad today. Elon Musk's ambitious private space flight project is set to send another unmanned Dragon capsule to the International Space Station with a fresh batch of cargo, but the arguably more interesting flight is a whole lot shorter and will end much closer to home.

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Our Earth and Baby Earth smashed out the moon

Our Earth and Baby Earth smashed out the moon

A paper has been published this week which suggests that our moon was created when a tiny Earth collided with our much larger Earth millions of years ago. Millions and millions of years ago, that'll be, so says a paper by the name of "A primordial origin for the compositional similarity between the Earth and the Moon." Did you know that our Moon is made of the same basic material as our planet Earth? Popular theory suggests that our Moon was once part of our Earth, and this newest study suggests that it was bashed out by a sort of "Baby Earth."

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