Space

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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New theories provide a clues to the origin of the moon

New theories provide a clues to the origin of the moon

The Moon is mysterious. We can gaze upon it every night, yet still be so far from uncovering its secrets. This week, new studies were published detailing new theories about the Moon's origin and evolution. The Earth and Moon may have more in common than scientists originally thought. Moon rocks have a composition which is similar to that of our own planet. Scientists have developed two theories, the "great impact hypothesis" and the "late veneer" hypothesis which describe how the Earth and Moon were formed.

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A distant sea of proto-life molecules could mean we’re not alone

A distant sea of proto-life molecules could mean we’re not alone

The building blocks of life have been observed for the first time in a fledgling planetary system light-years away from Earth, a thriving sea of complex organic molecules equal to our own oceans. The discovery, which lends further weight to the idea that our solar system is not the only place where life could have arisen in the universe, was made by astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). Perhaps even more impressive than their very existence is the fact that the proportions of molecules are similar to those discovered in comets in our own region of space.

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NASA anticipates finding evidence of alien life in 10 to 20 years

NASA anticipates finding evidence of alien life in 10 to 20 years

If you're hoping humans will discover other living beings in the universe during your lifetime, you might be in luck. Speaking yesterday at a panel in DC, NASA researchers touched on the topic of alien life and finding evidence of such, and what they had to say was largely inspiring: it'll eventually happen, and the first stages of that likely within the span of the next 20 years. The prospect is exciting, not the least of which is due to the leaps in space travel humans are likely to make in that same time span.

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