Space

NASA Dawn spacecraft nears Ceres orbital insertion

NASA Dawn spacecraft nears Ceres orbital insertion

NASA has announced that the Dawn spacecraft is nearing orbital insertion around the dwarf planet Ceres. The Dawn mission will be the first mission to successfully visit a dwarf planet when it enters orbit around Ceres on March 6. As the spacecraft gets ready to enter orbit and gets closer to the surface of Ceres, the probe is sending back detailed images.

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Titans of Space: see our Solar System in VR

Titans of Space: see our Solar System in VR

Google Cardboard has a new app by the name of Titans of Space, an experience which pushes the user through our galaxy in Virtual Reality. This app is available for Oculus Rift, if you do so please, but has become available for mobile devices for the first time this week. This app is free, but also has a Narration Add-On which you can purchase inside the app once you've seen what our system is made of, planet to planet, place to place.

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NASA’s Ceres pics show mysterious bright spots on planet

NASA’s Ceres pics show mysterious bright spots on planet

NASA's Dawn spacecraft is drawing nearer to the dwarf planet Ceres, and unlike the photos we saw late last month when the spacecraft was farther away, the latest ones are quite a bit clearer...and sporting a big mystery. At a distance of 29,000 miles away on February 19, the spacecraft took an image that shows two distant bright spots on or near the surface of the small planet. The cause of those spots continue to be a mystery.

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Supermassive black hole’s quasar is fastest ever formed

Supermassive black hole’s quasar is fastest ever formed

Scientists lead by Xue-Bing Wu from Peking University have spotted a quasar that dates back nearly to the beginning of time. This beast goes by the name of SDSSJ010013.021280225.8 - or if you want to be short about it, just SDSS J0100+2802. What makes this monstrous heavenly body so important is its age and its size. While it's not the largest black hole ever detected, it's still 12 billion times our own Sun's mass - and it's sitting in the center of a quasar that's very, very bright.

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NASA satellite shows how much sand from the Sahara is in the atmosphere

NASA satellite shows how much sand from the Sahara is in the atmosphere

NASA is using one of its satellites to determine how much sand from the Sahara Desert in Africa ends up helping the Amazon rainforest in South America to grow. While the two locations are on different continents, the amount of dust from the desert that makes its way to the rain forest will surprise you. NASA used one of its satellites to quantify how much dust from the desert makes it to South America for the first time.

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Unseen vintage NASA photos shown in Bloomsbury Auction house

Unseen vintage NASA photos shown in Bloomsbury Auction house

This week the folks at Dreweatts for Bloomsbury Auctions have revealed a collection previously uncirculated NASA photos from space. These photos will go up for auction after being exhibited for a period of time in London at Mallett Antiques. The photos in this collection were sourced from the archives of the Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, Texas, where many unreleased NASA photos go after a mission is complete. What we're hoping to do today is to show you the largest versions of these photos available and make them widely available so they'll never be shut away again.

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Lunar XPrize teams collaborate to put rovers on the moon

Lunar XPrize teams collaborate to put rovers on the moon

Google has been hosting the Lunar XPrize for a number of years putting up a significant amount of money as an award for any company that is able to land a rover on the surface of the moon. The prize a successful team will get for landing on the surface of the moon is $30 million. Two competing teams announced this week that they would team up in their effort to win.

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Black hole’s bad breath could hamper the heavens

Black hole’s bad breath could hamper the heavens

One supermassive black hole's blasting winds could have major effects on the growth of stars in its host galaxy. NASA and the ESA have both observed winds being blown out of a black hole called PDS 456. Using NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and the ESA’s XMM-Newton telescope, scientists like Fiona Harrison of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have been able to begin calculations of the power of this and other black holes in the near future. With great power comes the supreme ability to slow down the speed at which stars age.

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A Red Dwarf buzzed our Solar System 70k years ago

A Red Dwarf buzzed our Solar System 70k years ago

There are always foreign rocks floating in an out of our solar system, but it's particularly rare that a whole star would come anywhere near our sun. That's what happened, according to a group of astronomers from the US, Europe, Chile, and South Africa. This (relatively small) Red Dwarf entered and exited our extended system through the distant cloud of comets known as the Oort Cloud. Not that we noticed it - it happened around 70,000 years ago, well before we were around to see it.

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