Space

Dwarf galaxy’s sudden arrival near Milky Way surprises researchers

Dwarf galaxy’s sudden arrival near Milky Way surprises researchers

An entire dwarf galaxy has caught astronomers by surprise, appearing in orbit around the Milky Way when, last they looked, it hadn’t been there. Called the Crater 2 dwarf galaxy, this ‘new’ Milky Way neighbor was recently detailed by researchers in a new study, and is said to be the fourth largest dwarf galaxy in the Milky Way. How did it avoid detection for so long? Among other things, its stars are spread far apart, making it dim and 'ghostly' in nature.

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SpaceX shares stunning photos of CRS-8 rocket droneship landing

SpaceX shares stunning photos of CRS-8 rocket droneship landing

Last week, SpaceX made history when it successfully landed its CRS-8 first stage on a droneship in the ocean, ushering in a future of reusable -- and thusly more economical -- rockets. The company had previously launched a Flickr account where it shares public domain images of some of its takeoffs and landings, and this time is no exception. SpaceX has uploaded a batch of images of the historic event, several of which are stunning.

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Breakthrough Starshot wants to send a nanocraft to Alpha Centauri

Breakthrough Starshot wants to send a nanocraft to Alpha Centauri

Space certainly lives up to its name with vast distances that we need to travel to reach anything inside or outside our solar system. It's over 230,000 miles from the Earth to the moon and takes days for a spacecraft to reach it. A group called Breakthrough Initiatives wants to devise a tiny spacecraft called the nanocraft and send it to Alpha Centauri, the closest star outside our solar system, and they think they have a plan to get the tiny nanocraft to the star about 20 years after it launches.

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Kepler spacecraft stable again as team seeks emergency mode cause

Kepler spacecraft stable again as team seeks emergency mode cause

NASA researchers were recently surprised to find its Kepler spacecraft in Emergency Mode, something that had started about 14 hours before a course change the space agency had planned. That maneuver was cancelled and mission researchers began work on recovering Kepler, announcing today that they successfully brought the spacecraft out of Emergency Mode yesterday. As of Sunday morning, Kepler was stable and it is now in its lowest fuel-burning mode.

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SpaceX Dragon capsule made it to the ISS without a hitch

SpaceX Dragon capsule made it to the ISS without a hitch

Last summer catastrophe hit SpaceX when its Dragon capsule exploded during an attempted resupply mission to the ISS. SpaceX was returned to flight status after the disaster and its latest resupply mission to the ISS has been completed without any issues. This resupply mission had one very cool bit of tech onboard in the form of the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module or BEAM.

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Houston we have a problem: Kepler spacecraft in Emergency Mode

Houston we have a problem: Kepler spacecraft in Emergency Mode

The Kepler spacecraft may have just been given a new lease in life, entering into a new K2 mission after it successfully completed its original task in 2012. However, it seems that the space telescope is showing some signs of fatigue. On April 7, during a scheduled contact, the spacecraft was discovered to be in Emergency Mode or EM. The exact cause of that mode switch remains unknown. Needless to say, the NASA team in charge of Kepler is hard at work at investigating the cause and getting the spacecraft back in working condition.

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SpaceX successfully lands rocket on sea droneship for first time

SpaceX successfully lands rocket on sea droneship for first time

SpaceX has made history, successfully landing one of its rockets on a droneship in the ocean. A video shows the rocket pulling off a perfect landing, gracefully sliding down out of the sky and onto the landing pad, no hiccups or issues to be seen. This marks a first for the company; President Obama chimed in to congratulate it, saying, "It’s because of innovators like you & NASA that America continues to lead in space exploration."

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Pluto’s ‘ice spider’ is NASA’s most striking find this month

Pluto’s ‘ice spider’ is NASA’s most striking find this month

We’re not even halfway through April yet, and NASA’s already tantalizing us with some fascinating discoveries this month. The most recent one involves an “ice spider” on Pluto, a large part of the planet’s landscape featuring “an unusual geological feature” the space agency describes as looking like a big ol’ spider. A color image of the region was snapped by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft last summer, and the photo has just recently been made public.

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Supermassive black hole found sitting in the middle of cosmic nowhere

Supermassive black hole found sitting in the middle of cosmic nowhere

Scientists have discovered one of the largest black holes that has ever been found. Interestingly, the supermassive black hole sits in what scientists consider a cosmic backwater. Finding such a massive black hole in such an out of the way place is akin to finding a gigantic skyscraper in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. The gigantic black hole contains 17 billion times the mass of our sun.

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Supernovae left radioactive debris on Earth 3 million years ago

Supernovae left radioactive debris on Earth 3 million years ago

The explosive death of stars have always been of interest to scientists. The chemical reactions and emissions from this phenomena usually holds clues to the very formation of the universe itself. Considering that these stars are usually thousands, if not millions, of light years away, by the time we do "see" a supernova, it means it really happened ages ago. So when scientists discover traces of radioactive debris from supernovae still lingering on earth, they are understandably pleasantly surprised and excited.

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Pluto’s heart may be heavy enough to have tipped it over

Pluto’s heart may be heavy enough to have tipped it over

One of the coolest things about Pluto that was shown in the images sent back by the New Horizons probe is the heart-shaped area on the surface dubbed Tombaugh Regio. Scientists have been researching the data gathered by New Horizons and the study is now suggesting that the heart-shaped area might be heavy enough to have tipped the dwarf planet on its side. The west side of the heart called Sputnik Planum with its smooth surface is through to be what remains of a large crater that filled with nitrogen ice.

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Blue Origin shares video of important third landing

Blue Origin shares video of important third landing

Over the weekend, Blue Origin, the space agency backed by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, made yet another successful landing of the New Shepard rocket. In fact, this is the third time that very same rocket was launched and landed, first in November and then in January. The company has finally shared the edited video footage of that launch. And while the video seemed almost ordinary and normal, which is probably part of the message, it almost belies the significance of Blue Origin's achievement in the fields of space science and space travel.

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