space exploration

Saturn’s moon Titan also has dust storms

Saturn’s moon Titan also has dust storms

Contrary to what most of us may have imagined as kids, the planets in our solar system aren’t all just spheres of solid rock. Some are completely gaseous, others may be liquid. Their moons are just as varied in composition and behavior. Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, is strangely one of the few members of our neighborhood that has some similarities to our own Earth. Now scientists may have discovered yet another similarity. Titan, just like Earth and Mars, may actually have dust storms.

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Hayabusa2 MINERVA-II1 hopping rovers send back asteroid pics

Hayabusa2 MINERVA-II1 hopping rovers send back asteroid pics

Conspiracy theories aside, man has landed rovers on the moon and on Mars. But on something as “mobile” as an asteroid? Hardly. But that is exactly the achievement that the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency or JAXA celebrated a few days ago when it reported that its Hayabus2 mission successfully launched two MINERVA-II1 rovers. And more than such having successfully landed on the Ryugu asteroid, the rovers are in working condition and are already sending home some rather curious photos.

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NASA launches Parker probe to study our own Sun

NASA launches Parker probe to study our own Sun

Majority of the historic moments in space science in the past five years or so have mostly focused on what lies beyond our own planet, from Mars to Jupiter to Pluto and beyond. Few have actually looked inward into the titular and literal center of our solar system: the Sun. As of August 12, 2018, however, NASA, together with the United Launch Alliance (ULA), is changing that with the launch of the Parker Solar Probe that will hopefully unravel the mysteries of the sun in the next seven years.

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TESS planet-hunting satellite launched aboard SpaceX Falcon 9

TESS planet-hunting satellite launched aboard SpaceX Falcon 9

There are millions if not billions of planets in the known universe but we know very little about them. Thwarted by distance and technology, the best we could do is set up and train our best and brightest eyes on the sky to catch a glimpse and a clue of their nature and composition. That is exactly what TESS, short for Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, was made for. The world's first exoplanet satellite, TESS just successfully launched into the sky, riding a Falcon 9, and is on its way to settle into orbit to expand our knowledge and, just maybe, find a new home for us.

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Alien diamonds hit Earth in meteorite

Alien diamonds hit Earth in meteorite

This is the Almahata Sitta ureilite achondritic meteorite, and it's full of diamonds. The arrival of this meteorite actually happened all the way back in 2008, but the study revealing its contents only arrived just this week. Said study showed that not only is this hunk of space debris full of diamonds, it's full of diamonds from a hereto unknown planet that may have been part of our own solar system in the distant past.

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Our moon in 4K: YouTube has a new best high-res video

Our moon in 4K: YouTube has a new best high-res video

This afternoon the folks at NASA revealed a radical new video touring the moon in 4K resolution. This video was made using images from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). It's a very, very large video, and you're gonna want to watch it on the most massively pixel-dense device you've got on-hand.

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CIMON the floating robot head brings AI to the ISS

CIMON the floating robot head brings AI to the ISS

The folks at AIRBUS and IBM will bring a Crew Interactive MObile CompanioN (CIMON) disembodied robot head to the International Space Station this summer. This robot head was never really attached to a robot body - it was built specifically for the ISS - and a free-floating environment in which it'll function. This robot head will bring artificial intelligence to the ISS - almost like DAVID in Prometheus, or Ash in Alien. Not to worry!

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TIANGONG-1 is falling to Earth, but don’t worry!

TIANGONG-1 is falling to Earth, but don’t worry!

TIANGONG-1 will soon re-enter the Earth's atmosphere and fall to the surface of our planet. The impact of this space craft was calculated to be anywhere between 42.8 degrees North and 42.8 degrees South in latitude. The movement of this space craft into our atmosphere is an uncontrolled entry. Nobody knows exactly where this craft will crash - but DON'T WORRY!

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SpaceX next launch: PAZ satellite for HD photos of Earth

SpaceX next launch: PAZ satellite for HD photos of Earth

Vandenberg Air Force Base announced this week that they were prepared for the next SpaceX rocket launch. The next launch will take place at the Vandenberg Air Force Base Space Launch Complex-4, Lompoc, CA, and it'll take place on Saturday, February 17th, at 6:17 AM Pacific Time. Onboard this SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will be the PAZ satellite for Hisdesat of Madrid, Spain, and a set of smaller payloads with massive potential.

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Trump wants Americans on the moon again, Mars afterwards

Trump wants Americans on the moon again, Mars afterwards

The past few years have been kind to space science in general and especially to NASA. Advancements in technology, monumental achievements, and historic phenomena has made being an astronaut and even a space scientist or engineer cool again. When Trump took the helm of the world’s largest superpower, there were worries that the outspoken president would de-emphasize the country’s space program. With a little indirect help from a rival, however, Trump signed a directive that would put Americans back on the moon and, in the future, on Mars as well.

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Voyager 1’s thrusters still after 37 years of sleep

Voyager 1’s thrusters still after 37 years of sleep

Considering how the odds were stacked against it, Voyager 1’s new lease on life, even if just three years at most, is nothing short of a miracle. The spacecraft has been traveling space for 40 years and, since 2012, has left our solar system, becoming the first and so far only man-made interstellar object. So when crucial parts of it start failing, there is almost no hope. Fortunately, Voyager 1 seems to refuse to give up the ghost and its backup thrusters have been successfully fired up, even after being left unused for 37 years.

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NASA reinvents the wheel

NASA reinvents the wheel

Next time someone chides you for wasting your time reinventing the wheel, tell them that the smart folks at NASA did it too. Of course, they didn’t as much as reinvent the wheel as they made a new kind of wheel. The space agency, of course, has been toying with all sorts of new wheels that would let its machines and future human explorers safely and comfortably, as much as they can, across the moon, Mars, and beyond. And NASA might have finally found an answer in the form of a deforming and compliant tire made of springs memory alloy springs.

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