Space

ESO Very Large Telescope upgrade will search Alpha Centauri for planets

ESO Very Large Telescope upgrade will search Alpha Centauri for planets

The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) will soon search Alpha Centauri for planets thanks to an upgrade that’ll be funded via a Breakthrough Initiatives agreement. The ESO announced the new agreement on Monday, saying the funds will be used to upgrade the Very Large Telescope’s VLT Imager and Spectrometer for mid-Infrared tool. The ultimate purpose of this upgrade is using the VLT to search for habitable planets.

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Fast space radio bursts finally traced to nearby galaxy

Fast space radio bursts finally traced to nearby galaxy

There are many mysteries in both the known and the unknown universe, but one that has recently confounded astronomers is what is known as Fast Radio Bursts (FRB). First recorded in 2007, these short explosions of radio energy were so strong but so short that it was near impossible to determine where they came from. Finally it seems that our stars have aligned and researchers have discovered that these FRBs are actually coming from a dwarf galaxy just outside our Milky Way. And, no, they're not coming from aliens.

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SpaceX returns to space on Sunday as investigation closes

SpaceX returns to space on Sunday as investigation closes

What should have been a glorious end to SpaceX's 2016 ended up in a blaze when, on 1st September, its Falcon 9 exploded even before it could get off the ground, taking Facebook's first satellite down with it. Now four months later, SpaceX is closing the books on its joint investigation with government agencies and industry experts. Having traced down the cause of that failed attempt, SpaceX will once again try its luck on 8th January in an attempt to start the year right.

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NASA wraps up the year with a catchy tune and 2016 highlights

NASA wraps up the year with a catchy tune and 2016 highlights

NASA has wrapped up 2016 with a catchy tune put on video to the space agency’s biggest highlights over the last year. The music is accompanied by a photo of a cassette tape appropriate dubbed 'Goddard,' a word referring to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center located in Maryland. At only about a minute in length, the video doesn't even begin to detail all of Goddard's achievements throughout 2016, but it does offer a selection of the best ones.

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Hubble spots ‘serene cosmic rosebud’ megamaser with two cores

Hubble spots ‘serene cosmic rosebud’ megamaser with two cores

NASA has published an image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope of a megamaser, something the space agency describes as a ‘beautiful and serene cosmic rosebud.’ A megamaser is a very bright ‘process’ that, says NASA, radiates intense energy. This particular megamaser has been dubbed IRAS 16399-0937, and it emits microwaves. On camera, it looks nothing short of stunning.

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NASA loses its chief scientist Ellen Stofan

NASA loses its chief scientist Ellen Stofan

NASA has quietly revealed that its chief scientist, Ellen Stofan, has left the space agency for other 'adventures.' The tidbit of info was published as part of a long Q&A with the chief scientist, though Stofan herself did indicate her plans with a quip during an astrobiology symposium earlier this month. It isn't clear why she has left the space agency, nor whether NASA has someone else lined up to take her place and what it will do in the meantime.

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NASA Langley Mars habitat concept is made of ice

NASA Langley Mars habitat concept is made of ice

NASA is working on a lot of the components required to send man to Mars. From the rockets that will carry the astronauts to the Red Planet to the structures the astronauts will live in on the surface of the planet, NASA is working on all aspects. The latest concept for a dwelling on the surface of the Red Planet uses an unusual and rather simple building material - ice.

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NASA’s space laser is used to study phytoplankton

NASA’s space laser is used to study phytoplankton

NASA has a laser inside a satellite orbiting the Earth and the laser is being used to study the boom-and-bust cycle of polar ocean plants. Specifically the laser is being used to study the peak and decline cycles of phytoplankton in the ocean. NASA says that its findings will supply data for ecosystem management, commercial fisheries, and help our understanding of the climate and key ocean ecosystems.

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China plans to soft land probe on far side of the moon by 2018

China plans to soft land probe on far side of the moon by 2018

China has announced its space ambitions for the coming years and it has some big plans. The first thing that China plans to do is place a probe on the far side of the moon. China wants to soft land a probe on the far side of the moon by 2018 and accomplishing this feat would make it the first country to do so.

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NASA spacecraft finds dwarf planet Ceres is packed full of water

NASA spacecraft finds dwarf planet Ceres is packed full of water

The dwarf planet Ceres is full of surprises. There's the 2.5-mile high ice volcano, for example, and all those salty, shiny bright spots that stumped researchers for a few months. According to a new study, Ceres has another point of interest: lots and lots of water. The water's discovery was made by the NASA Dawn spacecraft, and researchers have found that much of it lies in the dwarf planet's darkest craters and norther regions.

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CYGNSS Microsatellites put in orbit to keep an eye on hurricanes

CYGNSS Microsatellites put in orbit to keep an eye on hurricanes

NASA has put some microsatellites into orbit to make a new constellation called Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System mission or CYGNSS. The microsatellites were put into orbit at 8:37 a.m. EDT on December 15 using an orbital ATK Pegasus XL rocket. This wasn't your typical launch where the rocket stands on a launch pad and soars into orbit under its own power.

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This giant planet has ‘stunning’ storm clouds made of rubies and sapphire

This giant planet has ‘stunning’ storm clouds made of rubies and sapphire

Researchers with the University of Warwick have detailed the discovery of a new planet called HAT-P-7b, an exoplanet that experiences violent storms. The planet definitely isn't inhabitable because of those storms, but it is notable for the same reason: the clouds appear to be made from corundum, the mineral that produces sapphires and rubies. Researchers say these clouds are likely 'visually stunning.'

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