Space

Astronomers determine the length of a day on Venus

Astronomers determine the length of a day on Venus

Venus is a difficult planet to study, even though it's right next door to Earth. One of the challenges in learning more about Venus is that the planet is covered in a veil of extremely thick clouds, and its surface is blasted with acid rain and temperatures hot enough to liquefy lead. Astronomers have used earth-based observations to learn some of the most fundamental properties of Venus.

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NASA solar probe grazes a Venus mystery on its slingshot to the Sun

NASA solar probe grazes a Venus mystery on its slingshot to the Sun

NASA's Parker Solar Probe may be focused on the Sun, but that doesn't mean the space agency's scientists are going to give up on an opportunity to snatch the first live data from Venus' atmosphere in almost three decades. The probe is currently swinging through space, using Venus' gravity to bring it closer to the Sun each time, and in the process has been getting nearer and nearer to the planet's surface.

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Eta Aquarid meteor shower kicks off this week

Eta Aquarid meteor shower kicks off this week

Skywatchers will want to be looking to the heavens this week to see debris from the tail of Halley's Comet light up the night sky. The meteor shower resulting from the debris is called the Eta Aquarid meteor shower. Meteors in the shower known for their high velocity. They travel at about 148,000 mph when they enter the Earth's atmosphere.

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A Chinese rocket will make an uncontrolled reentry in the coming days

A Chinese rocket will make an uncontrolled reentry in the coming days

Recently China launched a Long March-5B Y2 rocket into space that carried its first space station module into orbit. While China hailed the launch as completely successful, it turns out something has gone wrong. The 21-ton core stage of the rocket is expected to make an uncontrolled reentry into Earth's atmosphere in the next few days.

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SpaceX Crew Dragon successfully splashes down in the Gulf

SpaceX Crew Dragon successfully splashes down in the Gulf

Yesterday we mentioned that SpaceX was attempting a rare nighttime splashdown for its Crew Dragon capsule, returning a quartet of astronauts from the ISS to Earth. This was the first nighttime splashdown of a capsule with crew aboard since the Apollo era. NASA and SpaceX have now confirmed that the four astronauts have splashdown successfully and returned safely home.

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SpaceX astronauts returning from ISS will splash down in darkness

SpaceX astronauts returning from ISS will splash down in darkness

SpaceX will attempt to recover its crew capsule this week in darkness, splashing down astronauts in the ocean under cover of the night for the first time since Apollo 8 in 1968. SpaceX is targeting the predawn hours of Sunday to return three NASA astronauts and one Japanese astronaut to earth after high winds prevented a pair of earlier returns.

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The results of the 2021 asteroid impact simulation highlight threats posed by asteroids

The results of the 2021 asteroid impact simulation highlight threats posed by asteroids

Recently scientists participated in an international exercise meant to simulate the effects of an asteroid striking the earth. The exercise simulated that a 460-foot-wide asteroid that would impact Central Europe. The specific region was a 185-mile-wide zone bordering Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic.

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China will need ten launches to complete its space station

China will need ten launches to complete its space station

Earlier this week, China launched the core module for its new space station. The module is called Tianhe, which translates to Harmony of the Heavens. It launched on Wednesday, April 28th, using a Long March-5B Y2 rocket from a launch site in the Chinese Hainan Province.

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Ingenuity Mars Helicopter mission has been extended by NASA

Ingenuity Mars Helicopter mission has been extended by NASA

NASA has announced that it is extending the mission for the Ingenuity helicopter that has been operating on the surface of the Red Planet for days now. NASA has announced that it will keep the helicopter flying for an additional 30 days with the potential for more testing time via an extended mission. NASA says that the extended mission will test the helicopter's ability to scout, presumably meaning explore the planet for sites of interest for potential future exploration.

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NASA pauses SpaceX lunar lander contract amid competitor outcry

NASA pauses SpaceX lunar lander contract amid competitor outcry

Earlier this month, SpaceX scored a NASA lunar lander contract, beating out competitors Blue Origin and Dynetics. Fast-forward to this week when Blue Origin filed a challenge with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which soon confirmed that Dynetics is also protesting the newly awarded NASA contract.

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NASA’s Mars helicopter and Perseverance rover are teaming up for a buddy mission

NASA’s Mars helicopter and Perseverance rover are teaming up for a buddy mission

NASA's Ingenuity may have seen some delays in its fourth flight, but with that safely under its belt the Mars helicopter's next big missions have been revealed. The fourth mission for the historic aircraft was its most ambitious yet, tapping its dual cameras to underscore how valuable an eye in the sky could be to future space missions. Still, even more adventures alongside the Perseverance rover are yet to come, NASA has confirmed.

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China launches its first Tiangong space station module

China launches its first Tiangong space station module

China's ambition to have its own orbiting space station is one step closer to reality, with the first module of the Tiangong space station heading into orbit this week. The first module is called Tianhe, which means "heavenly harmony," and it lifted off at 11:23 AM local time from the Chinese island province of Hainan. The module is quite large, weighing in at 22 tons, and will be the core of the Tiangong "Heavenly Palace" space station where astronauts will spend most of their time.

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