Space

Saturn’s and Jupiter’s moons might be able to sustain life

Saturn’s and Jupiter’s moons might be able to sustain life

Finding life or indeed living on other planets ourselves has always been a dream but, at the rate that we’re going, it might soon become a critical necessity. Much of our off-planet colonization fantasies have focused on planets outside our solar system but, as NASA scientists are finding out, we might not have to look that far. Two separate and rather old NASA missions are discovering clues that Enceladus, Saturn’s icy moon, and Europa, Jupiter’s equally icy moon, might have just the right elements to sustain life, either ours or someone else’s.

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NASA: Saturn moon Enceladus is ‘like a candy store for microbes’

NASA: Saturn moon Enceladus is ‘like a candy store for microbes’

NASA has just announced a new milestone discovery revolving around Saturn's moon Enceladus, revealing that it has most of the ingredients necessary to support life, and that it likely contains the rest of the missing -- that is, not yet discovered -- components. Most notably, this ocean world, as the space agency calls it, has ample amounts of hydrogen gas in its oceans, something that may work with carbon dioxide in the oceans' waters to support life.

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NASA preps first 4K live stream from space: here’s how to watch

NASA preps first 4K live stream from space: here’s how to watch

In the near future, NASA will broadcast what it says is the first ever 4K live video from space. The broadcast will take place from the International Space Station on April 26, and it'll showcase NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson as part of a larger panel dubbed Reaching for the Stars: Connecting to the Future with NASA and Hollywood. The broadcast will be made available online for anyone to watch.

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The Pink Moon rises tonight: all the details for seeing it yourself

The Pink Moon rises tonight: all the details for seeing it yourself

Later on tonight -- or in the early morning hours, depending on your location -- the night sky will be illuminated by the first full moon of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, the Pink Moon. If you're hoping to see a Pepto-pink moon tonight, don't get your hopes up -- the name refers to a type of flower that typically blooms this time of year, not the color of the moon itself. Still, stargazers and astro-enthusiasts will have a prime opportunity to get some nice shots of the moon in the coming hours.

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‘Most important’ exoplanet GJ 1132b found to have an atmosphere

‘Most important’ exoplanet GJ 1132b found to have an atmosphere

A couple years ago, researchers discovered what they called the 'most important planet found outside [our] solar system,' the exoplanet named GJ 1132b. This planet is about 16-percent larger than our own, and it is located about 39 light-years away. While this planet is itself far too hot to sustain life, researchers had said that if GJ 1132b has an atmosphere, that'll be a monumental discovery indicating other -- potentially cooler -- planets nearby may likewise have an atmosphere. That makes this latest discovery all the more exciting: GJ 1132b does, indeed, have an atmosphere.

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Boeing Deep Space Gateway habitat may help humans get to Mars

Boeing Deep Space Gateway habitat may help humans get to Mars

Boeing has taken the wraps off its new Deep Space Gateway, a concept habitat that could serve as a crucial component for getting humans to Mars. According to Boeing, the company will use NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) to send the Deep Space Gateway up into space 'in the early 2020s,' doing so in four launches with components to assemble the habitat. Humans could use this as a stopping point of sorts on their way to Mars.

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NASA robot prototypes are ready for icy space destinations

NASA robot prototypes are ready for icy space destinations

NASA has introduced a few robotic prototypes designed to deal with space's iciest planets, including Jupiter's moon Europa. These prototypes are outfitted with various types of technology that can handle traveling across icy landscapes, burrowing through very deep ice to discover what lies beneath a planet's crust, take samples out of frozen lands, and more. The tech was made as part of the research project Ocean Worlds Mobility and Sensing from the Space Technology Mission Directorate.

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Potato plant successfully grown in simulated Mars environment

Potato plant successfully grown in simulated Mars environment

NASA wants to send people to Mars, but it has some issues to overcome first. One of those issues is how it will feed its astronauts. Researchers have been studying the growth of plants in microgravity environments, among other things, and now a new team has announced the successful growth of a potato plant in Mars-like conditions. It is possible this breakthrough could also aid in growing potatoes in arid regions of Earth.

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Jupiter shown with stunning detail in NASA’s newest space pics

Jupiter shown with stunning detail in NASA’s newest space pics

While Mars is NASA's biggest focus at the moment (as far as space is concerned), it is ramping up its efforts related to Jupiter, and recently announced the name of a planned mission to the planet. In the present, the space agency has a small spacecraft called Juno in orbit around Jupiter, where it has begun snapping and sending back photos. The photos have been made available to the public in raw form, and now amateur enthusiasts have released their own stunning post-processed versions of the images.

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SpaceX recycled Falcon 9 rocket will be launched tomorrow

SpaceX recycled Falcon 9 rocket will be launched tomorrow

Tomorrow, March 30th, SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center. Such a launch, in and of itself, wouldn't be unusual for the company. What makes this particular launch interesting is what it represents: the potential ability to recycle rockets, another way to keep costs down and launch rates up. While the entire rocket wasn't previously used, the first stage component has already seen action.

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Milestone brown dwarf star is 250 times purer than the Sun

Milestone brown dwarf star is 250 times purer than the Sun

Researchers have announced the discovery of SDSS J0104+1535, a new milestone brown dwarf star said to have the purest composition of any known similar dwarf, as well as the highest discovered mass. The star is found in the far reaches of our galaxy in a constellation called Pisces, and it is one of many ancient stars that compose that region. The star is thought to be around 10 billion years old.

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NASA’s little Rover companion was inspired by origami

NASA’s little Rover companion was inspired by origami

There is only so much you can launch into space, much less land on planets like Mars. Space, weight, and budget all conspire against having more rolling laboratories roving the planet. Not that you'd want to depend solely on a rover either. Big and expensive, they are hardly qualified for cramped spaces and more treacherous terrain. Which is why NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratories or JPL has been developing a companion robot for rovers that would serve as research scouts. But to make them compact and lightweight, the engineers and scientists took inspiration from the foldable properties of paper.

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