Science

Moon discovery: sunlit-side surface water!

Moon discovery: sunlit-side surface water!

SOFIA detected water on the sunlight surface of the moon for the first time in human history. It was previously known that water existed in some of the darkest and coldest regions on the moon. The big deal today is that there may be water available for use by humans on the surface and up to a meter below the surface of the moon.

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Researchers study the atmosphere of distant “hot Neptune” planet

Researchers study the atmosphere of distant “hot Neptune” planet

A team of astronomers has used data gathered from TESS and the Spitzer space telescope to investigate the atmosphere of a distant planet known as LTT 9779b. The planet is described as a "hot Neptune," and the study marks the first time the atmosphere of this exoplanet was studied. Researchers performed the first spectral atmospheric characterization and global temperature map of any TESS planet that has an atmosphere and is classified as a hot Neptune.

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ALMA detects direct evidence of volcanic activity in Io’s atmosphere

ALMA detects direct evidence of volcanic activity in Io’s atmosphere

One of the celestial bodies that astronomers and researchers are studying intently is Jupiter's moon Io. New radio images from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have shown direct evidence of volcanic activity on Io for the first time. The moon has an extremely thin atmosphere, said to be about a billion times thinner than Earth's atmosphere. Despite its extreme thinness, the atmosphere can provide a window into the moon's interior and what's happening below its crust.

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Mars 2020 spacecraft MEDLI2 sensors respond to NASA’s call

Mars 2020 spacecraft MEDLI2 sensors respond to NASA’s call

The Mars 2020 spacecraft is currently on its way to the Red Planet. Ahead of the spacecraft entering the Martian atmosphere, NASA sent a signal to check on some of the sensors aboard the spacecraft. NASA's signal went out on October 8, and the team waited for a reply from the Mars Entry, Descent, and Landing Instrumentation 2 (MEDLI2) suit board the spacecraft. MEDLI2 is a collection of sensors designed to measure the aerothermal environment and thermal protection system material performance when the spacecraft enters Mars' atmosphere.

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Chinese lunar rover cruises 565 meters on the far side of the moon

Chinese lunar rover cruises 565 meters on the far side of the moon

The lunar rover portion of China's Chang'e-4 lunar probe recently had a milestone after traveling 565.9 meters, as of Saturday, since leaving the lander portion behind. According to the China National Space Administration, the lander and the rover have been switched to dormant mode for the lunar night after operating stably for the 23rd lunar day.

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ESA/JAXA BepiColombo snaps new images of Venus during a close approach

ESA/JAXA BepiColombo snaps new images of Venus during a close approach

A joint mission conducted by the ESA and the Japanese space agency JAXA called BepiColombo recently made a close approach to Venus. The close approach happened on October 15, and the main sequence of 64 images was captured by the Monitoring Camera 2 aboard the Mercury Transfer Module.

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Some exoplanets we look at could be looking back

Some exoplanets we look at could be looking back

For many people worldwide, it's hard to imagine with the vast numbers of stars in the universe and the vast number of planets orbiting those stars that we are all alone. So far, scientists have discovered more than 4000 planets orbiting distant stars, known as exoplanets. Astronomers from Cornell University recently published a study where they ask the question of out of all those exoplanets we are looking at from Earth, could any of them be looking back?

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SpaceX successfully launches 60 new Starlink satellites

SpaceX successfully launches 60 new Starlink satellites

SpaceX continues on its trail to build up its orbiting Starlink satellite network with the launch on Saturday that placed 60 additional satellites into orbit. With that launch, the size of the Starlink constellation is now 895. Eventually, there will be thousands of satellites in orbit beaming broadband Internet service everywhere in the US and around the world.

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Scientists rediscover tectonic plate lost for 60 million years

Scientists rediscover tectonic plate lost for 60 million years

Tectonic plates are massive, and it's hard to imagine one being lost for 60 million years, but that is the case. Researchers from the University of Houston have discovered a lost tectonic plate that spent 60 million years hidden under the Pacific Ocean. The plate is known as Resurrection and was a controversial topic among geologists because many believed it never existed.

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Skywatchers still have a chance to check out the Orionid meteor shower

Skywatchers still have a chance to check out the Orionid meteor shower

Skywatchers may have missed the peak of the Orionid meteor shower, which occurred in the predawn hours last Wednesday. However, there is still a chance to see a few meteors in the sky. The Orionid meteor shower continues through November 7.

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Astronaut Kate Rubins voted from the ISS

Astronaut Kate Rubins voted from the ISS

It would be nearly impossible for anyone to not know this was an election year at this point. Between the presidential debates and all the political ads running on TV, the election is difficult to escape. NASA astronaut Kate Rubins is encouraging people to vote by pointing out that she voted from space. A picture was posted to the NASA Astronaut's Twitter feed, which can be seen below, with Rubens pointing to a small closet with a handmade sign that read "ISS voting booth."

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SpaceX stacks its Starship prototype in preparation for another test flight

SpaceX stacks its Starship prototype in preparation for another test flight

SpaceX has conducted several test flights of its Starship prototype, and so far, they've all flown only a portion of the rocket. Previous test flights have lacked the nosecone where one day payloads and perhaps astronauts will sit. SpaceX is gearing up for another test flight, and this time it's attaching the nosecone on top of the rocket.

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