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Updated: 1 hour 51 min ago

Origami-inspired design may soon help cushion rocket landings

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 04:00
Whether applied to auto collisions or rocket landings, absorbing energy from impacts is a valuable trait, and industries have been working on various solutions for years. For spacecraft, landing safely has entailed everything from inflatable airbag systems to sky cranes to retro-thrusters. But what if the force of impact never made it to the spacecraft at all? That’s the idea being pursued by Hiromi Yasuda and colleagues at the University of Washington. They’re using foldable materia
Categories: Astronomy

The Sky This Week from May 24 to June 2

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 04:00
Jupiter’s largest moon seemingly disappears as it slides into the giant planet’s shadow to start the week, while a waning crescent Moon passes near Venus to wrap it up.
Categories: Astronomy

Mars' layered ice caps reveal its climate history

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 04:00
Insulating blankets of sand layered atop ice sheets may have prevented the Red Planet from losing much more of its water into space.
Categories: Astronomy

Why scientists are putting a telescope on the bottom of the ocean

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 04:00
An underwater observatory may soon begin tracking some of the universe's most mysterious particles.
Categories: Astronomy

NASA announces contractor for first stage of Lunar Gateway

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 04:00
Maxar Technologies will build the propulsion system of the planned Moon-orbiting space station, which will be key to NASA's larger plan to return humans to the Moon by 2024.
Categories: Astronomy

Rare meteorite found in Costa Rica could shed light on Earth's water

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 04:00
Because it's basically a ball of clay, researchers expect it to provide ample data on the history of water in the solar system.
Categories: Astronomy

Scientists gear up to look for fossils on Mars

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 04:00
With NASA’s Mars 2020 mission soon heading for the Red Planet, researchers are figuring out the best ways to hunt for signs of ancient life far from home.
Categories: Astronomy

Our lopsided Moon was likely hit by a dwarf planet

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 04:00
After the Moon was forged in a cataclysmic collision between Earth and a Mar-sized planet, it apparently took a second blow from a dwarf planet.
Categories: Astronomy

Thin, insulating layer may prevent Pluto's underground ocean from freezing

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 04:00
New research suggests gases like methane trapped in a thin layer of ice may be key to keeping the chilly world from completely freezing over.
Categories: Astronomy

The Sky This Week from May 17 to 26

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 04:00
The waning gibbous Moon passes both Jupiter and Saturn this week, while Jupiter’s largest moon seemingly disappears as it slides into the giant planet’s shadow.
Categories: Astronomy

New Horizons reveals Ultima Thule's quiet, lonesome past

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 04:00
The latest data from the distant probe reveal a history of gentle collisions and few disturbances.
Categories: Astronomy

O’Neill colonies: A decades-long dream for settling space

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 04:00
Amazon's Jeff Bezos, like many before him, is enamored with the idea of spinning space cities that might sustain future humans.
Categories: Astronomy

Hubble spies "Two-Face" galaxy that suffered a glancing blow

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 04:00
A cosmic hit-and-run some 30 million light-years away has left one galaxy with an identity crisis. For billions of years, the now-irregular NGC 4485 lived a nice and normal life as a standard spiral galaxy located in the constellation Canes Venatici (the Hunting Dogs). Then, a few million years back, NGC 4485 experienced a near-miss when the equivalent of a galactic semi-truck (NGC 4490) careened past it, creating a gravitational wake that wreaked havoc for both parties. The result? Based on
Categories: Astronomy

China's Yutu-2 rover finds ancient rocks in Moon's biggest crater

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 04:00
The persistent rover Yutu-2 has already surpassed its expected lifetime, but it's clearly not done yet.
Categories: Astronomy

Tonight’s SpaceX Starlink launch could be the start of a new internet

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 04:00
The first batch of 60 Starlink satellites will start SpaceX’s plans for a global satellite internet.
Categories: Astronomy

Project Artemis: NASA names its 2024 Moon mission

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 04:00
On Monday night, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced the space agency has named its planned mission to put humans back on the lunar surface: Artemis. As the Greek deity most associated with the Moon, and the god Apollo’s twin sister, the namesake choice was an obvious fit. On the logistical side, Bridenstine also announced that NASA will ask Congress for an additional $1.6 billion in funding to jumpstart the program. NASA has not put forward a full budget for the ambitious Arte
Categories: Astronomy

Apollo-era Moon quakes hint that Moon is still active today

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 04:00
A new analysis of Apollo-era quakes on the Moon reveal that our satellite is probably still tectonically active. Detectors laid down by Apollo astronauts half a century ago revealed small shakes on the Moon, but their causes weren’t well understood. Meteor strikes, like those that caused the Moon’s most distinctive features, still rain down today, so astronomers couldn’t be sure whether the Moon was shaking itself, or being shaken by external forces. Now, new research has track
Categories: Astronomy

Tiny spacecraft tested as part of Breakthrough Starshot plan for interstellar travel

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 04:00
The first human-made spacecraft to reach another star system might fit in the palm of your hand. That’s the design engineers from the University of California, Santa Barbara are working on. The tiny craft, which weighs about as much same as a stick of gum, had its first test flight in April, where it soared more than 100,000 feet in the air. Its creators hope its successor will one day fly in space, perhaps even beyond the solar system to neighboring stars like Alpha Centauri. Wafercraft T
Categories: Astronomy

The Sky This Week from May 10 to 19

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 04:00
Open clusters play a starring role in this week’s sky, as a waxing crescent Moon passes in front of Cancer’s Beehive Cluster (M44) and Mars slides just north of M35 in Gemini.
Categories: Astronomy

Early galaxies shone brighter and hotter than expected

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 04:00
These brilliant star factories turned on the first lights that streamed freely through the universe.
Categories: Astronomy

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