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Your online destination for news articles on planets, cosmology, NASA, space missions, and more. You’ll also find information on how to observe upcoming visible sky events such as meteor showers, solar and lunar eclipses, key planetary appearances, comets, and asteroids.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Scientists gear up to look for fossils on Mars

When most people imagine hunting for fossils, they probably think of finding dinosaur bones laid down in layers of rock. But the vast majority of life – and therefore fossils – across Earth’s history has been microorganisms. These t...

Our lopsided Moon was likely hit by a dwarf planet

The familiar lunar vista humans see when they look up at night reveals a face with dark “seas” and bright craters. The mysterious far side, which wasn’t revealed until humans started sending probes and then people in the 1960s, is f...
Monday, May 20, 2019

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

Pluto has left astronomers puzzled ever since the world was discovered in 1930. And its mysteries only grew in the aftermath of NASA’s New Horizons probe, which cruised by the dwarf planet in 2015. One point of confusion is Sputnik Planitia, pa...
Friday, May 17, 2019

The Sky This Week from May 17 to 26

Friday, May 17 The Summer Triangle asterism dominates the eastern sky in late evening. Vega, the triangle’s brightest member, shines at magnitude 0.0 and stands highest of the three stars. To its lower left lies Deneb; at magnitude 1.3, it&rsqu...

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

Last week, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos revealed his spaceship company’s new lunar lander, dubbed Blue Moon, and he spelled out a bold and broad vision for humanity’s future in space. Faced with the limits of resources here on Earth, most fu...

New Horizons reveals Ultima Thule's quiet, lonesome past

After New Horizons streaked past Pluto in 2015, its main task was over, but it still had work to do. On New Year’s Day of 2019, it made a flyby of another, even more distant object named 2014 MU69, more commonly called Ultima Thule. Since then,...
Thursday, May 16, 2019

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

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 Venatic...
Wednesday, May 15, 2019

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

Since January, China’s Chang’e-4 mission – an orbiter and a rover – has been exploring the far side of the Moon, particularly the prized South Pole-Aitken Basin, an asteroid impact crater that stretches across nearly a quarter...

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

Tonight, SpaceX will launch the first flock of their Starlink satellites to space. These are the vanguard of what CEO Elon Musk hopes will eventually become a network of 12,000 orbiting devices providing cheap, global internet coverage. The launch w...
Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Project Artemis: NASA names its 2024 Moon mission

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, t...
Monday, May 13, 2019

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

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 unders...
Friday, May 10, 2019

The Sky This Week from May 10 to 19

Friday, May 10 The Moon appears as a fat crescent this evening as it plunges through the Beehive star cluster (M44) in Cancer the Crab. Observers in the eastern half of North America have the chance to see dozens of stars disappear behind the Moon&rs...

Early galaxies shone brighter and hotter than expected

Our universe’s first galaxies shone hotter and brighter than scientists thought, according to a group of astronomers who tapped a whopping 400 hours of observing time on NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. The discovery could answer a long-st...

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

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 s...
Thursday, May 9, 2019

The universe's first supernovae spewed jets of material into nearby galaxies

The universe's first stars were extremely hot and incredibly large, often reaching hundreds of times the mass of the Sun. And because they formed just a few hundred million years after the Big Bang, these boiling behemoths contained virtually no elem...

Bezos unveils bold plans for human spaceflight and 'Blue Moon' lunar lander

On Thursday, Blue Origin founder and Amazon owner Jeff Bezos unveiled the Blue Moon lander, a spacecraft that can deliver up to 6.5 tons of cargo – and possibly crew – to the lunar surface. The announcement was made at a news conference i...
Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Antimatter acts like regular matter in classic double-slit experiment

(Inside Science) — One of the strangest things about quantum mechanics is that a particle can act like a wave. In particular, in a double-slit experiment, individual particles that are shot through a pair of slits create a pattern as if they ea...
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