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Space


— Space

Powerful aurora discovered on brown dwarf may help characterize distant exoplanets

By - July 31, 2015 2 Pictures

The discovery of a powerful aurora surrounding a distant failed star may in future aid astronomers in their hunt for habitable planets. The aurora is the first to be discovered around a brown dwarf, known as LSRJ 1835+3259 (LSRJ). It's a type of star that shares many characteristics with known exoplanets, and the technique used to observe the phenomenon could one day be a factor in determining whether a planet could sustain life.

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— Space

New map reveals a third of the stars in the Milky Way have dramatically changed orbit

By - July 30, 2015 1 Picture

It's easy to think of stars as being fixed in place, because that's how we see them in the sky. But like Earth and the other planets, they have orbits. And it turns out those orbits can change dramatically. In creating a new map of the Milky Way as part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), scientists recently discovered that around 30 percent of the stars in our galaxy have done exactly that – they've moved into a totally new orbit.

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Lockheed tests Orion fairing design changes

Lockheed Martin announced that it's completed tests of design changes for NASA's Orion spacecraft’s fairing separation system. Based on information from Orion's unmanned maiden flight on December 5 last year, the alterations are meant to improve performance while reducing weight.

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— Space

Mars orbiter prepares for next year's InSight lander arrival

By - July 29, 2015 1 Picture

Space travel is a constant exercise in forward planning, with mission control thinking years and sometimes decades in advance. A case in point is NASA's InSight Mars lander, which is scheduled to touchdown on the Red Planet on September 26, 2016. This may be more than a year away, but the space agency is already moving its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) into a new orbit to provide communications support during the landing.

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— Space

Human error and inadequate training blamed for SpaceShipTwo crash

By - July 28, 2015 5 Pictures

The United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released the conclusions of its accident investigation into the crash of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo last year over the Mojave Desert. According to the report, the accident was due to an error by the co-pilot, who prematurely released the spacecraft's feather system, placing too much stress on the fuselage and causing it to break up.

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— Space

Ice flows, hazy hydrocarbons among latest Pluto reveals

By - July 26, 2015 4 Pictures

NASA has detailed fresh discoveries and released the latest batch of images from New Horizons. Sent as the unmanned probe hurtles away from Pluto and out of the Solar System, the new images and readings show a haze that may be the source of Pluto's reddish color and exotic ice that flows like glaciers. The space agency has also shared a spectacular New Horizons flyby simulation video.

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