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Space

Earth picks up asteroid traveling companion

An asteroid dubbed 2016 HO3 has recently been discovered that, whilst technically in orbit around the sun, is also spinning in its own merry dance around the Earth. Somewhere between 120 ft (40 m) and 300 ft (100 m) in size, our little travelling partner is estimated to have been in step with our orbit for about a hundred years now, and will continue to do so for at least many hundreds more. Too far away to be identified as a satellite to our planet, it is stable enough at the moment to be seen as a near-Earth companion body. Read More

Essential feature of life detected outside our solar system

A molecule that exhibits a specific property associated with all life on Earth has been discovered in interstellar space for the first time. Displaying the quality of chirality, or "handedness", this molecule has a distinct one-way molecular geometry found only in biological building blocks like amino acids, proteins, and enzymes. This discovery may help provide answers to the origins of homochirality, whereby all a substance's molecules are of the same chiral form, and why it appears so important for biology.Read More

Falcon 9 landing ends in "rapid unscheduled disassembly" (Translation: it crashed)

The latest attempt by SpaceX to land a Falcon 9 booster on a sea barge ended in what founder and CEO Elon Musk called a "rapid unscheduled disassembly." After three successful sea landings in a row by the company, the unmanned rocket impacted on the deck of the droneship "Of Course I Still Love You" at 10:37 am EDT after successfully sending its payload of two communications satellites into orbit. According Musk, the fiery crash was due to an engine malfunction.Read More

Meteorite discovery: "No one has seen anything like this one before"

About 470 million years ago, two asteroids smashed into each other in outer space and shattered into multitudinous pieces. Many of those pieces rained down on Earth over the course of a million years as meteorites, and have become well-known by scientists. But the other space rock involved in the cosmic head-on collision has never been known – until now, thanks to the discovery of a meteorite that's never been seen before on our planet.Read More

Violence detected: Sensors hit by second set of gravitational waves

Scientists making use of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) instruments have announced the second confirmed detection of gravitational waves resulting from the collision of two black holes. Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of spacetime created by exceptionally violent cosmic events. The waves contain unique information unattainable by conventional telescopes, allowing scientists to gain a rare insight into one of the most energetic phenomena taking place in our Universe.Read More

NASA sets fire to unmanned cargo ship in the name of safety

An unmanned Cygnus cargo ship left the International Space Station today, and then NASA set it on fire. At 4:55 pm EDT, ground control activated the Saffire-I experiment in the hold of the Orbital ATK Cygnus Pressurized Cargo Module as it drifted away from the station, triggering the largest fire ever started in space. The controlled burn inside an insulated container is part of a study to learn more about the nature of fire in zero gravity and improve spacecraft safety.Read More

Kepler spies largest exoplanet yet that orbits two stars

Planets that orbit two stars have traditionally been difficult to detect. Despite decades of suspicion, we didn't even spot our first one until 2011 and even now their irregular orbits make life tricky for those in the planet-hunting game. NASA has today confirmed the discovery of the largest of these circumbinary planets, the imaginatively named Kepler-1647 b, some 3,700 light years away. Read More

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