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Space

Scientists break through the clouds to reveal source of Jupiter's wild weather

The standard image of Jupiter is of a mysterious planet shrouded in colorful strips, spots and swirls. But what exactly is going on beneath the atmosphere's chaotic exterior is a question that has mystified astronomers for some time. Researchers have now peeled back the curtain by producing the most detailed radio map of Jupiter's atmosphere yet, revealing swathes of ammonia gas that drive its stormy weather and possibly, other giant planets just like it.Read More

New Shepard's parachute set to fail on next flight in the interests of safety

Blue Origin Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has revealed that when the New Shepard suborbital launch system takes to the skies later this month, the unmanned crew capsule won't come floating gently back to Earth. Instead, like a series of tests conducted by NASA on the Orion space capsule, the flight engineers plan to create a controlled parachute failure to test the emergency systems designed to protect the crew in the event of such a scenario.Read More

What do Pluto's heart and a lava lamp have in common?

Using data captured by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, a team of researchers from Purdue University (PU) has estimated the depth of the vast nitrogen ice pool believed to exist beneath the Sputnik Planum region on the dwarf planet Pluto. Located in the dwarf planet's heart-shaped feature, the region is thought to continuously refresh its surface through a process known as convection.Read More

Take a narrated 3D tour of the International Space Station from your desk

Even though the International Space Station (ISS) has been in orbit around our planet since 1998, and has lapped our world 100,000 times, it's only held a total of 230 people in its tube-shaped pods. That means the rest of us have to find other ways to look inside the orbiting home and lab. The European Space Agency (ESA) has just obliged by making available an online video that takes you on a narrated tour of the ISS. Even better, it's in 3D.Read More

Can primordial black holes fill in the dark matter blank?

For something that hasn't actually been found yet, there are a lot of theories around about dark matter and where this elusive stuff could be hiding. Now an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center has weighed-in with a new idea that black holes created in the milliseconds after the Big Bang may be where all that missing matter ended up. Bizarrely, the hypothesis also suggests that all of the galaxies in the universe may be embedded in an ocean of millions of these black holes.Read More

Was Planet 9 born of a different star?

A team of researchers from Lund University, Sweden, has run a series of computer simulations to test the likelihood that the as-of-yet undiscovered Planet 9 formed in the orbit of an alien star. Whilst the planet has not yet been directly observed, evidence of its gravitational influence may have been observed perturbing the orbits of six Kuiper Belt objects, leading some to assert that Planet 9 boasts a mass around 10 times that of Earth.Read More

Vast mosaic shows Pluto’s surface in intricate detail

NASA has released a fresh mosaic of Pluto's surface stitched together from the highest resolution images captured by the spacecraft as it sped past the planetoid on July 14, 2015. The agency has accompanied the release with a video that takes the viewers on a tour of the mosaic, highlighting the stunning variety of terrain discovered by New Horizons.Read More

Rosetta discovers building blocks of life in comet atmosphere

How exactly life got started here on Earth is a great mystery that has spawned countless scientific theories. The possibility that at least some of the vital building blocks for life were delivered by comets is one such line of thinking, and is also one of the reasons the Rosetta spacecraft has been circling comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko since 2014. The probe has now discovered evidence that key amino acids and molecules do indeed exist in the comet's atmosphere, throwing further weight behind the idea that these icy trailblazers can double as life-giving space couriers. Read More

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