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Space

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

Simulations suggest Kepler 62-f is "a strong candidate for a habitable planet"

It's been over 20 years since the first planet orbiting a Sun-like star outside our solar system was discovered, and at last count the grand total stands at 3,268. Unfortunately, only a handful of exoplanets orbit within the habitable zone around their stars. A team of astronomers has set their sights on one such exoplanet, and through computer simulations determined that it could harbor a rocky composition, oceans and, potentially, even life.Read More

Feature

Leap into the lunar unknown: Fifty years since the landmark launch of Surveyor 1

Space travel can still be dramatic in 2016, but it's a cakewalk compared to half a century ago. Today marks 50 years since the unmanned Surveyor I probe lifted off from Cape Canaveral, and when it landed in the Oceanus Procellarum on June 2, 1966, it was more than the first US soft landing on the Moon, it was a leap into the unknown. Launched at the height of the Space Race and the depth of the Cold War, the stakes for the first of seven Surveyor missions were incredibly high, as NASA wrestled with untried technologies and questions about the basic nature of the Moon that could make or break any hope of a manned landing.Read More

Inflatable module pops to full size on ISS

With the sound of popping corn, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) aboard the ISS has successfully been inflated on the second try in three days. At 4:10 pm EDT today, the experimental habitat expanded to its full size after a nearly seven-and-a-half hour operation. During this time, NASA astronaut Jeff Williams slowly fed air into the module while being monitored by mission control at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.Read More

SpaceX takes aquatic hat trick with third sea barge landing

The daring became almost routine today as SpaceX pulled off a spectacular three-in-a-row by successfully landing a Falcon 9 booster on the deck of a sea barge for the third time running. At 5:48 pm EDT, the nine-engine rocket touched down in a powered landing on the unmanned drone barge "Of Course I Still Love You" in the Atlantic Ocean after delivering a telecommunications satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit.Read More

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