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Space

— Space

ESA's LISA Pathfinder experiment launches to explore Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity

ESA's LISA Pathfinder experiment has successfully launched atop a Vega rocket from the agency's spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, and completed initial maneuvers required to place the probe in a low, stable orbit. The experiment will seek to observe tiny ripples in space known as gravitational waves, which were first predicted by Albert Einstein in his General Theory of Relativity.

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Cygnus cargo ship launch scrubbed due to bad weather

Today's launch of Orbital Sciences' Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) has been scrubbed. According to NASA, thick cloud and disturbed weather at Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida prohibited the liftoff of the unmanned Orbital Sciences/ATK Cygnus CRS-4 mission and launch control ordered a 24-hr postponement at 6:11 pm EST.

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— Space

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope sheds light on "alien megastructure" star

KIC 8462852 recently attracted a lot of attention owing to speculation that dramatic dips in the star's light that were detected in 2011 and 2013 by NASA's Kepler spacecraft were due to the presence of vast superstructures created by an advanced alien race. But a new study centering around analysis of data collected by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope suggests that the mysterious objects occulting the star KIC 8462852 aren't the creations of little green men, but in fact a family of comets.

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— Space

Novel theory explains carbon levels in the modern Martian atmosphere

Scientists believe that Mars once played host to a much warmer and wetter climate, but for that to be the case it must have once had a thicker atmosphere. There's a big problem with that theory, though, with detected levels of carbon not playing nice with atmospheric loss theories. Now, a joint team from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) believes it may have solved the problem, with a new theory that explains the issue by means of two simultaneous mechanisms.

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— Space

Doomed Phobos will become a ring around Mars

According to NASA, the larger Martian moon, Phobos, is spiraling in toward the Red Planet and will eventually be destroyed in tens of millions of years, but it turns out that it may have a second career after its death. University of California, Berkeley Department of Earth and Planetary Science postdoctoral fellow Benjamin Black and graduate student Tushar Mittal have calculated that the doomed satellite will be so torn by tidal forces that its fragments will form a ring like those that encircle Saturn and the other gas giants of the outer Solar System.

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