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Kepler Mission

Space

Red dwarf exoplanets not as habitable as once believed

Fresh research is pouring cold water on the hopes of discovering life on distant exoplanets orbiting red dwarf stars. It had previously been thought that Earth-sized planets orbiting in the habitable zones (HZs) of the small stars could provide a possible haven for life, but sophisticated computer models suggest that these planets are likely rendered uninhabitable by their super-dense atmospheres.Read More

Space

2,325 and counting: Kepler doubles its haul in largest exoplanet discovery ever

Since it launched six years years ago, NASA's Kepler space telescope has provided a guiding light in our search for extraterrestrial life, scanning the sky for potentially habitable Earth-size planets. Today the agency has announced the discovery of almost 1,300 new exoplanets, doubling the craft's previous tally and giving the chances of finding another world just like ours a healthy little boost.Read More

Space

Two technologies that could be invaluable to the search for life

NASA and its partners are in the process of developing two cutting-edge technologies with the potential to significantly advance the hunt for extraterrestrial life on distant Earth-like planets. The ambitious designs currently under development could allow astronomers to cut through the intense disturbance caused by an exoplanet's parent star, allowing them to image the remote worlds directly, and make detailed observations.Read More

Space Feature

Artist's impression: How to paint a planet

Exoplanets take many weird and wonderful forms, and we've only discovered a handful of the untold number that exist in our universe. Even though a small number have been directly imaged, most have been identified through indirect methods and in both cases, the actual appearance of the planet is left almost entirely to the imagination. This means that it falls to talented artists to provide an accessible interpretation of what these remote bodies could look like. We spoke to space artist Danielle Futselaar to uncover what goes into illustrating a planet.Read More

Space

Kepler stable after being rescued from Emergency Mode

It was action stations for the Kepler mission team last Thursday when, during a scheduled contact, it was discovered the Kepler spacecraft was in Emergency Mode (EM). NASA subsequently declared a spacecraft emergency, giving engineers priority access to its Deep Space Network ground-based communications system. The spacecraft was successfully recovered from EM on Sunday morning and is now in a stable state, however, it is still unclear what triggered the craft's brief departure from regular operations.

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Space

Astronomers discover massive storm raging on distant star

A team of astronomers making use of data collected by NASA's Kepler telescope has spotted a leviathan storm raging on the surface of a tiny, distant star. The storm, which is believed to be comfortably large enough to swallow three Earth-sized planets within its expanse, is comprised of clouds of tiny minerals and is thought to be similar in nature to Jupiter's "Great Red Spot".Read More

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.Read More

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