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Kepler Mission

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

Space

New study claims that the vast majority of Earth-like worlds do not yet exist

A newly-published NASA and Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) study is asserting that roughly 92 percent of habitable worlds have yet to be created. The research draws on data collected by NASA's Hubble and Kepler space telescopes, with the aim of placing the creation of Earth, and the potential for advanced life in the greater context of the Universe.Read More

Space

Kepler discovers "Earth's bigger, older cousin"

The odds of finding a habitable planet outside of our Solar System got a significant boost today, as NASA announced the discovery of the most Earthlike world orbiting the most Sunlike star yet. Named Kepler-425b, the new world located 1,400 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus was detected by the Kepler space telescope. It has been characterized by the space agency as "Earth's bigger, older cousin."Read More

Space

MIT study on exoplanet orbits may narrow parameters in search for life

A team of researchers from MIT and Aarhus University, Denmark, have discovered that Earth-sized exoplanets orbit their parent stars in the same way that our planet orbits our own Sun – maintaining a roughly equidistant circular orbit. The discovery further narrows the characteristics of worlds that could potentially play host to extraterrestrial life.Read More

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