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Space Exploration News

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astrophysics, cosmology, the universe...

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New molecules around old stars

Using ESA's Herschel space observatory, astronomers have discovered that a molecule vital for creating water exists in the burning embers of dying Sun-like stars.

Posted: Jun 17th, 2014

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'Guinea pig' in space

Alexander Gerst has been living and working in microgravity since 29 May 2014, and the focus of his initial research on the International Space Station (ISS) is currently himself.

Posted: Jun 12th, 2014

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Mining data archives yields haul of 'red nuggets'

The world of astronomy has changed. An astronomer used to have to travel to a remote location and endure long, cold nights, patiently guiding a telescope to collect precious photons of light. Now, a proliferation of online archives allows astronomers to make discoveries from the comfort of their own offices. By mining such archives, a team of astronomers has found a treasure trove of 'red nugget' galaxies.

Posted: Jun 11th, 2014

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Gigantic explosion buried in dust: Alma probes environment around gamma ray bursts (w/video)

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), a team of researchers reports the first-ever detection of molecular gas in two galaxies that were previously rocked by gamma ray bursts (GRBs), the brightest explosions in the Universe. These new observations revealed that the molecular gas was concentrated toward the centers of the galaxies, while the GRBs occurred in unusual environments that were surprisingly bereft of gas yet rich in dust.

Posted: Jun 11th, 2014

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The solar wind breaks through the Earth's magnetic field

Space is not empty. A wind of charged particles blows outwards from the Sun, carrying a magnetic field with it. Sometimes this solar wind can break through the Earth's magnetic field. Researchers now have an answer to one of the questions about how this actually occurs.

Posted: Jun 11th, 2014

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Map of universe questioned; dwarf galaxies don't fit standard model

Dwarf galaxies that orbit the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxies defy the accepted model of galaxy formation, and recent attempts to wedge them into the model are flawed, reports an international team of astrophysicists. A new study pokes holes in the current understanding of galaxy formation and questions the accepted model of the origin and evolution of the universe.

Posted: Jun 11th, 2014

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National panel urges 'putting human boots' on Mars

After 18 months of research and deliberation, the Committee on Human Spaceflight - a diverse national group of scientists and professionals convened by Congressional request - issued a 285-page report June 4 on whether Earth-bound humans should continue exploring space.

Posted: Jun 10th, 2014

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First images from exoplanet hunter SPHERE

The European SPHERE instrument has been successfully installed on ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) and has achieved first light. This powerful new facility can directly image gas-giant exoplanets and dust discs orbiting nearby stars (up to 300 light years away) with unparalleled precision and contrast.

Posted: Jun 10th, 2014

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55-year old dark side of the moon mystery solved

The Man in the Moon appeared when meteoroids struck the Earth-facing side of the moon creating large flat seas of basalt that we see as dark areas called maria. But no 'face' exists on farside of the moon and now, Penn State astrophysicists think they know why.

Posted: Jun 9th, 2014

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Two planets orbit nearby ancient star

An international team of astronomers reports the discovery of two new planets orbiting a very old star that is near to our own Sun. One of these planets orbits the star at the right distance to allow liquid water to exist on its surface, a key ingredient to support life.

Posted: Jun 5th, 2014

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