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Space Exploration News

The latest news about space exploration
astrophysics, the universe...

Massive neutrinos solve a cosmological conundrum

Scientists have solved a major problem with the current standard model of cosmology identified by combining results from the Planck spacecraft and measurements of gravitational lensing in order to deduce the mass of ghostly sub-atomic particles called neutrinos.

Posted: Feb 10th, 2014

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WASP gives NASA's planetary scientists new observation platform

Scientists who study Earth, the sun and stars have long used high-altitude scientific balloons to carry their telescopes far into the stratosphere for a better view of their targets. Not so much for planetary scientists. That's because they needed a highly stable, off-the-shelf-type system that could accurately point their instruments and then track planetary targets as they moved in the solar system. That device now exists.

Posted: Feb 8th, 2014

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Red skies discovered on extreme brown dwarf

A peculiar example of a celestial body, known as a brown dwarf, with unusually red skies has been discovered by a team of astronomers from the University of Hertfordshire's Centre for Astrophysics Research.

Posted: Feb 6th, 2014

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Heavy metal in the early cosmos

Using the Stampede, Lonestar and Ranger supercomputers, University of Texas researchers simulated the formation of the Universe from the Big Bang through the first few hundred million years of its existence. The researchers found that more realistic models of supernova blasts help explain the range of metalicity found in different galaxies. The results of the simulations will assist in guiding the James Webb Space Telescope, set to launch in 2018.

Posted: Feb 5th, 2014

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New study finds early universe 'warmed up' later than previously believed

A new study reveals that black holes, formed from the first stars in our universe, heated the gas throughout space later than previously thought. They also imprinted a clear signature in radio waves which astronomers can now search for. The study is a major new finding about the origins of the universe.

Posted: Feb 5th, 2014

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Solving a 30-year-old problem in high mass star formation

Some 30 years ago, astronomers found that regions of ionized gas around young high mass stars remain small (under a third of a light-year) for ten times longer than they should if they were to expand as expected in simple models. Recent supercomputer simulations predicted that these regions actually flicker in brightness over this period rather than grow continuously.

Posted: Feb 5th, 2014

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The anatomy of an asteroid

ESO's New Technology Telescope has been used to find the first evidence that asteroids can have a highly varied internal structure. By making measurements astronomers have found that different parts of the asteroid Itokawa have different densities. As well as revealing secrets about the asteroid's formation, finding out what lies below the surface may also shed light on what happens when bodies collide in the Solar System, and provide clues about how planets form.

Posted: Feb 5th, 2014

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Kepler finds a very wobbly planet

Imagine living on a planet with seasons so erratic you would hardly know whether to wear Bermuda shorts or a heavy overcoat. That is the situation on a weird, wobbly world found by NASA's planet-hunting Kepler space telescope.

Posted: Feb 4th, 2014

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New technique could be used to search space dust for life's ingredients

While the origin of life remains mysterious, scientists are finding more and more evidence that material created in space and delivered to Earth by comet and meteor impacts could have given a boost to the start of life. Some meteorites supply molecules that can be used as building blocks to make certain kinds of larger molecules that are critical for life.

Posted: Feb 4th, 2014

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Cleaning up space debris with sailing satellites

The gossamer deorbiting system is designed to automatically orient the sail in the direction where maximum drag can be achieved, ensuring quicker deorbiting. Furthermore, the sail is made reflective, which allows it to make use of the solar radiation pressure to manoeuvre; solar sailing, so to speak.

Posted: Jan 31st, 2014

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Capturing a fleeting starburst

The MAXI instrument aboard the International Space Station gets a ringside seat as a white dwarf undergoes a spectacular and short-lived nova explosion.

Posted: Jan 31st, 2014

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Asteroid diversity points to a 'snow globe' solar system

Our solar system seems like a neat and orderly place, with small, rocky worlds near the sun and big, gaseous worlds farther out, all eight planets following orbital paths unchanged since they formed. However, the true history of the solar system is more riotous. Giant planets migrated in and out, tossing interplanetary flotsam and jetsam far and wide. New clues to this tumultuous past come from the asteroid belt.

Posted: Jan 29th, 2014

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