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Laser Communication Breakthrough – 80 Megabits/sec from Moon

ESA April 25, 2014 Just before NASA’s latest Moon mission ended last week, an ESA telescope received laser signals from the spacecraft, achieving data speeds like those used by many to watch movies at home via fibre-optic Internet. During an intense, three-day effort starting on 1 April, ESA’s Optical Ground Station in Spain received data signals via laser from the ... Read More »

Twenty-Six Asteroids Exploded Over Earth From 2000-2013

April 23, 2014 Between 2000 and 2013, a network of sensors that monitors Earth around the clock listening for the infrasound signature of nuclear detonations detected 26 explosions on Earth ranging in energy from 1-600 kilotons – all caused not by nuclear explosions, but rather by asteroid impacts. These findings were recently released from the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, which operates ... Read More »

Has a Second Earth Just Been Discovered?

NASA April 17, 2014 Using NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the “habitable zone” — the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that planets the size of Earth exist in the habitable zone of ... Read More »

Possible Moon Found Around Alien World

NASA JPL April 10, 2014 Titan, Europa, Io and Phobos are just a few members of our solar system’s pantheon of moons. Are there are other moons out there, orbiting planets beyond our sun? NASA-funded researchers have spotted the first signs of an “exomoon,” and though they say it’s impossible to confirm its presence, the finding is a tantalizing first ... Read More »

Ocean Detected on Saturn’s Moon Enceladus

NASA JPL April 03, 2014 NASA’s Cassini spacecraft and Deep Space Network have uncovered evidence Saturn’s moon Enceladus harbors a large underground ocean of liquid water, furthering scientific interest in the moon as a potential home to extraterrestrial microbes. Researchers theorized the presence of an interior reservoir of water in 2005 when Cassini discovered water vapor and ice spewing from ... Read More »

Rosetta Spacecraft Sees Its Destination Comet

ESA March 27, 2014 ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft has caught a first glimpse of its destination comet since waking up from deep-space hibernation on 20 January. These two ‘first light’ images were taken on 20 and 21 March by the OSIRIS wide-angle camera and narrow-angle camera, as part of six weeks of activities dedicated to preparing the spacecraft’s science instruments for ... Read More »

Curiosity Enters Region of Martian Sandstone

NASA JPL March 24, 2014 Variations in the stuff that cements grains together in sandstone have shaped the landscape surrounding NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover and could be a study topic at the mission’s next science waypoint. On a journey with many months yet to go toward prime destinations on the lower slope of Mount Sharp, Curiosity is approaching a site ... Read More »

Space Sunflower Could Help Photograph Exoplanets

NASA JPL March 20, 2014 A spacecraft that looks like a giant sunflower might one day be used to acquire images of Earth-like rocky planets around nearby stars. The prototype deployable structure, called a starshade, is being developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. The hunt is on for planets that resemble Earth in size, composition and temperature. ... Read More »

Did a European Spacecraft Spot a Rainbow on Venus?

ESA March 11, 2014 A rainbow-like feature known as a ‘glory’ has been seen by ESA’s Venus Express orbiter in the atmosphere of our nearest neighbour – the first time one has been fully imaged on another planet. Rainbows and glories occur when sunlight shines on cloud droplets – water particles in the case of Earth. While rainbows arch across ... Read More »

Lava Floods the Ancient Plains of Mars

ESA March 06, 2014 Two distinct volcanic eruptions have flooded this area of Daedalia Planum with lava, flowing around an elevated fragment of ancient terrain. The images were acquired by ESA’s Mars Express on 28 November 2013 towards the eastern boundary of the gigantic Tharsis Montes volcanic region, where the largest volcanoes on Mars are found. The lava flows seen ... Read More »

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