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Searching Interstellar Dust for Signs of Life

NASA February 04, 2013 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 ... Read More »

Scientists Create Weather Map of Nearby Brown Dwarf

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After 10 Years, Opportunity Rover Still Making Discoveries

NASA JPL January 23, 2014 New findings from rock samples collected and examined by NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity have confirmed an ancient wet environment that was milder and older than the acidic and oxidizing conditions told by rocks the rover examined previously. In the Jan. 24 edition of the journal Science, Opportunity Deputy Principal Investigator Ray Arvidson, a professor ... Read More »

Water Discovered Around Dwarf Planet Ceres

ESA January 22, 2014 ESA’s Herschel space observatory has discovered water vapour around Ceres, the first unambiguous detection of water vapour around an object in the asteroid belt. With a diameter of 950 km, Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt, which lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. But unlike most asteroids, Ceres is almost spherical ... Read More »

Mystery Rock on Mars Continues to Baffle

NASA JPL January 21, 2014 This before-and-after pair of images of the same patch of ground in front of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity 13 days apart documents the arrival of a bright rock onto the scene. The rover had completed a short drive just before taking the second image, and one of its wheels likely knocked the rock — ... Read More »

Space Droids Battle Each Other in Contest

ESA January 21, 2014 A comet heading towards Earth threatens humanity’s existence – that was the virtual scenario of this year’s Zero Robotics tournament. Secondary-school students from across Europe controlled miniature satellites on the International Space Station in a competition to save our planet. The Space Station was turned into a playing field for the finals. The ultimate robot game ... Read More »

Planet Found Around Sun-Like Star in Star Cluster

ESO January 16, 2014 Astronomers have used ESO’s HARPS planet hunter in Chile, along with other telescopes around the world, to discover three planets orbiting stars in the cluster Messier 67. Although more than one thousand planets outside the Solar System are now confirmed, only a handful have been found in star clusters. Remarkably one of these new exoplanets is ... Read More »

Send Your Name to An Asteroid

NASA January 15, 2014 NASA is inviting people around the world to submit their names to be etched on a microchip aboard a spacecraft headed to the asteroid Bennu in 2016. The “Messages to Bennu!” microchip will travel to the asteroid aboard the agency’s Origins-Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft. The robotic mission will spend more than ... Read More »

Now Playing: Musical Space-Weather From the Moon

NASA January 09, 2014 The latest tool for checking space weather is an internet radio station fed by data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO. The radio station essentially operates in real time, receiving measurements of how much radiation the spacecraft is experiencing and converting those into a constant stream of music. The radiation levels determine which instrument is ... Read More »

Powerful New Instrument Directly Images Planets

Gemini Observatory January 08, 2014 After nearly a decade of development, construction, and testing, the world’s most advanced instrument for directly imaging and analyzing planets around other stars is pointing skyward and collecting light from distant worlds. The instrument, called the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI), was designed, built, and optimized for imaging faint planets next to bright stars and probing ... Read More »

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