science

August 26, 2019

The twin Voyager spacecraft took off in 1977, carrying scientific instruments and golden records stuffed with information. Millions of miles away, they still communicate with Earth. They still collect data. But they are aging. The spacecraft, traveling in slightly different directions, weaken every year. Their thrusters, which keep them steady, are degrading. Their power generators produce about 40 percent less electricity than they did at launch.

August 26, 2019

The conventional wisdom is that if you want to look at more distant objects in the universe, you need a bigger telescope. What if you didn’t have to build one, though? A new analysis claims it may be possible to use the Earth’s atmosphere as a giant lens to observe far-away stars and galaxies on the cheap. The process may even work in reverse to send signals to distant locales.

August 25, 2019

All is not what it seems in the world of lunar samples. If you put a moon rock alongside one from Earth, they usually don't have a lot in common. So when Curtin University planetary scientist Professor Alexander Nemchin looked closely at a moon rock in his laboratory, he realized something wasn't right.

August 22, 2019

A giant impact 4.5 billion years ago could be the reason Jupiter’s core is stranger than astronomers expected. Astronomers thought that Jupiter began as a rocky and icy planetary embryo that later formed its massive gaseous envelope, drawing in hydrogen and helium from the solar nebula by virtue of its huge gravity. This would mean there was a relatively clear delineation between the solid core and the gas surrounding it.

August 22, 2019

SpaceX's billionaire founder and CEO teased the idea in 2015 during an appearance on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," explaining that vaporizing Mars' ice caps would be a good way to warm the planet enough for human colonists to live relatively comfortably. Musk floated the concept again last week via Twitter, initially saying simply "Nuke Mars!" and then "T-shirt soon."

August 22, 2019

Two NASA astronauts stepped outside the International Space Station Wednesday (Aug. 21) to install a new docking port for incoming commercial crew spacecraft during the fifth spacewalk from the station this year. Nick Hague and Andrew Morgan began their 6 hour and 32 minute spacewalk at 8:27 a.m. EDT (12:27 GMT), exiting from the U.S.-built Quest airlock after switching their spacesuits over to battery power.

August 21, 2019

Humanity's next giant leap could be enabled by next-gen nuclear tech, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said. During the sixth meeting of the National Space Council (NSC) today (Aug. 20), the NASA chief lauded the potential of nuclear thermal propulsion, which would harness the heat thrown off by fission reactions to accelerate propellants such as hydrogen to tremendous speeds.

August 20, 2019

Starman and his deep-space ride have completed their first lap around the sun. The spacesuit-clad mannequin, who sits behind the wheel of SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk's red Tesla Roadster, launched on Feb. 6, 2018, on the inaugural flight of the huge Falcon Heavy rocket. The duo wrapped up their first solar orbit over the weekend, according to the tracking site whereisroadster.com.

August 19, 2019

The Hubble Space Telescope has been silently hovering above Earth for over 25 years, but it’s still returning spectacular images of the cosmos. That’s an amazing technological achievement. But it wasn’t always a smooth ride.

August 18, 2019

Earth's magnetic field seems steady and true--reliable enough to navigate by. Yet, largely hidden from daily life, the field drifts, waxes and wanes. The magnetic North Pole is currently careening toward Siberia, which recently forced the Global Positioning System that underlies modern navigation to update its software sooner than expected to account for the shift.

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