Archive | Space


Astronomers ponder proto solar system vanishing act

Displaying all of the characteristics of a solar system in the making, a massive cloud of dust and rocky debris orbiting a nearby star has vanished, leaving astronomers mystified as to what could have happened to the dusty disc that was much more massive than Saturn’s rings. “It’s like the classic magician’s trick – now […]

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Andromeda-Milky Way collision visualized

After nearly a century of speculation about the future destiny of Andromeda and our own Milky Way galaxy, scientists at NASA have visualized what the eventual collision of the two galaxies will look like and where our own solar system will end up. A century ago astronomers did not realize that Andromeda was a separate […]

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Nomad planets seeding life throughout the universe?

According to new calculations, planets adrift in space without a “home” solar system are abundant in the universe and scientists have proposed that these nomad planets might not only sustain life, but transport it as well. The theory stems from a study published in theMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society that proposed an upper […]

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Venus transit to help identify possible neo-Earths

Hoping to eventually identify Earth-like planets in other solar systems, astronomers plan to point the Hubble telescope at the Moon’s Tycho crater (pictured) during the upcoming transit of Venus across the Sun (June 5-6) and analyze the reflected Venusian atmospheric spectra. The Moon-mirror approach is necessary, explain NASA scientists, as Hubble cannot look at the […]

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Hundreds of rogue stars found outside galaxy

Vanderbilt University astronomers say they have identified more than 600 stars that have been violently flung out of the Milky Way toward Andromeda; stellar victims, the scientists believe, of the supermassive black hole at our galaxy’s core. Previously, 16 rogue stars traveling fast enough to escape the galaxy’s gravitational grasp had been discovered, but they […]

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SETI needs self-replicating robot explorers, argues prof

Autonomous, self-replicating robots are the best way to explore the universe, locate extraterrestrial life and perhaps even clean up space debris, argues John D. Mathews, a Penn State professor. Mathews has penned an article for the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society that argues the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI, now in its 50th year) […]

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New blow to dark matter theory

A study of the motions of stars in the Milky Way has found no evidence for the existence of dark matter in a large volume around the Sun. According to widely accepted theories, the solar neighborhood was expected to have dark matter – estimated to constitute 83 percent of the matter in the Universe – […]

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Earth to Moon on a cup of fuel

A new low-cost ionic motor could drastically reduce the cost of space exploration, with its developers saying it could propel a satellite to the Moon using just a tenth of a liter of fuel. The motor was developed by an international consortium including Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), SWITZERLAND; Queen Mary and Westfield College […]

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Milky Way’s black hole in asteroid feeding frenzy

The X-ray flares that are observed on a daily basis from the giant black hole at the center of the Milky Way may represent the demise of asteroids plunging into the singularity, according to an analysis of data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. A new report appearing in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical […]

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Milky Way has “billions” of habitable planets

Working with data from telescopes located around the world, an international team of astronomers have shown that planets around stars are the rule rather than the exception and that there are likely billions of planets in our galaxy where humans could live. Reporting their findings in Nature, the team say that most of the Milky […]

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