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Tiny Find: Stardust From Beyond Solar System?

Citizen scientists help discover what could be interstellar space dust

(Newser) - Earth may be host to some far-from-home specks. A NASA spacecraft that sent space samples back to our planet in 2006 captured an astounding find that's just coming to light: seven specks of stardust believed to be the first from outside our solar system. Finding the teeny fragments, captured... More »

Here It Is: Last Night's 'Supermoon'

World gazes up at unusual phenomenon

(Newser) - If you peered up at the sky last night, you likely witnessed a " supermoon "—a stunning view of the moon offered when it's orbiting nearest the Earth, the AP notes. It was the second of three this year; if you missed it, you can catch a... More »

Moon May Hold Clues to Earth's Ancient Past

Study says fossils from Earth could survive the trip via meteor

(Newser) - Might the moon be able to shed some light on the origins of life on Earth? A new study out of the University of Kent opens the possibility that the moon could be littered with ancient fossils from our planet, reports New Scientist . No such fossil has been found to... More »

Space Probe Chasing 'Rubber Duck' Comet

Rosetta probe closing in on rare double comet

(Newser) - Space may have found itself a mascot: a double comet some say looks an awful lot like a giant rubber duck. The European Space Agency's Rosetta probe has been gaining on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko since reawakening this year , hoping to send a lander to its surface. Now that it's... More »

We'll Be Visiting Pluto in a Year ... Sort Of

Flyby mission to get closer to dwarf planet than ever before

(Newser) - Exactly one year from today, a spacecraft will be "arriving" at Pluto—or so a planetary scientist puts it. More specifically, the New Horizons craft, about the size of a baby grand piano and carrying no one, will be passing closer to the dwarf planet than we've ever... More »

Ancient Meteorite Unlocks Space Puzzle

'Mysterious object' found in Swedish limestone quarry

(Newser) - Almost 500 million years ago in the Ordovician Period, two large bodies in the asteroid belt collided. Two asteroids, or an asteroid and a comet, blew apart and their debris and dust fell to Earth. One of these large bodies was the source of all the L-chondrite meteorites that have... More »

We Got Earth's Birthday Wrong by 60M Years

Same goes for the moon, say scientists

(Newser) - The planet we're living on is about 60 million years older than previously thought. So say scientists in France who studied quartz from Australia and South Africa that dates back about 3 billion years, reports Phys.org . The ratio of gases in the quartz compared to today's ratios... More »

SpaceX Unveils Its Latest Dragon

Reusable capsule is 'a big leap forward': Elon Musk

(Newser) - Astronauts could soon be zooming into space in a gumdrop—er, a gumdrop-shaped capsule. SpaceX yesterday unveiled its Dragon V2, which is designed to carry seven astronauts to the International Space Station and will ultimately be able to "land anywhere on Earth with the accuracy of a helicopter,"... More »

California Undergrad Makes Astronomy Breakthrough

No term exists for Michael Sandoval's stellar discovery

(Newser) - At just 21 years old, a California college student has made an incredible discovery: Michael Sandoval and his astrophysics professor at San Jose State have spotted what they believe is one galaxy that was swallowed up by another. The result is a dense system of stars—apparently the densest ever... More »

Jupiter's Great Red Spot Has Really Shrunk

It looks more like a circle than an oval

(Newser) - The signature red spot we see in pictures of Jupiter could fit three Earths next to each other—in the late 1800s. The Great Red Spot is getting smaller, and the reason is a mystery, Reuters reports. It was some 25,000 miles across in the late 19th century; by... More »

New Spacecraft Fuel: Urine?

Scientists in Puerto Rico think they've found a way

(Newser) - Getting water and fuel to spacecraft in orbit can get pretty expensive, but a new process could scale that down—simply by recycling urine. The science behind the idea of drinking water that was once pee could provide a more affordable way to not only hydrate astronauts but also fuel... More »

Tiny 'Fossil Galaxy' Could Hold Clues to Early Universe

Segue 1 apparently stopped evolving 13B years ago

(Newser) - One of our galactic neighbors, the tiny Segue 1, could be among the first galaxies ever to take shape—and it may present an opportunity for scientists to examine our universe as an infant. Segue 1's chemical composition suggests it stopped evolving some 13 billion years ago, Scientific American... More »

Mars Gets Up Close, Personal With Earth

Red planet is closest it's been to us since 2007

(Newser) - The red planet is coming in for a close-up with our night sky: As Sky & Telescope reports, Mars will be closer to Earth this month than it's been since the end of 2007, appearing bigger and brighter in the night sky for the middle two weeks of April.... More »

Space Junk Solution: Fire Lasers at It

Australia prepares to deal with 300K pieces of debris

(Newser) - Space is full of debris, scientists say—about 300,000 pieces of it—and it's putting our satellites at risk. We could be "a couple of decades away from a catastrophic cascade of collisions ... that takes out all the satellites in low orbit," says researcher Matthew Colless.... More »

The North Star Is Changing

Polaris getting brighter over the centuries

(Newser) - Polaris is famed for its consistency, but the North Star we see today is brighter than it was in the 1800s. In fact, if historical records are correct, the star has gotten about 2.5 times brighter over the course of the past two centuries, researcher Scott Engle tells Space.... More »

Hawking's New Theory: 'There Are No Black Holes'

He addresses conflicting theories of physics

(Newser) - Stephen Hawking helped develop current theories on black holes—but now, he's saying there aren't any. New Scientist explains his thinking, focusing on what's known in physics as the "firewall paradox," which deals with a black hole's event horizon. That's an "invisible... More »

Secrets of Mysterious Black Hole Jets Revealed

Jets have power to spew iron and nickel, study finds

(Newser) - For years, astronomers have wondered what exactly black holes spew into our universe—and now they know. Iron and nickel have been found shooting from the relativistic jets of a black hole several times larger than our sun, but the finding is more surprising than it may seem. It shows... More »

Olympic Torch Returns From Space

Crew parachutes into Kazakhstan

(Newser) - A Russian space capsule carrying the Sochi Olympic torch and three astronauts returned to Earth today from the International Space Station in a flawless landing on the steppes of Kazakhstan. The Soyuz capsule landed at 8:49 local time, about three and a half hours after undocking from the station... More »

There Are Billions of Earth-Like Planets in Our Galaxy

At least 8.8 billion planets like ours in the Milky Way, study finds

(Newser) - Space is vast, but it may not be so lonely after all: A study finds the Milky Way is teeming with billions of planets that are about the size of Earth, orbit stars just like our sun, and exist in the Goldilocks zone—not too hot and not too cold... More »

New Asteroid Points to Habitable Exoplanets

Scientists spot water-rich asteroid 170 light-years from Earth

(Newser) - Scientists have spotted the remains of a water-rich asteroid, orbiting a dying star about 170 light-years from Earth. It's more than a bit of space waste—the find suggests that this far-off solar system may have once had planets capable of supporting life, the LA Times reports. "The... More »

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