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We Thought Mars Was Toxic. We Had No Idea

Chemicals on surface, UV light kill bacteria in seconds: study

(Newser) - A new study might throw a wrench into plans to establish a human colony on Mars, whose surface is "more uninhabitable than previously thought." Indeed, the Red Planet is covered in a "toxic cocktail" of chemicals that, when combined with UV light, are capable of destroying any... More »

Close Encounter With Jupiter's 'Red Spot' Is Imminent

Juno spacecraft will 'dive' into celestial storm on July 10

(Newser) - NASA's Juno spacecraft will celebrate its first birthday circling Jupiter with the first close-up early next week of the gassy planet's Great Red Spot, Phys.org reports. The "spot" is actually an epic, 10,000-mile-wide storm that has likely been swirling above our solar system's biggest... More »

'Nemesis' Was Once Likely Part of Our Solar System

Scientists say our sun almost certainly had a twin long ago

(Newser) - Did the sun have an "evil twin" that wreaked havoc on Earth, perhaps obliterating the dinosaurs? Scientists think they can answer at least part of that question with near certainty: Yes, the sun had a twin, the Telegraph reports. Whether it was "evil" remains up in the air.... More »

40-Year-Old Signal From Space Is Finally Explained

Astronomer says it was 'a natural phenomenon,' not aliens

(Newser) - In 1977, a radio telescope recorded a 72-second signal coming from the direction of the constellation Sagittarius. Stunned, the astronomer who observed it wrote "Wow!" on the readout. Since it couldn't be explained, plenty argued the signal was proof of life beyond our planet. After 40 years,... More »

This Is Not a Bullet Hole. This Is Mars

Orbiter spots deep pit at Red Planet's south pole

(Newser) - Mars is the solar system's equivalent of a pock-marked teenager, with a surface dotted by countless craters and pits left by meteors, floods, and volcanoes. But there's one newly discovered pit that scientists just can't make sense of, reports Science Alert . It's a massive hole—believed... More »

Super Telescope Hopes to Unlock Secrets of Space

Extremely Large Telescope will go online in 2024

(Newser) - Scientists just got one step closer to unlocking the mysteries of the cosmos. With much fanfare, construction of the world's most powerful telescope kicked off on Friday in northern Chile, Reuters reports. When the $1.1 billion instrument goes online in 2024, proponents say it will revolutionize knowledge of... More »

Rocket Reaches Space in Historic First for Country

Welcome to the space club, New Zealand

(Newser) - New Zealand just joined a very exclusive club, shared by only 10 others. According to the Deccan Chronicle , private company Rocket Lab's 56-foot test craft, Electron, blasted off from its facility on the Mahia Peninsula, located on the east coast of the North Island, adding New Zealand to the... More »

Hawking: Actually, We Have 100 Years to Escape Earth

Eric Mack thinks that's a bit silly

(Newser) - Stephen Hawking is giving humanity a tall order: Colonize Mars in the next century or watch as life on Earth fizzles out. After last year claiming that humans have 1,000 years left on Earth , Hawking says in a new documentary that we instead have about 100 years until we'... More »

Cassini Mission to Saturn Will End in Death, Discovery

The spacecraft will soon plunge into Saturn itself

(Newser) - Two decades after putting Earth in its rear-view mirror, the Cassini spacecraft is preparing to wrap up its mission to Saturn—and that means plunging to its death in the planet's atmosphere, according to a press release . Cassini has been orbiting Saturn since 2004, sending back information on the... More »

Report: China Developing Spaceship for Lunar Mission

Advanced spaceship will have space for multiple astronauts

(Newser) - China is developing an advanced new spaceship capable of both flying in low-Earth orbit and landing on the moon, according to state media. The newspaper Science and Technology Daily cited spaceship engineer Zhang Bainian as saying the new craft would be recoverable and have room for multiple astronauts, the AP... More »

Space Station Is About to Get Much, Much Cooler

Cold Atom Lab is coming in August

(Newser) - You're about to feel much kinder toward Earth's chilly winter months. This summer, the International Space Station will become host to the coldest spot in the universe when NASA delivers a chamber that is more than 100 million times colder than deep space, which is itself far chillier... More »

NASA Loses Fight Over Priceless Bag of Moon Dust

Illinois woman official owner of Apollo 11 space bag

(Newser) - At first glance, the round, white bag looks unremarkable, even a little battered, with a lengthy tear on the bottom, reports the Houston Chronicle . But it's now the official gem of Nancy Lee Carlson's collection of space memorabilia. After a yearlong legal battle , a judge ruled that the... More »

Dollar-Store Solution to NASA's Poop Problem Wins $15K

It might just help save lives

(Newser) - When Thatcher Cardon considered NASA's Space Poop Challenge —seeking a solution that would allow astronauts to relieve themselves while wearing a space suit for up to six days—he thought about how doctors can "replace heart valves now through catheters in an artery" and concluded that a... More »

In Friday's Sky, a Triple Feature

Snow moon, eclipse, and a comet will be visible

(Newser) - Consider it a triple feature: Lucky observers who look to the sky Friday night into early Saturday will be treated to a February "snow" moon as well as a lunar eclipse and the flyby of a comet, reports USA Today . As the February full moon crosses through the outer... More »

10 Numbers That Sum Up 2016

From 7 new stars to 7.1K migrant deaths

(Newser) - Whether or not you believe 2016 was cursed, you have to admit it was an eventful year, dominated by the US election, global conflicts, and a refugee crisis. CNN takes a look at some of the numbers that best encapsulate those events and the year in general: More »

Space Station Gets a Christmas Delivery

Thanks, Kounotori

(Newser) - Christmas gifts have arrived at the International Space Station, courtesy of Japan. A Japanese cargo ship pulled up at the orbiting lab Tuesday, four days after launching. The capsule—called Kounotori, or white stork—contains nearly 5 tons of food, water, batteries and other supplies, reports the AP . NASA says... More »

Japan to Smack Space Junk With 2.3K-Foot Whip

If all goes well, a 6-mile tether could follow

(Newser) - Can a whip as long as six football fields destroy some of the 500,000 pieces of space junk spinning around Earth at 17,500 miles per hour? Japan's space agency sure hopes so. JAXA launched its Kounotori 6 spacecraft on Friday with tons of supplies bound for the... More »

NASA Wants You to Help Astronauts Poop

Space diapers just won't cut it

(Newser) - Pooping in space "isn't glamorous, but it is necessary for survival," an astronaut explains—yet it's presenting quite a challenge for NASA. See, while the International Space Station has a pretty fancy toilet , an astronaut must wear a diaper during launch and landing activities or while... More »

Stephen Hawking: Aliens Could Be a Danger to the Earth

Spacefaring aliens "will be vastly more powerful" than our own civilization

(Newser) - Stephen Hawking believes that mankind might want to just mind its own business, cosmically speaking. Even as he turns his attention to the search for alien life, Hawking says we should think twice before making any efforts to communicate with alien civilizations, ScienceAlert reports. Any civilization advanced enough to contact... More »

Plenty Went Wrong With ESA's Mars Lander

Schiaparelli probably fell a half-mile or more

(Newser) - The Schiaparelli spacecraft that tried to land on Mars Wednesday is probably dead or badly injured, the European Space Agency confirmed Thursday. It's placing the blame on a problem with the lander's parachute, reports CNN . "The ejection itself appears to have occurred earlier than expected," which... More »

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