NEWS ABOUT: space exploration

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Geckos Sent Into Space to Have Sex Now in Danger

Communications compromised with Russian satellite

(Newser) - Five lust-filled lizards hurled into the heavens to get lucky in the name of science are now in peril. The Russian space agency Roscosmos is trying to fix faulty communications with its Foton-M4 satellite, which was launched last week with one male gecko and four females on board, reports Ars... More »

Moon Caves Might Shelter Future Astronauts

NASA studying about 200 lunar pits

(Newser) - If humans ever set up camp on the moon, NASA thinks they can make great use of some natural shelter: moon caves. As Vice explains, the space agency has identified more than 200 lunar pits on the moon's surface, and those pits lead to caves below that range anywhere... 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 »

Chelyabinsk Meteor Is From Ancient Space Collision

Scientists think long-ago smashup led to last year's bang in Russia

(Newser) - Two big rocks collided in deep space about 290 million years ago, and a new study suggests that we earthlings felt the impact via that amazing meteor strike in Chelyabinsk, Russia, last year. Scientists analyzing meteorite fragments think that the chunk of asteroid that exploded over the city in 2013... More »

Sun's Long-Lost Brother Found by Astronomers

It was formed in the same cloud of gas as our own sun

(Newser) - Astronomers have discovered that the sun has a long-lost brother. That is, this star was created from the same cloud of dust and gas as our sun, according to a team of researchers led by an astronomer at the University of Texas at Austin. And this "brother" even has... More »

Astronomers Find Planet With 8-Hour Day

Beta Pictoris b is a milestone discovery for scientists

(Newser) - If the 9-to-5 grind leaves you feeling like your day is shot, be thankful you're not living on the planet Beta Pictoris b. Scientists have calculated that its entire day is only eight hours long, reports the Los Angeles Times . The reason is that the gas giant's equator... More »

Meet Peggy, New Saturn Moon

Scientists think they've spotted a tiny one being formed

(Newser) - Astronomers think they're seeing a first—the birth of a Saturn moon. NASA's Cassini spacecraft spotted what the LA Times describes as a "fuzzy blob" near one of the planet's rings, though astronomers may not know for sure whether the maybe-moon they've nicknamed "Peggy"... More »

NASA Orbiter Smashes Into Moon (on Purpose)

LADEE ends short mission by disintegrating

(Newser) - A $280 million orbiter crashed into the moon and disintegrated yesterday, and NASA couldn't be happier about it. The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer met its end after completing a mission to orbit the moon and observe its atmosphere that began in September, reports the AP . In fact,... More »

Astronomers Find Earth's 'Cousin'

Kepler-186f is called the best bet yet to hold alien life

(Newser) - Other "Earth-like" planets have been discovered before, but a new one is generating a lot of excitement in astronomy circles because of how very Earth-like it actually is. Introducing Kepler-186f, which is maybe 10% bigger than our planet and thought to be in the not-too-hot and not-too-cold range that... More »

Citizen Scientists Hope to Wake Up Old Satellite

ISEE-3 travels by Earth this summer for first time in 30 years

(Newser) - A long-dormant satellite is heading back toward Earth this summer after 31 years, and some "citizen scientists" want to try to wake it up and put it back to work, reports Motherboard . Cash-strapped NASA hasn't shown much interest in investing money in the idea, hence the move toward... More »

New Dwarf Planet 'Biden' May Offer Cosmic Secrets

Discovery at solar system's edge hints at more to come

(Newser) - Astronomers, and reporters who cover astronomy, are pretty excited today about the discovery of a suspected dwarf planet named 2012 VP-113—and thus nicknamed "Biden"—in the nether regions of the solar system beyond Pluto. Some snippets:
  • Nature : "The Solar System just got a lot more far-flung.
... More »

Winklevoss Twins Going to Space, Via Bitcoins

They use their go-to currency to book on Virgin Galactic

(Newser) - Virgin Galactic has signed up two more high-profile passengers to space: the Winklevoss twins of Facebook fame. In a blog post , Tyler wrote that he and Cameron had paid for their tickets using their favorite currency—bitcoins.
  • Tyler's take: "It is in this vein that Cameron and
... More »

Asteroid Whizzes by Earth Tonight

It won't hit us, but you can watch it online

(Newser) - It's big (about the size of three football fields) and it's fast (about 27,000mph), and it's zipping by our planet tonight. Earthlings, meet asteroid 2000 EM26. As Space.com explains, the asteroid poses no threat of actually hitting the planet when it flies by at a... More »

Japan to Tackle Space Junk With ... Giant Net

It's magnetic, and first trial run starts next month

(Newser) - The amount of dangerous junk floating around in space is by all accounts getting out of control . Next month, Japan's space agency will try to do something about it with a novel idea: It's launching a huge magnetic net, reports the South China Morning Post . The contraption is... More »

Astronomers May Have Found a Milestone Moon

It could be the first 'exomoon' detected around an exoplanet

(Newser) - Astronomers have found plenty of Earth-like planets out there in deep space, but so far they haven't found a moon orbiting one of them. Until now, maybe. Scientists might have detected one in orbit around a planet in the constellation Sagittarius, reports Nature . If so, it's the first... More »

China's Moon Rover Sends Back First Pics

Mission declared 'complete success'

(Newser) - China has declared the first rover mission to the moon in more than 40 years a "complete success," with the first photos sent back from its Jade Rabbit rover, the BBC reports. The rover—photographed by the lander after it separated from the vehicle yesterday —sent back... More »

And It's Off: Beijing's Moon Rover Sets Out

'Jade Rabbit' separates from landing vehicle, begins exploration

(Newser) - China's first moon rover has touched the lunar surface and left deep traces on its loose soil, several hours after the country successfully carried out the first soft landing on the moon in nearly four decades. The 300-pound "Jade Rabbit" rover separated from the much larger landing vehicle... More »

Astronaut Calls Kid, 6, Who's Fighting to Save NASA

Moon-walker Gene Cernan likes the boy's White House petition

(Newser) - A 6-year-old Denver boy is such a big fan of outer space that he created an online petition on the White House's We the People website when he heard that Congress might slash NASA funding. Connor Johnson still has a long way to go—about 85,000 signatures—to... More »

Everyone's in a Space Race These Days

And that's a good thing: Louis Friedman

(Newser) - Gone are the days of the US-versus-Russia space race. "There are now many space races," as numerous nations and private companies get into the game, "and that's good for science," writes Louis Friedman in the Los Angeles Times . Consider India's recent launch of a... More »

Hubble Finds Water on 5 Distant Planets

Vapor detected in atmosphere, but none of the planets could support life

(Newser) - It's seen as more of a confirmation of theory than a startling discovery, but scientists have found water in the atmosphere of five huge planets outside our solar system. A potential sign of life? Not quite, explains the LA Times . These five gas giants (or "hot Jupiters")... More »

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