space exploration

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Scientists Just Found Smallest Possible Star

Thousands of times dimmer than our own sun

(Newser) - Introducing EBLM J0555-57Ab, which now has the distinction of being the smallest star ever discovered. In fact, scientists at the University of Cambridge say stars cannot possibly get much smaller and still function as stars, per a release at Phys.org . This one is 600 light-years away from Earth and... More »

NASA's Kepler Takeaway: 'We Are Probably Not Alone'

Telescope finds 10 more planets that could have life

(Newser) - NASA's planet-hunting telescope has found 10 new planets outside our solar system that are likely the right size and temperature to potentially support life, broadly hinting that we are probably not alone, per the AP . After four years of searching, the Kepler telescope has detected a total of 49... More »

'We Will Finally Touch the Sun'

NASA explains next year's mission to the star's atmosphere

(Newser) - NASA is going to the sun. More specifically, it's launching an unmanned probe next year that will travel closer to the star than any spacecraft has done previously. "It's a spacecraft loaded with technological breakthroughs that will solve many of the largest mysteries about our star,"... More »

Mouse Sperm Delivers Good News for Humanity's Future in Space

Experiment yielded healthy offspring

(Newser) - After nine months in space, mouse sperm has yielded healthy mice, Japanese scientists say. The freeze-dried sperm samples were launched in 2013 to the International Space Station and returned to Earth in 2014. The intense radiation of space caused slight DNA damage to the sperm. Yet, following in vitro fertilization... More »

Flashes Spotted by Carl Sagan Are Finally Explained

They're caused by floating ice crystals, says a new NASA study

(Newser) - About 25 years ago, astronomer Carl Sagan and his team noticed something a little odd about images coming back from the Galileo spacecraft: They showed glints of light seemingly coming from Earth. Now, a NASA study appears to have cracked the source of the mystery: floating ice crystals. In a... More »

Daring Mission Snaps Closest Ever Images of Saturn

Cassini probe dives between Saturn's rings

(Newser) - The view of a planet that’s 746 million miles away just got a little clearer, thanks to a historic first by NASA's Cassini probe. The spacecraft completed a dive between Saturn and its rings, capturing data and images of the planet never seen before. The first photos began... More »

Our Space Junk Problem Is Only Getting Worse

First mission is planned to reduce debris, but it could backfire

(Newser) - Decades' worth of man-made junk is cluttering up Earth's orbit, posing a threat to spaceflight and the satellites we rely on for weather reports, air travel, and global communications. More than 750,000 fragments larger than a centimeter are already thought to orbit Earth, and each one could badly... More »

Space Speculation: Who Are the Mystery Moon Tourists?

SpaceX could make history by sending the first woman

(Newser) - So who are the two space tourists who will be flown around the moon by SpaceX next year? The company isn't saying, but a post at the Atlantic points out an interesting stat: Of the 24 people who have flown to the moon so far (half of whom have... More »

Watch Elon Musk Freak as SpaceX Makes History

Video captures entrepreneur go through rollercoaster of emotion during launch

(Newser) - Last year around this time, SpaceX pulled off the feat of launching a rocket and then having it return safely to Earth after sending its cargo into space. The milestone got plenty of news coverage at the time, but National Geographic TV has now released a video with a compelling... More »

Europe Fears Its Mars Lander Has Crashed

The ESA lost contact with its robot less than a minute before it landed

(Newser) - It appears Europe's latest attempt to put a lander on the surface has Mars has once again resulted in failure. The BBC reports the European Space Agency lost communication with the Schiaparelli robot less than a minute before it was supposed to reach the Martian surface Wednesday. The lander'... More »

China Launches Its Longest Manned Space Trip

2 astronauts will touch down for 30 days on experimental space station

(Newser) - Two Chinese astronauts began the country's longest crewed space mission yet on Monday, blasting off on a spacecraft for a 30-day stay on an experimental space station as China steadfastly moves toward becoming a space superpower, the AP reports. Ahead of the launch, one astronaut shouted, "We are... More »

Obama Aims for Mars, but Venus May Be More Logical

One drawback: We'd never be able to plant a flag

(Newser) - President Obama wants to have humans on Mars in about 20 years, a goal that prompts all kinds of questions about the logistics of such a feat. But as Brian Fung writes in the Washington Post , it also prompts a more fundamental question: Why Mars and not Venus? As proponents... More »

Obama's 'Clear Goal' for Getting Americans on Mars

We'll send them by 2030s, per new White House, NASA initiative

(Newser) - President Obama has a Tuesday op-ed on CNN , but he's not writing about Election 2016—or even anything on Earth. Instead, the president announces America's plans for a "giant leap to Mars," with a "clear goal" to get humans to the red planet by the... More »

Elon Musk Says Humans Could Be on Mars in 10 Years

And living in a permanent Martian colony in 50 years

(Newser) - Human's have two choices: "become a spacefaring species" or perish in an "extinction event on Earth," Elon Musk said Tuesday during the International Astronautical Conference in Mexico while laying out his plan to colonize Mars. Here's what you need to know about the SpaceX founder'... More »

A Suitcase-Sized Lander Just Got Closer to the Moon

Moon Express plans to send lander next year

(Newser) - It's one small step for a company, but it could be a giant leap for capitalism. On Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration gave a company called Moon Express permission for an unmanned lunar landing, making it the first private company the US has approved for a moon mission, the... More »

We've Got Our First Look at Jupiter From NASA Craft

High-resolution images to follow from Juno

(Newser) - The NASA spacecraft that entered Jupiter's orbit earlier this month has sent back its first image of the planet. Think of it as a test shot, with the better, high-resolution photos to come next month. Still, the image released by NASA shows Jupiter, its famous red spot, and three... More »

'Juno, Welcome to Jupiter'

Probe slips into orbit after 5-year journey

(Newser) - After spending five years traveling to Jupiter , NASA's Juno probe entered the gas giant's orbit Monday night by executing a make-or-break maneuver that was accurate within a second. Team members at the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory cheered as they received confirmation that the spacecraft... More »

Hawking on Board With One of Biggest Space Plans Ever

Idea is to fly to our neighboring star system, 25T miles away

(Newser) - Three big names unveiled a space proposal Tuesday so ambitious there's a good chance you wouldn't live long enough to celebrate its success. Assuming it ever gets off the ground. It's called the Breakthrough Starshot, and the idea backed by Stephen Hawking, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, and... More »

After Scare, Kepler Spacecraft Back in Business

More planet-hunting awaits

(Newser) - To astronomers' relief, NASA's planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft has won another reprieve. The spacecraft—responsible for detecting thousands of planets beyond our solar system— slipped into emergency mode last week nearly 75 million miles from Earth, reports the AP . Ground controllers managed to stabilize the probe Sunday, and NASA announced... More »

We Need to Rename Mars' Moons Quickly

Phobos and Deimos are way too dark, writes essayist

(Newser) - Each new discovery about Mars seems to show that it's more like Earth than we imagined. NASA, meanwhile, is firming up plans for a trip there. It's high time, then, for a long overdue chore, writes Fortunato Salazar in the Guardian —we've got to rename the... More »

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