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Space Exploration News

The latest news about space exploration
astrophysics, the universe...

Listening to the Big Bang - in high fidelity

A decade ago, spurred by a question for a fifth-grade science project, physicist John Cramer devised an audio recreation of the Big Bang that started our universe nearly 14 billion years ago. Now, armed with more sophisticated data from a satellite mission observing the cosmic microwave background, Cramer has produced new recordings that fill in higher frequencies to create a fuller and richer sound.

Posted: Apr 4th, 2013

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Final MAVEN instrument integrated to spacecraft

An instrument that will measure the composition of Mars' upper atmosphere has been integrated into NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft. MAVEN has a scheduled launch date of Nov. 18.

Posted: Apr 4th, 2013

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First data released from the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer

The first published results from the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), a major physics experiment operating on the International Space Station, were announced today by the AMS collaboration spokesman, Nobel Laureate Samuel Ting. The result is the most precise measurement to date of the ratio of positrons to electrons in cosmic rays. Measurements of this key ratio may eventually provide the world with our first glimpse into dark matter.

Posted: Apr 3rd, 2013

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Taken under the 'wing' of the small magellanic cloud

The Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) is one of the Milky Way's closest galactic neighbors. In fact, it was so bright that many navigators used this object to make their way across the oceans. A new composite image from three NASA telescopes - Chandra, Hubble, and Spitzer - shows this galaxy like Ferdinand Magellan, who lends his name to the SMC, could never have imagined.

Posted: Apr 3rd, 2013

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Shape from sound - new methods to probe the universe

As the uni­verse expands, it is con­tin­u­ally sub­jected to energy shifts, or 'quan­tum fluc­tu­a­tions', that send out lit­tle pulses of 'sound' into the fab­ric of space­time. In fact, the uni­verse is thought to have sprung from just such an energy shift. Scientists reports a new math­e­mat­i­cal tool that should allow one to use these sounds to help reveal the shape of the uni­verse.

Posted: Apr 3rd, 2013

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NASA's Swift sizes up comet ISON (w/video)

Astronomers from the University of Maryland at College Park (UMCP) and Lowell Observatory have used NASA's Swift satellite to check out comet C/2012 S1 (ISON), which may become one of the most dazzling in decades when it rounds the sun later this year.

Posted: Mar 29th, 2013

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Hubble observes the hidden depths of Messier 77

Messier 77 is a galaxy in the constellation of Cetus, some 45 million light-years away from us. Also known as NGC 1068, it is one of the most famous and well-studied galaxies. It is a real star among galaxies, with more papers written about it than many other galaxies put together.

Posted: Mar 28th, 2013

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Growing plants on Mars

Concrete plans for a one-way ticket to Mars have been forged. Food will have to be grown on location. Is this a distant future scenario? Not for Wieger Wamelink, ecologist at Alterra Wageningen UR, for whom the future will begin on 2 April. He will be researching whether or not it is possible to grow plants on the moon.

Posted: Mar 28th, 2013

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Sun block for the 'Big Dog'

An international team of astronomers, including researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy and from the University of Cologne, successfully identified two titanium oxides in the extended atmosphere around a giant star. The object VY Canis Major is one of the largest stars in the known universe and close to the end of its life.

Posted: Mar 27th, 2013

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Young, hot and blue - Stars in the cluster NGC 2547

The Universe is an old neighbourhood - roughly 13.8 billion years old. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is also ancient- some of its stars are more than 13 billion years old. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of action: new objects form and others are destroyed.

Posted: Mar 27th, 2013

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How to build a very large star

Stars ten times as massive as the Sun, or more, should not exist: as they grow, they tend to push away the gas they feed on, starving their own growth. Scientists have been struggling to figure out how some stars overcome this hurdle.

Posted: Mar 27th, 2013

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