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Space Exploration News

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astrophysics, cosmology, the universe...

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Asteroid space cannon ready for test

Japanese scientists readying to blast a crater in an asteroid to find out what it is made of said Wednesday they have successfully tested their new space cannon.

Posted: Oct 23rd, 2013

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Time is ripe for fire detection satellite

Wildfire detection today is much like it was 200 years ago, relying primarily on humans to spot smoke plumes or flames. UC Berkeley experts in fires, satellites and remote sensing now say that the technology is ripe for a fire-spotting satellite that could snap images of the US West every few seconds to detect fires before they spread with few false alarms. The cost would be a fraction of the country's annual fire-fighting budget.

Posted: Oct 22nd, 2013

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Planck satellite on course for safe retirement

In preparation for its final switch-off on 23 October, mission controllers today fired Planck's thrusters to empty its fuel tanks. The burn is one of the final steps to ensure that Planck ends its hugely successful mission in a permanently safe configuration.

Posted: Oct 21st, 2013

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Countdown to ESA's billion-star surveyor

ESA's billion-star surveyor Gaia will be launched from Europe's spaceport in Kourou on 20 November to begin a five-year mission to map the stars with unprecedented precision.

Posted: Oct 21st, 2013

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Astronomers detect gravitational lens at record distance

Astronomers have found the most distant gravitational lens yet - a galaxy that, as predicted by Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, deflects and intensifies the light of an even more distant object. The discovery provides a rare opportunity to directly measure the mass of a distant galaxy.

Posted: Oct 17th, 2013

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Curiosity confirms origins of Martian meteorites

Earth's most eminent emissary to Mars has just proven that those rare Martian visitors that sometimes drop in on Earth -- a.k.a. Martian meteorites -- really are from the Red Planet. A key new measurement of Mars' atmosphere by NASA's Curiosity rover provides the most definitive evidence yet of the origins of Mars meteorites while at the same time providing a way to rule out Martian origins of other meteorites.

Posted: Oct 16th, 2013

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