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astrophysics, cosmology, the universe...

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NASA scrambles for better asteroid detection

NASA, universities and private groups in the US are working on asteroid warning systems that can detect objects from space like the one that struck Russia last week with a blinding flash and mighty boom.

Posted: Feb 18th, 2013

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Water on the moon: It's been there all along

Traces of water have been detected within the crystalline structure of mineral samples from the lunar highland upper crust obtained during the Apollo missions, according to a University of Michigan researcher and his colleagues.

Posted: Feb 18th, 2013

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Jupiter's Europa moon 'likeliest to have life'

U.S. astronomers looking for life in the solar system believe that Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter, which has an ocean, is much more promising than desert-covered Mars, which is currently the focus of the US government's attention.

Posted: Feb 17th, 2013

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Fermi space telescope proves supernova remnants produce cosmic rays

A new study using observations from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope reveals the first clear-cut evidence the expanding debris of exploded stars produces some of the fastest-moving matter in the universe. This discovery is a major step toward understanding the origin of cosmic rays, one of Fermi's primary mission goals.

Posted: Feb 14th, 2013

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Novel approach in hunt for cosmic particle accelerator

A team of astronomers has observed the supernova remnant SN 1006, probing in unprecedented detail the region where the gas ejected during the supernova meets the surrounding interstellar matter. Such remnants have long been thought to be the source of cosmic ray particles hitting Earth.

Posted: Feb 14th, 2013

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Magnetic shielding of ion beam thruster walls

Electric rocket engines known as Hall thrusters, which use a super high-velocity stream of ions to propel a spacecraft in space, have been used successfully onboard many missions for half a century. Erosion of the discharge channels walls, however, has limited their application to the inner solar system. A research team has found a way to effectively control this erosion by shaping the engine's magnetic field in a way that shields the walls from ion bombardment.

Posted: Feb 13th, 2013

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Computer simulation helps to better understand the origin of our solar system

Simulations boost the significance of image and measurement data from space missions: based on the example of an asteroid, Bernese astrophysicist Martin Jutzi shows how collisions with other celestial bodies can be reconstructed and that even the internal structure of so-called protoplanets can be described. These models help to understand the development of our solar system.

Posted: Feb 13th, 2013

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Wide Field Imager snaps cosmic gecko

NGC 6520 is an open star cluster that contains many hot stars that glow bright blue-white, a telltale sign of their youth. Open clusters usually contain a few thousand stars that all formed at the same time, giving them all the same age. Such clusters usually only live comparatively short lives, on the order of several hundred million years, before drifting apart.

Posted: Feb 13th, 2013

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