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New clues from the dawn of the solar system

Sulfide chondrules, a new type of building blocks discovered in meteorites left over from the solar system's infancy, provide evidence for a previously unknown region in the protoplanetary disk that gave rise to the planets including Earth.

Posted: Mar 16th, 2015

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NASA spacecraft in Earth's orbit, preparing to study magnetic reconnection

Following a successful launch at 10:44 p.m. EDT Thursday, NASA's four Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) spacecraft are positioned in Earth's orbit to begin the first space mission dedicated to the study of a phenomenon called magnetic reconnection. This process is thought to be the catalyst for some of the most powerful explosions in our solar system.

Posted: Mar 13th, 2015

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Electrospray thruster makes small satellites more capable

A MIT spinout has developed a commercial electrospray propulsion system - their first is about the size of a pack of gum - made of tiny chips that provide thrust for small satellites. Among other advantages, this module can be manufactured for significantly less than today's alternatives.

Posted: Mar 12th, 2015

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Cosmic dust discs withstand hellfire

A team of astronomers discovered an unusual phenomenon in the centre of the Milky Way: They detected about 20 rotating dust and gas discs in each cluster hosting exceptionally large and hot stars. The existence of these discs in the presence of the destructive UV radiation field of their massive neighbours came as a surprise.

Posted: Mar 10th, 2015

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Hubble discovers four images of same supernova split by cosmic lens

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have spotted for the first time a distant supernova split into four images. The multiple images of the exploding star are caused by the powerful gravity of a foreground elliptical galaxy embedded in a massive cluster of galaxies. This unique observation will help astronomers refine their estimates of the mass of dark matter in the lensing galaxy and cluster.

Posted: Mar 8th, 2015

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