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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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Breakthrough in energy harvesting could power 'life on Mars'

Martian colonists could use an innovative new technique to harvest energy from carbon dioxide thanks to research that proposes a new kind of engine for producing energy based on the Leidenfrost effect - a phenomenon which happens when a liquid comes into near contact with a surface much hotter than its boiling point.

Posted: Mar 5th, 2015

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