Another 18 Earth-sized Planets Discovered — One is EPIC!

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute have discovered 18 planets orbiting other stars. These exoplanets were found in data collected by the now-defunct Kepler space telescope. By analyzing data with a new algorithm, astronomers can now detect the gradual dimming of light seen as small planets pass between their suns and the Earth, Researchers hope this new tool will help find as many as 100 new worlds to add to the 4,000 planets already known beyond our solar system.

Read More Another 18 Earth-sized Planets Discovered — One is EPIC!
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The Moon had a Really Rough Day

Astronomers are largely convinced the Moon was formed during a collision between our planet and one the size of Mars, billions of years ago. Now, new research from an international group of astronomers suggest a second, later, collision between the Moon and a dwarf planet may explain questions about the geology of the Moon. Such an event, billions of years ago, may be the easiest way to explain differences between the Earth and Moon, as well as between the near and far side of our lunar companion.

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Is Earth Ready for the Next Asteroid Strike?

NASA and FEMA are working together to devise strategies in case a massive asteroid or comet is found heading toward the Earth. Although asteroids hit our planet on a regular basis, few cause significant damage. In 2013, a meteor exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk in Russia, injuring 1,100 people. Roughly 66 million years ago, an asteroid the size of Mount Everest hit the Earth, ending the age of dinosaurs. Researchers do not currently know of any asteroid or comet headed on a collision course with our planet.

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Can China Build a Moon Colony in 10 Years?

Zhang Kejian, leader of the China National Space Administration, announced his country plans to build a colony on the Moon within a decade. The structure will be constructed using a 3D printer, and would be home to human space travelers, visiting on a long-term basis. China recently became the first nation to ever land a probe safely on the far side of the Moon. NASA hopes to place people on the Moon in 2024, for the first time in more than 50 years.

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First Marsquakes Ever Seen Shake up Science of the Red Planet

For the first time ever, a tremor, similar to a small earthquake, has been recorded on Mars. This marsquake was detected by the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) probe, carried to Mars with the InSight spacecraft. Researchers believe the event was caused by heating and cooling of the Martian surface, resulting in cracking of the crust on the Red Planet. This is the first discovery in the brand new science of Martian seismology.

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A Giant Jellyfish in Space Leaves Boffins Perplexed

A barred spiral galaxy similar to the Milky Way was discovered in 2014 by astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope. Unlike our own family of stars, this galaxy is traveling over seven million kilometers per hour through a cloud of hot gas within a cluster of galaxies. This movement is causing material to be pushed out from the galaxy, creating a tail, giving this galaxy a shape like a gigantic jellyfish. This unusual object will be a target of the James Webb Space Telescope, launching in 2021.

Read More A Giant Jellyfish in Space Leaves Boffins Perplexed

You Know What this Space Station Needs? Bees!

A trio of small robots call Astrobees will soon be assisting space travelers aboard the International Space Station. The first two have already arrived at the space station, and another will soon join the pair. Known as Honey, Queen, and Bumble, these robotic bees will record experiments, gather supplies, and track inventory as they float around the space station. This will free human researchers of mundane tasks, allowing them to concentrate on experiments.

Read More You Know What this Space Station Needs? Bees!

Celebrating Jerrie Cobb, Pioneer for Women in Space

Jerrie Cobb, a pioneer in the quest for women in space, has passed away at the age of 88. Born in 1931, she first flew an aircraft at age 12, and earned her pilot’s license at 16. Cobb was a member of the Mercury 13, a group of women who underwent all the same testing as the men of the Mercury Seven, but never saw spaceflight, due to their gender. Cobb was the author of two books about her life, and was the subject of an off-Broadway play.

Read More Celebrating Jerrie Cobb, Pioneer for Women in Space

Mice in Space Invent New Game and it’s Adorable

Mice aboard the International Space Station have not only adapted to the microgravity environment, but they have invented a new game to play. Led by the young females, these mice started chasing each other around the walls and ceiling of their enclosure, a feat not possible on Earth. Researchers dubbed the behavior racetracking. NASA is studying mice in space, since the animals are similar to humans in behavior and physiology.

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Phantom Lakes Found on Titan Pose a Deep Question

Seas on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, have disappeared, prompting astronomers to question why three bodies of liquid once seen by the Cassini spacecraft could have left that world. The seas are composed of liquid methane and ethane, and they were first seen by the Cassini spacecraft. When the orbiter returned for a second view, they were gone. When the seas were discovered, it was winter in the northern hemisphere of Titan, and they were gone in summer, prompting astronomers to speculate the seas may have been lost to evaporation and soaking into the surface of that world. Titan is the only body in the Solar System, other than the Earth, known to possess liquid seas at its surface.

Read More Phantom Lakes Found on Titan Pose a Deep Question