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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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!

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.

Read More Mice in Space Invent New Game and it’s Adorable

OSIRIS-REx Reveals Secrets of Bennu — The Doomed Asteroid

The spacecraft OSIRIS-REx has reveled a wealth of new information about Bennu, a large, ancient asteroid. On March 19th, researchers released a wide range of scientific papers, providing a new look at this diamond-shaped body. New data shows Bennu is covered in massive boulders, which could hinder the spacecraft from gathering materials from the surface. Researchers have also spotted evidence water once existed on the body from which Bennu broke free. Gravity on the asteroid was also found to act in a strange manner, causing anything just outside its equator to be pulled toward the center of the asteroid, and shot into space.

Read More OSIRIS-REx Reveals Secrets of Bennu — The Doomed Asteroid

The Big Mystery of the Kuiper Belt — a Lack of Small Objects

The Kuiper Belt contains few small bodies, according to a new report from the Southwest Research Institute. This collection of rocks and ice surrounds our planetary system like a massive doughnut, larger than the orbit of Neptune. Photographs taken of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, show few craters, suggesting that the Kuiper Belt, in which Pluto resides, contains few small objects, less than a mile in diameter. Researchers are uncertain why the grouping contains so few small bodies.

Read More The Big Mystery of the Kuiper Belt — a Lack of Small Objects

Water Could Form on the Surface of the Moon, Thanks to the Solar Wind

The Moon was once thought to be completely dry and barren. In recent years, however, a number of spacecraft have revealed evidence for water ice in craters near the lunar poles. Most astronomers believed this ice was placed there through collisions with water-rich comets. A new study from NASA now shows that the solar wind, a stream of charged particles emanating from the Sun, can interact with materials on the lunar surface, producing water. Supplies of water will be essential for the human exploration of the solar system.

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Saying Goodbye to Opportunity — Here’s the Last Image

The Opportunity rover on Mars has now been declared dead, the victim of a massive sandstorm which covered the planet in June 2018. The final image ever taken by the Opportunity rover on the Red Planet highlights the moment the spacecraft fell silent. The top of the image shows a darkened sky from the massive sand storm last June, and the bottom becomes completely dark, as the vehicle lost power forever. NASA officials tried for months to revive the rover, without success.

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Meet SPHEREx – NASA’s Newest Mission to Explore the Early Universe, Launching in 2023

The SPHEREx space telescope will launch in 2023, NASA reports. This orbiting observatory will map 100,000 stars in our galaxy and 300,000 other galaxies over the entire sky. The telescope will record in infrared light, similar to some forms of night vision technology, The robotic mission will examine stellar birthplaces, searching for water. It will also turn its eyes to watch planets form around alien stars.

Read More Meet SPHEREx – NASA’s Newest Mission to Explore the Early Universe, Launching in 2023

Good Night, Dear Kepler — Planet-Hunting Telescope Sends Last Images to Earth; Is That Tetris?

The Kepler spacecraft has sent its final images to Earth, ending a decade of hunting for planets beyond our solar system. The spacecraft was utilized in the discovery of more than 2,600 of these exoplanets. Just 35 years ago, astronomers did not know of any planets beyond our own stellar family, while today, we know of thousands of such alien worlds, Most of these discoveries were made using the Kepler spacecraft, launched in 2009. The observatory ran out of fuel in October 2018, and was placed in a safe orbit prior to shutdown.

Read More Good Night, Dear Kepler — Planet-Hunting Telescope Sends Last Images to Earth; Is That Tetris?