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Archive for the ‘space’ category: Page 7

Feb 21, 2020

Japan will launch the first-ever sample return mission from the Martian system

Posted by in categories: mapping, robotics/AI, space

JAXA, Japan’s national space agency, has just approved a robotic mission to visit the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos and retrieve a small sample from the former to bring back to Earth.

The mission plan: It’s called Martian Moon eXploration, or MMX. JAXA currently plans to launch MMX in 2024 and make it to the Martian system the following year. MMX will spend three years in the system studying and mapping the moons. The mission will make use of 11 different instruments, including a NASA-funded instrument called MEGAE that will measure the elemental composition of both bodies (perhaps revealing signs of ancient water).

The mission will also deploy a small rover to zip around the surface of Phobos, not unlike what JAXA’s Hayabusa2 mission deployed on the surface of the asteroid Ryugu.

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Feb 21, 2020

Jupiter-like exoplanet orbits its star in only 18 hours

Posted by in category: space

Astronomers have observed an exoplanet orbiting a star in just over 18 hours – the shortest orbital period ever seen for a planet of its type.

This means that a single year for this hot Jupiter-like planet – a gas giant similar in size and composition to Jupiter in our own Solar System – passes in less than a day of Earth time.

Scientists believe the discovery may help solve the mystery of whether such planets are in the process of spiralling towards their suns to their destruction.

Feb 20, 2020

The New Horizons spacecraft just revealed secrets of the most distant object we’ve ever visited

Posted by in categories: computing, space

Now, five years later, their gamble appears to have paid off. Not only did New Horizons achieve a next-to flawless flyby of Arrokoth, the most distant object ever visited, but buried in its gigabytes of data—which have been trickling back to Earth ever since the New Year’s Day 2019 rendezvous—lies empirical evidence that strikes against a classic theory of how planets form. The New Horizons team published their latest analysis of the ancient body and how it came to be in a trio of papers appearing in Science last week.

Feb 19, 2020

Astronomers Have Detected Molecular Oxygen in Another Galaxy For The First Time

Posted by in categories: chemistry, space

In a wild galaxy over half a billion light-years away, astronomers have detected molecular oxygen. It’s only the third such detection ever outside the Solar System — and the first outside the Milky Way.

Oxygen is the third most abundant element in the Universe, behind hydrogen (naturally) and helium. So its chemistry and abundance in interstellar clouds are important for understanding the role of molecular gas in galaxies.

Astronomers have searched for oxygen again and again, using millimetre astronomy, which detects the radio wavelengths emitted by molecules; and spectroscopy, which analyses the spectrum to look for wavelengths absorbed or emitted by specific molecules.

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Feb 19, 2020

NASA Prepares for Moon, Mars With New Addition to Deep Space Network

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space

Robotic spacecraft will be able to communicate with the dish using radio waves and lasers.

Surrounded by California desert, NASA officials broke ground Tuesday, Feb. 11, on a new antenna for communicating with the agency’s farthest-flung robotic spacecraft. Part of the Deep Space Network (DSN), the 112-foot-wide (34-meter-wide) antenna dish being built represents a future in which more missions will require advanced technology, such as lasers capable of transmitting vast amounts of data from astronauts on the Martian surface. As part of its Artemis program NASA will send the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024, applying lessons learned there to send astronauts to Mars.

Using massive antenna dishes, the agency talks to more than 30 deep space missions on any given day, including many international missions. As more missions have launched and with more in the works, NASA is looking to strengthen the network. When completed in 2½ years, the new dish will be christened Deep Space Station-23 (DSS-23), bringing the DSN’s number of operational antennas to 13.

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Feb 18, 2020

New Exoplanet Search Strategy Claims First Discovery

Posted by in category: space

By watching for a special kind of flare, astronomers have identified the fingerprints of an Earth-size planet orbiting a distant star.

Feb 18, 2020

Meet the unknown female mathematician whose calculations helped discover Pluto

Posted by in categories: computing, space

Astronomers are rediscovering how calculations made by the ‘human computer’ Elizabeth Williams contributed to the first observations of Pluto 90 years ago.

Feb 17, 2020

Pale Blue Dot – 30th Anniversary | National Geographic

Posted by in category: space

30 years ago, scientist Carl Sagan asked NASA’s Voyager 1 to capture an iconic portrait of our world. This humbling view of Earth from 6.4 billion km away is known as the “Pale Blue Dot.”
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Feb 17, 2020

Deformed object in the Kuiper Belt defies planetary formation theory

Posted by in category: space

Arrokoth is weird — it is also proving revelatory.

Feb 17, 2020

How dark is the cosmic web?

Posted by in category: space

A dark web ties the universe together. Now, we can see it.

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