Category: Space

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Juno mission to Jupiter delivers first science results

NASA’s Juno mission, led by Southwest Research Institute’s Dr. Scott Bolton, is rewriting what scientists thought they knew about Jupiter specifically, and gas giants in general, according to a pair of Science papers released today. The Juno spacecraft has been in orbit around Jupiter since July 2016, passing within 3,000 miles of the equatorial cloudtops.

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Collapsing star gives birth to a black hole

Astronomers have watched as a massive, dying star was likely reborn as a black hole. It took the combined power of the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT), and NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes to go looking for remnants of the vanquished star, only to find that it disappeared out of sight.

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New Neliota project detects flashes from lunar impacts

Using a system developed under an ESA contract, the Greek NELIOTA project has begun to detect flashes of light caused by small pieces of rock striking the moon’s surface. NELIOTA is the first system that can determine the temperature of these impact flashes.

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Methanol detected for first time around young star

Methanol, a key building block for the complex organic compounds that comprise life, has been detected for the first time in the protoplanetary disk of a young, distant star. This finding could help scientists better understand the chemistry occurring during a planet’s formation that could ultimately lead to the emergence of life.

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NASA moves up launch of Psyche mission to a metal asteroid

Psyche, NASA’s Discovery Mission to a unique metal asteroid, has been moved up one year with launch in the summer of 2022, and with a planned arrival at the main belt asteroid in 2026—four years earlier than the original timeline.

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Schiaparelli landing investigation completed

The inquiry into the crash-landing of the ExoMars Schiaparelli module has concluded that conflicting information in the onboard computer caused the descent sequence to end prematurely.

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Cassini looks on as solstice arrives at Saturn

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft still has a few months to go before it completes its mission in September, but the veteran Saturn explorer reaches a new milestone today. Saturn’s solstice—that is, the longest day of summer in the northern hemisphere and the shortest day of winter in the southern hemisphere—arrives today for the planet and its moons. The Saturnian solstice occurs about every 15 Earth years as the planet and its entourage slowly orbit the sun, with the north and south hemispheres alternating their roles as the summer and winter poles.

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