Geology, News, Space

Saturn’s Moon Europa found to have Plate Tectonics

Europa's lineae, colorized. Image via NASA.

Europa, Saturn’s icy moon is the only body in the Solar System found to have plate tectonics (besides Earth). A new study has found several defining features, including plate subduction, broken linear features and offset likely caused by strike slip faults. An introduction to plate tectonics Plate tectonics is one of the newest big theories in science. Developed in the…

Feature Post, Space

Mars terraforming: building a new Earth

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Mars: barren, inhospitable and dead. This is how most of us recognize the red planet, yet eons ago our neighboring planet wasn’t just another speck of rock in the infinite of space. We now know for certain that Mars once harbored a thick atmosphere, flowing rivers and quite possibly life. In most respects, many millions of years ago, Mars used…

News, Space

NASA returns to manned space flight, gives contracts to SpaceX and Boeing

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NASA astronauts will once again travel from the Earth to the International Space Station – under groundbreaking contracts announced today. The space agency announced that Boeing and SpaceX were selected to transport U.S. crews to and from the space station using their CST-100 and Crew Dragon spacecraft in 2017, finally ending their dependence on Russia. “From day one, the Obama Administration made…

Space, Videos

Astronauts in Space Give Video Geography Tour of Earth

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When it comes to geography, things don’t get any cooler than this – astronomers Mike Hopkins and Rick Mastracchio give a brief geography lesson straight from the International Space Station (ISS), hurdling through space at 27,600 km/h (17,100 mph). Enjoy! ……

Astrophysics, Geology, News, Space

NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover Arrives at Martian Mountain

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It’s been a while since we’ve talked about the Curiosity rover, but that doesn’t mean that it stopped studying the Red Planet. Now, NASA’s rover has reached one of its main destinations: Mars’ Mount Sharp, a Mount-Rainier-size mountain at the center of the vast Gale Crater and the rover mission’s long-term prime destination. “Curiosity now will begin a new chapter from…

Astronomy, News, Observations, Space

Astronomers map the Supercluster the Milky Way belongs to

The Laniakea Supercluster shown its equatorial plane. Image: CEA/Saclay, France

Our sun is but a tiny speck of light among billions, part of the spiral galaxy we familiarly call the Milky Way. That in itself makes us puny humans feel extremely humble, but things get really out of proportion when you zoom out. Galaxies on their own turn congregate in the hundreds or even thousands, bound together by gravity to…

Alien life, Space

Alien pollution could help astronomers find alien civilizations

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Pollution! While industrial pollution threatens the climate on our home planet Earth, astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) have come up with a way to put industrial pollution to good use. In a recent paper, Henry Lin, Gonzalo Gonzalez Abad, and Avi Loeb suggest that we should start looking for pollution on other planets to see if we…

Biology, News, Space

Sea plankton discovered outside space station

Sea plankton was discovered on the outside of the International Space Station. Photo by NASA from Wikimedia Commons

Russian researchers who were conducting experiments on the surface of the ISS were absolutely shocked when they found sea plankton, just outside of the space station. Other reports mention that they found them while they were polishing some parts of the ISS, but that’s not really important here: they found real, living, sea creatures in space. Samples taken from illuminators and the…

News, Observations, Space

The most detailed topography of a comet

The topography of comet 67P. Photo: ESA

Ten years ago, the European Space Agency launched the Rosetta probe tasked to orbit a comet for the very first time and study it up close with unprecedented detail. Six billion miles later, the probe reached its target, the four-kilometer wide 67P comet, and has beamed back some of the most breathtaking images of a comet science has witnessed. The…

News, Space

Big asteroid will hit Eart in 2880 … or will it?

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New research has shown that a big asteroid is well on its way to hitting Earth in 2880 – and by that I mean it has a 1 in 300 chance of actually hitting our planet, but it’s still the likeliest celestial body to hit the Earth in the foreseeable future….