Watch the Mars rover launch LIVE this Saturday [video stream]

On November 26, after countless delays, budget overruns and buckets of sweat, humankind’s most capable machine of landing on and traveling through the red planet will finally touch base and launch towards its ambitious destination. The Curiosity rover‘s lift off is currently scheduled for 10:02 a.m. EST, this Saturday. Also known as the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), the Curiosity rover will

Pluto might host a hidden ocean

Some astronomers have long believed that an ocean might lurk beneath Pluto’s ice, heated by isotopes undergoing a radioactive decay – but we’ll have to wait until 2015 to know for sure. The New Horizons spacecraft is set to visit Pluto less than four years from now, and it will map the surface of the planetoid and its moon, Charon;

Mystery of Moon’s past magnetism might be solved

The Moon still holds numerous unanswered questions, and among these, perhaps the most interesting is the one regarding its lost magnetism. Why is it that the Moon had magnetism? Now, two teams working separately seem to have found two complementary explanations. Rock magnetism It all started when the Apollo missions brought back samples of moon rocks from their lunar landing

Half of supermassive black holes are surrounded by ‘dust clouds’

Black holes are perhaps the most fascinating and staggering objects in the known Universe, and we are just now beginning to uncover their secrets. Dr. Sergei Nayakshin of the University of Leicester and his team found that doughnut-shaped dust shrouds that cover about half of supermassive black holes may very well be the result of high speed crashes between planets

Dwarf planet Eris, which led to Pluto’s demise as a planet, may bring back it’s status

Eris is a dwarf planet, observed in 2005 for the first time, whose discovery led to Pluto losing its planet status, even though a new moon was found orbiting it; recently, Eris passed in front of a planet, giving astrophysicists a clear view for the first time. Until now, the general scientific idea regarding it was pretty fuzzy; they believed

One third of the discovered gamma rays so far have unknown sources

Set it went into operation, Fermi’s Large Area Telescope has detected 1873 gamma rays out in space, of which only two thirds have had their sources traced. Typically, gamma rays are huge bursts of energy generated by the collision between two stars or by black holes, however more than 600 discovered blasts still don’t have an explanation for their origin. Several hypotheses

Gamma-ray bursts might cause mass extinction on Earth

Most of us tend to believe the Earth is a safe heaven, with little regard to outerwordly consequences. The truth is our planet, although without a doubt a true gem within our galaxy, is susceptible to a slew of events triggered from within or well beyond our solar system. A lot of them are very dangerous to life on Earth,

Europe to lead ambitious Sun mission

Europe aims for the stars: known as the Solar Orbiter will fly towards the Sun and get closer to it than any other man made object has; also, ESA will launch two other missions with the purpose of studying dark matter and dark energy. Closer to the Sun The mission was adopted today, and it will cost almost one billion

Supercomputer simulation confirms Universe formation model

Astronomers at  UC Santa Cruz have set  a new benchmark for cosmological research for decades to come maybe, after successfully simulating the forming of distant galaxies, like our very own Milky Way, under the mysterious forces of dark matter and dark energy. Named Bolshoi – for the Russian word meaning “grand” or “great” – the simulation’s results are on par with what

Sunspot 1302: big, bad, and coming our way

Every three hours throughout the day, magnetic observers located all around our planet measure the biggest magnetic change that their instruments can record during that period. All the measured values are averaged all over the world and an index is obtained (the Kp index), telling researchers how disturbed the Earth’s magnetic field is on a 9 point scale. The huge

The star that should not exist

If you look at this picture, you will probably see what can only be described as an unremarkable, even faint star. But this ancient star, in the constellation of Leo (The Lion), called SDSS J102915+172927 has astrophysicists scratching their heads, searching for new answers. A team of European astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) to track down a star

Icy moon rains water on Saturn

For the past 14 years, astronomers have been scratching their heads trying to find out just where does the water in Saturn’s upper atmosphere comes from; now, ESA’s Herschel space observatory has solved that mystery – the water is expelled from Enceladus, one of the planet’s moons. Enceladus is eliminating about 250 kilograms of water every second through a set

Astronomers close in on star’s last breath

For the first time, astronomers have been able to zoom in on the last gasps of a dying star in a newly discovered planetary nebuna, which could provide answers on what will happen to our solar system once the Sun enters this stage. The discovery was made by a team of astronomers led by Associate Professor Orsola De Marco from

Beautiful exoplanet aurorae 1000 times brighter than on Earth

There are few more dazzling sights in the world than that of the great Norther Lights, and in a exercise of brilliant imagination scientists have depicted how an aurorae would look like on huge hot planets. Scientists ran computer models of so-called “hot-Jupiters” placed in close proximity to a sun (a few millions miles away, instead of the safe-base 90

NASA spacecraft set to visit giant asteroid this weekend

After a four year journey, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will finally reach the orbit of Vesta, the second largest asteroid in our solar system. The object, located 117 million miles from Earth and spanning across a circumference of 329 miles, will be visited in premiere by Dawn this weekend when the latter will hover over on July 16. For whoever’s interested,

The beautiful Aurora Borealis formation explained in 5 minutes [VIDEO]

Aurora Borealis, a rare sight as it is, can be considered nature’s most dazzling fireworks display. What it actually means or describe, where it comes from, how is it formed, are maybe just a few questions you might have posed yourself after looking at some beautiful Northern Lights photos. The short 5 minute video below answers in a perfectly plain

A salty ocean under Saturn’s moon surface

Launched in 1997 on a mission to study Saturn and its satellites, the Casisni spacecraft reached the system in 2004. Since then it has provided numerous invaluable scientific findings regarding the second largest planet in our solar system, and other important scientific findings alike. One such finding was detailed in a recently published study, which speculate with strong backed up

Intense Gamma Ray blast indeed traced back to supermassive black hole

We previously reported about an incredible gamma ray burst triggered by a black hole, so powerful that nothing like this was observed before, or even dimmed possible. A recently published paper in the journal Science sheds more light on the subject. A typical gamma ray burst commonly occurs when massive stars explode due to collisions with other stars or simple

The most spectacular comet death ever

  Every once in a while, the Sun gets a little hungry; in those times, it grabs on a little comet snack, and every once in a while, these ‘snacks’ are caught on tape. However, never has a comet been captured so spectacularly in its final moments as with the video released by NASA Tuesday. This type of comets is

Gigantic storms are sweeping entire galaxies clean

If you think that the recent outbreak of tornadoes are bad, boy are you in for a shocker. An international team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics has found that enormous storms of molecular gas are sweeping entire galaxies, destroying everything they come across until they wipe the galaxy clean. Galactic events Some of these galactic