Space news stories

Mysterious water-like streaks on Mars might be sand flows instead
23rd March 2017 | | Space

Dust to dust. The mysterious dark flows on Mars may not be water after all. Instead, they could be rivulets of sand, set in motion by sunlight on the Martian surface.

The dark streaks form on Mars’s slopes during warm seasons, and are known as recurring slope lineae. While there is no direct evidence of water near these areas, the leading theory is that they are caused by briny water streaming down the sides of craters and hills.

Mars, The Ringed Planet? –“Had Them in the Distant Past and May Again With the Disintegration of Its Mystery Moon, Phobos”
23rd March 2017 | | Space

It’s possible that Mars had rings at one point and may have them again someday. That’s the theory put forth by Purdue University scientists have developed a model that suggests that debris that was pushed into space from an asteroid or other body slamming into Mars around 4.3 billion years ago and alternates between becoming a planetary ring and clumping up to form a moon.

Enceladus’ south pole is warm under the frost
23rd March 2017 | Space

Over the past decade, the international Cassini mission has revealed intense activity at the southern pole of Saturn’s icy moon, Enceladus, with warm fractures venting water-rich jets that hint at an underground sea. A new study, based on microwave observations of this region, shows that the moon is warmer than expected just a few metres below its icy surface.

Reading The Signs Of A Martian Mega-Flood
21st March 2017 | | Space

From all this, it can be concluded that roughly three and a half billion years ago, the mouth of the Kasei Valles region still had water on its surface – possibly still in liquid form but most likely in the form of ice. Volcanic activity – which Mars was still experiencing at the time – then triggered the release of flood waters, which created debris and erosion features throughout the region.

Related: Mineral Points To A Water Rich Mars

US Government Issues NASA Demand, ‘Get Humans to Mars By 2033’
21st March 2017 | Space

Both chambers of Congress just passed the NASA Authorization Act of 2017. With this transformative development, the space agency got a lot more than just $19.508 billion in funding. They also got a very clear mandate: Get humanity to Mars.

Walking With Venus’ Wind
21st March 2017 | Space

The hellishly hot planet fries spacecraft electronics, so NASA scientists devised a machine inspired by ancient technology

Potential life could have spread with relative ease amongst newly-discovered group of seven exoplanets
20th March 2017 | Space

The odds of life spreading between the worlds of the newly-discovered seven-planet TRAPPIST-1 system are up to 1,000 times greater than in our own solar system. That’s the conclusion of a new analysis posted March 2 to the arXiv, an online repository of scientific papers.

Briny Ice Oozes in Dwarf Planet Ceres’ Ice Volcanoes
20th March 2017 | | Space

On the dwarf planet Ceres, volcanoes rage — but instead of hot lava coming out of them as on Earth, they spew brine and ice.

Alt: Brightest ‘Spot’ on Ceres is Likely a Cryovolcano

Star clusters discovery could upset the astronomical applecart
20th March 2017 | Space

The discovery of young stars in old star clusters could send scientists back to the drawing board for one of the Universe’s most common objects.

Dr Bi-Qing For, from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research in Perth, said our understanding of how stars evolve is a cornerstone of astronomical science.

Asteroids bombard Earth in a totally random way
20th March 2017 | | Space

Asteroids may not hit our planet at regular intervals after all. Scientists have reached this conclusion after analyzing impact craters formed in the last 500 million years, concentrating on precisely dated events.

Weird Asteroid Split in Half and Grew Glowing Dust Tails
20th March 2017 | | Space

A recently discovered “asteroid pair” is the youngest such duo known in Earth’s solar system, and it appears to have sprouted twin comet-like tails, new observations reveal.

Related: Tiny Asteroid Zips By Earth, Won’t Be Back for More Than 100 Years

We’re on the Verge of a Gravitational Wave Astronomy Boom
20th March 2017 | | Space

A prototype space-based gravitational wave detector performed far better than expected during its trial run, raising prospects that a follow-on observatory to listen for echoes from the biggest crashes in the cosmos will be launched ahead of schedule.

An almost impossible engineering project lets us time travel to the start of the universe
20th March 2017 | Space, Tech

Time travel is possible, in a way. Astrophysicists are about to make the sci-fi fantasy a reality using a giant infrared telescope that can peer at star formations 13 billion light years away, seeing them just like they were that many years ago, and illuminating the recipe for the soup that is the universe.

Time Crystals Created, Suspending Laws of Physics
20th March 2017 | | Space, Tech

A bizarre new state of matter known as a time crystal seems to suspend the laws of thermodynamics almost indefinitely, two new experiments suggest.

Alt: Bizarre forms of matter called time crystals were supposed to be physically impossible. Now they’re not

‘Blurred times’ in a quantum world
20th March 2017 | Space, Tech, Weird

When measuring time, we normally assume that clocks do not affect space and time, and that time can be measured with infinite accuracy at nearby points in space. However, combining quantum mechanics and Einstein’s theory of general relativity theoretical physicists from the University of Vienna and the Austrian Academy of Sciences have demonstrated a fundamental limitation for our ability to measure time.

Are distant radio bursts in space signs of alien sailors?
15th March 2017 | | Space, Weird

A new paper uncovers a number of coincidences suggesting that recently discovered radio bursts are consistent with advanced civilizations using light sails for transportation.

Alt: Are Fast Radio Bursts Evidence Of Alien Activity?

Oldest, biggest black holes may have come from enormous stars
15th March 2017 | | Space

The earliest supermassive black holes may have been big to start with. If so, it would help explain the recent detection of such beasts within a billion years of the big bang.

Supermassive black holes take a long time to build, so we expect to see only a few in the early universe. The more of them we find, the less likely it is that they all grew the way most modern black holes do, by devouring dust and gas.

News stories covering Space, from the macro to the micro, including Space exploration, quantum physics and quantum weirdness.