Space news stories

Microbes Could Survive Thin Air of Mars
22nd January 2017 | | Space

Microbes that rank among the simplest and most ancient organisms on Earth could survive the extremely thin air of Mars, a new study finds.

The Martian surface is presently cold and dry, but there is plenty of evidence suggesting that rivers, lakes and seas covered the Red Planet billions of years ago. Since there is life virtually wherever there is liquid water on Earth, scientists have suggested that life might have evolved on Mars when it was wet, and life could be there even now.

Curiosity finds Mars rock that may be a meteorite made from iron
22nd January 2017 | | Space

NASA’s Curiosity rover may have found its third meteorite on Mars. This image, taken on 12 January as the rover explored a peak called Mount Sharp, appears to show an iron-nickel meteorite, one of only a handful spotted on the Red Planet.

Russia, US Mulling Joint Mission to Venus
22nd January 2017 | | Space

Russia’s space program and NASA are working together on a mission to Venus that would investigate some of the scorching-hot planet’s biggest mysteries, including, perhaps, whether it harbors life.

Astronomers have spotted a massive ‘bulge’ in Venus’ atmosphere
22nd January 2017 | | Space

A massive bow-shaped ‘bulge’ has been spotted in the upper atmosphere of Venus, and astronomers are trying to explain how it could withstand the gush of sulphuric acid clouds that are spinning faster than the planet itself.

Their best guess is that the strange, 10,000-km (6,214-mile) structure is the result of what could be the largest gravity wave ever witnessed in the Solar System, but there’s one problem – scientists didn’t think gravity waves could form this high up in the atmosphere.

The sun is ripping apart! NASA image shows vast ‘hole’ spreading across the solar surface
22nd January 2017 | | Space

An elongated coronal hole stretching across the face of the sun sent solar wind particles gushing toward Earth last week.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory has revealed a stunning animation of the phenomenon, showing the massive dark patch marring the surface of our star.

Petrified tree rings tell ancient tale of sun’s behavior
22nd January 2017 | | Ancient, Space

The sun has been in the same routine for at least 290 million years, new research suggests.

Ancient tree rings from the Permian period record a roughly 11-year cycle of wet and dry periods, climate fluctuations caused by the ebbing and flowing of solar activity, researchers propose January 9 in Geology. The discovery would push back the earliest evidence of today’s 11-year solar cycle by tens of millions of years.

Deepest X-ray image ever reveals black hole treasure trove
17th January 2017 | Space

An unparalleled image from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory is giving an international team of astronomers the best look yet at the growth of black holes over billions of years beginning soon after the Big Bang. This is the deepest X-ray image ever obtained, collected with about 7 million seconds, or 11 and a half weeks, of Chandra observing time.

This star has a secret – even better than ‘alien megastructures’
17th January 2017 | | Space

KIC 8462852, also known as Tabby’s star, has baffled scientists for more than a year and given rise to a popular ‘alien megastructure’ theory. The truth may be just as bizarre.

Mysterious radio signal traced to dwarf galaxy light-years away
17th January 2017 | Space

A mysterious signal that has confounded scientists for years has been traced to a spot in the sky more than 3 billion light-years away.

Almost a decade after the first fast radio burst (FRB) was discovered, an international team of researchers has pinpointed the origin of one such signal as a dwarf galaxy in the pentagon-shaped constellation Auriga.

Seeing the quantum future… literally
16th January 2017 | Space, Tech

Scientists at the University of Sydney have demonstrated the ability to “see” the future of quantum systems, and used that knowledge to preempt their demise, in a major achievement that could help bring the strange and powerful world of quantum technology closer to reality.

A new CERN experiment targets even higher energies (eventually)
16th January 2017 | | Space, Tech

The AWAKE experiment at CERN made a breakthrough at the end of last year. A long-term technology-development project, its aim is to drag electrons through a plasma, behind a beam of protons, and provide a route to higher energies than the Large Hadron Collider

Giant atoms could help unveil ‘dark matter’ and other cosmic secrets
16th January 2017 | Space

The universe is an astonishingly secretive place. Mysterious substances known as dark matter and dark energy account for some 95% of it. Despite huge effort to find out what they are, we simply don’t know.

Our Sun May Have Snatched Planet 9 From Outside the Solar System
15th January 2017 | Space

Those with a Pluto-the-planet-shaped void in their hearts have been eagerly following updates about Planet 9, a hypothetical world thought to be 10 times more massive than Earth and roughly 1,000 astronomical units (AU) away from the Sun. While there are naysayers aplenty, new research validates believers — and delivers some unexpected news about the planet’s rough childhood.

Dark matter still missing
15th January 2017 | | Space

Chalk up one more loss for physicists searching for dark matter. Scientists with the XENON100 experiment have largely ruled out another experiment’s controversial claim of detecting dark matter.

Could Dark Streaks in Venus’ Clouds Be Microbial Life?
13th January 2017 | | Space

The question of life on Venus, of all places, is intriguing enough that a team of U.S. and Russian scientists working on a proposal for a new mission to the second planet — named Venera-D — are considering including the search for life in its mission goals.

NASA has discovered gigantic ice towers on Pluto, standing 500 metres tall
13th January 2017 | | Space

It took NASA’s New Horizons space probe almost a decade to trek its way across the Solar System for 2015’s historic Pluto flyby – and when it got there, it discovered stunning towers of ice reaching 500 metres into the sky.

How a moon slows the decay of Pluto’s atmosphere
13th January 2017 | Space

Pluto’s relationship with its moon Charon is one of the more unusual interactions in the solar system due to Charon’s size and proximity. It’s more than half of Pluto’s diameter and orbits only 12,000 or so miles away. To put that into perspective, picture our moon three times closer to Earth, and as large as Mars.

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