Space news stories

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.

Humans Really Are Made of Stardust, and a New Study Proves It
13th January 2017 | | Space

For decades, science popularizers have said humans are made of stardust, and now, a new survey of 150,000 stars shows just how true the old cliché is: Humans and their galaxy have about 97 percent of the same kind of atoms, and the elements of life appear to be more prevalent toward the galaxy’s center, the research found.

‘Alien megastructure’ signal may be due to star eating a planet
13th January 2017 | | Space

Orbiting debris could be making Tabby’s star blink

When you are a messy eater, it can take a long time to clean up after a meal. The slow dimming of Tabby’s star and the sudden dips in its light may be caused by an orbiting cloud of debris left over from when it partially gobbled a planet.

Why the night sky might have a new, bright ‘star’ in five years
13th January 2017 | | Space

In 2022, a new, temporary star of sorts could be added to the night sky.

A group of astronomers has predicted that, five years from now, two faraway binary stars currently orbiting each other will collide, creating an explosion so bright that it will be visible to the naked eye. If accurate, the so-called “red nova” would be the first ever to be predicted by scientists on Earth.

New Method Could Aid Search for Life on Alien Worlds
13th January 2017 | | Space

A newly proposed technique could make it possible to search for life on alien planets much sooner than scientists had expected.

Related: Impostor planet exposed by astronomers
Related: Astronomers detect a fast rotating group of stars in our galaxy

Black holes hide in our cosmic backyard
13th January 2017 | Space

Monster black holes sometimes lurk behind gas and dust, hiding from the gaze of most telescopes. But they give themselves away when material they feed on emits high-energy X-rays that NASA’s NuSTAR (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array) mission can detect. That’s how NuSTAR recently identified two gas-enshrouded supermassive black holes, located at the centers of nearby galaxies.

The Milky Way’s black hole is spewing out planet-size ‘spitballs’
13th January 2017 | Space

Every few thousand years, an unlucky star wanders too close to the black hole at the center of the Milky Way. The black hole’s powerful gravity rips the star apart, sending a long streamer of gas whipping outward. That would seem to be the end of the story, but it’s not. New research shows that not only can the gas gather itself into planet-size objects, but those objects then are flung throughout the galaxy in a game of cosmic “spitball.”

A star heading this way could knock millions of asteroids towards Earth
12th January 2017 | | Space

Researchers have known for a while that a star called Gliese 710 is headed straight for our Solar System, but they have now worked out precisely when it should arrive.

An asteroid just flew by Earth about 50% the distance to the moon, and we barely saw it coming
12th January 2017 | | Space

Early Monday morning, while people on the East Coast were making coffee, dropping kids off at school, and cursing in traffic, a space rock as big as a 10-story building slipped past Earth.

Alt: Another near miss: Is Earth ready for an incoming space rock?

Many tiny moons came together to form moon, simulations suggest
12th January 2017 | | Space

The moon is made of moons, new simulations suggest. Instead of a single colossal collision forming Earth’s cosmic companion, researchers propose that a series of medium to large impacts created mini moons that eventually coalesced to form one giant moon.

Alt: Study crashes main Moon-formation theory

How Old Is the Moon? Scientists Say They Finally Know
12th January 2017 | | Space

The moon is a very old soul, it turns out.

A new analysis of lunar rocks brought to Earth by Apollo astronauts suggests that the moon formed 4.51 billion years ago — just 60 million years after the solar system itself took shape.

The Milky Way’s Most Distant Stars May Be Stolen Goods
12th January 2017 | | Space

Some of the most distant stars in the Milky Way may have been lifted from another galaxy, research released Wednesday shows.

The unintended donor, known as the Sagittarius dwarf, is one of dozens of miniature galaxies that loop around the Milky Way. The Sagittarius dwarf is located about 3.4 million light-years away from Earth.

China Claims It’s Made the Impossible EmDrive Possible
11th January 2017 | Space, Tech, Weird

Rumor has it that the Chinese are testing that fabulous Sangraal of spacecraft propulsion—the EmDrive.

But the Chinese have been known to make some pretty fantastic, and insupportable claims; and there’s so far not a shred of evidence that the EmDrive actually works.

The Sun, the Earth, and a Few Billion Years: Will Our Planet Still Be Around?
11th January 2017 | Space

Scientists have looked to a distant red giant star, L2 Puppis, to forecast what the future of our Solar System will be.

What they’ve found is a star that’s almost a twin to what our Sun will become in about 6 billion years, and the discovery of an orbiting planet may be a preview of the Earth’s far-future fate.

‘Levitating’ Moon Dust Explained in New NASA Study
10th January 2017 | | Space

A new study may explain how dust particles on the moon “levitate” just above the surface, even though there is no wind or flowing water on the moon to kick-up the material.

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