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SpaceX's Dragon cargo ship splashes down in Pacific

SpaceX's Dragon cargo ship splashes down in Pacific

This is a good thing! Nobody was injured in the splash because this drop was an unmanned mission to provide goods from the International Space Station back to Earth. Additionally, miscellaneous tests were conducted on Dragon, mainly involving cell reaction to spatial conditions.

Source: http://phys.org/news/2016-08-spacex-dragon-cargo-ship-splashes.html

Image Source: By Steven Straiton from UK (SpaceX) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Venus once possibly habitable, study suggests

Venus once possibly habitable, study suggests

Today, with Venus' acid clouds and scalding temperatures, life would never begin. But many years in the past, the clouds might not have existed and the temperatures might have been cooler, approximately at 15 degrees Celsius about 715 million years ago! In a speculative paper, by Mark Bullock, he suggested that if Venus had maintained its spin speed years and years ago, the planet might have been "toasty but habitable." Intriguing!

Source: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/venus-once-possibly-habitable-study-suggests?tgt=nr

Signs of planet detected around sun’s nearest neighbor star

Signs of planet detected around sun’s nearest neighbor star

We've got company!

At nearby star Proxima Centauri only 4.2 light-years away, there exists a planet slightly larger than Earth, and much, much closer to its star (one orbit requires only 11.2 days). Amazingly, despite the planet's... proximity to its sun, the potential for liquid water and life still exist as Proxima Centauri is a much smaller, weaker, and cooler star that is only around the size of Jupiter. All the excitement about the new planet is standard and preliminary, as scientists know nearly nothing about the newcomer, but the excitement of life in space is always exhilarating.

Source: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/planet-detected-nearest-neighbor-star-proxima-centauri?tgt=nr

From Solo Cup to an asteroid: NASA's newest space mission

From Solo Cup to an asteroid: NASA's newest space mission

OSIRIS-REx is destined to blast off to Bennu, an Asteroid near Earth, to collect 4.5 billion year old space dust. Like every other space mission, the objective is to find any characteristics that could suggest life in the universe. Jim Harris, a Lockheed Martin engineer, is the brainchild (brainadult?) behind the OSIRIS-REx.

Source: http://phys.org/news/2016-08-solo-cup-asteroid-nasa-space.html

Image Source: By DiegoAbud (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Physicist claims to have observed quantum effects of Hawking Radiation in the lab for the first time

Physicist claims to have observed quantum effects of Hawking Radiation in the lab for the first time

This is a huge deal. A professor at the Israel Institute of Technology says that he has created a virtual black hole and has noted Hawking Radiation firsthand! Hawking Radiation is the idea that if a particle and its antiparticle sat at the very edge of a black hole, one particle would be pulled in and the other would escape, which would be the only instance anything could escape a black hole. Professor Jeff Steinhauer excited two particles in a fluid made from "a Bose-Einstein condensate of rubidium-87 atoms."

Source: http://phys.org/news/2016-08-physicist-quantum-effects-hawking-lab.html

Image Source: By ESO/WFI (Optical); MPIfR/ESO/APEX/A.Weiss et al. (Submillimetre); NASA/CXC/CfA/R.Kraft et al. (X-ray) Derivative work including grading and crop: Julian Herzog [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

China launches the first quantum communications satellite – and what is that, exactly?

China launches the first quantum communications satellite – and what is that, exactly?

Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) is now officially in the sky. Its purpose: for scientists to observe if quantum physics tests hold in space. It may be an easier environment to test quantum physics by sending particles up into space. Considering few people even understand quantum physics, the results of this experiment are sure to be confusing.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2016/08/16/china-launches-the-first-quantum-communications-satellite-and-what-is-that-exactly/

Image Source: By P. Fraundorf (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Is Earthly life premature from a cosmic perspective?

Is Earthly life premature from a cosmic perspective?

Where are all the aliens at? Apparently, there's a good chance they're in the future.

The further humans travel into the future, the better the odds are for life forming elsewhere. Researchers believe that the best chance for life is near a star with a long lifespan, such as a red dwarf star. Scientists will refocus the search for other beings around red dwarves.

Source: http://phys.org/news/2016-08-earthly-life-premature-cosmic-perspective.html

Mars gullies likely not formed by liquid water

Mars gullies likely not formed by liquid water

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has returned data back to NASA suggesting that the current gullies on Mars were not formed due to liquid flowing water. Gullies look like former streams with debris and no water; Earth has gullies too that are replete with H2O, but Mars' physical features appear to have been created differently than Earth's landforms.

Source: http://phys.org/news/2016-07-mars-gullies-liquid.html

Image Source: By NikoLang (Own work (Screenshot)) [GPL (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Loneliest young star seen by Spitzer and WISE

Loneliest young star seen by Spitzer and WISE

The star, called CX330, has been releasing light and really intense heat for three years. The process is known as outbursting. There are only about 10 or so other stars. And CX330 is a practically a baby: it's less than a million years old and still has its outer disc. Even more, scientists don't expect planets to form near the isolated star. Poor sad, lonely, outbursting CX330.

Source: http://phys.org/news/2016-07-loneliest-young-star-spitzer-wise.html

'Star Trek Beyond" points the 50-year-old franchise back to the stars

'Star Trek Beyond" points the 50-year-old franchise back to the stars

William Shatner, meet Chris Pine. Or should I say Captain Kirk, meet Captain Kirk?

In any event, Star Trek has morphed from a Twilight Zone in the stars to a Fast and Furious in space (with the same director Justin Lin). The last three Star Trek movies (Star Trek 2009, Into Darkness, Beyond) are more action blockbuster than anything else. Of course, there isn't necessarily anything wrong with that. With a current 93% rotten tomatoes score, Star Trek Beyond is at the very least an exciting popcorn movie.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2016/07/22/star-trek-beyond/

Image Source: By Mingle Media TV [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Scientists looking for invisible dark matter can't find any

Scientists looking for invisible dark matter can't find any

Dark matter comprises 80% of the universe. Unfortunately, dark matter comprises 0% in a defunct gold mine in Lead, South Dakota. For three years and ten million dollars, scientists searched a mile underground with liquid xenon which would glow when certain dark matter particles reacted with the xenon. Alas, that didn't happen, but those involved in the project are eager to try again in a different location.

Source: http://phys.org/news/2016-07-scientists-invisible-dark.html

Image Source: By NASA, ESA, E. Jullo (JPL/LAM), P. Natarajan (Yale) and J-P. Kneib (LAM). (http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/heic1014a/) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Two super-Earth-sized planets discovered orbiting a nearby star

Two super-Earth-sized planets discovered orbiting a nearby star

NASA's Kepler has found two more planets on its K2 extended mission. Both of these planets reside near a star 150 light years away. The star, known as HD 3167, is approximately the size of the sun, and has two planets: the smaller planet is 60% larger than Earth, and the larger is 200% larger than Earth. Kepler has found over 100 undiscovered planets.

Source: http://phys.org/news/2016-07-super-earth-sized-planets-orbiting-nearby-star.html

NASA catches Moon 'photobombing' Earth

NASA catches Moon 'photobombing' Earth

Come on Moon, you can't photobomb; it's not 2013 anymore! NASA's Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite caught the Moon sneaking into a series of pictures of the Earth. The Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) on DSCOVR recorded the images to track environmental and atmospheric changes of the Earth, and this is only the second time EPIC or DSCOVR has glimpsed the Moon.

Source: http://phys.org/news/2016-07-nasa-camera-moon-photobombing-earth.html

Image Source:

Astronomers Find Evidence of Water Clouds in First Sspectrum of Coldest Brown Dwarf

Astronomers Find Evidence of Water Clouds in First Sspectrum of Coldest Brown Dwarf

The brown dwarf, WISE 0855, is relatively close to Earth (only 7.2 light years away) but also relatively mysterious. Until now. Astronomers at UC Santa Cruz have concluded that there is a strong possibility WISE 0855 has clouds formed from water, or water ice. These are the first clouds to have water outside of the Milky Way. Exciting!

Source: http://phys.org/news/2016-07-astronomers-evidence-clouds-spectrum-coldest.html