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The Lead

Restored Footage Maps Neptune's Strange Moon

August 22, 2014 2:00 pm | by Jet Propulsion Laboratory | News | Comments

NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft gave humanity its first close-up look at Neptune and its moon Triton in the summer of 1989. Like an old film, Voyager's historic footage of Triton has been "restored" and used to construct the best-ever global color map of that strange moon.

Electric Sparks May Alter Lunar Soil

August 22, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of New Hampshire | News | Comments

The moon appears to be a tranquil place, but new modeling suggests that, over the eons, periodic...

Toothpaste Ingredient May Have Formed in Dying Stars

August 21, 2014 2:00 pm | by Lund Univ. | News | Comments

The fluorine that is found in products such as toothpaste was likely formed billions of years...

Immune System Dazed, Confused During Spaceflight

August 20, 2014 7:00 am | by NASA | Videos | Comments

Researchers have a good idea what causes immune system changes on Earth— things like stress,...

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Image of the Week: Astronauts Release Tiny Satellite

August 19, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Marcia Dunn | News | Comments

Spacewalking astronauts launched a tiny Peruvian research satellite Monday, setting it loose on a mission to observe Earth. Russian Oleg Artemiev cast the four-inch box off with his gloved right hand from the ISS. The nanosatellite gently tumbled as it cleared the vicinity of the orbiting complex, precisely as planned.

Milky Way Maps Could Help Solve Stubborn Mystery

August 15, 2014 7:00 am | by Johns Hopkins Univ. | News | Comments

An international team of sky scholars has produced new maps of the material located between the stars in the Milky Way. The results should move astronomers closer to cracking a stardust puzzle that has vexed them for nearly a century.

ISS Astronaut Sets Up CCF Experiment

August 15, 2014 7:00 am | by NASA | News | Comments

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman, Expedition 40 flight engineer, has installed Capillary Channel Flow experiment hardware in the Microgravity Science Glovebox located in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station.

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Specks from Space May Be Alien Visitors

August 15, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Marcia Dunn | News | Comments

Scientists say seven microscopic particles collected by NASA's comet-chasing spacecraft, Stardust, appear to have originated outside our solar system. If confirmed, this would be the world's first sampling of contemporary interstellar dust.

Lunar-landing Rocket Research Hits Milestone

August 14, 2014 7:00 am | by Purdue Univ. | Videos | Comments

A student team has designed, built and tested a critical part of a new rocket engine as part of a NASA project to develop spacecraft technologies needed to land on the moon, Mars and other cosmic venues.

Gravity Find May Protect Earth from Asteroids

August 14, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Tennessee Knoxville | News | Comments

Researchers have made a novel discovery that may potentially protect the world from future collisions with asteroids. The team studied near-Earth asteroid 1950 DA and discovered that the body, which rotates so quickly it defies gravity, is held together by cohesive forces, called van der Waals, never before detected on an asteroid.

Images of the Week: Supermoon Lit World's Sky

August 12, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

People around the world this weekend looked up at the sky to view a lunar phenomenon: the supermoon. Here are a few amazing pictures of the event.

Light Reveals Voracious Appetites of Early Black Holes

August 11, 2014 2:00 pm | by Weizmann Institute | News | Comments

At the ends of the Universe there are black holes with masses equaling billions of our sun. These giant bodies feed on interstellar gas, swallowing large quantities of it non-stop. That process reveals their existence: the light that is emitted by the gas as it is sucked in and crushed by the black hole's gravity travels for eons across the Universe until it reaches our telescopes.

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Scientists Seek Method to Cook in Space

August 8, 2014 2:00 pm | by Cornell Univ. | News | Comments

Chow mein on Mars? Moo shu on the moon? What would it be like to stir-fry in space? A bit messy, according to researchers, who recently conducted the first partial gravity cooking on record.

Research Aims to Uncover Sun's Birthday

August 8, 2014 2:00 pm | by Monash Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers have investigated the solar system's prehistoric phase and the events that led to the birth of the sun. To do so, the team used radioactivity to date the last time that heavy elements such as gold, silver, platinum, lead and rare-earth elements were added to the solar system matter by the stars that produced them.

Laser-wielding Robot Probes Exoplanets

August 8, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa | News | Comments

A team of scientists is using the world’s first robotic laser adaptive optics system— Robo-AO— to explore thousands of exoplanet systems at resolutions approaching those of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Probe Reaches Comet After 10-year Chase

August 6, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Frank Jordans | News | Comments

After a journey of 4 billion miles, Europe's unmanned Rosetta probe reached its destination today, a milestone in mankind's first attempt to land a spacecraft on a comet. The decade-long trip was successfully completed with a seven-minute thrust that allowed Rosetta to swing alongside comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko somewhere between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

Planets Visible at Dusk, Dawn

August 5, 2014 7:00 am | by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory | Videos | Comments

This month, Mars and Saturn pair up at sunset, and Venus and Jupiter before dawn. The two planetary conjunctions are visible to the unaided eye everywhere.

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NASA Announces Mars 2020 Rover Payload

August 4, 2014 9:47 am | by NASA | News | Comments

The next rover NASA will send to Mars in 2020 will carry seven carefully selected instruments to conduct unprecedented science and exploration technology investigations on the Red Planet.

Evidence of Coronal Heating Theory Found with Sounding Rocket

August 4, 2014 9:35 am | by Goddard Space Flight Center | Videos | Comments

Scientists have recently gathered some of the strongest evidence to date to explain what makes the sun's outer atmosphere so much hotter than its surface. The new observations of the small-scale extremely hot temperatures are consistent with only one current theory: nanoflares provide the mysterious extra heat.

Asteroid Attacks Significantly Altered Ancient Earth

August 1, 2014 12:00 pm | by Arizona State Univ. | News | Comments

New research shows that more than four billion years ago, the surface of Earth was heavily reprocessed – or mixed, buried and melted – as a result of giant asteroid impacts. A new terrestrial bombardment model based on existing lunar and terrestrial data sheds light on the role asteroid bombardments played in the geological evolution of the uppermost layers of the Hadean Earth.

Laser, Spectrometer to Track Vegetation from ISS

August 1, 2014 7:00 am | by NASA | News | Comments

NASA has selected proposals for two new instruments that will observe changes in global vegetation from the International Space Station. The sensors will give scientists new ways to see how forests and ecosystems are affected by changes in climate or land use change.

'Wild' Disks in Binary Star System Hold Clues to Planet Birth

July 31, 2014 7:00 am | by National Radio Astronomy Observatory | News | Comments

While surveying a series of binary stars, astronomers uncovered a striking pair of wildly misaligned planet-forming disks in the young binary star system HK Tau. These results provide the clearest picture ever of protoplanetary disks around a double star and could reveal important details about the birth and eventual orbit of planets in a multiple star system.

Mysterious Space Molecules: Silicon-capped Hydrocarbons

July 30, 2014 7:00 am | by American Institute of Physics | News | Comments

Researchers have offered a tantalizing new possibility as to what the mysterious molecules in space are: they may be silicon-capped hydrocarbons like SiC3H, SiC4H and SiC5H. The researchers presented data and theoretical arguments to back their hypothesis, but cautioned that nothing has been proven thus far.

ISS Discovery of Cool Flames Aids Engines

July 29, 2014 7:00 am | by UC, San Diego | News | Comments

A team of international researchers has discovered a new type of cool-burning flames that could lead to cleaner, more efficient engines for cars. The discovery was made during a series of experiments on the International Space Station.             

Glow in Space is a Hot Bubble in Our Galaxy

July 28, 2014 1:33 pm | by Univ. of Miami | Videos | Comments

A recent study shows that diffuse X-ray background is dominated by the local hot bubble of gas (1 million degrees), with, at most, 40 percent of emission originating within the solar system. The findings should put to rest the disagreement about the origin of the X-ray emission and confirm the existence of the local hot bubble.

NASA Seeks Proposals for Mars Communications Satellites

July 28, 2014 7:00 am | by NASA | News | Comments

NASA has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to investigate the possibility of using commercial Mars-orbiting satellites to provide telecommunications capabilities for future robotic missions to the Red Planet.                             

Audit: NASA Doesn't Have the Money for Big Rockets

July 24, 2014 1:42 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

NASA doesn't have enough money to get its new, $12 billion rocket system off the ground by the end of 2017 as planned, federal auditors say.                                               

Searching for ET: Target Alien Polluters

July 24, 2014 7:00 am | by Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics | News | Comments

By studying exoplanet atmospheres, we can look for gases like oxygen and methane that only coexist if replenished by life. But those gases come from simple life forms like microbes. What about advanced civilizations? Would they leave any detectable signs? They might, if they spew industrial pollution into the atmosphere. 

Voyager 1 May Not Have Reached Intersteller Space

July 23, 2014 1:53 pm | by American Geophysical Union | News | Comments

In 2012, the Voyager mission team announced that the Voyager 1 spacecraft had passed into interstellar space, traveling further from Earth than any other manmade object. But, in the nearly two years since that historic announcement, and despite subsequent observations backing it up, uncertainty about whether Voyager 1 really crossed the threshold continues. 

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