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The Lead

Cause of Rocket Explosion Unknown

October 29, 2014 8:07 am | by Associated Press, Brock Vergakis, Marcia Dunn | News | Comments

The owners of a commercial supply ship that exploded moments after liftoff have promised to find the cause of the failed delivery mission to the International Space Station and warned residents to not touch any debris they might stumble across from the craft, which was carrying hazardous materials.

China Launches Moon Orbiter

October 24, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

China launched an experimental spacecraft today to fly around the moon and back to Earth in...

Star Escapes Black Hole Slightly Damaged

October 24, 2014 2:00 pm | by The Ohio State Univ. | Videos | Comments

We may think of black holes as swallowing entire stars— or any other object that wanders too...

Researchers: Comet is Smelly

October 24, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Rotten eggs, horse urine, formaldehyde, bitter almonds, alcohol, vinegar and a hint of sweet...

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Cosmic Rays Threaten Future Astronaut Missions

October 22, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of New Hampshire | News | Comments

Crewed missions to Mars remain an essential goal for NASA, but scientists are only now beginning to understand and characterize the radiation hazards that could make such ventures risky. A researcher says that, because of a highly abnormal and extended lack of solar activity, the solar wind is exhibiting extremely low densities and magnetic field strengths, which causes dangerous levels of hazardous radiation.

Early Universe's Temp Could Have Supported Life

October 21, 2014 2:00 pm | by Inside Science News Service, Ker Than | News | Comments

Life in the universe could be much older than previously thought, forming as early as 15 million years after the Big Bang, according to a provocative new idea proposed by an astrophysicist. In this scenario for the early universe, rocky planets born from the dregs of massive, primordial stars would have been warmed by the heat of a radiation that permeated all of space, which was much hotter back then than it is now.

Nanoflares May Heat the Sun's Corona

October 17, 2014 7:00 am | by Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics | News | Comments

Why is the Sun's million-degree corona, or outermost atmosphere, so much hotter than the Sun's surface? This question has baffled astronomers for decades. Now, a team has found that miniature solar flares called nanoflares— and the speedy electrons they produce— might partly be the source of that heat, at least in some of the hottest parts of the Sun's corona.


Inexplicable Signal Offers Clue on Mysterious Dark Matter

October 16, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Leicester | News | Comments

Scientists have detected a curious signal in the X-ray sky– one that provides a tantalizing insight into the nature of mysterious Dark Matter. The team has found what appears to be a signature of axions, predicted Dark Matter particle candidates– something that has been a puzzle to science for years.

Milky Way Ransacks Nearby Galaxies, Steals Star-forming Gas

October 16, 2014 7:00 am | by National Radio Astronomy Observatory | News | Comments

Astronomers have discovered that our nearest galactic neighbors— the dwarf spheroidal galaxies— are devoid of star-forming gas, and that our Milky Way Galaxy is to blame. New radio observations reveal that within a well-defined boundary around our Galaxy, dwarf galaxies are completely devoid of hydrogen gas; beyond this point, dwarf galaxies are teeming with star-forming material.

Image of the Week: Hubble Watches Butterfly Nebula Die

October 14, 2014 7:00 am | by ESA | News | Comments

Many celestial objects are beautiful– swirling spiral galaxies or glittering clusters of stars are notable examples. But some of the most striking scenes are created during the death throes of intermediate-mass stars, when great clouds of superheated gas are expelled into space.

Ceramic Bonding is Ultra-stable for Space Missions

October 13, 2014 2:00 pm | by ESA | News | Comments

A new ultra-stable adhesive could be a key to assembling rock-solid structures for space, including large telescopes, instruments and antennas to peer deeper into the cosmos or sharpen views of our terrestrial environment. The ceramic bonding promises composite structures of several meters rigid down to a few thousandths of a millimeter.

Dark Matter is Half What Was Believed

October 9, 2014 2:00 pm | by International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research | News | Comments

A new measurement of dark matter in the Milky Way has revealed there is half as much of the mysterious substance as previously thought. Astronomers used a method developed almost 100 years ago to discover that the weight of dark matter in our own galaxy is 800,000,000,000 times the mass of the Sun.


Telescope Sees Ultra-luminous Dead Star

October 9, 2014 7:00 am | by Caltech | News | Comments

Astronomers have found a pulsating dead star beaming with the energy of about 10 million suns. The object, previously thought to be a black hole because it is so powerful, is in fact a pulsar— the incredibly dense rotating remains of a star.

Sky Features Eclipses This Month

October 3, 2014 7:00 am | by NASA | Videos | Comments

October is a busy month: Mars and Comet Siding Spring are moving closer to each other this month; the moon enters Earth's deep shadow for the second lunar eclipse of the year; and a partial solar eclipse will be visible late one afternoon.

Volcano, Not Asteroid, Likely Caused Moon's Largest Basin

October 2, 2014 7:00 am | by MIT, Jennifer Chu | News | Comments

New data obtained by NASA’s GRAIL mission reveals that the Procellarum region on the near side of the moon— a giant basin often referred to as the “man in the moon”— likely arose not from a massive asteroid strike, but from a large plume of magma deep within the moon’s interior.

Fingerprint in Biomolecules May Be from Early Sun

September 30, 2014 2:00 pm | by UC San Diego | News | Comments

Chemical fingerprints of the element nitrogen vary by extremes in materials from the molecules of life to the solar wind to interstellar dust. Ideas for how this great variety came about have included alien molecules shuttled in by icy comets from beyond our solar system and complex chemical scenarios. New experiments have shown that no extra-solar explanation is needed and the chemistry is straight forward.

Image of the Week: Simulations Reveal Unusual Death for Stars

September 30, 2014 7:00 am | by UC Santa Cruz | News | Comments

Massive primordial stars, between 55,000 and 56,000 times the mass of our Sun, may have died unusually. In death, these objects— among the universe’s first generation of stars— would have exploded as supernovae and burned completely, leaving no remnant black hole behind.


Our Water is Older than Our Sun

September 26, 2014 7:00 am | by Carnegie Institution | News | Comments

Water was crucial to the rise of life on Earth and is also important to evaluating the possibility of life on other planets. Identifying the original source of Earth’s water is key to understanding how life-fostering environments come into being and how likely they are to be found elsewhere. New work has found that much of our Solar System’s water likely originated as ices that formed in interstellar space.

ISS: Largest Earth-observing Satellites

September 26, 2014 7:00 am | by NASA | Videos | Comments

The International Space Station has been called a stepping stone to other worlds. NASA hasn't forgotten, however, that the behemoth space station is also on the doorstep of Earth.

Congrats: India Joins the Ranks of Mars Explorers

September 24, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Katy Daigle | News | Comments

India triumphed in its first interplanetary mission, placing a satellite into orbit around Mars today and catapulting the country into an elite club of deep-space explorers. In scenes broadcast live on Indian TV, scientists broke into wild cheers as the orbiter's engines completed 24 minutes of burn time to maneuver the spacecraft into its designated place around the Red Planet.

SpaceX Launches 3-D Printer, ISS Gear

September 22, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Marcia Dunn | News | Comments

A SpaceX cargo ship rocketed toward the International Space Station on Sunday, carrying the first 3-D printer for astronauts in orbit. In all, the unmanned Dragon capsule is delivering more than 5,000 pounds of space station supplies for NASA.

Lemon Juice Can Be Green Tool for Space

September 19, 2014 7:00 am | by ESA | News | Comments

Corrosion resistance and high strength put stainless steel high on the list of essential materials for satellite and rocket designers. Now, ESA plans to investigate an alternative, environmental-friendly method of readying this important metal.

Skintight Spacesuits Offer More Movement, Freedom

September 18, 2014 2:00 pm | by MIT, Jennifer Chu | News | Comments

For future astronauts, the process of suiting up may go something like this: instead of climbing into a conventional, bulky, gas-pressurized suit, one may don a lightweight, stretchy garment, lined with tiny, muscle-like coils. The suit would then be plugged in to a spacecraft’s power supply, triggering the coils to contract and essentially shrink-wrap the garment around the body.

NASA Ends Russian Reliance as Boeing, SpaceX Win Out

September 17, 2014 8:12 am | by Associated Press, Marcia Dunn | News | Comments

NASA is a giant step closer to launching Americans again from U.S. soil. The space agency has picked Boeing and SpaceX to transport astronauts to the International Space Station in the next few years.

Mars Meteorite Yields Evidence of Possibility for Life

September 16, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Manchester | News | Comments

A tiny fragment of Martian meteorite 1.3 billion years old is helping to make the case for the possibility of life on Mars, say scientists. The finding of a cell-like structure— which investigators now know once held water— came about as a result of collaboration between scientists in the UK and Greece.

J Marks the Spot for ESA's Comet Landing

September 15, 2014 2:00 pm | by ESA | News | Comments

Rosetta’s lander Philae will target Site J, an intriguing region on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko that offers unique scientific potential, with hints of activity nearby and minimum risk to the lander compared to the other candidate sites.

Mars May Grow Better Veggies than the Moon

September 12, 2014 2:00 pm | by Inside Science News Service, Patricia Waldron | News | Comments

Any explorers visiting Mars and the moon will have to boldly grow where no man has grown before. Setting up lunar or Martian colonies will require that explorers raise their own food. New research finds that simulated Martian soil supported plant life better than both simulated moon soil and low-quality soil from Earth.

Understanding Physics of Fire Imperative for Space Safety

September 12, 2014 7:00 am | by NASA | Videos | Comments

Astronauts are studying how fires burn in microgravity and how to put them out. It's a basic safety issue: if a fire ever breaks out onboard a spacecraft, astronauts need to be able to control it.

Algorithm Can Help Clean up Space

September 10, 2014 2:00 pm | by MIT, Larry Hardesty | Videos | Comments

An algorithm, tested aboard the International Space Station, analyzes the rotation of objects in space. Understanding how objects are spinning, where their centers of mass are and how their mass is distributed is crucial to any number of actual or potential space missions, from cleaning up debris in the geosynchronous orbit favored by communications satellites to landing a demolition crew on a comet.

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