Space

  • Photo of Touchdown! NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover safely lands on Red Planet

    Touchdown! NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover safely lands on Red Planet

    The largest, most advanced rover NASA has sent to another world touched down on Mars Thursday, after a 203-day journey traversing 293 million miles (472 million kilometers). Confirmation of the successful touchdown was announced in mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California at 3:55 p.m. EST (12:55 p.m. PST). Packed with groundbreaking technology, the Mars 2020 mission…

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  • Photo of The first black hole ever discovered is more massive than previously thought

    The first black hole ever discovered is more massive than previously thought

    The first black hole ever discovered still has a few surprises in store. New observations of the black hole–star pair called Cygnus X-1 indicate that the black hole weighs about 21 times as much as the sun — nearly 1.5 times heavier than past estimates. The updated mass has astronomers rethinking how some black hole–forming stars evolve. For a star-sized,…

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  • Photo of How can we tell that a meteorite has come from a particular planet?

    How can we tell that a meteorite has come from a particular planet?

    Rocks, including meteorites, can be dated by looking at the ratios of certain radioactive isotopes (a method analogous to ‘radiocarbon dating’). Most meteorites turn out to be about 4.56 billion years old, because they come from asteroids that date from the creation of the Solar System. Anything younger must be from a planet or moon. Scientists have found that the…

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  • Photo of How to watch Perseverance’s Mars rover landing

    How to watch Perseverance’s Mars rover landing

    It’s finally happening. After travelling over 200 million kilometres, NASA’s Perseverance rover (and Ingenuity helicopter) is preparing to land on Mars. Tonight’s mission will be by no means easy. Although having already reached the Red Planet, Perseverance has to endure the harrowing entry, descent and landing stages – a final phase dubbed “seven minutes of terror” by many engineers. The…

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  • Photo of The life-changing and long-lasting influence of Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin

    The life-changing and long-lasting influence of Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin

    My parents brought me up to have unlimited ambition, and to keep asking questions. Thankfully, in the late 20th Century, these traits alone were enough to propel me towards a career as an astrophysicist. I was lucky enough to attend an all-girls high school and our A-Level physics and maths classes were small, but without stigma. When I went to…

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  • Photo of Here’s how to watch NASA’s Perseverance lander touch down on Mars

    Here’s how to watch NASA’s Perseverance lander touch down on Mars

    All eyes are on Mars — and all ears, too. When NASA’s Perseverance rover touches down on the Red Planet on February 18, the landing will be recorded with sight, sound and maybe even touch. The rover will cap off a month of Mars arrivals from space agencies around the world (SN: 7/30/20). Perseverance joins Hope, the first interplanetary mission…

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  • Photo of Here’s how YOU can apply to become one of ESA’s newest astronauts

    Here’s how YOU can apply to become one of ESA’s newest astronauts

    The European Space Agency is recruiting a new class of astronauts to travel to the International Space Station and beyond. There are four to six vacancies for career astronauts and up to a further 20 for reserve astronauts. ESA is keen to hire a diverse set of people to be its newest ambassadors. “Diversity is not a burden for us.…

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  • Photo of The Universe’s 7 biggest mysteries (and why they’re unsolved)

    The Universe’s 7 biggest mysteries (and why they’re unsolved)

    In the last decade, we’ve taken photos of a black holes, peered into the heart of atoms and looked back at the birth of the Universe. And yet, there are yawning gaps in our understanding of the Universe and the laws that govern it. These are the mysteries that will be troubling physicists and astronomers over the next decade and…

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  • NASA’s TESS discovers new worlds in a river of young stars

    Using observations from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), an international team of astronomers has discovered a trio of hot worlds larger than Earth orbiting a much younger version of our Sun called TOI 451. The system resides in the recently discovered Pisces-Eridanus stream, a collection of stars less than 3% the age of our solar system that stretches across…

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  • Photo of The number of Milky Way nova explosions per year has been pinned down

    The number of Milky Way nova explosions per year has been pinned down

    Each year, astronomers discover nova explosions in the Milky Way that cause dim stars to flare up and emit far more light than the sun before they fade again. But our galaxy is so big and dusty that no one knows how many of these eruptions occur throughout its vast domain, where they fling newly minted chemical elements into space.…

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