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Asteroid to Fly Safely Past Earth on April 19

A relatively large near-Earth asteroid discovered nearly three years ago will fly safely past Earth on April 19 at a distance of about 1.1 million miles (1.8 million kilometers), or about 4.6 times the distance from Earth to the moon. Although there is no possibility for the asteroid to collide with our planet, this will Read More

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NASA Orbiter Steers Clear of Mars Moon Phobos

NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft performed a previously unscheduled maneuver this week to avoid a collision in the near future with Mars’ moon Phobos. The Mars Atmosphere and VolatileEvolutioN (MAVEN)spacecraft has been orbiting Mars for just over two years, studying the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere, ionosphere and interactions with the sun and solar wind. On Tuesday the Read More

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A Colorful ‘Landing’ on Pluto

To create a movie that makes viewers feel as if they’re diving into Pluto, mission scientists had to interpolate some of the panchromatic (black and white) frames based on what they know Pluto looks like to make it as smooth and seamless as possible. Low-resolution color from the Ralph color camera aboard New Horizons was Read More

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Similar-Looking Ridges on Mars Have Diverse Origins

Thin, blade-like walls, some as tall as a 16-story building, dominate a previously undocumented network of intersecting ridges on Mars, found in images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The simplest explanation for these impressive ridges is that lava flowed into pre-existing fractures in the ground and later resisted erosion better than material around them. A Read More

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Mars Rover Views Spectacular Layered Rock Formations

The layered geologic past of Mars is revealed in stunning detail in new color images returned by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover, which is currently exploring the “Murray Buttes” region of lower Mount Sharp. The new images arguably rival photos taken in U.S. National Parks. Curiosity took the images with its Mast Camera (Mastcam) on Sept. Read More

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Jupiter’s North Pole Unlike Anything Encountered in Solar System

NASA’s Juno spacecraft has sent back the first-ever images of Jupiter’s north pole, taken during the spacecraft’s first flyby of the planet with its instruments switched on. The images show storm systems and weather activity unlike anything previously seen on any of our solar system’s gas-giant planets. Juno successfully executed the first of 36 orbital Read More

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Evening Launch Catapults OSIRIS-REx Toward Asteroid Encounter

An Atlas V rocket traced a blazing arc into the Florida sky Thursday evening to send a small robotic explorer on its way to an asteroid on a mission that scientists anticipate will reveal answers to some of the basic questions about the solar system. “Tonight is a night for celebration, we are on the Read More

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Vulcan may not be real, but Spock’s home system is

From NASA: The fictional planet Vulcan is set in the real star system 40 Eridani. 40 Eridani is a trinary star system made up of three dwarf stars. The orange and blue X’s in the visualization above indicate the barycenters, or the gravitational centers around which the stars orbit. Click 40 Eridani B or 40 Read More

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Europa’s Ocean May Have An Earthlike Chemical Balance

A new NASA study modeling conditions in the ocean of Jupiter’s moon Europa suggests that the necessary balance of chemical energy for life could exist there, even if the moon lacks volcanic hydrothermal activity. Europa is strongly believed to hide a deep ocean of salty liquid water beneath its icy shell. Whether the Jovian moon Read More

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NASA Research Gives New Insights into How the Moon Got ‘Inked’

“These patterns, called ‘lunar swirls,’ appear almost painted on the surface of the moon,” said John Keller of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “They are unique; we’ve only seen these features on the moon, and their origin has remained a mystery since their discovery.” Keller is project scientist for NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Read More