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Tag: NASA (Page 1 of 63)

A house-sized asteroid is going to squeak by Earth today

asteroid td6

Astronomers and skywatchers have done an amazing job at locating lots and lots of near-Earth objects that could pose a threat, but some of them inevitably sneak up on us. Today, a newly-discovered asteroid is going to make an extremely close pass by Earth, coming well within the distance that separates our planet from the Moon.

The rock, labeled 2017 TD6, is still rather mysterious to scientists, and current data on the object can only narrow down its diameter to somewhere between about 30 and 72 feet. That's a pretty wide range, but thankfully astronomers know enough about its trajectory to say with confidence that the asteroid poses no tangible risk to Earth itself.

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Scientists want astronauts to live in a lava tube on the Moon

moon base

A human settlement on the Moon — or at least some kind of lunar base that astronauts can hang out in — is a romantic idea that sci-fi movies and video games have made us think is as simple as getting some supplies up there and whipping out a hammer. Unfortunately, it's a lot more complicated than that, and the idea of any kind of shelter on the Moon's surface requires tackling some very difficult problems, such as incredible temperature swings and of course radiation from space.

Now, researchers from the Japanese space agency JAXA have proposed a possible solution: Using the naturally-occurring hollow lava tubes on the lunar surface as makeshift shelters. After some intense searching, a possible location was spotted on an area of the Moon known as Marius Hills. The research was published in Geophysical Research Letters.

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WTF is floating around Saturn?

science news

NASA Cassini spacecraft performed its final, fateful dive into Saturn several weeks ago, destroying itself in the planet's atmosphere and ending an incredible mission that spanned nearly two full decades. Today, even though its mechanical body has been vaporized, the information it sent back during its time in orbit continues to surprise scientists. The most recent example of this is a newly-discovered quirk with Saturn's atmosphere which researchers are struggling to explain.

During Cassini's daring trips between Saturn and its iconic rings, the spacecraft's powerful mass spectrometer picked up a puzzling mix of chemicals that made NASA's scientists scratch their heads. The most likely explanation? Saturn's gorgeous rings are shedding.

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Lego’s newest set celebrates the women of NASA

women of lego nasa

Most of Lego's most popular toy sets focus firmly on fantastical worlds that have nothing to do with reality — like Star Wars, Harry Potter, or Minecraft – but today the company announced the launch date for a much more real, but equally awesome set. Called "Women of NASA," the new construction set pays tribute to four of the most impactful women in the agency's history.

Included in the set are minifigures based on Nancy Grace Roman, who played a huge role in planning the Hubble Space Telescope; Sally Ride, who became the first American woman and youngest American to ever travel to space; Margaret Hamilton, who developed the on-board flight software that controlled the Apollo spacecraft; and Mae Jemison, who was the very first African-American woman to head into space.

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We’ll all get a great view of Uranus tonight, and you won’t even need to pull down your pants

how to spot uranus

Uranus is a pretty awe-inspiring sight. It's big, pale, and packed with gas, but we rarely get a chance to actually see it without the use of pricey instruments. Tonight is another story, and thanks to the planet's positioning in relation to our Sun, everyone should be able to get a pretty clear glimpse of it... if that's something you're into.

Tonight, as the calendar flips from October 18th to the 19th, Uranus will be in opposition to the Sun, meaning that it'll be on the opposite side of the Earth in relation to our star. That positioning will bathe Uranus in light, and it should be just enough to make the distant planet visible to the naked eye.

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