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NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water. The discovery sets a new record for greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside our solar system. All of these seven planets could have liquid water – key to life as we know it – under the right atmospheric conditions, but the chances are highest with the three in the habitable zone.


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SpaceX has launched the first private rocket from the same historic site that saw some of NASA's greatest space missions, then landed a booster nearby in a resounding success. The California-based company's Falcon 9 rocket launched a robotic Dragon cargo capsule toward the International Space Station today (Feb. 19) at 9:39 a.m. EST (1439 GMT) from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center — the same pad that once hosted Apollo moon missions and space shuttle launches.


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Churchill ponders the conditions that make for a habitable world, and on considering the vast number of stars perhaps circled by alien planets, comes to the conclusion that the answer to the essay’s title question, Are We Alone in the Universe?, was surely a resounding “no”.


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A new dataset released by the Carnegie Institution for Science and MIT includes around 61,000 measurements of 1,600 nearby stars. The information, which was collected by Hawaii’s W.M. Keck Observatory over the course of two decades, is being released in an effort to crowdsource the search for additional planets.


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A beautiful, shining comet flying through the sky is a rare thing. But this week it's not even going to be the rarest. Friday night wll in fact see that comet – a green, shining light followed by a purple trail, known as 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková – joined by a bright, shining full "snow moon" and a lunar eclipse, all at the same time.


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Astronomers have, for the first time, witnessed a comet-like object being ripped apart and scattered across the atmosphere of a white dwarf. It has been dubbed Halley's Comet's 'big brother' because the destroyed object had a similar chemical composition but was significantly more massive than its famous counterpart.


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On 28 January, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) started an inaugural in-space evaluation of their junk-removing cable technology. A 700-metre-long metal cable was fitted to an unmanned spacecraft called Kounotori 6, which was on its way back to Earth after delivering supplies to the International Space Station. The cable was meant to unfurl from the spacecraft, at which point an electric current would pass along its length. The idea was that the current would interact with the Earth’s magnetic field, creating a drag that pulled the spacecraft out of orbit. The spacecraft would then tumble into our atmosphere and become incinerated.


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Saturn's rings appear as bright waves against a black sky in detailed new pictures from the Cassini spacecraft, which made its closest pass by the icy debris in years. The rings of Saturn are visible even in a small telescope from Earth, and they are embedded with icy particles ranging from dust- to house-size chunks.


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Despite how extreme the idea sounds, theories about the Universe being an illusion or a hologram aren't new. Now, researchers claim to have found evidence towards proving this hypothesis. A team of theoretical physicists at the University of Southampton believes it has found signs our Universe is an illusion by studying the cosmic microwave background (CMB) – radiation left over from the Big Bang.


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Between 1969 and 1972, 12 astronauts left footprints on the moon. But according to new research, our planet has been sending another sign of life to the lunar surface for billions of years: oxygen. And even though an estimated 4 trillion trillion trillion atoms of oxygen have become embedded in the lunar soil in the last 2.4 billion years or so, that won’t make settling the moon any easier.


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Tim Peake, the first British astronaut to stay on the International Space Station (ISS), is heading back to space. In a surprise announcement during an event at the Science Museum, Peake revealed he would return to the ISS with the European Space Agency. The British astronaut only returned from orbit in June 2016.


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The commercial space industry pushes a particular brand of optimism. Its urge to inspire manifests as soaring soundtracks to three-minute mission-promo videos, press releases with words like “humanity,” and slick graphics of spacecraft that don’t exist yet but could any day now. In the particular case of asteroid mining, business leaders are selling a future in which materials plucked from space rocks make up for Earth’s shortfalls and support a thriving civilization.


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NASA’s Juno Spacecraft is currently orbiting Jupiter, taking some spectacular images as it studies the gas giant’s atmosphere. The spacecraft is making its next close pass to the planet on February 2nd, and the agency is asking the public to help it figure out where to point one of its cameras next. Juno will approach Jupiter’s North Pole and will swing south, ending the flyby below the South Pole and will take pictures using JunoCam, a visible-light camera. NASA noted that the spacecraft is limited “by the amount of onboard data storage” is has onboard, so it has to be picky with what it takes pictures of. The mission planners have opened up a voting system for the public to help select what pictures they will take, and will open up voting during upcoming flybys as well.


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On Saturday, SpaceX triumphantly returned to flight after an accident last September. The company launched 10 Iridium satellites into an orbit 625km above the Earth's surface, and, as a bonus, SpaceX also demonstrated its increasing mastery of rocket landings by bringing the first stage booster back to a drone ship off the California coast. SpaceX has now successfully landed seven rockets back on Earth.


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Astronomers studying a binary star system about 1,800 light years from the Sun say they are increasingly confident that the two stars will merge into a luminous red nova in about five years. At its brightest, the spectacular explosion produced by this nova could reach an apparent magnitude of about 2.0, akin to a bright star in the night sky, making it visible even from most urban areas.


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On December 30, the White House quietly released its Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy, a 25-page document outlining the United States’ plans in the event that a giant asteroid is found to be on a collision course with Earth. Among the priorities outlined by the strategy are improving Near-Earth Object (NEO) detection, developing methods for deflecting asteroids, and developing interagency emergency procedures in the event of an NEO impact.


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Asteroids are some of the last unexplored territories in the solar system. To help fill in some of the blanks, NASA just announced two upcoming missions that will visit new types of asteroids in the 2030s. Launching in 2023, the Psyche spacecraft will fly into the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter to explore an asteroid quite unlike the balls of mud, ice, and rock we've studied before; "16 Psyche" is a giant hunk of metal. Measuring 130 miles in diameter, it's thought to be made of iron and nickel. 16 Psyche may be the leftover core of a protoplanet—an infant world as large as Mars. Violent collisions are thought to have blasted away its rocky outer layers, leaving behind an asteroid very similar to Earth's own metallic core.


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New Horizons continues to deliver the goods. Having sent back all of the data collected during its Pluto flyby in 2015, the spacecraft is still speeding along at a velocity of 14.32 kilometers per second relative to the Sun. That has allowed it to travel almost halfway between Pluto and its next target, a small Kuiper Belt object called 2014 MU69. By last Sunday, in fact, it had come to within two years of its flyby date—January 1, 2019.


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The best observatory in the world is arguably divided among three sites in northern Chile—La Silla, Paranal, and Chajnantor. Each location in the high, arid Atacama desert offers excellent dark and clear skies for the European Southern Observatory's suite of telescopes. At 2,635 meters in elevation Paranal boasts the best instruments, with four 8.2-meter telescopes combining to make up the Very Large Telescope. Such an observatory also fulfills another, more human purpose. Outside of our light-polluted cities (and even countrysides in developed countries), the dark skies above the Atacama offer perspective on Earth's minuscule corner of the observable Universe.


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Water ice has been found on the dwarf planet Ceres, data from Nasa's Dawn spacecraft has revealed. The discovery of the ice makes Ceres the third planetary body to have the substance within our solar system, after the Moon and Mercury.


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We have some exciting news. We have an update for our iOS app going live tomorrow! The standard version will get some new features and the opportunity to update from Redshift to Redshift Pro with an In App Purchase. These are the new Redshift features (update 3.0): - Lunar/planetary gazetteers - 3D-model of the Milky Way galaxy - Extended Today’s Sky panel (visibility of space stations, events in the sky and weather tonight) - Notification about today’s events at startup - Dictionary of Astronomy - In-App Purchase: Upgrade to Redshift Pro Redshift Pro will also be updated and will then be available in the same 10 languages as Redshift standard (update 1.1): - Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese, and Japanese localisations - Access to the GAIA DR1 online catalog of 1.1 billion stars - 3D-area of stars from the Hipparcos and Tycho-2 catalogs in the Milky Way galaxy


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This movie, based on images taken by ESA’s Mars Express, highlights Mawrth Vallis, a 600 km-long, 2 km-deep outflow channel at the boundary of the southern highlands and the northern lowlands of Mars.




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