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Thales Alenia Space has signed a contract with the UK Space Agency to work on MicroCarb, a joint UK-French satellite mission which will measure sources and sinks of carbon, the principal greenhouse gas driving global warming. It is the first European mission intended to characterise greenhouse gas fluxes on Earth’s surface and gauge how much carbon is being absorbed by oceans and forests, the main sinks on the planet. The mission, scheduled to launch in 2020, will also contribute to international efforts to measure how much carbon gas is being emitted by natural processes and human activities. MicroCarb will enable the UK Space Agency and CNES to pave the way for a longer term operational system in response to the Paris COP21 Agreement.


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When a massive star, more than eight times the mass of our Sun, runs out of fuel to keep it shining, it ends its life in a dramatic explosion. Known as a supernova, the sequence of a rapid collapse followed by a violent explosion can leave the remnants, either a neutron star or a black hole, shining brightly for up to 100 days. Or so we thought. The longest supernova explosion ever observed has been detailed in a Nature paper published today, with a stellar explosion shining for more than 600 days. The discovery could lead us to completely rewrite our understanding of how stars evolve.


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Astronomers have spotted a “zombie star” that refused to die when massive explosions that are normally considered fatal rocked the heavenly body. The star, which lies half a billion light years away in the constellation of the Great Bear, has exploded multiple times since 1954, but may finally be on its way to the cosmic graveyard. It is the first time astronomers have seen the same star explode over and over. Until now stellar explosions, or supernovae, have been considered singular events, the dazzling death throes of stars that have burned up all their fuel.


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It’s that time of year again when NASA scientists compete to make the most creative, the most technologically challenging, and the most impressive pumpkin display of them all. This year, pumpkins spun, floated, and sailed like ships in the seventh annual (unofficial) pumpkin carving contest at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.


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A new species of traversable wormhole has emerged, free of exotic material and full of potential for helping physicists resolve a baffling paradox about black holes. This paradox is the very problem that plagued the early draft of Carl Sagan's novel Contact and led Kip Thorne to contemplate traversable wormholes in the first place; namely, that things that fall into black holes seem to vanish without a trace. This total erasure of information breaks the rules of quantum mechanics, and it so puzzles experts that in recent years, some have argued that black hole interiors don’t really exist—that space and time strangely end at their horizons.


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Few space companies begin at home, yet that is exactly where it all began for AlbaOrbital. The ten-person Glasgow startup is leading the push to democratise space itself, developing and selling PocketQubes – small satellites which may be considered the perfect fit for a relatively small space company. But size can be misleading: Alba Orbital is pushing back the boundaries of space.


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The British astronaut Tim Peake hasn’t only been to space – he’s run a marathon and presented a Brit award in space, too. Ahead of his new book, Ask an Astronaut, The Guardian is joining him to answer your questions on Thursday 26 October at 1.30pm


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Gravitational waves produced by two neutron stars colliding have been detected for the first time. The detection, by the Ligo team, has confirmed long-held theories about what happens when two of these powerful objects come together. Neutron stars are the strangest stars in the Universe. Produced when the largest stars come of the end of their life, run out of fuel and collapse in on themselves, neutron stars are the smallest and most dense stars can get. Just one teaspoon of neutron star material is as heavy as the Great Pyramid of Giza.


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It is one of cosmology’s more perplexing problems: that up to 90% of the ordinary matter in the universe appears to have gone missing. Now astronomers have detected about half of this missing content for the first time, in a discovery that could resolve a long-standing paradox.


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Russian space agency Roscosmos announced Wednesday that it was collaborating on a NASA-led project to facilitate scientific missions in the moon's orbit and to its surface. Russia and the U.S. are also developing international standards for space exploration, Agence France-Presse reports.


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Astronomers say they have detected another set of gravitational waves — ripples in the fabric of space and time traveling throughout the Universe. It’s the fourth time this phenomenon has been measured by the scientists at LIGO, or the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. The same group made history by detecting the first wave signals early last year. While such detections seem to be routine now, this latest discovery is unique since it was also picked up by a separate non-LIGO observatory.


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Musk doesn’t want to wait the next time he feels like eating street noodles in Shanghai, so he wants to use his BFR to replace airplanes for long-distance travel here on Earth. According to Musk, the cost per seat would be “about the same as full-fare economy in an aircraft.” Imagine that: 24 minutes to fly from New York to Shanghai. Or one hour to fly to your location’s antipodes.


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Venus, while certainly inhospitable to humans, is almost just as rough for robots. The last time a robot visited the surface of Venus was in the mid-80s, when the Soviet Union sent its Vega lander to capture data about the planet’s soil. It lasted for less than an hour. Which is why for the last year JPL engineers have been working to build a rover that could last on Venus for days, if not weeks or months.


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Researchers have learned that the Arecibo Observatory and its signature radio telescope took significant damage when the hurricane passed over. All staff members are thankfully safe for now, but an atmospheric radar line feed and a 39-foot dish (used for Very Long Baseline Interferometry) were lost in winds that reached up to 155MPH. The gigantic central dish is intact, although the line feed's collapse punctured it in places.


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Losing internet access was a bigger problem than personality clashes for six “astronauts” confined for eight months on a remote simulated Mars base, a British member of the team has said. Not a single personal insult was uttered by any member of the crew during the whole of the “mission”, which ended on 17 September, claimed astrobiologist Sam Payler, 28, a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh.


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The James Webb Space Telescope will be so sensitive, it could detect the heat signature of a bumblebee at the distance of the moon, and can see details the size of a US penny at the distance of about 40 km.


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Today, on Friday Sept 15th, the spacecraft will make its final approach to the giant planet Saturn. But this encounter will be like no other. This time, Cassini will dive into the planet's atmosphere, sending science data for as long as its small thrusters can keep the spacecraft's antenna pointed at Earth. Soon after, Cassini will burn up and disintegrate like a meteor.


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After two decades in space, NASA's Cassini spacecraft is nearing the end of its remarkable journey of exploration. Having expended almost every bit of the rocket propellant it carried to Saturn, operators are deliberately plunging Cassini into the planet to ensure Saturn's moons will remain pristine for future exploration.


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Nasa’s Cassini mission to Saturn is entering its final week. On 15 September, it will dive towards the planet and burn up in its atmosphere. Nasa have called it the grand finale. Cassini is one of the most ambitious space missions. It is a collaboration between Nasa, ESA and the Italian space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana. The spacecraft, launched on 15 October 1997, took seven years to travel through the solar system to Saturn, which lies about 10 times further from the Sun than Earth.


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Stephen Hawking’s Breakthrough Listen project picks up radio pulses that could be from black holes, neutron stars or, some speculate – UFO beacons


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With a crewed version of its Dragon cargo capsule in development, the SpaceX chief executive reveals the suits set to be worn by the company’s astronauts


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The eclipse from a different perspective #eclipse




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