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Radiation poses major threat to crewed Mars missions May 31, 2013
Dione starts to look a little more lively May 30, 2013
NASA to lease out historic launchpad May 29, 2013
The star of stars May 28, 2013
Closing in on dark matter May 27, 2013
The menace of space junk May 25, 2013
Long-distance Voyager May 25, 2013
Missions to the icy moons May 24, 2013
Astronomy at the high frontier May 23, 2013
The threat of big, giant brains recedes May 23, 2013
Secrets of the Magellanic Stream revealed May 22, 2013
Kepler's amazing planetary haul May 20, 2013
NASA to install quantum computer May 17, 2013
The end for Kepler? May 16, 2013
Neutrino astronomy is born May 16, 2013
50 years ago, the final Mercury launch took place May 15, 2013
Magnetar found at galactic center May 14, 2013
Safe return for Hadfield and his ISS expedition crewmembers May 14, 2013
Deadly pandemic steps closer May 13, 2013
Rock-polluted stars hint at Sun's future May 11, 2013
Remembering Richard Feynman May 11, 2013
Drill site no. 2 picked for Mars rover May 10, 2013
This day in 1900: birth of famed female astronomer Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin May 10, 2013
This day in 1946: first V-2 launch from White Sands May 10, 2013
Moon's water came from Earth May 10, 2013
Fireball over UK may have come from Halley's Comet May 9, 2013
Deadly dust on Mars may threaten future explorers May 9, 2013
Herschel sharpens view of galactic center May 8, 2013
NASA talks up propsects for manned Mars mission May 7, 2013
Fragments from the Tunguska explosion found? May 4, 2013
Chandra peers at spiral galaxy smash-up May 2, 2013

An astronaut on Mars
Radiation poses major threat to crewed Mars missions
(May 31, 2013)

Mars ain't the kind of place to go if you're worried about radiation. Measurements of cosmic rays within the Mars Science Laboratory, the spacecraft that delivered the Curiosity rover to the planet last year, found that radiation exposure during the journey would be higher than had been predicted for a human mission to Mars and back. And that doesn't include the exposure astronauts would receive on the surface. As for living there permanently ...

Read more (The Independent)

Dione starts to look a little more lively
(May 30, 2013)

And now a subsurface ocean for Saturn's moon Dione? New evidence from the Cassini spacecraft hints at activity on this moon in the past due to water under the icy crust – and possible of activity on Dione today.

Read more (NASA/JPL)

launch complex 39A
NASA to lease out historic launchpad
(May 29, 2013)

Got a big rocket you'd like to launch? NASA may have just the thing for you. The US space agency, in the process of down-sizing and cost-saving, is looking to lease its historic launch complex 39A, which has been in use since the 1960s, starting with Saturn V lift-offs all the way through to the end of the Shuttle era.

Read more (BBC)

The star of stars
(May 28, 2013)

What's R136a1? No, not another government form wanting information for your taxes. It's the not-very-distinguished name of the brightest and most massive star known. Lying 160,000 light-years away in the Small Magellanic Cloud (a satellite galaxy of ours), it's estimated to be 265 times as massive as the Sun and over eight and a half million times as luminous. Hard to believe. It's the brightest star at the center of this photo.

Read more (Wikipedia)

Large amounts of dark matter are known to exist in teh universe
Closing in on dark matter
(May 27, 2013)

Following the discovery of the Higgs boson, the next big breakthrough in particle physics could be finding out the nature of dark matter. A number of experiments, underground and in space, now have dark matter firmly in their sights. One of these is the Xenon collaboration whose upgraded experiment is about to produce its first published results.

Read more (Guardian)

Simulation of orbital debris
The menace of space junk
(May 25, 2013)

There’s a lot of junk up there. Around 20,000 bits and pieces of satellites and old rocket parts, bigger than 5 cm across, are floating around in orbits less than 2,000 km high. It’s estimated that there’s another half a million unwanted items, up to 1 cm across, orbiting in regions where there’s a danger of collision with active spacecraft. What can we do about it? Check out my article over at

Read more (Americaspace)

Ed Stone
Long-distance Voyager
(May 25, 2013)

Ed Stone, now 77, has been the sole Project Scientist with the Voyager 1 and 2 missions for the past 36 years -- and has no intention of retiring. He looks forward to seeing both spacecraft pass safely into interstellar space.

Read more (Nature)

Galilean moons
Missions to the icy moons
(May 24, 2013)

Far from the warm inner regions of the solar system, in orbit around the great gas giants are moons full of surprises. Several NASA spacecraft have flown by or orbited Jupiter and Saturn and their impressive collections of moons. Next up, the European Space Agency plans to launch its heavily-instrumented JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE) to investigate the four big moons of Jupiter—Callisto, Europa, Ganymede, and Io—in 2022 for arrival in 2030.

Read more (

Hubble space telescope
Astronomy at the high frontier
(May 23, 2013)

The atmosphere is a problem for astronomers for two big reasons: it’s turbulent, so it smears out the light from cosmic objects, and it blocks out huge swathes of the electromagnetic spectrum. To see the universe in extreme clarity and observe in regions of the spectrum such as the far ultraviolet, X-rays, and gamma-rays, instruments have to be lofted into space.

Read more (

Boltzmann brain graphic
The threat of big, giant brains recedes
(May 23, 2013)

Given enough time, bits of matter and energy just floating around in space can and will organize themselves into pretty much anything – from a pint of beer to a classic corvette. They could also organize themselves into "Boltzmann brains" centers of consciousness that just pop up randomly in the void. The appearance of Boltzmann brains all around the cosmos in the far future could be a problem because ultimately it would mean that the experience of the Boltzmann brains would vastly outweigh our own (read the whole article to understand why). But, it seems, we may not have to worry anyway, thanks to string theory.

Read more (New Scientist)

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