The Best Evidence yet Is Found for Enceladus to Contain a Salt Water Ocean

For the first time it has been shown that the Cassini-Huygens probe’s sampling of icy spray shooting from Saturn’s moon Enceladus contains large salt rich grains. The spray was sampled by Cassini in 2005. The plumes were coming from the so-called “tiger stripe” surface fractures at the moon’s south pole. These tiger stripes are thought [...]

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5 New Projects to Look for Alien Life

Five new projects have been announced by the NASA astrobiology science and technology for exploring planets program (ASTEP). ASTEP promotes the search for life on other planets and supports research and exploration of the Earth’s most remote places. New technology is used by ASTEP to seek, identify and characterise life that exists or did exist [...]

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New Rocky Type Planet Found by Kepler

The Kepler telescope, which has been looking for planets outside our solar system, has found a new rocky planet a bit like a scorched molten Earth. It orbits around a sun like star called Kepler-10 in only 45 days. It is so close to its parent star it is not expected to have any liquid [...]

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A New Map of the Roughness and Smoothness of the Moon Created

Planetary scientists use the look of planets and moons to find out information about their past. New maps of the moon have been put together that reveal the slopes and roughness of the moon’s surface. These maps are based on data which has been collected by the lunar orbiter laser altimeter on NASA’s lunar reconnaissance [...]

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New Search for Alien Life on 86 Planets Starts

A massive search for alien life on 86 exoplanets has just started. The search will use a large radio telescope in West Virginia to listen for signs of life. These 86 planets have been picked from a list of 1235 planets which have been identified by NASA’s Kepler space telescope. 24 hours of data will [...]

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Fractures Found on Mars May Indicate Life

Deep fractures have been found around the giant Isidis impact basin on Mars. This area called NiliFossae is of interest to scientists because telescopes on Earth measured an increase in methane in Mars’s atmosphere over this area. This could mean life or it could be geological. Some of these incisions are up to 500 m [...]

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Manned Spaceflight Versus Unmanned Spaceflight

Are manned missions just a waste of time? Space agencies and presidents insist that manned missions are necessary and will always be in their programmes. The reason normally given is that an astronaut embodies the spirit of the space programme and can also act swiftly and creatively in ways that machines cannot. The critics dismiss [...]

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Messenger Returns Images of Mercury from Orbit for the First Time.

NASA’s Messenger spacecraft (MErcury Surface,Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging) has become the first craft to enter orbit around Mercury and now we have the first picture from orbit. Messenger has taken six years to get into orbit around Mercury. If the Messenger probe had been sent to Mercury on a direct course it would have [...]

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Mars Rover Opportunity Poses for a Quick Picture

Opportunity (NASA’s Mars exploration Rover) has been exploring a crater on Mars called Santa Maria and has nearly finished its three-month examination. The picture has been taken from orbit of opportunity posing  just on the edge. The pictures were taken by the high resolution imaging science experiment (HIRISE). The tracks from the west that opportunity [...]

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Far Side of the Moon Imaged by the LRO

The moons far side has been imaged in extreme detail by the lunar reconnaissance orbiter (LRO). A mosaic is being made of the moon by the LRO and this image is one of many building up into a map providing a global view of the moon to a resolution of 100 m per pixel. (Click on [...]

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Excessive Heat Found in Enceladus

Cassini has recorded internal heat produced by the south polar terrain of Enceladus to be extremely more than was predicted. The internal heat is about 15.80 GW which is about the power output of 20 coal fuelled power stations. This doesn’t mean that a bunch of aliens have built 20 coal fuelled power stations on [...]

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Kepler Finds a Multitude of Planets of All Shapes and Structures

Some great news from the planet front has just arrived. As was expected Kepler has found lots of new planets. These planets are really planetary candidates and have to be positively confirmed but a high percentage definitely will be planets. The recent findings increase the number of planets found by Kepler to 1235. 68 of [...]

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Mars Express Gives New Images & Video of Martian Moon Phobos

The European Space Agency has released close-up portraits of Mars’s moon Phobos, taken as the ESA Mars Express spacecraft flew within 60 miles of it. The images show a load of mysterious grooves etched into Phobos’ surface and resolve features as small as 17 yards across. The images show in detail the currently planned landing [...]

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A Good Year for Japan’s Space Program

Japan has not put a lot of money into their space program but it has nevertheless come up with some good results. JAXA (Japan’s space agency) has had a few firsts including the return of a probe to pick up some dust from an asteroid after a seven-year round-trip. This mission called Hayabusa, which means [...]

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An Earthlike Planet Is Coming Soon …

One day in the future perhaps not 10 years from now we will be able to look up into the night sky at particular stars and know that they have Earth like planets orbiting them. SETI is going to scan the stars with exoplanets for intelligent life in 2011 and you never know do you? [...]

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Detecting Volcanoes on Exoplanets

Volcanoes can be an indication of a planet that can support life. There are studies that show that lightning together with the chemicals volcanoes produce may have provided the spark that produced life on early Earth. This experiment called the Miller-Urey experiment has been shown to students for years from 1953 to mimic the chemical [...]

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Identifying Exoplanets by Their Dust Tails

Are we losing the Sahara to space? No, is the simple answer to that. The Earth has a trail of dust behind it but the dust is interstellar dust which is already present in the solar system. This interplanetary dust comes from the fragments of comets and asteroids that have collided. As the Earth travels [...]

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Actual and Artist Images of Exoplanets

Extrasolar planets or for short exoplanets have been found in orbit around many different star systems other than ours. Exoplanets are being found all the time but take a look at this database of exoplanets for an idea on their characteristics. An actual image has been shot sometime back of an exoplanet but as you [...]

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Is Human Colonisation of Europa Possible?

Europa is a fascinating place. Once it was believed that Jupiter’s moons were just lumps of ice and rock. But missions to Jupiter showed us that there is more to Jupiter’s moons than we thought. This moon has become much more interesting the more it is explored. The furthest we have got nowadays is to [...]

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Preventing Contamination from Reaching Planetary Bodies and from Contaminating the Earth

We have been looking for alien life elsewhere in the universe for quite awhile now. Mars has been the main focus of attention and it looks like in the future Europa and Titan will also attract a lot of attention. But how do we know that what we have found is alien life and that [...]

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