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New Mexico Observatory Closed Because of Child Porn Investigation, Not Aliens

After weeks of suspicion about the mysterious closure of the National Solar Observatory in Sunspot, New Mexico, unsealed FBI records have provided an explanation: a child porn investigation. Read More >>

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NASA’s TESS Space Telescope Has Spotted Its First Exoplanet

Say hello to Pi Mensae c—a small, Earth-like planet located nearly 60 light-years from our Solar System. It’s probably not able to sustain life, but it’ll go down in history as the first exoplanet detected by NASA’s new TESS satellite. Read More >>

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Elon Musk Names Japanese Billionaire Yusaku Maezawa as First Tourist on SpaceX’s BFR

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced the first paying tourist that the company plans to fly around the moon on a 240,000-mile journey on its promised Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) — and it’s Japanese billionaire, founder of online fashion giant Zozo, and art collector Yusaku Maezawa. Read More >>

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Astronomers Spot Unprecedented Glow Around Neutron Star, and Whatever It Is, It’s Important

Scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope have glimpsed a neutron star unlike any seen before. Read More >>

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New Mexico Sheriff Demands Answers, Calls FBI ‘Chicken Shit’ Over Handling of Mysterious Observatory Closure

When FBI agents told local law enforcement to “standby” after the closure and evacuation of the National Solar Observatory in Sunspot, in the US state of New Mexico, on 6 September, Otero County Sheriff Benny House did not hide his confusion. “The FBI is refusing to tell us what’s going on,” House told Alamogordo Daily News at the time. “We’ve got people up there (at Sunspot) that requested us to standby while they evacuate it. Nobody would really elaborate on any of the circumstances as to why. The FBI were up there. What their purpose was nobody will say.” Read More >>

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Where Are We in Space? Astronomers Update Their Celestial Frame of Reference

How do you know where anything is in space? Sure, you can say, “Oh, that star, it’s the one in the middle of the Big Dipper,” but that’s not very useful in an era of incredible telescopes peeping at galaxies billions of light-years away. On January 1, 2019, scientists will adopt the newest, internationally standardised frame of reference to help locate things in space. Read More >>

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A Great Brown Storm is Raging on Jupiter

During its 15th flyby of Jupiter, NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured a rare image of a Jovian “brown barge.” It’s not nearly as impressive or picturesque as the Great Red Spot, but this big brown splotch is yet another reminder of many complex atmospheric processes happening on our Solar System’s largest planet. Read More >>

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Our Solar System’s Largest Asteroid Is Covered in Ice Volcanoes

We usually associate volcanoes with extreme heat. But new results demonstrate that the Solar System’s largest asteroid, Ceres, is covered in volcanoes that have spewed ice throughout their history. Read More >>

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Watch The Last Delta II Rocket Carry ICESat-2 Into Space

NASA’s last Delta II rocket blasted into the atmosphere from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Saturday carrying the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2), Space.com reported, in the rocket’s 155th and final mission. Read More >>

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SpaceX Reboots Plan to Send Tourists Around the Moon—and It’s About to Name the First Passenger

In a tweet posted late yesterday, SpaceX said it has signed a passenger to fly around the Moon aboard its next-generation launch system. Details are scarce, but the announcement suggests the Elon Musk-led rocket company is still intent on delivering private individuals, rather than just cargo and professional astronauts, into space. Read More >>

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NASA’s Efforts to Contact Opportunity Rover Ramp Up as Martian Dust Storm Clears

As the planet-wide Martian dust storm clears, NASA scientists have increased their efforts to contact the nearly 15-year-old Opportunity rover, which has been silent since June 10. Read More >>

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Hubble Captures Image of a Truly Warped ‘Dragon’ 

An ambitious use of the Hubble Space Telescope hopes to map some of the biggest, brightest, and furthest galaxies to understand the structure of our universe. Above is a picture from that survey, featuring a strange, warped feature called the Dragon. Read More >>

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Mission to Slam Spacecraft Into Asteroid Has Begun Final Design and Construction

A mission to deflect asteroids that might threaten Earth has begun its final design and assembly phase, according to a news release. NASA is testing a technique meant to protect the planet from an impending asteroid strike, and it’s a satisfyingly simple one: They’re gonna slam the ship into the rock. Read More >>

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Hayabusa2’s First Practice Attempt to Land on Ryugu Asteroid Didn’t Go So Well

Japan’s Hayabusa2 project experienced a (hopefully) minor setback yesterday when the spacecraft failed to complete a practice session during preparations for its much-anticipated touchdown on the Ryugu asteroid. Read More >>

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What the Hell Is Going on With the ISS Drill Hole Story?

A tiny hole in a Soyuz spacecraft attached to the International Space Station has turned into a strange game of international telephone. Read More >>