space
A NASA Spacecraft Will Slingshot Past Earth Today 

Right now, NASA’s Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security - Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft is hurtling through the void in order to link up with an asteroid named Bennu in 2018. While the intrepid spacecraft still has a way to go until its big rendezvous, today it’ll casually fly by Earth. Unfortunately, it poses no immediate danger to our planet, but if you’ve got a good telescope with a camera, you might even be able to snap a pic! Read More >>

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Highest-Energy Cosmic Radiation Comes From a Mysterious Source Beyond Our Galaxy

Not to scare you, but you’re getting hit with radiation constantly. First, there’s just regular old light (yep, that’s a kind of radiation). Then there are low levels of higher energy radiation like the kind in nuclear reactors, including particles coming out of the soil and off of bananas. But the highest-energy radiation is the weirdest stuff. It’s literally out of this galaxy. Read More >>

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Hopeful Martians Emerge From 8-Month Experiment to Find Earth Horrific As Ever

Before Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and other space enthusiasts can ship humans to Mars as easily as an Amazon Prime delivery, we need to figure out how they’ll fare on a foreign planet. Luckily, NASA and the University of Hawaii have been all over this, funding several successful iterations of an experiment called Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS), in which a crew of “astronauts” live in Mars-like conditions in a dome on a Hawaiian volcano. On Sunday, the fifth Hi-SEAS endeavor ended, meaning a crew of six “astronauts” have left the comfort of a literal bubble to greet the fresh hell that is Earth right now. Read More >>

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The Last Photo Cassini Took Was Its Forever Home on Saturn

For those who’ve followed NASA’s Cassini mission these past 20 years, it’s still a bit hard to believe it’s gone. On Friday, 15th September, the spacecraft plunged itself into Saturn’s atmosphere, becoming part of the planet it had studied tirelessly for 13 years. While Cassini’s mission is over, there’s plenty of data and imagery from it to inspire us for years to come, including the last photo the spacecraft ever took. Read More >>

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Stop Wasting My Time With This Stupid Planet X Doomsday Conspiracy Theory

Holy shit, stop, please stop. When a crazy person says something crazy in real life, we ignore them. But for some reason on the internet we decide that every crazy person is worth listening to, news outlets with large audiences write about their fever dreams, and less crazy people suddenly get concerned because now every news outlet is the Daily Star spewing hot garbage about some made-up astronomy bolstered by someone’s ridiculous fake religious enlightenment. Read More >>

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Cassini Took One Last Look at a Mysterious Glitch in Saturn’s Rings Before It Died

Peggy is something along the edge of Saturn’s ring, a glitch whose source we’ve never seen. Cassini took a last peek at Peggy during its Grand Finale destructive plunge, adding a final piece to the puzzle for future researchers to pour over when trying to understand this mysterious disturbance. Read More >>

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Why This Exoplanet’s Hellish Atmosphere Is a Big Deal in the Search For Alien Life

By all accounts, the exoplanet known as WASP-19b is a pretty inhospitable place. As one of the closest known hot-Jupiters to its star—orbiting just two per cent of the distance between the Earth and the Sun—it’s home to a scorchingly hot, violent atmosphere. The side of the planet which always faces the star churns with massive convection currents, dredging up heavier molecules from the planet’s lower layers. Read More >>

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The Cassini Team Reflects on How it Feels to Say Goodbye to Their Spacecraft

Yesterday morning, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft slammed into the day side of Saturn, the brief flash of its vaporisation marking the end of a 13-year mission. But it took people to turn this hunk of aluminum and silicon into an extension of our curiosity. Read More >>

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Cassini Is Gone and I’m Not Crying You’re Crying

After a 20-year sojourn in the final frontier, at approximately 1 PM GMT today, NASA’s Jet Propulsion laboratory lost contact with the Cassini spacecraft, which had plunged into Saturn’s atmosphere about an hour and a half prior, ending its 13-year exploration of the Saturn system. Read More >>

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It Looks Like We Were Wrong About a Basic Property of Mars

When you think about what makes a planet special, maybe you think about its size, its composition, how far it is from the Sun, and maybe how large its collection of apples is. You are probably not thinking about its density. But maybe you should be. Read More >>

space
Hubble Telescope Observes Goth Jupiter

Over a thousand light years away, there’s a planet that isn’t conforming to your so-called rules. It’s not one of the sporty kids like Earth, or one of the poshos like Saturn. WASP-12b probably hangs out in the local cemetery dressed in its black outfit with the chequered wristbands it bought from Jupiter's equivalent of Camden Market, listening to The Cure while making pentagram stick-and-pokes and discussing the inevitability of the Universe’s heat death. Read More >>

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Elon Musk Releases an Explosive Mega-Collection of His Greatest Rocket Failures

Elon Musk has been sitting on a trove of spectacular fail videos from the SpaceX archives, and on 31st August he promised to release a blooper reel with “some epic explosion footage.” Today, he made good on that promise. Now you can watch many millions of pounds go kaboom in just over two minutes. Read More >>

science
How Aliens We’ve Never Met Could Help Humanity Escape Self-Destruction

Humans have had such a dramatic impact on Earth that some scientists say we’ve kickstarted a new geological era known as the Anthropocene. A fascinating new paper theorises that alien civilisations could do the same thing, reshaping their homeworlds in predictable and potentially detectable ways. The authors are proposing a new classification scheme that measures the degree to which planets have been modified by intelligent hosts. Read More >>

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NASA’s Curiosity Rover Captures Spectacular Images as It Climbs Toward a Mysterious Outcrop

Over the past few days, NASA’s Curiosity rover has been making a steady climb towards a strange Martian ridge that’s captivated scientists since before the mission even started. Known as Vera Ridge after the pioneering astrophysicist Vera Rubin, the durable outcrop could shed new light on the environment and potential habitability of ancient Mars. Although the climb has proven a challenging one, Curiosity has managed to capture some spectacular photos along the way. Read More >>

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A Few Last Words on the Best Spacecraft of Our Lives, Before It Dies

Space has a funny way of making us feel both incredibly small yet infinitely lucky for being part of such a vast cosmic sorority. Of course, humans have barely scratched the surface of the final frontier—we’ve never even sent people beyond the Moon. While many uncrewed spacecraft have done an incredible job of revealing our solar neighborhood to us, honestly, none did it better than NASA’s Cassini probe. After exploring Saturn for 13 years, on 15th September at 12:55pm GMT, the probe will plunge itself into the planet’s atmosphere, becoming one with the very object of its fascination. Read More >>