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E.g., 11/13/2018
E.g., 11/13/2018
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  • News

    China is about to visit uncharted territory on the moon

    China is about to make space history. In December, the country will launch the first spacecraft ever to land on the farside of the moon. Another craft, slated for takeoff in 2019, will be the first to bring lunar rocks back to Earth since 1976.

    These two missions — the latest in China’s lunar exploration series named after the Chinese moon goddess, Chang’e — are at the forefront of...

    11/11/2018 - 07:00 Planetary Science
  • News

    Hints of Oort clouds around other stars may lurk in the universe’s first light

    A thick sphere of icy debris known as the Oort cloud shrouds the solar system. Other star systems may harbor similar icy reservoirs, and those clouds may be visible in the universe’s oldest light, researchers report.

    Astronomer Eric Baxter of the University of Pennsylvania and colleagues looked for evidence of such exo-Oort clouds in maps of the cosmic microwave background, the cool...

    11/09/2018 - 06:00 Planetary Science, Exoplanets, Cosmology
  • News in Brief

    Physicists measured Earth’s mass using neutrinos for the first time

    Puny particles have given scientists a glimpse inside the Earth.

    For the first time, physicists have measured the planet’s mass using neutrinos, minuscule subatomic particles that can pass straight through the entire planet. Researchers also used the particles to probe the Earth’s innards, studying how the planet’s density varies from crust to core.

    Typically, scientists determine...

    11/05/2018 - 11:00 Particle Physics, Earth
  • News in Brief

    Hubble has been busy since coming back online

    Hubble worried astronomers when it ran into unexpected trouble recently, forcing mission scientists to put it into safe mode while they sorted the problem out. But the space telescope has more than made up for its time off since returning to work on October 26.

    “Hubble is back to observing galaxies and stars, implementing programs that scientists around the world have proposed months ago...

    11/02/2018 - 16:29 Astronomy
  • News

    Dawn, the first spacecraft to orbit 2 alien worlds, has gone silent

    It’s dusk for Dawn.

    The NASA spacecraft that was the first to orbit two worlds in one mission has sent its final messages back to Earth, mission managers announced November 1.

    The spacecraft missed two check-ins with NASA’s Deep Space Network on October 31 and November 1, scientists say. That silence likely means Dawn ran out of the hydrazine that fuels its thrusters, which help...

    11/01/2018 - 17:27 Planetary Science
  • News

    The Milky Way feasted on a smaller galaxy 10 billion years ago

    In its younger days, the Milky Way devoured a smaller galaxy, and stars from the hapless victim still roam the skies today to tell the tale, a new study finds.

    “This is a major event in the history of the galaxy,” says astronomer Amina Helmi of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. “We’re really starting to probe the ancestors of the Milky Way.”

    Helmi and her colleagues...

    11/01/2018 - 13:54 Astronomy
  • News in Brief

    Three gas clouds nearly grazed the edge of the Milky Way’s black hole

    As far as close shaves with a black hole go, it doesn’t get much closer than this.

    Scientists have spotted clouds of gas hurtling around the monster black hole at the center of the Milky Way, not far from the behemoth’s edge. Observed on three separate occasions, the gas clouds careened along at unimaginably fast speeds — 30 percent of the speed of light, researchers report October 31 in...

    10/31/2018 - 14:18 Astronomy, Physics
  • News

    The planet-hunting Kepler space telescope is dead

    NASA’s premier planet-hunting space telescope is out of gas.

    The Kepler space telescope can no longer search for planets orbiting other stars, ending the 9½-year mission, officials from the agency announced in a news conference on October 30.

    “Because of fuel exhaustion, the Kepler spacecraft has reached the end of its service life,” said Charlie Sobeck, a project system engineer...

    10/30/2018 - 17:11 Exoplanets
  • News

    Saturn’s moon Dione has stripes like no others in the solar system

    Saturn’s moon Dione is streaked with long bright stripes, and no one knows how they got there.

    Planetary scientists first noticed the stripes in pictures taken with NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which orbited Saturn from 2004 to 2017 (SN: 4/14/18, p. 6). Found near the moon’s equator, the long, thin, bright lines run surprisingly parallel to each other for tens to hundreds of kilometers....

    10/23/2018 - 13:52 Planetary Science
  • News

    What the electron’s near-perfect roundness means for new physics

    Electrons are still almost perfectly round, a new measurement shows. A more squished shape could hint at the presence of never-before-seen subatomic particles, so the result stymies the search for new physics.

    The electron gets its shape from the way that positive and negative charges are distributed inside the particle. The best theory for how particles behave, called the standard model...

    10/17/2018 - 13:00 Particle Physics