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E.g., 01/22/2019
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  • Hayabusa2 and OSIRIS-REx
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Your search has returned 50 articles:
  • Feature

    Two daring spacecraft aim to bring asteroid dust back to Earth

    Shogo Tachibana greeted asteroid Ryugu with dread.

    The cosmochemist with the University of Tokyo had spent 10 years helping to design a mission to Ryugu’s surface. To touch down safely, the spacecraft, Hayabusa2, needs to find broad, flat stretches of fine-grained dust on the asteroid. But on June 27, when Hayabusa2 finally reached its target after a three-and-a-half-year journey (SN...

    01/15/2019 - 14:42 Planetary Science, Astrobiology
  • News in Brief

    The sugar that makes up DNA could be made in space

    Parts of DNA can form in space.

    For the first time, scientists have made 2-deoxyribose, the sugar that makes up the backbone of DNA, under cosmic conditions in the lab by blasting ice with radiation. The result, reported December 18 in Nature Communications, suggests that there are several ways for prebiotic chemistry to take place in space, and supports the idea that the stuff of life...

    12/19/2018 - 08:00 Astrobiology, Planetary Science
  • News in Brief

    NASA’s Mars 2020 rover will look for ancient life in a former river delta

    The next NASA Mars rover will hunt for signs of ancient life in what used to be a river delta, the agency announced on November 19.

    The rover is expected to launch in July 2020 and to land on Mars around February 18, 2021. It will seek out signs of past life in the sediments and sands of Jezero crater, which was once home to a 250-meter-deep lake and a river delta that flowed into the...

    11/19/2018 - 15:36 Planetary Science, Astrobiology
  • Rethink

    We may not have found aliens yet because we’ve barely begun looking

    With no luck so far in a six-decade search for signals from aliens, you’d be forgiven for thinking, “Where is everyone?”

    A new calculation shows that if space is an ocean, we’ve barely dipped in a toe. The volume of observable space combed so far for E.T. is comparable to searching the volume of a large hot tub for evidence of fish in Earth’s oceans, astronomer Jason Wright at Penn State...

    09/30/2018 - 08:00 Astronomy, Astrobiology
  • News

    What does Mars’ lake mean for the search for life on the Red Planet?

    The search for life on Mars just got a lot more interesting.

    For decades, scientists have looked at the dry and dusty planet and focused on finding regions where life could have taken root billions of years ago, when the Martian climate was warmer and wetter. But on July 25, researchers announced they had spotted signs of a large lake of liquid water hiding beneath thick layers of ice...

    07/27/2018 - 13:56 Planetary Science, Astrobiology
  • News

    Mars (probably) has a lake of liquid water

    A Mars orbiter has detected a wide lake of liquid water hidden below the planet’s southern ice sheets. There have been much-debated hints of tiny, ephemeral amounts of water on Mars before. But if confirmed, this lake marks the first discovery of a long-lasting cache of the liquid.

    “This is potentially a really big deal,” says planetary scientist Briony Horgan of Purdue University in...

    07/25/2018 - 10:00 Planetary Science, Astrobiology
  • News

    Curiosity finds that Mars’ methane changes with the seasons

    To Martian methane, there is a season.

    NASA’s Curiosity rover has found evidence that methane in Mars’ thin atmosphere varies during the year. Higher concentrations appear in late summer and early autumn in the northern hemisphere and lower concentrations in the winter and spring, researchers report in the June 8 Science.

    What’s more, Curiosity also spotted organic molecules...

    06/07/2018 - 14:00 Planetary Science, Astrobiology
  • News

    Another hint of Europa’s watery plumes found in 20-year-old Galileo data

    Jupiter’s icy moon Europa may have been spitting into space for at least 20 years. Analyzing old Galileo mission data suggests that the NASA spacecraft flew through a plume of water vapor from the moon during a 1997 flyby, researchers report May 14 in Nature Astronomy.

    “We now have very compelling support for the idea that Europa does possess plumes,” says study coauthor Xianzhe Jia, a...

    05/14/2018 - 11:00 Planetary Science, Astrobiology
  • News

    Lasers squeezed iron to mimic the conditions of exoplanet cores

    Physicists have simulated the cores of some large rocky exoplanets by pummeling iron with lasers. The resulting measurements give the first clue to how iron might behave inside planets outside the solar system that are several times the mass of Earth, researchers report April 16 in Nature Astronomy.

    “Until now, there’s been no data available on the state of these materials at the center...

    04/16/2018 - 12:49 Astrobiology, Planetary Science
  • News in Brief

    We probably won’t hear from aliens. But by the time we do, they’ll be dead.

    If signals from an alien civilization ever reach Earth, odds are the aliens will already be dead.

    In an effort to update the 1961 Drake Equation, which estimates the number of detectable, intelligent civilizations in the Milky Way, physicist Claudio Grimaldi and colleagues calculated the area of the galaxy that should be filled with alien signals at a given time (SN Online: 11/1/09)....

    03/12/2018 - 12:00 Astronomy, Astrobiology, Exoplanets