Space & Exploration

A ‘Forbidden’ exoplanet has been found in the ‘Neptunian Desert’

A ‘Forbidden’ exoplanet has been found in the ‘Neptunian Desert’

A Neptunian exoplanet has been found in what should be a ‘Neptunian Desert’ by telescopes run by an international collaboration of astronomers. The planet might actually be a rogue planet

New layers of water ice have been found beneath Mars’ North Pole

New layers of water ice have been found beneath Mars’ North Pole

One of the most profound similarities between Earth and Mars, one which makes it a popular target for research and exploration, is the presence of water ice on its surface (mainly in the form of its polar ice caps). But perhaps even more interesting is the presence of glaciers beneath the surface, which is something scientists have speculated about long before their presence was confirmed.

Theory proposes that Venus could have been habitable, but a large ocean slowed down its rotation, killing it

Theory proposes that Venus could have been habitable, but a large ocean slowed down its rotation, killing it

There’s no sense in sugar-coating it – Venus is a hellish place! It is the hottest planet in the Solar System, with atmospheric temperatures that are hot enough to melt lead. The air is also a toxic plume, composed predominantly of carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid rain clouds. And yet, scientists theorize that Venus was once a much different place, with a cooler atmosphere and liquid oceans on its surface.

Star formation in molecular clouds is fast but extremely inefficient

Star formation in molecular clouds is fast but extremely inefficient

Star formation in molecular clouds occurs at a high pace but in an extremely inefficient manner. Most gas is quickly dispersed by the radiation from newborn stars. A team led by Dutch astronomer Diederik Kruijssen (University of Heidelberg, Germany) will publish this result tomorrow in the journal Nature.

Lunar gold rush is about to start – and we could exhaust the solar system in fewer than 500 years

Lunar gold rush is about to start – and we could exhaust the solar system in fewer than 500 years

The potential for resource and scientific exploitation on the moon is high. However, resources are not uniformly distributed. For example, water is going to be a much-valued commodity, given that it can be used for growing crops, to produce rocket fuel, provide air for breathing and, of course, be consumed directly by people.

NASA's Juno Finds Changes in Jupiter's Magnetic Field

NASA's Juno Finds Changes in Jupiter's Magnetic Field

NASA's Juno mission to Jupiter made the first definitive detection beyond our world of an internal magnetic field that changes over time, a phenomenon called secular variation. Juno determined the gas giant's secular variation is most likely driven by the planet's deep atmospheric winds.

Planetary Society’s Light Sail 2 is Set to Launch on a Falcon Heavy Rocket Next Month

Planetary Society’s Light Sail 2 is Set to Launch on a Falcon Heavy Rocket Next Month

The Planetary Society is going to launch their LightSail 2 CubeSat next month. LightSail 2 is a test mission designed to study the feasibility of using sunlight for propulsion. The small satellite will use the pressure of sunlight on its solar sails to propel its way to a higher orbit.

The Earth’s magnetic north pole is shifting rapidly – so what will happen to the northern lights?

The Earth’s magnetic north pole is shifting rapidly – so what will happen to the northern lights?

Like most planets in our solar system, the Earth has its own magnetic field. Thanks to its largely molten iron core, our planet is in fact a bit like a bar magnet. It has a north and south magnetic pole, separate from the geographic poles, with a field connecting the two. This field protects our planet from radiation and is responsible for creating the northern and southern lights – spectacular events that are only visible near the magnetic poles.

Advanced Civilizations Could be Communicating with Neutrino Beams. Transmitted by Clouds of Satellites Around Neutron Stars or Black Holes

Advanced Civilizations Could be Communicating with Neutrino Beams. Transmitted by Clouds of Satellites Around Neutron Stars or Black Holes

In 1960, famed theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson made a radical proposal. In a paper titled “Search for Artificial Stellar Sources of Infrared Radiation” he suggested that advanced extra-terrestrial intelligences (ETIs) could be found by looking for signs of artificial structures so large, they encompassed entire star systems (aka. megastructures). Since then, many scientists have come up with their own ideas for possible megastructures.

The moon is still geologically active, study suggests

The moon is still geologically active, study suggests

We tend to think of the moon as the archetypal “dead” world. Not only is there no life, almost all its volcanic activity died out billions of years ago. Even the youngest lunar lava is old enough to have become scarred by numerous impact craters that have been collected over the aeons as cosmic debris crashed into the ground.

Small, hardy planets are most likely to survive death of their stars

Small, hardy planets are most likely to survive death of their stars

Small, hardy planets packed with dense elements have the best chance of avoiding being crushed and swallowed up when their host star dies, new research from the University of Warwick has found. The new research is published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The Birth of the Hunter

The Birth of the Hunter

The constellation of Orion (The Hunter) is one of the most recognisable collections of stars in the night sky. We have noted Orion’s prominent stars for tens of thousands of years at least, and likely far longer. Chinese astronomers called it 参宿 or Shēn, literally “three stars”, for its three bright dots (which form the Hunter’s belt). The ancient Egyptians regarded it as the gods Sah and Sopdet, manifestations of Osiris and Isis, respectively, whereas Greek astronomers saw a brave hunter — the eponymous Orion — with his sword above his head, ready to strike.

Wandering Earth: rocket scientist explains how we could move our planet!

Wandering Earth: rocket scientist explains how we could move our planet!

In the Chinese science fiction film The Wandering Earth, recently released on Netflix, humanity attempts to change the Earth’s orbit using enormous thrusters in order to escape the expanding sun – and prevent a collision with Jupiter.

NASA Awards $106 Million to US Small Businesses for Technology Development

NASA Awards $106 Million to US Small Businesses for Technology Development

Managing pilotless aircraft and solar panels that could help humans live on the Moon and Mars are among the technologies NASA is looking to develop with small business awards totaling $106 million. In all, NASA has selected 142 proposals from 129 U.S. small businesses from 28 states and the District of Columbia to receive Phase II contracts as part the agency's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.