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The case for protecting the Apollo landing areas as heritage sites

Astronomy Magazine - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 05:00
Why did the hominin cross the plain? We may never know. But anthropologists are pretty sure that a smattering of bare footprints preserved in volcanic ash in Laetoli, Tanzania bear witness to an evolutionary milestone. These small steps, taken roughly 3.5 million years ago, mark an early successful attempt by our common human ancestor to stand upright and stride on two feet, instead of four. Nearly 50 years ago, Neil Armstrong also took a few small steps. On the Moon. His bootprints, along with
Categories: Astronomy

Japan's Hayabusa 2 mission will mine an asteroid this week

Astronomy Magazine - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 05:00
After shooting a small projectile at asteroid Ryugu's surface, the spacecraft will collect the ejecta before eventually returning the samples to Earth.
Categories: Astronomy

A philosopher asked physicists: ‘What is a black hole?’

Astronomy Magazine - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 05:00
New philosophy research suggests that although this question has many answers, that ambiguity may be okay.
Categories: Astronomy

An asteroid will briefly blot out the sky's brightest star tonight

Astronomy Magazine - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 05:00

Sirius, the Dog Star, is usually the brightest star in the night sky. But for a few seconds tonight, it's expected to dramatically dim as asteroid 4388 Jurgenstock passes directly in front of it.

Categories: Astronomy

This supermassive black hole sends jets ricocheting through its galaxy

Astronomy Magazine - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 05:00
X-ray images reveal Cygnus A is playing a game of cosmic pinball.
Categories: Astronomy

The truth behind the supermoon

Astronomy Magazine - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 05:00
The year's closest Full Moon arrives February 19, but it will not blind us, explode, or bring about the apocalypse.
Categories: Astronomy

Celebrate Galileo's 455th birthday by walking in his footsteps

Astronomy Magazine - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 05:00
His scientific achievements at first drew acclaim and privilege — but later brought him into conflict with Catholic doctrine and ended in humiliation and house arrest.
Categories: Astronomy

The Sky This Week from February 15 to 24

Astronomy Magazine - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 05:00

The night sky's brightest star, Sirius, may wink out when a dim asteroid passes in front of it the evening of February 18. Before dawn that same morning, Venus and Saturn meet in a spectacular conjunction.

Categories: Astronomy

Mercury is quickly approaching its finest appearance of 2019

Astronomy Magazine - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 05:00
Mercury returns to the evening sky in mid-February. Tonight, it appears 5° high in the west-southwest 30 minutes after sunset. The planet shines at magnitude –1.1, bright enough to show up against the twilight glow. (If you don’t see Mercury right away, binoculars will bring it into view.) A telescope will reveal the planet’s disk, which spans 5.6" and appears nearly full. The inner world is currently embarking on what will be its finest evening appearance of 2019. A we
Categories: Astronomy

NASA wants to return to the Moon as early as this year

Astronomy Magazine - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 05:00
The United States' space agency has big plans for our planet's satellite, including returning humans to the lunar surface within a decade.
Categories: Astronomy

Astronomers find the first evidence of a giant collision between exoplanets

Astronomy Magazine - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 05:00
New research suggests the dense world Kepler-107b got smacked by a planet at some point in its history, leaving behind a hefty, iron-rich core.
Categories: Astronomy

NASA declares 'mission complete' for Opportunity rover

Astronomy Magazine - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 06:00
After nearly 15 years exploring the Red Planet, the Mars Exploration Rover mission has come to a close.
Categories: Astronomy

The greatest discoveries from NASA’s Mars Opportunity Rover

Astronomy Magazine - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 05:00
NASA's Opportunity Rover spent fourteen years exploring Mars and performing science. Here are some of the highlights.
Categories: Astronomy

NASA's Opportunity rover is dead. We asked NASA scientists to write eulogies for the robot

Astronomy Magazine - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 05:00
After some 15 prolific years on the Martian surface, NASA’s Mars Opportunity rover has gone silent. And after an all out effort to re-establish contact, the space agency says it’s given up hopes of ever hearing back from the rover. We talked to the NASA engineers and scientists whose lives have been touched by the Opportunity rover about their experiences and what the craft meant to them. For some researchers, the mission has encompassed their entire career. For others, the spacecraf
Categories: Astronomy

We’ll need a whole new landing approach to put humans On Mars

Astronomy Magazine - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 05:00

To land the kind of heavy spaceships that can carry human astronauts to Mars, engineers will need new methods to touch down.

Categories: Astronomy

NASA to speak today on the fate of Mars Opportunity Rover

Astronomy Magazine - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 05:00

We haven't communicated with Opportunity since June, leaving the rover's fate up in the air. 

Categories: Astronomy

There's a second impact crater under Greenland

Astronomy Magazine - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 05:00
A NASA scientist searched for "a couple hours" before spotting the additional — larger — site.
Categories: Astronomy

Scientists finally confirm a big theory about solar system formation

Astronomy Magazine - Tue, 02/12/2019 - 05:00
When a disk of material spins in the cosmos, how do the objects involved react? Researchers recently used a giant swirling tank of water to find out.
Categories: Astronomy

Astronomers might soon get more glimpses into the early universe

Astronomy Magazine - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 05:00
Gravitational lensing can brighten faraway objects, offering a peek at the distant, dim cosmos.
Categories: Astronomy

The International Space Station’s new 3-D printer recycles old plastic into custom tools

Astronomy Magazine - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 05:00
New resources are hard to come by in space. That's where the Refabricator comes in.
Categories: Astronomy

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