Headlines 

The 19th Century Argument for a 21st Century Space Force

Government sclerosis is no match for the hot take industrial complex. Since President Trump ordered the Department of Defense to prepare for a sixth military branch in June—an order that has stalled, since it requires congressional approval—the debate over this proposed Space Force has become so clouded by partially-informed, mostly-partisan rhetoric, there’s barely enough light for an honest appraisal. The bare facts are these: The American military has operated in space for over half a century, and Trump’s Space Force is one of several proposals for how—not whether—to continue its…

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Space station air leak: someone drilled the hole, say Russians

Several attempts at drilling were made by a wavering hand either on Earth or in orbit, in what could be accident or sabotage An air leak on the International Space Station might have been sabotage, according to the head of Russias Roscosmos space agency, and an investigation is under way. Dmitry Rogozin said the caused from outside by a tiny meteorite, but later admitted that had been ruled out. Chris B – NSF (@NASASpaceflight) ISS Leak summary: First thought was MMOD strike. Then NASA released pics. Lots of people: “Hmmm,…

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China Built the Worlds Largest Telescope. Then Came the Tourists

Credit Intentionally Withheld The day before, Stierwalt had traveled from Southern California to Pingtang Astronomy Town for a conference hosted by scientists from the world’s largest telescope. It was a new designation: China’s Five-Hundred-Meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope, or FAST, had been completed just a year before, in September 2016. Wandering, tipsy, around this shrine to the stars, the 40 or so other foreign astronomers had come to China to collaborate on the superlative-snatching instrument. VCG/Getty Images China spent $180 million to create the telescope, which officials have repeatedly said…

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This Solar Probe Is Built to Survive a Brush With the Sun

Early Saturday morning, the skies above Cape Canaveral will light up with the launch of the Parker Solar Probe. Its mission? To sweep through the sun’s infernal outer atmosphere, studying the gaseous fireball at the center of the solar system at closer range than any man-made object ever before. Despite being the nearest star to Earth, the sun’s extreme environment has stymied scientists for decades. Some of its quirks are still a mystery, like why the its atmosphere is hundreds of times hotter than its boiling plasma surface. Or how…

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Sorry, Nerds: Terraforming Might Not Work on Mars

Listen, I get it. You want to go to Mars. I want to go to Mars. (Sort of.) And the plan—it’s good. A rocket with people. A base on the moon. Then more rockets and more people. Start making fuel on the surface, maybe depot it along the way. An outpost becomes a base becomes a domed city. And then: terraforming. Bring dead Mars back to life, build it a new atmosphere with whatever’s left in its soil—frozen carbon dioxide, most likely—to up the air pressure, rely on greenhouse warming…

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Nasa Mars rover finds organic matter in ancient lake bed

Curiosity digs up carbon compounds that could be food for life in sediments that formed 3bn years ago Nasas veteranwhiffs of chlorine-containing organics in the planets rocks, but concerns over potential contamination and instrument glitches meant that the results did not convince everyone. The latest findings, separate paper published in Science, another Nasa-led team describes Curiositys latest measurements of the Martian atmosphere. Before the rover touched down in August 2012, missions to the red planet had already spotted methane in the atmosphere which spiked from time to time as plumes…

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Life on Mars? Scientists close to solving mystery of the red planet

Mission to find source of methane detected in atmosphere may have an answer in months, researchers believe Scientists have begun an experiment aimed at solving one of astronomys most intriguing puzzles: the great Martian methane mystery. In the next few months they hope to determine whether tantalising whiffs of the gas that have been detected on the red planet in recent years are geological in origin or are produced by living organisms. On Earth, methane is produced mostly by microbes, although the gas can also be generated by relatively simple…

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The Case of the Missing Dark Matter

Physicists don’t know much about dark matter. They can’t agree on what it’s made of, how much a single particle weighs, or the best way to construct a Play-Doh diorama of it. (How would you do it? Dark matter is invisible—light doesn’t interact with it at all.) Nobody has ever caught a dark matter particle on Earth. But after 30-plus years of telescope observations, most researchers do agree on one thing: The universe contains a lot of it. Astrophysicists think dark matter dominates ordinary matter in the universe by more…

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Odds and Ends 

Incredible! We Asked These Astronauts What Its Like To Be In Space

What’s it like to float hundreds of miles above the Earth’s surface? We asked seven astronauts to tell us everything. Eugene Cernan “It’s so inspiring to see the entire globe shimmering below you and realize that this is where prog rock started.” Eileen Collins “I was looking forward to being weightless, but gravity still works for me in space. It kind of sucks seeing all the other astronauts floating around while I’m stuck on the floor.” Barry Wilmore “You never know true beauty until you see Earth from space, or…

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Trump wants to create a military branch called ‘Space Force’

President Donald Trump poorly Photoshopped into space.Image: Xinhua/Ting Shen via Getty Images/composite Apparently the U.S. military isn’t big enough, and it needs to expand into space. During a speech at a Marine Corps Air Station in San Diego on Tuesday, President Trump said that the United States needs a “Space Force,” because we obviously need to protect ourselves from the threats of the galaxy.  SEE ALSO: Don’t believe the hype about the coming solar storm dude……space force pic.twitter.com/7jCwPPJvdW — Mike Miller (@OtherMikeMiller) March 13, 2018 “My new national strategy for…

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SpaceX Will Launch the First of Its Global Internet Satellites

Last week, SpaceX realized a decade-long dream of successfully launching the most powerful rocket in the world. The Falcon Heavy’s achievement, marked resoundingly with thunderous sonic booms following twin booster touchdowns at Cape Canaveral, was only upstaged by Starman—a doomed mannequin at the wheel of Elon Musk’s Roadster With the Heavy’s test flight complete, SpaceX is back to business as usual. Or maybe not. What seems like a routine launch this week may have greater implications for the company’s future and profits. The launch’s primary mission is to deliver Paz,…

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Elon Musk shares the last image of his Tesla Roadster in space

Unless you spent your day under a rock on Tuesday, you probably already know that SpaceX successfully launched its largest rocket ever, the Falcon Heavy. Oh, and on that rocket was a Telsa Roadster, because why not? Elon Musk shared the last image of the Roadster — equipped with a “Starman” at the wheel — before it spends the rest of eternity somewhere in space. Kind of haunting, kind of beautiful. May he ride forever, and not be blown to bits.  SEE ALSO: Watching SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launch to space…

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Headlines 

SpaceX Successfully Launches the Falcon HeavyAnd Elon Musk’s Roadster

Florida’s space coast roared to life on Tuesday as SpaceX fired off its long-in-development Falcon Heavy rocket from Kennedy Space Center. Tens of thousands of spectators made the pilgrimage from across the country to experience the immense heat and thunderous roar of the rocket’s 5 million pounds of thrust. Upon liftoff, at precisely 3:45 pm Eastern, the Falcon Heavy rocket took its place as the most powerful launch vehicle in the world. About 3.5 miles away from Pad 39A, the site that hosted the first crewed mission to the moon…

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NASA Just Proved It Can Navigate Space Using Pulsars. Where to Now?

Half a century ago, astronomers observed their first pulsar: a dead, distant, ludicrously dense star that emitted pulses of radiation with remarkable regularity. So consistent was the object's signal that astronomers jokingly nicknamed it LGM-1, short for "little green men." It wasn't long before scientists detected more signals like LGM-1. That decreased the odds that these pulses of radiation were the work of intelligent extraterrestrials. But the identification of other pulsars presented another possibility: Perhaps objects like LGM-1 could be used to navigate future missions to deep space. With the…

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Headlines 

Space Photos of the Week: Home Is Where the Supermassive Black Hole Is

This week we’re spending some time at home, in our own Milky Way galaxy. But wait, you say: How can we take photos of our own galaxy from the inside? It’s not easy, to be sure: Scientists are left looking up and down, left and right trying to image pieces as best they can. This week, NASA released a visualization of the galactic core of the Milky Way. Most galaxies have black holes near their centers, and our is no exception. One reason to study the center of our galaxy…

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