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Saturn’s Moons Consuming Its Rings

Newly-analyzed data from Cassini shows that Saturn's moons are scooping up material from the planet's rings...
Newly-analyzed data from Cassini shows that Saturn’s moons are scooping up material from the planet’s rings and growing(Credit: NASA-JPL/Caltech)

Two years ago as the Cassini probe made its daring final plunge into the atmosphere of Saturn, it flew past for a closer look at a few of the gas giant’s inner moons. Now a NASA team has analyzed the data and uncovered some intriguing new details about these tiny worlds, including how they’re busily scooping up material from Saturn’s rings and growing into weird shapes. read more

Asteroid Spinning Itself to Death

A Hubble Space Telescope image revealing the gradual self-destruction of an asteroid, whose ejected dusty material...
A Hubble Space Telescope image revealing the gradual self-destruction of an asteroid, whose ejected dusty material has formed two long, thin, comet-like tails(Credit: NASA/ESA/K. Meech and J. Kleyna (University of Hawaii)/O. Hainaut (European Southern Observatory))

NASA has released images from the Hubble Space Telescope showing an asteroid that is tearing itself apart. Located 214 million mi (344 million km) from the Sun, the 2.5-mile-wide (4-km) asteroid (6478) Gault is spinning so fast that it is self-destructing and throwing off debris tails half a million miles (800,000 km) long. read more

Throw a DART at It

There’s an Asteroid on a collision course with. Isn’t there always? So what do we do?

Claire Reilly takes a look at NASA’s mission to gently bump those killer asteroids off course and (hopefully) save humankind, using NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission, or DART. read more

2020 Mars Lander Gets a Name

The ExoMars 2020 lander, shown here being packed for shipment, has been officially named

The ExoMars 2020 lander, shown here being packed for shipment, has been officially named(Credit: ESA)

The landing craft that will deliver Europe’s first rover to the planet Mars has arrived for assembly and testing in Turin, Italy and has been officially named. read more

The Von Braun Rotating Space Station

The Von Braun Rotating Space Station: a hub-and-spokes design evolved from the toroidal spinning space station...
The Von Braun Rotating Space Station: a hub-and-spokes design evolved from the toroidal spinning space station proposed by Wernher von Braun in the 1950s.(Credit: Gateway Foundation)

The idea of using centrifugal force to create a sensation of gravity in space originated as early as 1903, but a group of space enthusiasts believes its time has come. Check out Gateway’s vision for the Von Braun Rotating Space Station. read more

Peering Through the Fog of a Supermassive Black Hole

An artist's rendition of a supermassive black hole, such as the one at the center of...
An artist’s rendition of a supermassive black hole, such as the one at the center of the Milky Way(Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Studying black holes is a tricky business, but not always because they’re so dim – to the contrary, in some cases it’s hard to see through the bright cloud of hot gas that surrounds them. Now, a team of astronomers has used a global array of telescopes to peer through that fog and capture some of the clearest radio images yet of Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. And it may indicate that the object just happens to be pointing directly at Earth. read more

Birth of a Black Hole

At2018cow, or The Cow, as seen about 80 days after it first exploded
At2018cow, or The Cow, as seen about 80 days after it first exploded(Credit: Northwestern University)

In June 2018, a bright light burst into the skies over the Northern Hemisphere. At a glance it looked like any other supernova, but on closer inspection this thing turned out to be far weirder. Officially known as AT2018cow (but quickly nicknamed “The Cow”), astronomers now believe the ATLAS survey’s twin telescopes in Hawaii captured an unprecedented look at the birth of a black hole or a neutron star. read more

Chinese Rover Lands on the Moon

from the Daily Mail:

A Chinese rover is making its tracks on the soft surface of the ‘dark’ side of the moon after touching down on our nearest celestial neighbour.Image result for chinese rover

The Yutu-2 – or Jade Rabbit 2 – rover drove off its lander’s ramp and onto the exterior of the moon’s far side at 10:22pm Beijing time (2:22 pm GMT) on Thursday, about 12 hours after the Chinese spacecraft carrying it came to rest.

China’s space agency later posted a photos online, revealing lunar rover several yards away from the spacecraft.

The tracks it makes on the surface of the moon will be forever immortalised and will never be lost as there is no wind on the moon due to its lack of an atmosphere. read more

On a Collision Course with a Cloud

An artist's imagining of the night sky from Earth as the Milky Way collides with neighboring...
An artist’s imagining of the night sky from Earth as the Milky Way collides with neighboring galaxy Andromeda – a new study shows that the Large Magellanic Cloud will also smash into the Milky Way much sooner(Credit: NASA, ESA, Z. Levay and R. van der Marel (STScI), T. Hallas, and A. Mellinger)

When we think of celestial threats to our planet, we usually think of big asteroids and comets, and maybe the odd gamma ray burst or supernova. What we probably wouldn’t think of is an entire galaxy bearing down on us, but according to a new study, that’s exactly what’s happening right now. The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a nearby dwarf galaxy, is on a collision course with the Milky Way, but there’s no need to worry just yet – the starry smashup won’t begin for another two billion years or so. read more