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Physicist and Pop Culture Icon Steven Hawking Dead at 76

Stephen Hawking at the 2015 BAFTA awards
Stephen Hawking at the 2015 BAFTA awards(Credit: Twocoms/Depositphotos)

Pioneering theoretical physicist and science popularizer Stephen Hawking has passed away at the age of 76. Details have not been released yet, but the BBC reports that his children Lucy, Robert and Tim have released a statement saying, “We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years.” read more

Black Holes Bigger than Supermassive Found

An illustration of one of the ultramassive black holes discovered by the Spanish-Canadian team
An illustration of one of the ultramassive black holes discovered by the Spanish-Canadian team(Credit: NASA)

Since they’re basically invisible, it can be hard to pin down just how big a black hole is. They can range anywhere from a few times the mass of the Sun up to millions or billions times that mass, but there’s a potential class that are even bigger than that. read more

Weapon Wednesday – Navy Recovers NASA’s Orion Space Capsule

Navy divers from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 3 attach an inflatable ring to NASA's...
Navy divers from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 3 attach an inflatable ring to NASA’s Orion test vehicle(Credit: US Navy)

The US Navy has completed the latest in a series of sea trials to work out the bugs of recovering NASA’s Orion space capsule after its end-of-mission splashdown. The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage (LPD 23) completed Underway Recovery Test-6 (URT-6) on January 23, which involved the launch and recovery by special boat teams and Navy divers of a floating mock-up of the spacecraft under a variety of sea conditions, at night as well as daytime. read more

Growing Potatoes on Mars

Gee – I wonder where they got this idea. If you’ve seen the movie, The Martian, you obviously know!

Plant growth of a potato raised in a Mars simulated environment
Plant growth of a potato raised in a Mars simulated environment(Credit: CIP)

With dangerous amounts of radiation, a thin atmosphere and frigid temperatures, the first people to land on Mars will have a fight on their hands to survive. And if we do figure out how to endure these harsh conditions, what will we do when dinner time rolls around? To explore ways these pioneers might be able to live off the land, scientists have been trying to grow potatoes on Earth in Mars-like conditions. The early results are now in and are described as positive. read more

ARCA Space’s Linear Aerospike Engine 

The linear spike engine will eventually power the Haas 2CA SSTO rocket
The linear spike engine will eventually power the Haas 2CA SSTO rocket(Credit: ARCA)

ARCA Space Corporation has announced its linear aerospike engine is ready to start ground tests as the company moves towards installing the engine in its Demonstrator 3 rocket. Designed to power the world’s first operational Single-Stage-To-Orbit (SSTO) satellite launcher, the engine took only 60 days to complete from when fabrication began. read more

Mysterious Interstellar Rock

Fragments of the Hypatia stone, which has been found to predate the formation of the Solar...
Fragments of the Hypatia stone, which has been found to predate the formation of the Solar System or have interstellar origins(Credit: Dr Mario di Martino, INAF Osservatorio Astrofysico di Torino)

In 1996, scientists discovered what may be the strangest stone ever found, in an equally strange section of the Sahara desert that’s littered with unique yellow glass. Nicknamed the Hypatia stone, the relic was later found to be extraterrestrial in origin, but was unlike any known kind of meteorite or comet. A new study has deepened the mystery even further, finding that Hypatia could predate the formation of the Solar System, or have interstellar origins. read more

Two Candidates Chosen to go to Titan

Dragonfly is a dual-quadcopter lander that would take advantage of the environment on Titan to fly...
Dragonfly is a dual-quadcopter lander that would take advantage of the environment on Titan to fly to multiple locations(Credit: NASA)

NASA has ramped up its next phase of space exploration by green lighting further development of two unmanned mission concepts. Scheduled to launch sometime in the mid-2020s, the proposed missions include the Comet Astrobiology Exploration Sample Return (CAESAR) spacecraft, which is designed to bring back comet materials to Earth, and the Dragonfly dual quadcopter, which is designed to fly about in the atmosphere of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. read more

Magnetic Sail to Act as Spacecraft Braking System

The Breakthrough Starshot program plans to send tiny probes to Alpha Centauri, and a German physicist...
The Breakthrough Starshot program plans to send tiny probes to Alpha Centauri, and a German physicist has now outlined a possible braking system called a magnetic sail(Credit:Breakthrough Initiatives)

Our nearest stellar neighbor, Alpha Centauri, is just four light-years from Earth, and while that’s pretty close in the grand scheme of things, we can’t just pop over to borrow some milk.With our current technology, the journey would take tens of thousands of years, but there are plans for tiny unmanned probes that could trek there in as little as 20 years. read more

UFO Sightings are on the Rise

Sightings of UFOs appear to be on the rise, and now an interactive map can reveal whether ‘aliens’ have been seen in your area.

The map, created by UFO Stalker based on the MUFON Case Management System, reveals that a total of 83,715 sightings have been reported this year alone – 12 per cent higher than the number of sighting in 2016.

The map allows users to view UFO sighting reports based on location and by date. It then displays UFO symbols on a map of that area, which users can click to view each report.

Click on the map below to zoom in on your area read more

Temperate Earth-sized Planet Found

Artist's impression of Ross 128 b, which was discovered orbiting a red dwarf star – the...
Artist’s impression of Ross 128 b, which was discovered orbiting a red dwarf star – the most common type of stellar body in the universe(Credit: ESO)

An international team of astronomers has discovered a temperate Earth-sized world with the potential to harbor alien life. The planet, known as Ross 128 b, is located a mere 11 light-years from Earth, and will one day become the closest exoplanet to our Sun, dethroning our current immediate neighbor exoplanet – Proxima b. read more