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Growing Crops For Martians

Straight out the movie “The Martian,” scientists are really doing it.

The team successfully grew 10 crop species including tomato, rye, radish, pea, leek, spinach, garden rocket, ...
The team successfully grew 10 crop species including tomato, rye, radish, pea, leek, spinach, garden rocket, cress, quinoa and chives (Credit: Wageningen University).

When and if colonists ever arrive on Mars, they’re going to need something to eat … on a long-term, ongoing basis. That’s why several research groups are looking into the feasibility of growing crops on the Red Planet. read more

Spaceballs Land in Vietnam?

Vietnamese military experts are probing three metal objects which are believed to have fallen from space near the country’s northern border with China.

The the three objects were spread over a large area in the Tuyen Quang province according to local media reports.

The largest of the objects which weighed 45 kilograms, was found in a stream.

Members of the Vietnamese military have inspected the mysterious 'space balls' pictured,  which fell to earth 
Members of the Vietnamese military have inspected the mysterious ‘space balls’ pictured,  which fell to earth

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Is This the Mars Stonehenge?

From floating spoons and coffins to crabs and pyramids, alien hunters are often reporting strange structures in images beamed back from the surface of Mars.

Now, the latest ‘discovery’ seen using high-resolution images of the Martian surface, a mysterious circle of stones have been spotted on top of a raised mound on the planet.

Dubbed ‘Marshenge’, alien enthusiasts have been comparing it to the famous stone circle at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England.

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A stone circle that has been compared to Stonehenge has been spotted in images sent back by a spacecraft orbiting the red planet. Dubbed 'Marshenge', alien hunters have seized on the images but experts say it could be created by natural processes which cause rocks to be 'sorted' in freeze and thaw cycles of permafrost
A stone circle that has been compared to Stonehenge has been spotted in images sent back by a spacecraft orbiting the red planet. Dubbed ‘Marshenge’, alien hunters have seized on the images but experts say it could be created by natural processes which cause rocks to be ‘sorted’ in freeze and thaw cycles of permafrost

The strange cluster of stones has already triggered theories that it may have been built by aliens.

However, experts have in the past said such stone circles may form as a result of natural processes that also occur here on Earth. read more

Black Hole is Too Big for It’s Galaxy

An enormous black hole lurking at the centre of a recently discovered galaxy has been found to be thirty times bigger than it should be.

Astronomers say the galaxy, which currently has the catchy name SAGE0536AGN, is thought to be around nine billion years old and has a mass of around 25 billion times that of our sun.

Yet scientists have discovered that the black hole at the heart of this galaxy has a mass equivalent to 350 million suns.

The galaxy SAGE0536AGN (the pink ellipse in the centre of the image above) has been found to have a supermassive black hole at its centre that is far bigger than astronomers had expected. It appears to have grown far faster than the rest of the galaxy and may be a new type of galaxy
The galaxy SAGE0536AGN (the pink ellipse in the centre of the image above) has been found to have a supermassive black hole at its centre that is far bigger than astronomers had expected. It appears to have grown far faster than the rest of the galaxy and may be a new type of galaxy

This is far larger than it should be for a galaxy of this size, suggesting it has grown far faster than the rest of the galaxy around it.

Researchers say the black hole is gobbling up gas and other material at the centre of the galaxy at an incredible rate. read more

Mars Mystery Crater

An ‘alien plughole’ on Mars that has baffled scientists could have a simple explanation.

Astronomers claim the strange crater, which has a terraced rather than bowl pattern, has been created by water ice.

To confirm their theory, researchers found an enormous slab of water ice just beneath the crater, measuring 130ft (40 metre) thick.

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Astronomers claim the strange crater, which has a terraced rather than bowl pattern, has been created by water ice. To confirm their theory, researchers found an enormous slab of water ice just beneath the crater, measuring 130ft (40 metres) thick
Astronomers claim the strange crater, which has a terraced rather than bowl pattern, has been created by water ice. To confirm their theory, researchers found an enormous slab of water ice just beneath the crater, measuring 130ft (40 metres) thick

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Miniature Weather Satellites

Artist's concept of a CYGNSS SatelliteArtist’s concept of a CYGNSS Satellite (Credit: NASA)

What is small enough to fit in an airliner carry-on bin and has the potential to save thousands of lives and millions of dollars worth of property? The answer is the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) – NASA’s next-generation hurricane-observing microsatellites, which are now being assembled at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, Texas. read more

Inflatable Space Elevator

The Thothx inflatable space tower would extend to 20 km above the Earth's surface

The Thothx inflatable space tower would extend to 20 km above the Earth’s surface (Credit: THOTHX.COM)

In space travel, the first step is always the most expensive, but why blast-off in a rocket if you can catch a ride on a space elevator? Canadian space firm Thoth Technology has received a US patent for an elevator to take spacecraft and astronauts at least part way into space. If it’s ever built, the 20 km (12.4 mi) high Thothx inflatable space tower holds the promise of reducing launch costs by 30 percent in terms of fuel, and may even replace some classes of satellites. read more

Dust Cloud Around the Moon

 

Picture of dust showing up near the moon

Apollo astronauts attempting to observe a faint glow produced by interstellar dust (shown above, in an image from the Clementine spacecraft) also saw mysterious streamers of light on the moon’s horizon.

A persistent, lopsided cloud of dust is hanging around our moon, scientists have discovered. While any sort of cloud hovering around an airless body is strange enough, the culprits creating that dusty moon-shroud are even more exotic: passing comets.

ar system, comets shed small particles that eventually smash into the moon, temporarily catapulting dust from the lunar surface into space, the researchers report Wednesday in Nature. read more

Entire Galaxies are being Strangled

Galaxies are being starved of the materials needed to produce new stars by a process dubbed ‘strangulation’, according to scientists.

Strangulation occurs when the supply of incoming gas is somehow stopped, and roughly half of the galaxies in the universe are said to be ‘dead’, with no stellar formation occurring.

But the culprit for removing the gas from galaxies and preventing new stars from being created remains a mystery.

Cambridge scientists say dead galaxies are being 'strangled' of their gas. Shown is an artist's impression of one of the possible galaxy strangulation mechanisms in which star-forming galaxies  are gathered into a massive hot halo, which 'strangles' them and leads to their death
Cambridge scientists say dead galaxies are being ‘strangled’ of their gas. Shown is an artist’s impression of one of the possible galaxy strangulation mechanisms in which star-forming galaxies are gathered into a massive hot halo, which ‘strangles’ them and leads to their death

The latest study was carried out by scientists from the University of Cambridge and the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh. read more

What to do About Space Debris

A laser/telescope system may be able to de-orbit smaller pieces of orbital debris (Image: ...

A laser/telescope system may be able to de-orbit smaller pieces of orbital debris (Image: Shutterstock)

Orbital debris is increasingly becoming a hazard to satellites and other spacecraft, which is why various groups have proposed concepts such asgas clouds, nets and sails for collecting it. While those approaches could capture larger objects, the problem of smaller pieces of debris – which whiz around the Earth like bullets – would remain. read more