Tag: Space and Astronomy

The Good News About What Human Genius Can Still Do

We may never solve the puzzle of Stonehenge, and, if we do, it probably won’t change our lives. Nor will much change if the latest American robot zooming toward Mars discovers that eons ago microorganisms swam in long vanished lakes. Yet how gloriously enthralling the search! The past week has provided a remarkable demonstration that […]

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Private Boats Enter SpaceX Splashdown Area, Raising Concerns

Video transcript Back transcript Several Private Boats Encroach on SpaceX Landing Zone Onlookers circled the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule as it bobbed in the water after its return to Earth, raising concerns about their possible exposure to toxic propellant fumes from the spacecraft. “And you are seeing a few more boats than expected. The team’s […]

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NASA Astronauts Safely Return to Earth: ‘Thank You for Flying SpaceX’

The first astronaut trip to orbit by a private company parachuted to a safe conclusion in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday. It was the first water landing by NASA astronauts since 1975, when the agency’s crews were still flying to and from orbit in the Apollo modules used for the historic American moon missions. […]

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Live: Follow the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Astronaut Return

Here’s what you need to know: Video The NASA astronauts Robert L. Behnken and Douglas G. Hurley undocked their capsule and departed the International Space Station.CreditCredit…NASA, via Associated Press A beautiful day for a splashdown from space The first astronaut trip to orbit by a private company is coming to an end. The passengers are […]

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SpaceX Crew Dragon to Bring 2 NASA Astronauts Home

If a hurricane does not get in the way, two astronauts who took the first commercial trip to orbit will return home on Sunday. Two astronauts, Robert L. Behnken and Douglas G. Hurley, traveled to the International Space Station in May aboard a Crew Dragon capsule built and run by SpaceX, the private rocket company […]

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Too Much Mars? Let’s Discuss Other Worlds

Three government space agencies around the world are getting ready to return to Mars this summer. Along with China and the United Arab Emirates, the United States plans to land the fifth NASA rover, Perseverance, on the red planet (along with a small, experimental helicopter, Ingenuity). But the rover’s most important job will be scooping […]

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To Land Perseverance Rover in One Piece, NASA Made Improvements

When NASA’s Perseverance rover arrives at Mars, mission managers will be watching, helpless to do anything. The $2.4 billion spacecraft will hit the top of the Martian atmosphere at more than 12,000 miles per hour and then come to a complete stop seven minutes later. That the one-ton rover will end up on Mars on […]

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NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover Launch: When to Watch

The final launch of the summer of Mars missions is nearly underway. On Thursday, NASA hopes to send a robotic rover and a small experimental helicopter on a journey of six-and-a-half months to the red planet. It follows two earlier launches by the United Arab Emirates and China. NASA was originally scheduled to lift off […]

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Why NASA Picked Jezero Crater for the Perseverance Rover

Sixteen years ago, Caleb Fassett, then a graduate student at Brown University, spotted an intriguing hole in the ground on Mars. Mars today is cold and dry, but it was not always that way. Here was one of the places with clear signs that liquid water flowed when the planet was warmer and wetter. The […]

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Bringing Mars Rocks to Earth: Our Greatest Interplanetary Circus Act

Send a robotic spacecraft to Mars, grab some rocks and dirt and bring those back to Earth. How hard could that be? It’s more like an interplanetary circus act than you might imagine, but NASA and the European Space Agency think that now is the time they can finally pull off this complex choreography, tossing […]

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Coming of Age on Mars

In the winter of 2004, Sarah Stewart Johnson, then a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was on a field trip in the desert east of California’s Sierra Nevada. While learning to map geological terrains, she fell prey to an adolescent thrill. Boulders were perched on ledges; when nobody was watching, she would […]

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Why the ‘Super Weird’ Moons of Mars Fascinate Scientists

Mars is the darling of many planetary scientists, who continue to visit it through increasingly advanced robotic explorers. But don’t forget that our planetary neighbor is adorned with two moons: puny Phobos, a lumpy mass 17 miles across; and diminutive Deimos, just 9 miles long. Their names in ancient Greek may mean “fear” and “dread’, […]

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The Doctor From Nazi Germany and the Roots of the Hunt for Life on Mars

When Penelope Boston was a student at the University of Colorado in the 1980s, she wanted to create a miniature Mars and see how some living things fared on it. Fundless, she amassed parts from labs around campus and bootstrapped a basic version of what scientists sometimes call a Mars Jar: a sealed container whose […]

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No Longer in Shadows, Pentagon’s U.F.O. Unit Will Make Some Findings Public

Despite Pentagon statements that it disbanded a once-covert program to investigate unidentified flying objects, the effort remains underway — renamed and tucked inside the Office of Naval Intelligence, where officials continue to study mystifying encounters between military pilots and unidentified aerial vehicles. Pentagon officials will not discuss the program, which is not classified but deals […]

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China’s Mars Launch: When to Watch

The summer of Mars continues as the second launch of July is expected on Thursday. This time, China is aiming to begin its first successful mission to the red planet, Tianwen-1. The launch attempt follows the successful start of the journey of the Hope orbiter, a spacecraft built by the United Arab Emirates, which launched […]

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China’s Mars Tianwen-1 Launch Will Answer a ‘Heavenly Question’

Having already joined the upper ranks of spacefaring nations, China is preparing to try its next bold leap: launching an orbiter, a lander and a rover to Mars, perhaps on Thursday. The mission — shadowing NASA’s Perseverance rover and the United Arab Emirates’ Hope orbiter — aims to place China where its Communist leadership has […]

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Emirates Mars Mission Launch: When to Watch

You’ll be hearing a lot about Mars this summer. Three missions are launching toward the red planet, taking advantage of the way Earth and its neighbor get closer every 26 months or so, allowing a relatively short trip between the two worlds. If they launch successfully, the spacecrafts will arrive at Mars early next year. […]

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NASA Delays James Webb Telescope Launch Date, Again

After years of budget overruns, testing problems and political difficulties, NASA’s next great telescope has been delayed again, the space agency announced Thursday. The James Webb Space Telescope, which was proceeding toward a launch date of March 2021, will now be launched no sooner than Oct. 31, 2021. In a news conference Thursday, NASA officials […]

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Comet NEOWISE: How to See It in Night Skies

Eager sky watchers are turning to the heavens as Comet NEOWISE, one of the brightest comets in a generation, starts climbing ever higher among the evening stars. A majority of comets fly through the solar system invisible to humans, usually too small and dim to be seen with the naked eye. The last frozen ice […]

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How the United Arab Emirates Set Its Sights on Mars

As a girl growing up in Abu Dhabi, one of the United Arab Emirates, Sarah al-Amiri looked at an astronomy book with a photograph of Andromeda, the giant galaxy neighboring our Milky Way. “I can’t describe it,” Ms. al-Amiri said in an interview, “but just to realize that something that was printed on a page […]

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Beyond the Milky Way, a Galactic Wall

Astronomers have discovered that there is a vast wall across the southern border of the local cosmos. The South Pole Wall, as it is known, consists of thousands of galaxies — beehives of trillions of stars and dark worlds, as well as dust and gas — aligned in a curtain arcing across at least 700 […]

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