Lava floods the ancient plains of Mars 6 March 2014, 1:00 pm By carefully studying the boundaries between overlapping flows, planetary scientists can build up a picture of the eruption history of the Red Planet’s giant volcanoes.
Spiral galaxy spills blood and guts 6 March 2014, 3:30 am Galaxy cluster Abell 3627 is ripping spiral galaxy ESO 137-001’s entrails out into space, leaving bright blue streaks.
Mystery of planet-forming disks explained by magnetism 7 March 2014, 6:46 pm Astronomers say that magnetic storms in the gas orbiting young stars may explain a mystery that has persisted since before 2006. Researchers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope to study developing stars have had a hard time figuring out why the stars give off more infrared light than expected. The planet-forming disks that circle the young stars are heated by starlight and glow with infrared light, but Spitzer detected additional infrared light coming from an unknown source.
Public could virtually 'travel' to space for $90 through new project 7 March 2014, 2:38 pm Researchers have launched a unique campaign that will enable the public to ‘travel’ to space for the cost of a pair of trainers. Virtual Ride to Space will use cutting-edge virtual technology and a specially designed spacecraft to deliver a three-dimensional, immersive experience, allowing everyone to see what astronauts experience on an ascent to space.
Plasma plumes help shield Earth from damaging solar storms 6 March 2014, 8:27 pm Scientists have identified a plasma plume that naturally protects the Earth against solar storms. Earth's magnetic field, or magnetosphere, stretches from the planet's core out into space, where it meets the solar wind, a stream of charged particles emitted by the sun. For the most part, the magnetosphere acts as a shield to protect Earth from this high-energy solar activity. But when this field comes into contact with the sun's magnetic field -- a process called "magnetic reconnection" -- powerful electrical currents from the sun can stream into Earth's atmosphere, whipping up geomagnetic storms and space weather phenomena that can affect high-altitude aircraft, as well as astronauts on the International Space Station. Now scientists have identified a process in Earth's magnetosphere that reinforces its shielding effect, keeping incoming solar energy at bay.
Icy wreckage discovered in nearby planetary system 6 March 2014, 8:25 pm Astronomers have discovered the splattered remains of comets colliding together around a nearby star. The researchers believe they are witnessing the total destruction of one of these icy bodies once every five minutes.
Storing extra rocket fuel in space for future missions? 6 March 2014, 5:23 pm Future lunar missions may be fueled by gas stations in space, according to engineers: A spacecraft might dock at a propellant depot, somewhere between the Earth and the moon, and pick up extra rocket fuel before making its way to the lunar surface. Orbiting way stations could reduce the fuel a spacecraft needs to carry from Earth -- and with less fuel onboard, a rocket could launch heavier payloads, such as large scientific experiments.
Hubble witnesses an asteroid mysteriously disintegrating 6 March 2014, 4:08 pm The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has photographed the never-before-seen break-up of an asteroid, which has fragmented into as many as ten smaller pieces. Although fragile comet nuclei have been seen to fall apart as they approach the Sun, nothing like the breakup of this asteroid, P/2013 R3, has ever been observed before in the asteroid belt.
A small step toward discovering habitable Earths 5 March 2014, 10:08 pm For the first time, astronomers have used the same imaging technology found in a digital camera to take a picture of a planet far from our solar system with an Earth-based telescope. The accomplishment is a small step toward the technology astronomers will need in order to characterize planets suitable for harboring life.
Chandra and XMM-Newton provide direct measurement of distant black hole's spin 5 March 2014, 7:54 pm Astronomers have used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Space Agency's (ESA's) XMM-Newton to show a supermassive black hole six billion light years from Earth is spinning extremely rapidly. This first direct measurement of the spin of such a distant black hole is an important advance for understanding how black holes grow over time.