Mars (3)Mars One building simulated colony to vet potential colonists
Washington DC (UPI) Mar 26, 2014 – Mars One is a a private, Netherlands-based push to realize a human colony on the red planet by 2025. In an email statement to Popular Science Thursday, Mars One announced plans to build a simulated colony here on Earth to vet astronauts and make sure they can withstand the cramped and isolated conditions colonists will have to endure before awarding them their one-way ticket. The … more

Planes chase satellite sightings of suspected debris
Perth, Australia (AFP) March 28, 2014 – Planes and ships were to resume the hunt Friday for wreckage of flight MH370 after the weather cleared, as they chase down more satellite sightings of suspected debris nearly three weeks after the jet crashed. Sorties being flown by planes from Australia, China, Japan and the United States were forced back to Perth on Thursday as thunderstorms and gale force winds swept through the southern … more

Astronomers Looking for Clues to Water’s Origins
Moffett Field CA (SPX) Mar 28, 2014 – A gas and dust cloud collapses to form a star. Amid a whirling disc of debris, little bits of rock coated with liquid water and ice begin to stick together. It is this stage of a star’s formation that astronomers hope to learn more about how water cycles through a solar system, although this is also when some of the least evidence is available to study. If water is created prior to stellar … more

Cleaner NASA Rover Sees Its Shadow in Martian Spring
Pasadena CA (JPL) Mar 28, 2014 – Late afternoon lighting produced a dramatic shadow of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity photographed by the rover’s rear hazard-avoidance camera on March 20, 2014. The shadow falls across a slope called the McClure-Beverlin Escarpment on the western rim of Endeavour Crater, where Opportunity is investigating rock layers for evidence about ancient environments. The scene includes a … more

Solar System’s edge redefined
Washington DC (SPX) Mar 28, 2014 – The Solar System has a new most-distant member, bringing its outer frontier into focus. New work from Carnegie’s Scott Sheppard and Chadwick Trujillo of the Gemini Observatory reports the discovery of a distant dwarf planet, called 2012 VP113, which was found beyond the known edge of the Solar System. This is likely one of thousands of distant objects that are thought to form the so-called inner … more

Cosmic collision creates mini-planet with rings
Copenhagen, Denmark (SPX) Mar 28, 2014 – Until now, rings of material in a disc have only been observed around giant planets like Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune and especially Saturn, which is known for its spectacular rings. Now astronomers from the Niels Bohr Institute, among others, have observed the first miniature planet with two rings of ice and pebbles. It is a smaller celestial body, called Chariklo, located two billion kilometers ou … more

Scientists solve riddle of celestial archaeology
Leicester, UK (SPX) Mar 28, 2014 – A decades old space mystery has been solved by an international team of astronomers led by Professor Martin Barstow of the University of Leicester and President-elect of the Royal Astronomical Society. Scientists from the University of Leicester and University of Arizona investigated hot, young, white dwarfs – the super-dense remains of Sun-like stars that ran out of fuel and collapsed to … more

How to look into the Solar interior
Moscow, Russia (SPX) Mar 27, 2014 – An international group including one professor from the Moscow State University proposed the first ever quantitative description of the mechanism responsible for sunspot formation and underlying the Solar activity cycle. Magnetic field helicity is one of the so-called motion invariants in magneto-hydrodynamics. It is a conserved quantity, like energy, describing the degree to which the fie … more