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June 23, 2019

NASA’s Astrobee cube robot flies in space for the first time

NASA’s Astrobee cube robots are finally earning their space wings… in a manner of speaking. The agency has confirmed that one of the bots, Bumble, flew on its own for the first time aboard the International Space Station on June 14th. While the t…
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June 22, 2019

Curiosity rover finds gas levels on Mars hinting at possibility of life

It’s easy to get jaded about potential signs of life on Mars, but a recent discovery might raise eyebrows. The New York Times has learned that NASA’s Curiosity rover has detected “startlingly high” levels of methane — the gas typically produced by l…
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June 22, 2019

NASA’s Curiosity rover finds levels of gas on Mars that could suggest possibility of life

NASA’s Curiosity Rover has detected high levels of methane output during its mission on the Martian surface, the New York Times reports. The discovery, found during a measurement taking on Wednesday by the robot and observed by NASA researchers, could indicate that microbial lifeforms may have taken up residence underground on Mars.

Methane is often present in higher concentrations in the air on Earth due to output from living creatures, which is why researchers are going to take a closer look and see if they can find any more corroborating evidence to back up the theory that the gas is due to output from subterranean Martian microbes. If all goes to [...]

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June 21, 2019

Crowdfunded spacecraft LightSail 2 prepares to go sailing on sunlight

Among the many spacecraft and satellites ascending to space on Monday’s Falcon Heavy launch, the Planetary Society’s LightSail 2 may be the most interesting. If all goes well, a week from launch it will be moving through space — slowly, but surely — on nothing more than the force exerted on it by sunlight.

LightSail 2 doesn’t have solar-powered engines, or use solar energy or heat for some secondary purpose; it will literally be propelled by the physical force of photons hitting its immense shiny sail. Not solar wind, mind you — that’s a different thing altogether.

It’s an idea, explained Planetary Society CEO and acknowledged Science Guy Bill [...]

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