NASA's Cassini Mission Grand Finale at Saturn --Join Live At NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab (Today's 'Galaxy' Stream)

 

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During its journey, Cassini has made many discoveries, including a global ocean with hydrothermal activity within Saturn's moon Enceladus, and vast seas of liquid methane on the planet's largest moon, Titan. Cassini began the final, dramatic phase of its mission, called the Grand Finale, on April 26, with the first of planned 22 dives between Saturn and its rings. The finale orbits bring the spacecraft closer to Saturn than ever before, providing stunning, high-resolution images and new insights into the planet's interior structure and the origins of the rings. During its final plunge into Saturn, Cassini will send data about the atmosphere's composition until its signal is lost.

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The Milky Way --"Could Harbor a Spacetime Tunnel the Size of the Galaxy Itself Hiding in Dark Matter" (Today's Most Popular)

 

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Astrophysicists from the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste, Italy, speculated in a 2015 study that wormholes, predicted by Einstein in his theory of General Relativity as areas where space and time are bent to manipulate the distance, are possible, and could be hiding within dark matter inside the Milky Way. But, It would take a huge mass to produce the manipulation of spacetime, and no evidence of their existence has ever been found. Based on their theory,  our galaxy could be a huge wormhole (or space-time tunnel) and, if that were true, it would be "stable and navigable."

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Mystery of Sun's Erupting Plasma Jets Solved --"Reach Heights of 6,000 Miles"

 

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At any given moment, as many as 10 million wild jets of solar material burst from the sun's surface. They erupt as fast as 60 miles per second, and can reach lengths of 6,000 miles before collapsing. These are spicules, and despite their grass-like abundance, scientists didn't understand how they form. Now, for the first time, a computer simulation -- so detailed it took a full year to run -- shows how spicules form, helping scientists understand how spicules can break free of the sun's surface and surge upward so quickly.

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The Curious Case of the Warped Kuiper Belt --"Is There an Earth-Sized Planet Far Beyond Pluto?"

 

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The plane of the solar system is warped in the outer reaches of the Kuiper Belt, signaling the presence of an unknown Mars-to-Earth-mass planetary object far beyond Pluto, according to new research from the University of Arizona. An unknown, unseen "planetary mass object" may lurk in the outer reaches of our solar system, according to new research on the orbits of minor planets. This object would be different from -- and much closer than -- the so-called Planet Nine, a planet whose existence yet awaits confirmation.

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NASA --Artificial Intelligence is Changing How We Explore Mars & Beyond

 

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A glimpse of how we'll explore the cosmos in the future is here: A.I. software on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has helped it zap dozens of laser targets on the Red Planet this past year, becoming a frequent science tool when the ground team was out of contact with the spacecraft. This same software has proven useful enough that it's already scheduled for NASA's upcoming mission, Mars 2020. Adding intelligence to robotic probes could enable probes sent to targets as far away Proxima b in the Alpha Centauri star system. Many of the world's leading astrophysicists believe that our first discovery of advanced alien civilizations will be in the form of machine AI, not biological.

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Deadly "Killer" Heat Threatens 30% of World's Population --"Will Reach 74% by 2100"

 

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“Lethal heatwaves are very common. I don’t know why we as a society are not more concerned about the dangers,” says Camilo Mora of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, lead author of an important new study. “The 2003 European heatwave killed approximately 70,000 people—that’s more than 20 times the number of people who died in the September 11 attacks.”

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"Surprising Discovery" --NASA/Hubble: Massive Dead Galaxy Challenges Current Theories

 

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“This new insight may force us to rethink the whole cosmological context of how galaxies burn out early on and evolve into local elliptical-shaped galaxies," said study leader Sune Toft of the Dark Cosmology Center at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. “Perhaps we have been blind to the fact that early 'dead' galaxies could in fact be disks, simply because we haven't been able to resolve them."

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"The Nocturnal Sun" --Scientists Solve Ancient Mystery of Bright Nights

 
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Historical accounts of bright nights go back centuries. Pliny the Elder described bright nights, saying, "The phenomenon commonly called 'nocturnal sun', i.e. a light emanating from the sky during the night, has been seen during the consulate of C. Caecilius and Cn. Papirius (~ 113 BCE), and many other times, giving an appearance of day during the night." European newspapers and the scientific literature also carried observations of these events in 1783, 1908 and 1916.

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World's Space Scientists Warn "Near-Earth-Object Certain to Strike Earth"

 

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Alan Fitzsimmons from the Queen's University Belfast Astrophysics Research Center has said it is a case of when an asteroid collision will happen, rather than if it will happen. In 1908, a small asteroid exploded over Tunguska in Siberia and devastated 800 square miles. A leading astrophysicist, Fitzsimmons is warning that a similar unexpected strike in today's world could easily destroy a major city and a larger asteroid could be more dangerous.

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NASA's Future Science Missions to the 'Ice Giants' of Our Solar System --"Massive Oceans Exist Beneath Their Clouds"

 

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A NASA-led and NASA-sponsored study of potential future missions to the mysterious "ice giant" planets Uranus and Neptune (above) has been released—the first in a series of mission studies NASA will conduct in support of the next Planetary Science Decadal Survey. The results of this and future studies will be used as the Decadal Survey deliberates on NASA's planetary science priorities from 2022-2032. The study identifies the scientific questions an ice giant mission should address, and discusses various instruments, spacecraft, flight-paths and technologies that could be used.

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