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Earth Day: Asteroid Impacts on our Home Planet

Prominent astronauts are taking part in a B612 Foundation event today at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Wash. They are spotlighting data showing the surprising frequency at which the Earth is hit by asteroids. The findings are based on newly released information from the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, which operates a network of [...]

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Food Crops for a Red Planet?

Vegetables for a Red Planet? That is the prognosis of a study by plant ecologist Wieger Wamelink of Wageningen UR – a university and research center in The Netherlands that focuses specifically on the theme “healthy food and living environment.” The soil on Mars may be suitable for cultivating food crops, Wamelink reports, and he [...]

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Humans on Mars: These are the Brakes

If larger and larger payloads – including human habitats – are to set down safely on Mars, new atmospheric reentry technologies are required. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is deep into cutting-edge and crosscutting demonstration flights of hardware to land hefty payloads on the Red Planet. The work is being done under NASA’s Low Density [...]

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First U.S. Asteroid Sample Mission Moves Forward

NASA’s Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) is taking shape. This return sample mission to asteroid Bennu is to launch in the fall of 2016. The spacecraft will then rendezvous with the space rock in 2018. Following a year of reconnaissance of the object, OSIRIS-REx will snag a sample of the asteroid [...]

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Super Planet Crash: Educational Game for World Builders

Let the games begin! A new online educational resource allows the user to build their own planetary system, putting planets into orbit around a star and racking up points until they add a planet that destabilizes the whole system. The game is an offshoot of the open-source software package – Systemic Console — astronomers use [...]

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