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Latest News & Blogs

A selection of the latest astronomy news and blog posts.

Today's Top Science Headline: "NASA's Search for Alien Life and Climate Change Win Big in 2018 Spending Bill" "It's hard to be happier," says Casey Dreier, director of space policy for The Planetary Society, an advocacy group in Pasadena, California. "We have to appreciate these rare moments of agreement to invest in the U.S. scientific capacity." Scientists were giddy over the 7.9% boost, to $6.2 billion, given to NASA's science account.

From the Farside - Discovery of the 6-Inch Human Skeleton: "A Human? A Primate? An Alien?" The strange skeletal remains of a fetus discovered in Chile have turned up new insights into the genetics of some bone diseases, according to a new study from researchers at Stanford and UCSF. The 6-inch skeleton, nicknamed Ata, was discovered more than a decade ago in an abandoned town in the Atacama Desert of Chile.

"Heads Up!" China's Space Station Tumbling to Earth - "We're Tracking It, Trying to Predict Where It Will Crash" As the day draws near, Vishnu Reddy, University of Arizona assistant professor of planetary sciences, and Tanner Campbell, an aerospace and mechanical engineering graduate student, are tracking its re-entry using a $1,500 optical sensor they built in four months.

China's Space Station Will Fall to Earth, But When and Where? Here's the Latest Currently, the space station is predicted to re-enter Earth's atmosphere around April 1, plus or minus 4 days. However, due to the uncertainties involved, it is very difficult to predict the exact timing of any space object re-entry, according to the Aerospace Corporation.

Alaskan Spaceport to Host Secretive Commercial Launch Soon WASHINGTON - An Alaskan spaceport will host the first launch of a rocket developed by a stealthy startup company as soon as next week, spaceport officials confirmed March 20.

Stephen Hawking's Last Paper Doesn't Prove We Live in a Multiverse It's not entirely uninteresting, but it's one of literally several thousand ideas for what might possibly have happened in the early universe," many of which include parallel worlds, said Sabine Hossenfelder, a physicist at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies in Germany, who blogs at

Chinese Space Station's Crash to Earth: Everything You Need to Know China's first prototype space station, Tiangong-1, will come crashing back to Earth between March 30 and April 3, give or take a few days, experts say. Read on for a primer on the space lab and its mission, as well as links to Tiangong-1 stories, galleries and infographics.

Watch University Student Projects Launch on a NASA Rocket Early Sunday Student spaceflight projects will launch from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Sunday morning, and the rocket carrying them mat be visible along parts of the U.S. Eastern coast.

Neptune Clouds Heres an image I really like from the outer solar system taken much too long ago. The Voyager 2 spacecraft took this high resolution image of clouds on Neptune. More about Neptune and its moons. The New Horizons mission is active in the outer solar system and closing in on Pluto.

What is the Most Frightening Celestial Object? By the time this is posted here, I have already written an answer, actually. I thought that it was quite ironic that the list did not include the one I always pictured as frightening, one that not everyone recognized as "Celestial object", even. - Planet earth.

Gravitational waves What are graviatational waves? As you probbably thought, they are rippels in space time, but how are they created and how can we measure them? Imagine you have a huge trampoline which, in our case is the space-time Everything you put on this trambuline, which has mass, will bend the elastic surface.

To Scare Off Predators, Caterpillar Whistles like a Kettle It's hard to yell "BACK OFF!" when you have no lungs, but this caterpillar has figured out a way. Under attack, the Nessus sphinx moth caterpillar emits a sort of crackling buzz from its mouth. Scientists compare the unusual mechanism to a whistling teakettle.

Smithsonian Channel Specials Tell Humanity's Story, from the Big Bang to Colonizing Space Together, the films tell humanity's story from the perspective of space: How life arose on the planet, what humans have accomplished in our time here and how we might leave our home to settle among the stars.

New NASA Model Could Help Predict Landslides A new NASA computer model identifies landslide hazards around the world every 30 minutes, potentially allowing scientists and first responders to get a jump on these natural disasters, a new study reports.

Early Earth's Violent Changes Powered Evolution of Our Last Universal Common Ancestor "Encountering such environmental variability early on may be necessary to build up the level of complexity needed for LUCA to have the evolutionary potential to continue to diversify and colonize nearly every habitat on Earth over four billion years," Greg Fournier, an evolutionary biologist at MIT.

Air-Breathing Electric Thruster Paves the Way for Almost Indefinite Satellite Missions For the first time, the European Space Agency has tested a novel air-breathing electric thruster that could allow near-Earth orbiting satellites to stay in space almost indefinitely.

US Can't Stop Hypersonic Weapons, Air Force General Says Missiles that spit out warheads traveling up to 20 times the speed of sound and with the ability to perform elusive acrobatics may be too much for U.S. defenses to block. That's according to the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, Air Force Gen. John Hyten, who testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday.

Artificial intelligence identifies 6,000 new craters on the Moon In an effort to eliminate the monotony of tracking lunar cavities and basins manually, a group of researchers at the University of Toronto Scarborough came up with an innovative technique that resulted in the discovery of 6,000 new craters.

Today's "Planet Earth Report" - 'Bitcoin Will Replace the U.S. Dollar as the World's Single Currency' "The world ultimately will have a single currency, the internet will have a single currency. I personally believe that it will be bitcoin," Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey told England's The Times. These might seem like bold claims by the Silicon Valley mogul, reports today's Inverse, but they shouldn't come as a surprise.

The demise of Humanity A satellite meant to inspire the world to enjoy the night sky has flashed out of existence earlier than expected. Early this morning, the Humanity Star satellite burned up as an artificial meteor in the sky.

'Pacific Rim Uprising' Unreels More Cool Giant Robots, But Also a Weak Plot Pentecost has a chip on his shoulder because his father, Stacker, was heroically killed during the events of "Pacific Rim." Instead of carrying on his father's legacy, at first Pentecost focuses on living the good life - which includes stealing parts of old Jaegers, the giant robots used to fight monstrous Kaiju, for fun and profit.

Videos: reports on AI robots on ISS, Artsy Neanderthals, Jupiter's Jetstreams! and more A selection of recent SpacePod short reports:. ** SpacePod: Artificial Intelligence Robot headed for ISS. Michael tells us about how Airbus, in cooperation with IBM, is developing CIMON, an AI-based assistant for astronauts for the German Space Administration, DLR.

Astronomers Witness X-ray Burst from Newborn Neutron Star Astronomers have discovered a newborn neutron star in a rare pairing with an old red giant companion. Astronomers working with the INTEGRAL satellite have recently observed a neutron star going aflame in a burst of X-rays, ignited by material from its companion, a red giant star.

Today's Top Space Headline: "Our Solar System Makes No Sense Without Planet Nine" "I try not to be religious about my own results. It's important to keep a skeptical eye," says Caltech's Konstantin Batygin. "But I actually feel more comfortable than I did two years ago, because the theory still holds up beautifully.

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