April 28, 2017

Gravitational wave testbed repurposed as comet dust detector

April 26, 2017

In the final months of Europe’s LISA Pathfinder mission, scientists have found an unexpected use for the trailblazing testbed for a future gravitational wave observatory by tracking the tiny dings made by microscopic particles that strike the spacecraft in deep space, exploiting the impacts to learn about the population of dust grains cast off by comets and asteroids across the solar system.

Star found with record seven Earth-size planets

February 22, 2017

Astronomers have discovered seven roughly Earth-size planets very close to a cool dwarf star some 39 light years from Earth, including three orbiting in the star’s habitable zone where liquid water, a key ingredient for life as it’s known on Earth, could be present, researchers announced Wednesday.

NASA resumes JWST vibration testing

January 25, 2017

Vibration testing on the James Webb Space Telescope, the multibillion-dollar successor to Hubble, has resumed after engineers traced a problem that cropped up last month to a restraint holding part of the observatory’s giant segmented mirror in place for launch.

China lofts pulsar navigation demo satellite

November 10, 2016

China launched an innovative satellite Wednesday that will look for X-ray signals from pulsars, the fast-spinning super-dense remnants of collapsed stars, to determine its exact location in space.

Japan’s Hitomi observatory made cosmic discovery before failing

July 7, 2016

Japan’s doomed Hitomi observatory peeled back a veil on the inner workings of the Perseus cluster of galaxies before the satellite spun out of control earlier this year, revealing in unprecedented detail how gas heated to millions of degrees behaves around an unseen supermassive black hole, scientists said Wednesday.

LISA Pathfinder success bolsters plan for gravitational wave observatory

June 8, 2016

Europe’s LISA Pathfinder mission — a fundamental physics lab launched last year to a point a million miles from Earth — has demonstrated the mind-boggling technology required for a future space-based observatory to listen for faint, low-frequency vibrations emitted by invisible objects in the most distant pockets of the universe, scientists said this week.

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