Category Archives: Space exploration

TESS Lifts Off

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) lifted off on a SpaceX rocket last night. TESS is a follow-up to the wildly successful Kepler mission that will hunt for transiting planets—that is, planets that pass in front of their stars, blocking … Continue reading

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Falcon Heavy Blasts Off

SpaceX successfully completed the maiden flight of its new rocket, the Falcon Heavy, earlier today. This new heavy lifter can launch 63.8 metric tons to low Earth orbit, compared with 22.8 metric tons for the Falcon 9, making it officially … Continue reading

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Elon Musk Wants to Send People to Mars…in 2025!

On Friday, at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia, Elon Musk of PayPal and Tesla Motors fame announced his plans for the future of his rocket company, SpaceX. And it’s pretty epic. SpaceX has come a long way—from having … Continue reading

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The End of the Cassini Mission

Yesterday morning, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft at Saturn was deorbited into the planet’s atmosphere in the Grand Finale of an epic 20-year mission. Cassini observed Venus, Earth, and Jupiter while it was in transit and has spent the past 13 years … Continue reading

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The Wild Chemistry, Geology, and Everything Else of Pluto

I just got back from the American Astronomical Society’s winter conference, and let me tell you, there was a lot of great science going on there, but I wanted to focus particularly on the latest findings about Pluto. Pluto’s geology … Continue reading

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More on Pluto: Nitrogen Glaciers and a Hazy Atmosphere

NASA has released its final batch of findings and images of Pluto from New Horizons until the main bulk of the data starts downloading in September, and there’s a lot more interesting stuff to see. Most of Pluto’s appearance is … Continue reading

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Pluto Update: Mountains, Moats, and Methane

New images from space missions are often slow to be released. The Deep Space Network isn’t exactly broadband, and they have to process the images to make them look presentable. But we still have a few new shots of Pluto … Continue reading

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