Can You See The Russian Landers And Rovers On The Moon? Yes!

We don’t hear much about the Soviet program to explore and return samples of the moon to Earth, but the Russians were busy with lunar missions right from the start of the get-go. The first in a series of 24 flyby, lander and sample-return missions, dubbed the Luna Program, began with the Jan. 2, 1959 launch…
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Life’s Building Blocks Found On Dwarf Planet Ceres

Organic molecules — those made primarily of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms — are essential for life as we know it.  Carbon is the coolest, most special atom of all. Not only can it link in multiple ways to other atoms, but it happily links with itself to form incredibly complex molecules, the kind that…
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Rubber Ducky II — Radar Reveals Spinning, Twin-Lobed Comet

When the first close range photos of Rosetta’s Comet started coming in, a few of us joked it looked just like one of those rubber ducks we played with as kids in the bathtub. Only this duck was made of porous ice and dust and 2.5 miles (4 km) wide, though I suspect it would…
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Asteroid Sample Mission Sends First Jupiter Pix, Searches For Earth Trojans

En route to the asteroid Bennu, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx space probe captured this image of Jupiter and three of its moons. It make look plain vanilla, but consider that the spacecraft was 76 million miles (122 million km) from Earth and 418 million miles (673 million km) from Jupiter on Feb. 12, when the photo was…
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Goodbye Moon! But Will The Green Comet Still Show?

Last week, several people asked about seeing “the comet.” They meant 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova — a mouthful, so the comet made sense. I’d written about 45P in an earlier blog when it was visible in the morning sky just before dawn and after moonset. But last Thursday, moonlight encroached on this fuzzy, spread-out object and pretty much blanked it…
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