Mars Rover Drills Into ‘Duluth’ And The Moon Joins Jupiter

Last week, we visited the 3-foot slab of rock the Mars Curiosity rover team named “Duluth.” The rover’s drill, which bores a hole in rocks and then gathers up a sample of the tailing for analysis, has had mechanical problems since October 2016. Engineers cooked up a new way to drill called Feed Extending Drilling…
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How To See Elusive Red Sprites On Thundery Nights

In mythology, sprites are supernatural, fairy-like creatures of the air, forest and water. About the size of large insects, they come down from the trees every morning to bathe in dew and pester butterflies. Sprites have been part of folklore for hundreds if not thousands of years. When it came time to name a strange,…
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Dear Moon, Please Take Us Porrima

I like working the moon to death. Because it “gets around,” we’ve used it on previous occasions to help us find bright stars and planets. Tonight, the waxing gibbous sits just 1° above and left of one of the finest double stars in the sky — Porrima. Also known as Gamma (γ) Virginis, Porrima is…
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Is There An Alien Asteroid Among Us?

Asteroid 2015 BZ509 does two do-si-dos with Jupiter every 12 years as it travels backwards around the sun An asteroid that orbits near Jupiter has been traveling in the wrong direction for at least a million years. All the planets, most asteroids and many comets orbit the same direction around  the sun — counterclockwise when…
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Space Station Visits ‘Land Of The Midnight Sun’

Every year around the time of the summer solstice, the International Space Station (ISS) remains in near constant sunlight for several weeks, never dipping into Earth’s shadow as it orbits the planet once every 92 minutes. From our landlubber perspective, each time the ISS makes a pass, it does so in sunlight. Passes start just…
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