The Curious Case of the Warped Kuiper Belt --"Is There an Earth-Sized Planet Far Beyond Pluto?"

 

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The plane of the solar system is warped in the outer reaches of the Kuiper Belt, signaling the presence of an unknown Mars-to-Earth-mass planetary object far beyond Pluto, according to new research from the University of Arizona. An unknown, unseen "planetary mass object" may lurk in the outer reaches of our solar system, according to new research on the orbits of minor planets. This object would be different from -- and much closer than -- the so-called Planet Nine, a planet whose existence yet awaits confirmation.

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NASA --Artificial Intelligence is Changing How We Explore Mars & Beyond

 

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A glimpse of how we'll explore the cosmos in the future is here: A.I. software on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has helped it zap dozens of laser targets on the Red Planet this past year, becoming a frequent science tool when the ground team was out of contact with the spacecraft. This same software has proven useful enough that it's already scheduled for NASA's upcoming mission, Mars 2020. Adding intelligence to robotic probes could enable probes sent to targets as far away Proxima b in the Alpha Centauri star system. Many of the world's leading astrophysicists believe that our first discovery of advanced alien civilizations will be in the form of machine AI, not biological.

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Deadly "Killer" Heat Threatens 30% of World's Population --"Will Reach 74% by 2100"

 

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“Lethal heatwaves are very common. I don’t know why we as a society are not more concerned about the dangers,” says Camilo Mora of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, lead author of an important new study. “The 2003 European heatwave killed approximately 70,000 people—that’s more than 20 times the number of people who died in the September 11 attacks.”

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"Surprising Discovery" --NASA/Hubble: Massive Dead Galaxy Challenges Current Theories

 

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“This new insight may force us to rethink the whole cosmological context of how galaxies burn out early on and evolve into local elliptical-shaped galaxies," said study leader Sune Toft of the Dark Cosmology Center at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. “Perhaps we have been blind to the fact that early 'dead' galaxies could in fact be disks, simply because we haven't been able to resolve them."

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"The Nocturnal Sun" --Scientists Solve Ancient Mystery of Bright Nights

 
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Historical accounts of bright nights go back centuries. Pliny the Elder described bright nights, saying, "The phenomenon commonly called 'nocturnal sun', i.e. a light emanating from the sky during the night, has been seen during the consulate of C. Caecilius and Cn. Papirius (~ 113 BCE), and many other times, giving an appearance of day during the night." European newspapers and the scientific literature also carried observations of these events in 1783, 1908 and 1916.

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World's Space Scientists Warn "Near-Earth-Object Certain to Strike Earth"

 

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Alan Fitzsimmons from the Queen's University Belfast Astrophysics Research Center has said it is a case of when an asteroid collision will happen, rather than if it will happen. In 1908, a small asteroid exploded over Tunguska in Siberia and devastated 800 square miles. A leading astrophysicist, Fitzsimmons is warning that a similar unexpected strike in today's world could easily destroy a major city and a larger asteroid could be more dangerous.

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NASA's Future Science Missions to the 'Ice Giants' of Our Solar System --"Massive Oceans Exist Beneath Their Clouds"

 

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A NASA-led and NASA-sponsored study of potential future missions to the mysterious "ice giant" planets Uranus and Neptune (above) has been released—the first in a series of mission studies NASA will conduct in support of the next Planetary Science Decadal Survey. The results of this and future studies will be used as the Decadal Survey deliberates on NASA's planetary science priorities from 2022-2032. The study identifies the scientific questions an ice giant mission should address, and discusses various instruments, spacecraft, flight-paths and technologies that could be used.

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NASA: Most Powerful Telescope Ever Sent to Mars Tracks Curiosity Rover's Climb Up Mount Sharp

 

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Using the most powerful telescope ever sent to Mars, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter caught a view of the Curiosity rover this month amid rocky terrain of Mount Sharp towering three miles above the ancient lakeshore of Gale Crater. 

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"Living Organisms?" --Scientists Create 4-Dimensional Models of Earth's Cities

 

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Several thousand years ago the evolution of social organizations in the form of cities brought a new dynamic to the planet that seems to be uniquely human: People actually do walk on average faster in larger cities whereas heart rates decrease as animal size increases. With the city, it seems, mankind has created an "organism" operating beyond the bounds of biology, said Geoffrey West, theoretical physicist , former president of the Santa Fe Institute and Stanford University faculty member who led the particle theory group at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

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Red Dots Mission: The New Hunt for Earth-Like Planets Orbiting Nearby Red Dwarf Stars --"Could Harbor Life a Billion Years Older Than Earth's" (VIDEO)

 

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The recent discovery of Proxima b1, a habitable Earth-mass planet next to the nearest star, opened a unique opportunity in the search for extra-terrestrial life. It is much easier to study nearby habitats for life, either by remote sensing of the feeble radiation signals from biologically-produced molecules (e.g. oxygen) or by sending spacecrafts that will image the planet’s surface or collect samples from its atmosphere through a close encounter.

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