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Mercury provides unique insights regarding the original distribution of elements in the early phases of solar system creation, as well as how planets and exoplanets form and evolve in close proximity to their host stars, as an end-member of terrestrial planet formation. This Mercury Lander mission proposal allows for in-situ surface measurements to answer several key science problems generated by MESSENGER’s groundbreaking investigation of Mercury. Mercury’s unique mineralogy and geochemistry require such measurements in order to characterise the proportionally massive core’s structure, measure the planet’s active and ancient magnetic fields at the surface, investigate the processes that alter the surface…

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In this undated photo made available by NASA on Thursday, July 22, 2021, clouds drift over the dome-covered SEIS seismometer of the InSight lander on the surface of Mars. The quake-measuring device is providing the first detailed look at the red planet’s interior, revealing a surprisingly thin crust and a molten core. In a series of articles published in July 2021, scientists reported that the Martian crust is within the thickness range of Earth’s. Mars’ mantle, meanwhile, is roughly half that of our own much bigger planet, while the core measured from the dusty surface to dead center is more…

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A recent arrival at the International Space Station created a little too much excitement The Nauka module, at left, docked to the International Space Station (Oleg Novitskiy / Roscosmos) The International Space Station was drifting. The station is always moving, of course, in a looping trajectory around Earth. But this, what mission control was seeing in the latest data, was unexpected, and unnerving. On Thursday morning, the space station was suddenly and mysteriously deviating from its course. The massive pieces of NASA-built hardware that hold the space station in place couldn’t keep up with the motion, and within minutes, the…

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The striking image offers astronomers the opportunity to observe a system featuring both newly-forming planets and moons at the same time. The ‘Eye of Sauron’ circumstellar disc around PDS 70. Pic: ESO Scientists have caught an image of a circumstellar disc and a planet within it with a moon-forming disc that resembles the Eye of Sauron from the Lord of the Rings film series. Observations of the system, which is about 400 light years away in the constellation Centaurus, indicate a planet dubbed PDS 70c within the circumstellar disc that is surrounded by a disc 500 times larger than Saturn’s.…

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It is no small task to build a moon. First, a planet has to be massive enough to pull in passing space detritus — some dust here, some gas there, maybe a few asteroids — and eventually let them congeal on their own into a celestial body. That was, at least, the prevalent theory among astronomers regarding the formation of moons. Notably, scientists had never observed a moon-forming area (also known as a circumplanetary disc) outside of our solar system until recently. That is no longer the case, as a new study published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters demonstrates.…

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The International Space Station in 2006, shortly after the departure of Space Shuttle Atlantis.Image: NASA (Getty Images) Russia’s newly launched Nauka module for the International Space Station continues to fight on Sunday afternoon, as early reports indicate that the backup module has successfully fired. For Roscosmos, who has almost seen his long awaited module as a tragic piece of space rather than the next piece of the International Space Station, this is a great relief. However, it’s not yet out of the woods. The first failure occurred yesterday on Nauka’s journey when the spacecraft did not finish its first orbital burn. This meant…

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Perseverance’s Arm over ‘Paver Rocks’ The robotic arm on NASA’s Perseverance rover reached out to examine rocks in an area on Mars nicknamed the “Cratered Floor Fractured Rough” area in this image captured on July 10, 2021 (the 138th sol, or Martian day, of its mission). The image was taken by one of the rover’s hazard cameras. Scientists are particularly interested in the flat rocks that appear light in color (nicknamed “paver rocks”). This image was processed to enhance contrast. A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover…

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NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover has started the Red Planet’s quest for ancient life signatures. With its mechanical arm flexing 7 feet (2 metres), the rover tests the sensitive detectors it carries, obtaining its first scientific readings. Together with the analysis of rocks using X-rays and ultraviolet light, the 6-wheeled scientist will zoom in to shut up small pieces of rock surfaces that could demonstrate historical microbial activity. WATSON Views ‘Foux’: NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover took this close-up of a rock target nicknamed “Foux” using its WATSON camera on the end of the rover’s robotic arm. The image was taken July…

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AP Photo A mock ‘Unidentified Flying Object’ (UFO) and three mock aliens are pictured in a garden in Jacobsdorf near Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany, Friday, June 25, 2021. A preliminary assessment on unapproved flying objects or UFOs was provided by the U.S. intelligence community on June 21. The investigation reported that 143 instances were unexplained. The nine-page dossier states that the sightings involved any American weapons programmes seem to offer no evidence. In the following three to four months, Congress will receive an in-depth, final report. The Pentagon has something to do with this revelation, and several intelligence services…

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In 2017, a number of videos and reports from former U.S. military personnel rekindled a fading interest in UFOs. U.S. Navy Much was done by the Air Force behind closed doors and should be covert. The government has published papers over many years that reveal that numerous UFO viewers saw classified aircraft, such as the U2. It is hardly surprising that the Air Force is trying to maintain rigorous control over what is communicated to the public. However, this stringent control is one of the numerous things which over the years has fuelled conspiracy theories. The idea among UFO believers was:…

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