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  • NASA Plans to Visit a Near-Earth Asteroid

    NASA Plans to Visit a Near-Earth Asteroid

    Aug. 16, 2011

    Science@NASA Headline News — 2011

    NASA is planning a daring new mission to visit a near-Earth asteroid. The spacecraft, named OSIRIS-REx, will orbit 1999 RQ36 for a year before gathering samples for return to Earth.

  • Keeping an Eye on the Super Earth Next Door

    Keeping an Eye on the Super Earth Next Door

    Aug. 16, 2011

    News & Features

    Astronomers have witnessed a super-Earth, which was first discovered in 2004, eclipsing its star. Because the star is only 40 light years away, this is the closest Earth-like planet we know of, although the planet is too hot to support life as we know it.

  • Honeycomb Carbon Crystals Possibly Detected in Space

    Honeycomb Carbon Crystals Possibly Detected in Space

    Aug. 16, 2011

    News & Features

    NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has spotted the signature of flat carbon flakes, called graphene, in space. If confirmed, this would be the first-ever cosmic detection of the material -- which is arranged like chicken wire in flat sheets that are one atom thick.

  • Unusual Fault Pattern Surfaces in Earthquake Study

    Unusual Fault Pattern Surfaces in Earthquake Study

    Aug. 15, 2011

    News & Features

    A new fault line connecting the Gulf of California with the Elsinore fault could become a major part of the boundary between the Pacific and the North America Plates.

  • An Alien World Blacker than Coal

    An Alien World Blacker than Coal

    Aug. 15, 2011

    News & Features

    Astronomers have discovered the darkest known exoplanet. The Jupiter-sized gas giant is blacker than coal, reflecting less than one percent of the sunlight falling on it.

  • Asteroid Photographer Beams Back Science Data

    Asteroid Photographer Beams Back Science Data

    Aug. 12, 2011

    News & Features

    The Dawn spacecraft has completed a graceful spiral into the first of four planned science orbits during the spacecraft's yearlong visit to Vesta. The spacecraft started taking detailed observations on Aug. 11 at 9:13 a.m. PDT (12:13 a.m. EDT), which marks the official start of the first science-collecting orbit phase at Vesta, also known as the survey orbit.

  • Hubble Offers a Dazzling 'Necklace'

    Hubble Offers a Dazzling 'Necklace'

    Aug. 11, 2011

    News & Features

    The object, aptly named the Necklace Nebula, is a recently discovered planetary nebula, the glowing remains of an ordinary, Sun-like star. The nebula consists of a bright ring, measuring 12 trillion miles wide, dotted with dense, bright knots of gas that resemble diamonds in a necklace.

  • Mars' North Pole in Transition

    Mars' North Pole in Transition

    Aug. 10, 2011

    News & Features

    New images from ESA's Mars Express show the north polar cap during the planet's summer solstice. At this time of year, the carbon dioxide ice has gone and only a bright cap of water ice remains.

  • Sun Unleashes X6.9 Class Flare

    Sun Unleashes X6.9 Class Flare

    Aug. 10, 2011

    News & Features

    On August 9, 2011 at 3:48 a.m. EDT, the sun emitted an Earth-directed X6.9 flare, as measured by the NOAA GOES satellite.

  • Spaceships, Meteors, and Moonlight

    Spaceships, Meteors, and Moonlight

    Aug. 9, 2011

    Science@NASA Headline News — 2011

    The Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend, and the International Space Station is joining the show. Sky watchers in many US towns and cities are favored with ISS flybys on August 12-13 just when Perseid meteor activity is expected to crest under full Moonlight.