Science Daily: Comets and Asteroids

Topsy-turvy motion creates light switch effect at Uranus

Uranus' magnetosphere, the region defined by the planet's magnetic field and the material trapped inside it, gets flipped on and off like a light switch every day as it rotates along with the planet, scientists have discovered. It's 'open' in one orientation, allowing solar wind to flow into the magnetosphere; it later closes, forming a shield against the solar wind and deflecting it away from the planet.

Meteorite mystery solved with research on high pressure

A research group has found a long-sought explanation for the apparent contradictions implicit in the composition of lunar and Martian meteorites. They were able to demonstrate how meteorites could contain within narrow spaces minerals whose formation conditions are quite different. These findings provide new impetus for meteorite research.

The curious case of the warped Kuiper Belt

The plane of the solar system is warped in the belt's outer reaches, signaling the presence of an unknown Mars-to-Earth-mass planetary object far beyond Pluto, according to new research. 

Magnetic memories of a metal world

Research deciphering the hidden magnetic messages encoded in a rare group of meteorites has helped secure nearly half a billion dollars of NASA funding for a journey to their parent asteroid -- the only known place in the solar system where scientists can examine directly what is probably a metallic core.

The astronaut's extra nose

How do we prevent astronauts in space from inhaling hazardous gases? A hi-tech optical gas sensor provides a solution.

Ten near-Earth size planets in habitable zone of their star

NASA's Kepler space telescope team has released a mission catalog of planet candidates that introduces 219 new planet candidates, 10 of which are near-Earth size and orbiting in their star's habitable zone, which is the range of distance from a star where liquid water could pool on the surface of a rocky planet.

Making waves with the hot electrons within Earth's radiation belts

An international team of scientists recently discovered the role that hot electrons may play in the waves and fluctuations detected by satellites. The results are based on data collected by the Van Allen Probes, twin robotic spacecraft launched by NASA in 2012 to help scientists better understand these belt regions.

MAVEN's top 10 discoveries at Mars

Since its launch in November 2013 and its orbit insertion in September 2014, MAVEN has been exploring the upper atmosphere of Mars. MAVEN is bringing insight to how the sun stripped Mars of most of its atmosphere, turning a planet once possibly habitable to microbial life into a barren desert world.

Orion blazing bright in radio light

Astronomers have created the largest image ever of the dense band of star-forming gas that weaves its way through the northern portion of the Orion Nebula.

Low-mass stars always born with a sibling: Many, like our sun, split up

Though astronomers have long known that many if not most stars are binaries, the question has always been, Were they born that way, or did one star capture another? Astronomers teamed up to systematically study very young stars inside their nest eggs, called dense cores, in the Perseus molecular cloud and concluded that all sunlike stars are born as wide binaries. Most subsequently split up, while the rest become tight binaries.

Search for Earth-like planets: Try a statistical approach

A team of astronomers seeks to change the way scientists approach the search for Earth-like planets orbiting stars other than the sun. They favor taking a statistical comparative approach in seeking habitable planets and life beyond the solar system.

Cloudy with a chance of radiation: NASA studies simulated radiation

NASA's Human Research Program (HRP) is simulating space radiation on Earth following upgrades to the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL) at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory. These upgrades help researchers on Earth learn more about the effects of ionizing space radiation to keep astronauts safe on a journey to Mars.

ALMA hears birth cry of a massive baby star

Astronomers have determined how the enigmatic gas flow from a massive baby star is launched. The team used ALMA to observe the baby star and obtained clear evidence of rotation in the outflow. The motion and the shape of the outflow indicate that the interplay of centrifugal and magnetic forces in a disk surrounding the star plays a crucial role in the star's birth cry.

SpaceX Dragon to deliver research to Space Station

SpaceX is scheduled to launch its Dragon spacecraft for its eleventh commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station June 1 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center's historic pad 39A.

Hubble applauds waltzing dwarfs

This seemingly unspectacular series of dots with varying distances between them actually shows the slow waltz of two brown dwarfs. The image is a stack of 12 images made over the course of three years with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Using high-precision astrometry, astronomers tracked the two components of the system as they moved both across the sky and around each other.

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