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    Some Dead Satellites Refuse to Go Quietly to Their Graves

    A map of large debris orbiting Earth, as seen from the North Pole.European Space Operation Centre (ESOC) High above us, tens of thousands of kilometers above our heads, there are orbiting graveyards. They are filled with satellites that have burned through their functional lives, now “buried” in space. The graveyards are filled for a reason: […]

  • Curiosity self-portrait

    19th-Century Code Helps 21st-Century Mars Rover Find Its Way

    Back in the 1840s, Morse code was a ground-breaking approach for sending messages over a hot, new communications medium called the electrical telegraph. Earlier this year, the last telegram ever was sent, yet Morse code is not entirely out of a job. NASA’s cutting-edge Curiosity Mars rover, built by JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), uses this […]

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    The Unlikely Rocks Found in Mosques, Siberia & Outer Space

    A Penrose tiling, a 2D pattern that shows a similar lack of repetition as a 3D quasicrystal.Wikipedia Back in June, researchers at Ames laboratory in Iowa announced the discovery a new group of rare-earth quasicrystals—an unusual class of crystalline materials where the atomic structure boasts regular patterns that never repeat themselves. They resemble the intricate […]

  • solar system model

    Two Good Ways to Really *Get* the Solar System

    The Sun is one busy celestial body. In addition to giving us light, holding the solar system together, and providing the energy for almost every living thing on Earth, it’s also a grapefruit in a grass field in Austin, Texas, and a 50-foot yellow archway in northern Maine. Now, obviously this huge mass of incandescent gas […]