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WRITER FUEL: NASA Worried About Moonquakes at Planned Artemis 3 Landing Site

A photograph of the moon's surface. (Image credit: NASA)

When plotting sites for crewed lunar landings — ranging from the forthcoming Artemis missions to eventual lasting moon settlements — mission planners must account for tons of lunar parameters. For instance, the shape of the terrain could make or break a mission and a possible high volume of buried water could make one spot much … Read more

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Writer Fuel: NASA to Test Robotic Surgeon Aboard International Space Station

NASA robotic surgeon

Very soon, a robot surgeon may begin its practice in orbit — and though it won’t quite be a metallic, humanoid machine wearing a white coat and holding a scalpel, its mission is fascinating nonetheless. On Tuesday (Jan. 30), scientists sent a slew of innovative experiments to the International Space Station (ISS) via Northrop Grumman’s … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Twin Spacecraft to Create Mini Eclipses to Study the Sun

Proba-3 mission

Later this year, the European Space Agency (ESA) will launch the Proba-3 mission into orbit around Earth. This unique project’s twin spacecraft will align with each other to create frequent, artificial eclipses in space, which will give researchers near-unlimited access to studying the sun’s outer atmosphere, or corona, for the first time. An upcoming terrestrial … Read more

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Writer Fuel: NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter Grounded for Good

NASA Ingenuity helicopter

After three years of soaring through the ultra-thin skies of Mars, NASA’s autonomous Ingenuity helicopter has finally been grounded for good. While power still flows through the 4-pound (1.8 kilograms) helicopter, recent images revealed that at least one of its rotor blades sustained irreparable damage after its last flight — Ingenuity’s 72nd flight over the … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Are Tiny Black Holes Altering the Earth’s Orbit?

runaway black hole

Some of the universe’s oldest black holes swoop past our cosmic neighborhood at least once every decade, moving planets in their wake, a new study suggests. And if scientists can detect them, it would provide the first proof that these black holes exist as dark matter. Black holes, regions of immense gravity that even trap … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Is This 3,000-Year-Old Carving Part of a Star Map?

star map

A roughly 3,000-year-old stone disk covered with enigmatic markings is actually an ancient celestial map marking the brightest stars in the night sky, researchers claim. The tire-size stone, which was discovered near an ancient hill fort in northeastern Italy a few years ago, features 29 carved markings on its front and back that may represent … Read more

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Writer Fuel: What Don’t We Know About Dark Matter?

dark matter - deposit photos

In the 1930s, a Swiss astronomer named Fritz Zwicky noticed that galaxies in a distant cluster were orbiting one another much faster than they should have been given the amount of visible mass they had. He proposed than an unseen substance, which he called dark matter, might be tugging gravitationally on these galaxies. Since then, … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Was There Life Right After the Big Bang?

Big Bang - Deposit Photos

Life has found a home on Earth for around 4 billion years. That’s a significant fraction of the universe’s 13.77 billion-year history. Presumably, if life arose here, it could have appeared anywhere. And for sufficiently broad definitions of life, it might even be possible for life to have appeared mere seconds after the Big Bang. … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Does Space Have a Smell?

Astronaut in space over Earth planet. Elements of this image furnished by NASA. Deposit Photos

When astronauts return from spacewalks, they often describe unexpected scents similar to burnt steak and spent gunpowder. But why does outer space smell like torched things, and where does this odor come from? To be clear, space is a near-perfect vacuum. While in space, astronauts protect themselves in spacecraft, spacesuits and space stations, “since direct … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Chinese Robo Chemist Could Extract Oxygen From Water on Mars

Mars - deposit photos

Scientists in China have created a robot chemist powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that can extract oxygen from Martian water without human supervision. Synthesizing useful resources from local materials on Mars will be essential for humans’ survival on the Red Planet. Extracting oxygen from materials — in a process called oxygen evolution reaction (OER) — is particularly … Read more