The Extraterrestrial Mirror –“There’s a Level of Predictability to Evolution that Aliens Would Look Like Us”




"By predicting that aliens have undergone major transitions – which is how complexity has arisen in species on earth, we can say that there is a level of predictability to evolution that would cause them to look like us," said Sam Levin, a researcher in the University of Oxford’s Department of Zoology.


NASA’s Eyes on Mars –“A Quantum Leap for Space-Exploration Photography”




When NASA's Mars Pathfinder touched down in 1997, it had five cameras: two on a mast that popped up from the lander, and three on NASA's first rover, Sojourner. On the new rover, the engineering cameras have been upgraded to acquire high-resolution, 20-megapixel color images. Their lenses will also have a wider field of view. That's critical for the 2020 mission, which will try to maximize the time spent doing science and collecting samples.


New Dark Matter Picture Puts the Big Bang on Trial — “We’re Looking At Things All Wrong”




Newest dark matter map hints at where astrophysics must go for breakthroughs. Three astrophysicists discuss how the new results are testing the consensus view of the universe's history and challenging future generations of scientists to solve enduring cosmic mysteries. The unveiling this summer of the most accurate cosmic picture ever taken of the distribution of dark matter has left astrophysicists feeling both delighted and frustrated.


NASA Reveals Record-Breaking Results of “Sci-Fi” Ion Engine — “Manned Missions to Mars In Weeks On the Horizon” (WATCH Video)



An advanced space engine in the running at NASA to propel humans to Mars has broken the records for operating current, power and thrust for a device of its kind, known as a Hall thruster, one of three Mars engine prototypes currently in development, that uses electric and magnetic fields to ionize gases like xenon and expels the ions to produce thrust, a much cleaner, safer and more fuel efficient than traditional chemical rockets, but with relatively low thrust and acceleration.


The Alien Observatory –“Astronomers Lifting Black Veil From Dark Side of the Milky Way –“Harbors Uncharted Stars and Potential Life-Bearing Planets”


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“Optically, it’s like trying to look through a velvet cloth—black as black can be,” says Thomas Dame, Director of the Radio Telescope Data Center at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Senior Radio Astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. “In terms of tracing and understanding the spiral structure, essentially half of the Milky Way is terra incognita.”



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