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    • By European Space Agency
      Lunar I-Hab, the next European habitat in lunar orbit as part of the Gateway, has recently undergone critical tests to explore and improve human living conditions inside the space module.
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    • By USH
      Much has been discussed about the strange objects discovered on Mars. Often dismissed as merely oddly shaped rocks or mere pareidolia, there is substantial evidence suggesting that Mars was once inhabited by intelligent life as well as a variety of animal and insect species. This raises the intriguing question of whether life still exists on the planet today. 
      Upon examining the objects captured in the following images by the Perseverance rover, one may wonder whether these are simply rocks, tricks of perception, or indications that the planet was indeed once inhabited, or perhaps still hosts humanoid figures and various animal species. 
      Image above: A petrified human-like figure concealed beneath a rock. It seems as if it wanted to protect itself from a horrific event. 
      Image above: Close-up images of the figure still reveal visible features such as an open mouth and eyes. 
      Image above: A curious object: It appears as though a possible creature has been ejected from a craft and remains seated in an ejection-like position. What's even stranger is that this creature apparently holding three bottles in its hands for some reason. 
      Image above: This image depicts what appears to be two peculiar animals. Figure 1 resembles a large ant, while Figure 2 resembles a cat-like creature. 
      Image above: Enlarged images of the ant and cat reveal more details. 
      Image above: A humanoid figure standing in front of a rock, cleverly camouflaged with clothes and hoodie matching the color of the rock.
      Image above: Yet the humanoid appears to have an apron wrapped around its body, as well as its legs and arms are clearly visible, showing off its humanoid form. 
      Image above: Additionally, the figure appears to be holding a creature that resembles an animal, see also the hindlegs of the animal. Adding to the intrigue is that there is another humanoid figure sitting nearby. 
      Discover the anomalies and much more at the following panorama images uploaded by Neville Thompson on his Gigapan page:http://www.gigapan.com/gigapans/234609 http://www.gigapan.com/gigapans/234610 http://www.gigapan.com/gigapans/234631 http://www.gigapan.com/gigapans/234637 http://www.gigapan.com/gigapans/234653View the full article
    • By NASA
      4 min read
      Don’t Make Me Wait for April 8!
      Can’t wait to see the Moon block the Sun on April 8? Neither can we. But we have good news – if you want to see an incredible cosmic alignment, you can catch one right now! Exoplanets, asteroids, and other objects regularly pass in front of stars and block their light. Observing these events is easier than you might think – and it can be a fantastic way to contribute to NASA science.
      The Baily’s Beads – the bright spots of light on the lower left of the Moon – seen here are the last rays of sunlight that shone through the low spots or valleys on the Moon’s rugged surface as the Moon made its final move over the Sun during the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017, above Madras, Oregon. Baily’s Beads will appear on the opposite side of the Moon as it begins to move away from the Sun following totality. NASA/Aubrey Gemignani There are three main kinds of cosmic alignments that temporarily block our view of a star. Each one can help us pick out fine details about astronomical objects that can’t be observed any other way.
      Eclipse – when one object blocks another that’s apparently similar in size.
      Occultation – when a relatively big object completely blocks an apparently smaller object.
      Transit – when an apparently small object passes in front of a larger star, blocking some but not all of its light.
      You’ll notice that we use the word “apparently” in each of those definitions. That’s because what matters is how big the object looks from our perspective, not how big it actually is.
      Now let’s look at some science projects you can get involved in that observe these phenomena.
      Eclipses help scientists see faint objects next to bright objects. Just like you might raise your hand to block light from your car’s headlight while you search the ground for your keys, eclipses block the overpowering light from a star so objects around it can be viewed more easily. This is what the Eclipse Megamovie project, the Dynamic Eclipse Broadcast Initiative, and Citizen CATE 2024 are doing: taking advantage of the Moon blocking the fierce sunlight so they can see what’s happening right around the Sun. These projects invite you to help them use this method to study the Sun’s faint corona. Eclipses and occultations can also tell us about the relative sizes and shapes of objects. This is how Sunsketcher will harness the April 8 eclipse. With your help, they will use our precise knowledge of the size and topography of the Moon to vastly improve estimates of the shape of the Sun. At the very beginning and end of totality, viewers will see Baily’s Beads – bright spots of light around the Moon’s edge where rays of sunlight slip through the valleys between the mountains on the Moon’s surface just before and after totality. The SunSketcher app will capture images of these beads along with precise time and location data of each observation. Following the eclipse, the SunSketcher team will use the collected observations to calculate the shape of the Sun.
      When a planet passes directly between a star and its observer – what astronomers call a transit – the planet dims the star’s light by a measurable amount. The graph in the lower left shows a real time visualization of the strength of the light signal from the star.
      NASA When an object transits – or passes in front of – a star, the star’s light dims. Measuring changes in starlight to search for these transits has revealed thousands of exoplanets (planets orbiting other stars) in recent years. You can join the search today! Three NASA citizen science projects are focused on investigating exoplanets using transits.
      Planet Hunters TESS invites everyone to look for traces of transiting planets in the changing light of distant stars. The most promising of these signals indicate “exoplanet candidates” to be confirmed through additional observations. This project, hosted on the Zooniverse platform, can be done on a smartphone or a computer. Exoplanet Watch is a community of people who use their own telescopes or a shared community robotic telescope to observe exoplanet candidates to better predict the next time the objects will transit. This project requires an internet-connected computer. UNITE, like Exoplanet Watch, is a community of folks using their telescopes to observe exoplanet candidates. This community uses Unistellar telescopes, which operate on a standard, user-friendly system. The UNITE and Exoplanet Watch teams often share data and collaborate! Whichever events you observe, or whichever projects you choose to contribute to, we’re sure you’ll find yourself marveling at our presence on this wonderful planet in this mysterious universe. You don’t have to wait until April 8!
      by Sarah Kirn and Marc J. Kuchner
      NASA Citizen Science

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    • By NASA
      A NASA-funded commercial space station, Blue Origin’s Orbital Reef, recently completed testing milestones for its critical life support system as part of the agency’s efforts for new destinations in low Earth orbit.
      The four milestones are part of a NASA Space Act Agreement originally awarded to Blue Origin in 2021 and focused on the materials and designs for systems to clean, reclaim, and store the air and water critical for human spaceflight.
      NASA is working closely with commercial companies to develop new space stations capable of providing services to NASA and others, which will ensure that the U.S. maintains a continuous human presence in low Earth orbit and provides direct benefits for people on Earth.
      “These milestones are critical to ensuring that a commercial destination can support human life so NASA astronauts can continue to have access to low Earth orbit to conduct important scientific research in the unique microgravity environment,” said Angela Hart, manager of NASA’s Commercial Low Earth Orbit Development Program. “Additionally, each milestone that is completed allows NASA to gain insight into our partner’s progress on station design and development.”
      Humans living and working in space do so in a closed environment that must be monitored and controlled. On the International Space Station, components for the environmental control and life support system maintain clean air and water for astronauts. The regenerative system recycles and reclaims most of the water and oxygen produced by normal human activities. This significantly reduces the amount of mass that would have to be launched to the orbiting laboratory for these functions.
      Orbital Reef will have a similar system in place. All four milestones tested different parts of the system, including a trace contaminant control test, water contaminant oxidation test, urine water recovery test, and water tank test.
      The trace contaminant control test screened materials to remove harmful impurities from the air. The water containment oxidation test, urine water recovery test, and water tank test all focused on potential cleaning, reclaiming, and storing technologies.
      NASA is supporting the design and development of multiple commercial space stations, including Blue Origin’s Orbital Reef, through funded and unfunded agreements. The current design and development phase will be followed by the procurement of services from one or more companies, where NASA aims to be one of many customers for low Earth orbit destinations.
      NASA’s commercial strategy for low Earth orbit will provide the government with reliable and safe services at a lower cost and enable the agency to focus on Artemis missions to the Moon in preparation for Mars, while also continuing to use low Earth orbit as a training and proving ground for those deep space missions.
      For more information about NASA’s commercial space strategy, visit:
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    • By European Space Agency
      ESA’s Arctic Weather Satellite has passed its environmental test campaign with flying colours – meaning that the satellite has been declared fit for liftoff and its life in the harsh environment of space.
      This new satellite, which is slated for launch in June, has been designed to show how it can improve weather forecasts in the Arctic – a region that currently lacks data for accurate short-term forecasts.
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