Alien Space Rock ‘Oumuamua Just Keeps Getting Weirder – The Crux

Last year, astronomers announced they’d detected a comet from another solar system: ‘Oumuamua. (Credit: NASA/ESA/STScI) On October 19, 2017, astronomers first saw an object from another solar system traveling through our own. Zipping into our solar system from above, the interloper, now known as 1I/2017 U1 (‘Oumuamua), swung around the Sun and shot away again, […]

The Sun’s Magnetic Influence Helps Shape a Comet’s Tail – D-brief

[embedded content] It turns out that the sun’s magnetic field can shape and push the dust of a comet’s tail, according to a revelation made possible by one young scientist’s innovative new image-processing technique. Comet Dust In 2007, scientists were elated when NASA’s STEREO spacecraft laid its “eyes” on Comet C/2006 P1, also known as […]

Interstellar Visitor ‘Oumuamua is Probably Not an Alien Solar Sail – D-brief

An artist’s impression of the strange, interstellar object ‘Oumuamua. One new study suggests that the space rock could actually be an extraterrestrial light sail. (Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser) ‘Oumuamua — a curious, cigar-shaped rock — was the first interstellar space rock ever discovered in our solar system, though scientists debate whether it should be classified as […]

Sticky Science: Evolution of Spiderwebs – The Crux

Orb weavers, from the grouping Orbiculariae, make the classic, wheel-shaped spiderweb, as well as other intriguing designs. This tree hosts a sampling of Orbiculariae, illustrating the web diversity. Evolutionarily older spiders and their ancestors appear on the ground and trunk; more recent arrivals hang from the highest branches. (Credit: F. Vollrath and P. Selden/AR Ecology, […]

NASA’s InSight Mission Picked a Plain, “Vanilla” Landing Site on Mars. It Couldn’t be More Perfect – D-brief

This artist’s concept shows InSight landed safely on the Elysium Planitia region of the Red Planet. (Creditd: NASA/JPL-Caltech) On November 26, NASA’s InSight spacecraft will touch down on an exceedingly featureless patch on the Martian surface. According to the InSight team, this plain, boring spot couldn’t be more perfect. The InSight lander aims to study […]