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Category archives for Exoplanets

Video: That’s No Moon. It’s Aliens. (Maybe.)

Scientists and sci-fi fans alike are wondering whether the unusual dips in brightness of a distant star could be the shadows of alien space structures built more than 1,465 years ago.

Spock’s Enduring Legacy for Earth Governance

As the world mourns the passing of Leonard Nimoy, the role he most memorably represented and the marvelous mythology he helped to create will remain timeless. As an environmental planner interested in better ways of governing natural resources, Star Trek‘s fabled future and specially Spock’s role provides me surprising inspiration. The creator of  Star Trek,…

Name That Planet! Alien Worlds Looking for Winning Names

Tired of this planet? How about voting on a name for a newly-discovered one.

NASA Puts Kepler Back On the Hunt For Distant Worlds

On the hunt for alien worlds, NASA has approved a new mission for the Kepler spacecraft, despite a crippling breakdown in 2013 that seemed to mark the end of its work forever. (See: “New Role for Disabled Kepler?”) Launched in 2009, the original $600 million Kepler mission discovered more than half of all known planets orbiting nearby…

Interactive Map: Untamed Patagonia

In the heart of Patagonia, the legendary land of wildness, fierce winds, and hardy gauchos, a new national park is underway. Based in a tent at the bottom of the earth, cartographers Marty Schnure and Ross Donihue set out to create maps that bring the place and its mission to life.

7 Sky Events This Week: Double Comet Flybys and Lunar Encounters

Be dazzled by a superbright comet and watch three worlds align in this week’s sky events not to miss.

New Exoplanet Circles Star in Less Than 9 Hours (and Is Covered by Molten Lava)

NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has helped discover a new Earth-sized planet that has a year that lasts less time than an average work day or a good night’s sleep. Kepler 78b zips around its host star in a mere 8.5 hours — making this one of the shortest orbital periods ever detected. (See also: “Most…

Top 10 Headlines Today: Dogs’ Surprising Genetic Roots, Analyzing Babies’ Cries…

On our radar today: 1) American dogs are not as American as we may have thought; 2) Researchers are developing a way to analyze babies’ cries; 3) The robot Atlas may be foreshadowing an age of ‘robo sapians’, and…

Where are the Aliens? Interview With a SETI Researcher

Yesterday the internet was abuzz with talk about UFOs and the Roswell incident, which took place 66 years ago this week. Discovering life beyond Earth has always been considered by some to be the holy grail of science. However, no little green men or even measly microbes have been conclusively found. But this hasn’t dampened…

Guests Across The Globe: Six Months of 2013 NG Weekend Interviews

We’re halfway through the year and what better way to map our progress than to, well, map the many guests we’ve had on National Geographic Weekend since the ball dropped back in January?

Bumper Crop of Habitable Worlds Discovered?

Astronomers believe they have found an alien solar system packed with a record-breaking three potentially habitable worlds. New observations of the star Gliese 667C—about one-third the mass of our sun—is home to between five and seven planets, three of which are classified as super-Earths. All three are larger than our own planet, but smaller than…

May 26, 2013: Staying Safe Going Up Mountains, Injuries Flying Down Cliffs and More

This week, we chat with Conrad Anker who reflects on how difficult it is for even the best climbers to avoid disaster on Everest, Jon Jenkins who is scouring the deepest reaches of the universe looking for signs of intelligent life, and daredevil Angela Proudfoot who skydives against all odds after sustaining a serious base jumping injury.

Planet Debris Pollute Dead Stars

  A pair of dead stars sitting in a star cluster about 150 light years from Earth appear to have their atmospheres polluted with debris from asteroids . Astronomers say this suggests that the basic ingredients for making Earth-like planets could be quite  common in stellar nurseries across the cosmos. “We have identified chemical evidence…

Retired Space Observatory’s Watery Legacy

  After nearly four years of glorious service to science, the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory mission has come to the end this week. Running out of helium coolant needed to chill its instruments down to near absolute zero means that it has closed its far-infrared eyes to the Universe for good.  After a…

Top 10 Headlines Today: Gossiping Monkeys, Swimming Dinosaurs…

On our radar today: 1) Monkeys may be talking about us behind our backs; 2) The hunt for a new Earth will begin in 2017; 3) A California town harnesses the sun, and…