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SpaceX launches 4 amateurs on private Earth-circling trip

SpaceX’s first private flight streaked into orbit Wednesday night with two contest winners, a health care worker and their rich sponsor, the most ambitious leap yet in space tourism. It was the first time a spacecraft circled Earth with an all-amateur crew and no professional astronauts. “Punch it, SpaceX!” the flight’s billionaire leader, Jared Isaacman,

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Here comes the Sun: NAU planetary scientists find evidence of solar-driven change on the Moon

Tiny iron nanoparticles unlike any found naturally on Earth are nearly everywhere on the Moon—and scientists are trying to understand why. A new study led by Northern Arizona University doctoral candidate Christian J. Tai Udovicic, in collaboration with associate professor Christopher Edwards, both of NAU’s Department of Astronomy and Planetary Science, uncovered important clues to help understand the

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Painstaking search for new planets begins on a mountaintop in Arizona

One of the most precise instruments for detecting planets is being used at the Kitt Peak National Observatory on the Tohono O’odham Nation west of Tucson. The NEID spectrometer looks for Earth-like planets outside our solar system by measuring slight changes in the light coming from distant stars. Those shifts are caused by the gravitational

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Students from minority communities explore space

As with most scientific disciplines, leaders in the field of astronomy are looking for ways to ensure that students from traditionally minoritized populations have ample opportunities to participate in research and contribute to the advancement of science. Northern Arizona University professor David Trilling, chair of the Department of Astronomy and Planetary Science, is one of the leaders

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Want to pretend to live on Mars? For a whole year? Apply now

Want to find your inner Matt Damon and spend a year pretending you are isolated on Mars? NASA has a job for you. To prepare for eventually sending astronauts to Mars, NASA began taking applications Friday for four people to live for a year in Mars Dune Alpha. That’s a 1,700-square-foot Martian habitat, created by

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Robotic police dogs: Useful hounds or dehumanizing machines?

If you’re homeless and looking for temporary shelter in Hawaii’s capital, expect a visit from a robotic police dog that will scan your eye to make sure you don’t have a fever. That’s just one of the ways public safety agencies are starting to use Spot, the best-known of a new commercial category of robots

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