Stolen Meteorite Found at a Tennis Court

by Jason Major on August 22, 2014

The Meteorite of Serooskerken (Source: Sterrenwacht Sonnenborgh)

The Meteorite of Serooskerken (Source: Sterrenwacht Sonnenborgh)

Here’s a bit of good news: the Serooskerken meteorite, which was stolen from the Sonnenborgh Museum and Observatory in Utrecht, Netherlands on Monday night, has been recovered. It was found in a bag left in some bushes alongside a tennis court and turned in to the police.

It’s not quite “game, set, match” though; unfortunately the meteorite was broken during the theft. (See a photo here via Twitter follower Marieke Baan.) Still, the Sonnenborgh Museum director is glad to have the pieces back, which he said will remain useful for research and can still be exhibited. (Source)

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Talk about recycling! Twenty-five years after Voyager 2 zinged past Neptune’s moon Triton, scientists have put together a new map of the icy moon’s surface using the old data. The information has special relevance right now because the New Horizons spacecraft is approaching Pluto fast, getting to the dwarf planet in less than a year. And it’s quite possible that Pluto and Triton will look similar.

Triton has an exciting history. Scientists believed it used to be a lone wanderer until Neptune captured it, causing tidal heating that in turn created fractures, volcanoes and other features on the surface. While Triton and Pluto aren’t twins — this certainly didn’t happen to Pluto — Pluto also has frozen volatiles on its surface such as carbon monoxide, methane and nitrogen.

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Animation Caption: Possible landing sites on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The model shows the illumination of the comets surface and regions under landing site consideration for the Philae lander on board ESA’s Rosetta spececraft . Credit: CNES

“The race is on” to find a safe and scientifically interesting landing site for the Philae lander piggybacked on ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft as it swoops in ever closer to the heavily cratered Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko since arriving two weeks ago after a decade long chase of 6.4 billion kilometers (4 Billion miles).

Rosetta made history by becoming the first ever probe from Earth to orbit a comet upon arrival on Aug. 6, 2014. [click to continue…]

Sunlight and shadow combine in this photo of Saturn and its rings taken Aug. 19, 2014. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Sunlight and shadow combine in this photo of Saturn and its rings taken Aug. 19, 2014. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

When Saturn is at its closest to Earth, it’s three-quarters of a billion miles away — or more than a billion kilometers! That makes these raw images from the ringed planet all the more remarkable.

Nearly every day, the Cassini spacecraft beams back what it sees at Saturn and the images are put up on this NASA website. This week, for example, it was checking out Saturn’s rings. We have a few of the pictures below, plus an older picture of the entire planet for reference.

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Space Shapes: Watch This Origami Solar Array Prototype Unfurl

by Elizabeth Howell on August 21, 2014

From paper cranes to solar sails, looks like the Japanese art of origami is making its way into the space world. As you can see in the video above, origami serves a great purpose for launching sails into space — it makes them easy to fold. And this makes it easier to pack into a rocket for the crucial launch phase, before unfurling in orbit.

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