El Gordo Is The Biggest Galaxy Cluster Ever Seen In The Early Universe

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El Gordo Is The Biggest Galaxy Cluster Ever Seen In The Early Universe

The El Gordo galaxy cluster is big. How big is it? It's so big that it would take 3,000 Milky Way galaxies to equal its mass. It's so big that it weighs as much as 3 quadrillion suns. It's so big that a 2012 estimate said it was massive, and then a 2014 estimate said no, it's nearly twice that massive.

Photonic Propulsion Could Be Our Ticket To The Stars

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Photonic Propulsion Could Be Our Ticket To The Stars

Right now, the Voyager I spacecraft is hurtling through space at 35,000 miles per hour. That sounds fast, until you consider that it only recently left our solar system, 37 years after its 1977 launch. As impressive as our feats of spaceflight have been, there's an elephant in the room. Physics professor Philip Lubin laid it out clearly when he wrote, "While we all dream of human spaceflight to the stars in a way romanticized in books and movies, it is not within our power to do so." To get there, we're going to need to go much, much faster, and our current propulsion systems just aren't hacking it.

The Trailblazing Scientific Career Of Maria Zuber

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The Trailblazing Scientific Career Of Maria Zuber

"In planetary science, you can ask really big questions," said Maria Zuber, Vice President of Research at MIT, in an interview with Smithsonian Magazine. Maria has been tackling big questions her entire career. She was the first woman to run a NASA spacecraft mission, the first woman to lead a science department at MIT, and one of the first two women to receive NASA's Distinguished Public Service Medal. Her passion is planetary science, which includes the study of planets, moons, and planetary systems.

Leland Melvin Went From Football Star To Inspirational NASA Astronaut

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Leland Melvin Went From Football Star To Inspirational NASA Astronaut

Leland Melvin took a uniquely adorable photo for his official NASA portrait—he snuck his two dogs into the studio with him. Though this image has made its rounds on the internet, Melvin has much more to offer than his heartwarming headshot. His story is a truly inspirational one.

Asgardia Is Planned To Be Humanity's First Space Nation

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Asgardia Is Planned To Be Humanity's First Space Nation

Science and technology is moving at a rapid pace, but even so, the red tape and shifting priorities of individual governments have kept it from moving as fast as it could. That's why a multinational group of researchers, scientists, and other experts have unveiled their plans for an independent space nation they've dubbed Asgardia, after the city in the skies from Norse mythology. The hope is that the nation "will offer an independent platform free from the constraint of a land-based country's laws," a place "which is truly 'no man's land'." There are also plans to mine asteroids and create a protective shield to defend Earth from meteorites, debris, and other interplanetary threats. The first step is to launch a robotic satellite in late 2017, then follow up with a permanent space station in which Asgardian citizens can live and work.