Astronauts could someday benefit from recycling human waste on long space trips (photo illustration). Credit: American Chemical Society Imagine you’re on your way to Mars, and you lose a crucial tool during a spacewalk. Not to worry, you’ll simply re-enter your spacecraft and use some microorganisms to convert your urine and exhaled carbon dioxide (CO2)

The central region of the Perseus galaxy cluster. The mosaic image is composed of many “tiles” of long-exposure images taken with the 4.2 metre William Herschel Telescope on the island of La Palma. Ultra-diffuse galaxies are difficult to spot, as the enlargement shows. The diameter of the whole image area is about that of the

Illustration shows a likely configuration of a gravitational lensing system discovered by OVRO. The ‘milli-lens’ is located in or near the intervening spiral galaxy. The lens is magnifying blobs of jet material within the active galaxy PKS1413+135, but the blobs are too small to be seen in the radio image (top left), taken by MOJAVE.

This artist’s concept illustrates an asteroid belt around the bright star Vega. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech Astronomers have discovered what appears to be a large asteroid belt around the star Vega, the second brightest star in northern night skies. The scientists used data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory, in

This illustration compares the four planets detected around the nearby star tau Ceti (top) and the inner planets of our solar system (bottom). Credit: Illustration courtesy of Fabo Feng A new study by an international team of astronomers reveals that four Earth-sized planets orbit the nearest sun-like star, tau Ceti, which is about 12 light

The newfound young star clusters lie thousands of light-years below the plane of our Milky Way galaxy, a flat spiral disk seen in this artist’s conception. If alien lifeforms were to develop on planets orbiting these stars, they would have views of a portion, or all, of the galactic disk. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech Astronomers using data

An artist’s concept of the distribution of the ambient gas around IRAS 16547-4247. The central high-density gas cloud is thought to contain multiple high-density protostars. Two outflows of gas spurt from the central part in the vertical and horizontal directions respectively while pushing the ambient gas away, which makes a balloon-like structure. A pair of

Observations of ‘Jellyfish galaxies’ with ESO’s Very Large Telescope have revealed a previously unknown way to fuel supermassive black holes. It seems the mechanism that produces the tentacles of gas and newborn stars that give these galaxies their nickname also makes it possible for the gas to reach the central regions of the galaxies, feeding

These two views of Saturn’s moon Titan exemplify how NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has revealed the surface of this fascinating world. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute Mere weeks away from its dramatic, mission-ending plunge into Saturn, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has a hectic schedule, orbiting the planet every week in its Grand Finale. On a few orbits, Saturn’s

This dwarf galaxy is named NGC 5949. It sits at a distance of around 44 million light-years from Earth, placing it within the Milky Way’s cosmic neighborhood. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA The universe is incomprehensibly vast, with billions of other planets circling billions of other stars. The potential for intelligent life to exist somewhere out

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