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  • A new study suggests that the moons of gas-giant exoplanets may break away into their own orbits, called "ploonets."
  • Planet + moon = ploonet.
  • As the gas giants move inward toward their suns, the orbits of their moons are often disrupted, according to new computer models.
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Surprising Science

Colonizing space will require gear that doesn't exist yet. But they're in the works.

What will it take to conquer our immemorial space dream?

  • Our best bet for frolicking among the stars will come from building O'Neill space colonies.
  • Landing on and terraforming distant worlds such as Mars is fraught with greater technical and biological difficulties.
  • Advances in radiation shielding, space construction and propulsion are needed for any sort of space colonization effort.
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Technology & Innovation

Want to invest into space? Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic is going public

Astronaut company Virgin Galactic will become first to be publicly traded.

Photo by In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images
  • Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic will go public later this year.
  • People will be able to buy shares when Virgin Galactic merges with a shell company.
  • The company aims to raise enough capital through investment to sustain itself until profitability.
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Technology & Innovation

The Big Bounce: Why our universe might be eternal

When it comes to theories of the universe, the Big Bang theory is almost accepted as a fact. However, it's still uncertain, and some scientists believe that the universe didn't began with a bang, but a bounce.

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  • The Big Bang theory is treated as the de facto way the universe began, but it's had some issues.
  • One issue was that it could not describe how the universe became uniform and homogeneous, which is what we observe today.
  • Physicists tweaked Big Bang theory to accommodate this, but the Big Bounce theory can address these issues without too much tweaking.
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Surprising Science

5 reasons future space travel should explore asteroids

While the world considers future trips to Mars, two astrophysicists make a case for exploring asteroids.

NASA/JPL-Caltech

On the same day that the Earth survived an expected near-miss with asteroid 367943 Duende, Russian dashcams unexpectedly captured footage of a different asteroid as it slammed into the atmosphere, exploded, and injured more than 1,000 people.

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Surprising Science