Stand by to launch: The world’s 1st light sail in orbit

An elegant, 400-year-old means of navigating the stars takes flight.

Image source: Planetary Society
Technology & Innovation
  • The Planetary Society is about to launch LightSail 2, a crowdfunded light sail craft.
  • LightSail 2 uses photons from the sun as fuel.
  • Space X's Falcom Heavy rocket will carry LightSail 2 aloft, 720 kilometers up.
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What is the massive thing under the Moon’s surface?

A surprise on the far side of the Moon.

Image source: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/University of Arizona
Surprising Science
  • Scientists detect a gigantic, underground, metallic anomaly down a crater on the Moon.
  • "Whatever it is, wherever it came from," it looks to be billions of years old.
  • It's probably the remains of an asteroid that hit the Moon.
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Image source: tristan tan/Shutterstock
Surprising Science
  • Asian elephants often leave protected areas to feed and come into conflict with humans.
  • The elephants, it turns out, can recognize the largest quantities of food by smell.
  • This insight could lead to keeping Asian elephants out of harm's way via redirection using olfactory cues.
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It may be time to call off the search for Planet X

Weird outer solar system orbits might be something less dramatic.

Image source: Johan Swanepoel/Shutterstock
Surprising Science
  • Something is producing weird object orbits in the Kuiper Belt, but what?
  • Instead of a massive unfound planet, it may be the gravitational pull from an equally massive disc of small, icy objects.
  • Researchers created a model of such a disc that explained everything.
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