space stories

 
Earth has a nasty habit of recycling its surface such that old stuff (like dinosaur bones and meteor craters and ancient alien cities) get swallowed up by oceans and volcanoes or eroded into dust. The moon, however, hasn't been geologically active for a very long time, and if aliens ever stopped by our solar system, the moon might be the place to check for artifacts.
 
Kinect is expected to branch out into small business and banking in 2012. Now the gaming system's sensors could be adapted as a next generation weight measurement system onboard the International Space Station. It would relay data via 3D modeling, and require less space than the current equipment.
 
I know with the holidays coming up you've probably been worrying about the sun expanding into a red giant, engulfing the Earth, and turning us all into a swirling mass of vaporized rock. A newly discovered planetary system suggests that Earth may actually be able to survive this last dying gasp of our star. Mostly. Sort of. Well, maybe at least a little bit.
 
Meteorites traveling towards the surface of Mars can often be traveling at several times the speed of sound as they hit the planet's thin atmosphere. A new study of images taken from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) suggests the hurtling rocks trigger shockwaves that roll through the air actually triggering avalanches on the dusty surface before they strike.
 
Whether there's life on Mars could be one of the defining questions of our generation, since a definitive "yes" would suggest that life is significantly more common on places that aren't Earth, which includes the entire rest of the universe. This is why we're scouting out extremophiles, and the latest almost-alien bacteria hail from a lava tube in Oregon.
 
With so many new ways of disposing of cremated remains, space burials may seem old news. It could undergo a renaissance if legislators in the state of Virginia have their way. They are reportedly considering a bill that provides an income tax deduction for those who choose to go orbital.
 
Becoming a swollen red giant is the future of our sun when it begins to exhaust its fuel on its way to death. Recently, data from the hardworking Kepler telescope recorded seismic shakes or "starquakes" on the surface of a red giant that led to the intriguing discovery their cores spin faster than their surface.

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