Space & Time 

Scientists shrink chemistry lab to seek evidence of life on Mars

An international team of scientists has created a tiny chemistry lab for a rover that will drill beneath the Martian surface looking for signs of past or present life. The toaster oven-sized lab, called the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer or MOMA, is a key instrument on the ExoMars Rover, a joint mission between the European Space Agency and the Russian space agency Roscosmos, with a significant contribution to MOMA from NASA. It will be launched toward the Red Planet in July 2020.

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Space & Time 

EOVSA reveals new insights into solar flares’ explosive energy releases

Last September, a massive new region of magnetic field erupted on the Sun’s surface next to an existing sunspot. The powerful collision of magnetic fields produced a series of potent solar flares, causing turbulent space weather conditions at Earth. These were the first flares to be captured, in their moment-by-moment progression, by New Jersey Institute of Technology’s (NJIT) recently expanded Owens Valley Solar Array (EOVSA).

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Space & Time 

Frequency-stable laser systems for space

For the first time a frequency reference based on molecular iodine was successfully demonstrated in space! What sounds a bit like science fiction is an important step towards laser interferometric distance measurements between satellites as well as for future global navigation satellite systems based on optical technologies. The frequency reference tests were carried out on 13 May on board the sounding rocket TEXUS54. The centerpiece of the payload, a compact laser system, which was primarily developed by HU Berlin and the Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, demonstrated its suitability for space.

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Space & Time 

New magnetic process in turbulent space

Though close to home, the space immediately around Earth is full of hidden secrets and invisible processes. In a new discovery reported in the journal Nature, scientists working with NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft — MMS — have uncovered a new type of magnetic event in our near-Earth environment by using an innovative technique to squeeze extra information out of the data.

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