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Watch the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission briefing

21 August 2016 Astronomy Now

Watch as NASA holds a news conference at its Washington, D.C. headquarters to provide a preview of its OSIRIS-REx mission to asteroid Bennu and back. The mission is scheduled to launch on 8 September, reach the asteroid in 2018, capture a sample of the celestial body in 2020 and bring the specimen back to Earth in a special landing capsule in 2023.

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A ‘super Grand Canyon’ on Pluto’s moon Charon

24 June 2016 Astronomy Now

Pluto’s largest moon, Charon, is home to an unusual canyon system that’s far longer and deeper than Arizona’s Grand Canyon. As far as NASA’s New Horizons scientists can tell, the canyon informally named Argo Chasma has a total length of approximately 430 miles — one and a half times the length and five times the depth of the Grand Canyon on Earth.

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“Electric wind” can strip Earth-like planets of oceans and atmospheres

21 June 2016 Astronomy Now

The space environment around a planet plays a key role in determining what molecules exist in the atmosphere – and whether the planet is habitable for life. New research shows that Venus has an “electric wind” strong enough to remove the components of water from its upper atmosphere, which may have played a significant role in stripping Earth’s twin planet of its oceans.

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