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Space

Researchers have proposed a method for detecting exotic events in physics by looking for the scars they leave behind on the fabric of space.

By identifying how objects like cosmic strings or evaporating black holes leave behind memories of their existence on the Universe, it might be possible to move some rather strange phenomena from theoretical to empirical science.

It all comes down to an effect of general relativity called gravitational-wave memory, which is the distortion left behind as space is stretched and relaxed by a massive object.

According to general relativity, technically anything with mass can cause the virtual emptiness of space to distort around it. sciencealert.com
The strangest star in the Universe has suddenly kicked into gear again, with researchers reporting that its light has started dimming in bizarre ways - just like it did two years ago when it baffled scientists with its irregular light emissions. 

This time around, we get to watch the investigation in action, because over the weekend, astronomers started freaking out on Twitter, telling everyone with a telescope big enough to train in on the star and help them figure out what's actually going on here.

"As far as I can tell, every telescope that can look at it right now is looking at it right now," astronomer Matt Muterspaugh from Tennessee State University told Loren Grush at The Verge.

First discovered in 2009, the 'alien megastructure' star - known officially as KIC 8462852, or Tabby's star - is located about 1,500 light-years away, between the Cygnus and Lyra constellations of the Milky Way galaxy. 

In late 2015, a team of astronomers led by Tabetha Boyajian from Yale University noticed something peculiar - a strange pattern of light surrounding the star that to this day, no one's been able to explain.  sciencealert.com
A pair of astronauts will venture outside the International Space Station for an emergency spacewalk to replace a failed computer, one of two that control major U.S. systems aboard the orbiting outpost.

Suffering a malfunction while leaving the $100 billion orbiting laboratory to depend on a backup system for commands made to its solar power system, radiators, cooling loops and other equipment, the primary device failed.

Station commander Peggy Whitson and flight engineer Jack Fischer, both with NASA, will partner for the spacewalk, which is expected to last two hours. reuters.com
An international team of astronomers lead by researchers from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias have discovered a planet two to three times as massive as the sun, in orbit around a red dwarf star just 21 light years away.  

The star, GJ625 (Gliese 625) is one of the 100 red dwarfs closest to the Sun.

The planet, designated as GJ625b is the sixth closest super-Earth to the solar system, in the habitable zone of the host star.

Although red dwarf are the most common type of star in the universe, and are known to be able to host planets, science knows only a few hundred of such planets in orbit around red dwarf stars.

The planet was discovered using the radial velocity technique: The scientists measure the change in the velocity and position of a star, as the star and the planet rotate around the common center of gravity.  firstpost.com
NASA astronauts will take an unplanned spacewalk Tuesday (May 23) to replace a failed data relay box outside of the International Space Station, restoring critical redundancy to the orbiting outpost, agency officials said Sunday (May 21).

The failed device, known as a multiplexer/demultiplexer, or MDM, was installed on March 30 during a spacewalk by NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson, now the station's commander, and then-flight engineer Shane Kimbrough, who returned to Earth last month.

Whitson will perform Tuesday's spacewalk repair with fellow NASA astronaut Jack Fischer  who arrived at the orbiting laboratory in April.

The MDM, one of two located on the outside of the station's S0 segment of the station's backbone-like main truss, controls exterior U.S. systems, including solar arrays, cooling loops, radiators and other equipment. space.com
In 1972, a journalist named Eric Burgess was touring an aerospace company with a group of fellow science correspondents when he had an unprecedented thought.

The group had just gotten a glimpse of the Pioneer 10, the spacecraft poised to become the first to leave our solar system, weeks before its interstellar journey. 

If there’s a chance the probe will meet extraterrestrial life, Burgess thought, it should carry a missive from all of mankind–some sort of greeting that would also convey the message of life on Earth to intelligent life outside of it.

Carl Sagan, then the director of the laboratory of planetary studies at Cornell University recruited the designer Frank Drake and his first wife, the artist and writer Linda Salzman Sagan, and the group pitched the idea to NASA, promising to get their message done in time for the launch of Pioneer 10 and its counterpart Pioneer 11.

In two weeks, the team had to boil all of humanity down into a simple line drawing, engrave it onto a set of identical golden plaques, and bolt them to NASA’s two Pioneer spacecraft.

The so-called “Pioneer plaques” rocketed into space and beyond our solar system in 1973. fastcodesign.com