Space Exploration
Wednesday, June 12, 2024

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After 27 years and 39 flights, Discovery's wheels rolled to a stop for the very last time under the warm sun at the Florida spaceport's Shuttle Landing Facility,on Wednesday, March 9, 2011 at 11:57 a.m. EST

(16:57 GMT), capping a busy 13-day mission to the International Space Station.

discoverys_touch_down

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new exoplanet 0929

Is There Life There?

The star known as Gliese 581 is unremarkable in just about every way you can imagine. It's a red dwarf, the most common type of star in the Milky Way, weighing in at about a third of the mass of the sun. At 20 light years or so away, it's relatively nearby, the 117th closest star to Earth. You can't even see it without a telescope, so while it lies in the direction of Libra, it isn't one of the shining dots you'd connect to form the constellation. It's no wonder that the star's name lacks even a whiff of mystery or romance.