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Updated at 9:45 a.m. ET Tuesday

Interest in "Properties of Expanding Universes" is at an all-time high: Stephen Hawking's doctoral thesis of that name crashed Cambridge University's open-access repository on the first day the document was posted online.

For the first time, scientists have caught two neutron stars in the act of colliding, revealing that these strange smashups are the source of heavy elements such as gold and platinum.

Cleveland State University

The explosion of growth in the space industry is opening up new areas of law, and an Ohio university is preparing to go where no university has gone before.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET Sept. 14

The Cassini spacecraft's final moments are a few hours away. Early Friday morning, it will slam itself into Saturn's atmosphere.

After 13 years in orbit around Saturn, NASA's Cassini spacecraft is about to plunge itself into the planet's atmosphere and disintegrate. NASA decided to put an end to the mission on Friday because the probe is almost out of fuel.

Cassini has provided exquisite details about the second-largest planet in our solar system.

During the full moon in my small border town in Arizona, my mom and I would pack into her car, drive up towards the mountains, and hike to a boulder she called Full Moon Rock. We'd set out jars and create moon water, drink wine, eat snacks and watch the moon cast an evening shadow over our quiet two-person picnic.

My mom and I were following centuries of tradition by devoting time and energy towards capturing the powers of the full moon. This week, I'll be practicing rituals focused on the solar eclipse, along with astrologer Sarolta DeFaltay and author Jaya Saxena.

You might think that, after thousands of years of observing total solar eclipses, science-minded folks would have exhausted what can be learned from this awesome natural spectacle.

You would be wrong.

The survival of life of Earth (and elsewhere) may rest on the shoulders of NASA's next planetary protection officer – and they're taking applications.

The job posting has elicited headlines about how the space agency is seeking a person to defend our planet from aliens. But it's more concerned with microorganisms than little green men.

Thieves made off with a solid gold replica of the first vehicle to land on the moon Friday.

Police in Wapakoneta, Ohio, say they found the model of the 1969 Lunar Excursion Module missing from the Armstrong Air & Space Museum after they responded to an alarm that went off at the museum late Friday night.

The gold replica, given to famed astronaut Neil Armstrong, is one of only three made — one for each astronaut aboard Apollo 11. Police said in a statement that "the value of such an item cannot be determined."

Crumbs may seem harmless here on Earth, but they can be a hazard in microgravity — they could get in an astronaut's eye, or get inhaled, causing someone to choke. Crumbs could even float into an electrical panel, burn up or cause a fire.

That's part of the reason why it was a very big deal in 1965 when John Young pulled a corned beef sandwich out of his pocket as he was orbiting the earth with Gus Grissom.

"Where did that come from?" Grissom asked Young.

"I brought it with me," Young said.

In a month, Americans will be able to witness something that hasn't happened here in 38 years. The moon will pass between the earth and the sun, casting a shadow across parts of the country. It's such a rare experience, some people will travel to witness it. 

These days, advances in science seem to be sounding more like science fiction.

Chinese scientists have announced they successfully "teleported" information on a photon from Earth to space, spanning a distance of more than 300 miles.

So is this like "beaming" in Star Trek or "apparating" wizards in Harry Potter? Kind of, says Brian Greene, professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University.

Victoria LaBarre was climbing out of a canyon and into a bright, vast, seemingly lifeless landscape when she started to experience an astronaut's nightmare.

"Suddenly," she said, "I couldn't breathe."

Just as class lets out for the summer across the country, a new one has just been announced.

NASA has chosen 12 people from a pool of more than 18,300 applicants for two years of training before giving them the title of "astronaut."

The space agency received a record number of applicants after announcing an open application in December 2015.

Jasmin Moghbeli, one of the dozen candidates, spoke with NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro from Houston's Johnson Space Center, where she'll undertake the training program starting in August.

It's a mission that's been in the works for nearly 60 years. NASA says it will launch a spacecraft in 2018 to "touch the sun," sending it closer to the star's surface than ever before.

The spacecraft is small – its instruments would fit into a refrigerator — but it's built to withstand temperatures of more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, all the while maintaining room temperature inside the probe.

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