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Inside Space (Nov 2nd, 2017)

Scientists have discovered a massive planet orbiting a red dwarf star about 600 light years from our solar system that could upend how experts think planets form. The planet — known as NGTS-1b and about the size of Jupiter — orbits a red dwarf star that's half the size of our solar system's sun. Scientists said the planet is just 3 percent of the distance from the Earth and sun. "Despite being a monster of a planet," Professor Peter Wheatley from the University of Warwick, who helped to lead astronomers, said the planet was "difficult to find ... because its parent star is small and faint." Wheatley said "small stars are actually the most common in the universe, so it is possible that there are many of these giant planets waiting to found." — THE INDEPENDENT

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A new study says zero gravity can reposition the brain upward, lessening the amount of protective fluid surrounding the brain. Researchers studied MRI scans of 34 astronauts — 16 of whom spent a few weeks on a NASA space shuttle and 18 others who spent a few months on the International Space Station. For astronauts with an extended stay in space, researchers found brain changes were more pronounced. The findings were released this week in the New England Journal of Medicine. — THE VERGE

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Investors have pumped more than $2 billion of private capital into space-related companies this year alone. Chad Anderson, the CEO of investment firm Space Angels, said in a report released this week that of the "250 space ventures that have received non-government equity funding, 88 percent were funded since 2009" in an era he referred to as "the dawn of the Entrepreneurial Space Age." 2017 marks the first year commercial launches outpace government-backed launches. Billionaires Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and Elon Musk lead the way with hundreds of millions of dollars being pumped into companies they've each created to build spacecrafts and enter space. — CNBC

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Richard Branson apparently has created another space-related company under the Virgin Orbit portfolio. Branson's VOX Space will focus on government contracts with the United States and its allies to get cargo into space, TechCrunch reported. Virgin Orbit would not comment on the report. TechCrunch quoted a person familiar with the plan as saying: “There are bureaucratic requirements that exist for this part of the market and not for the commercial market." The new company would mean Branson has four different companies related to space: Virgin Galactic; Virgin Orbit; VOX Space; and The Spaceship Company. — TECHCRUNCH

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Scientists used cosmic rays to find a secret space hidden within the Great Pyramid Of Giza. Researchers used muons, or tiny particles, to discover the hidden chamber. Cosmic rays reach atoms in the upper atmosphere creating the muons, which are able to pass through thick material. Muons lose energy as they pass through the thick materials, allowing researchers using muon detectors to create an image showing whether the area is dense or empty. "The first reaction was a lot of excitement, but then we knew that it would take us a long, long time, that we needed to be very patient in this scientific process. The good news is the void is there. Now we are sure that there is a void. We know that this void is big," researcher Mehdi Tayoubi said. The report was released in the journal Nature. — NPR

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After almost two decades, the printer inside the International Space Station will be upgraded. NASA astronauts have used Epson 800 Inkjet printers since the space station was created in 2000. As one would stop working, another of the exact same model would be sent up. Officials estimate about 1,000 pages are printed each month by U.S. astronauts. Next year, two new HP printers will head to space. — MASHABLE

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Remember the Women of NASA Lego set we showed you in Tuesday's Inside Space edition?

The 231-piece building block set features Lego-sized figurines of Nancy Grace Roman, Margaret Hamilton, Sally Ride. and Mae Jemison.

Well, the set launched Nov. 1 and already is at the top of Amazon's best-selling toys list.

The product was created through an idea submitted by a science journalist through the Lego Ideas program.

Never underestimate the power of women ... even in Lego form.

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