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Tag Archives: nasa

New Horizons confirms Pluto is bigger than we thought

Poor Pluto. Once part of the collective of nine planets that make up our solar system, it was reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2005, after the discovery of the larger Eris – a trans-Neptunian object – forced scientists to consider the formal definition of “planet;” unfortunately for Pluto it …

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NASA revives New Horizons probe after malfunction

Everyone excited to see what images the New Horizons probe is set to send back of Pluto, our erstwhile 8th planetary friend, can breathe a sigh of relief, as NASA scientists have managed to bring it back to life after a computer malfunction, just over a week out from its …

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NASA bringing rover tech to driverless cars

Driverless car technologies are coming on leaps and bounds at the moments, with the world’s first motorway-only automated features set to hit commercial cars as soon as 2017. However, whether our automated future will look like the cars of old, or something more akin to Google’s Pod Car design remains to …

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NASA finds evidence of vast historic Mars ocean

Researchers working for the NASA space agency have announced that they’ve found evidence on Mars for an ocean that covered almost 20 per cent of the planet’s surface, which formed shortly after Mars itself 4.3 billion years ago. At its peak, it would have covered much of the northern hemisphere and …

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Alien star gave our solar system a fly-by 70k years ago

Although one of the common ways sci-fi writers like to make their planets more exciting is adding a second sun to the mix, it’s not something we’re ever likely to experience here on Earth. However our ancestors might have, as 70,000 years ago, another star did a fly-by of our …

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This is what the far side of the moon looks like

Considering how relatively close – in space terms – the Moon is, you would think that getting a look at the back of it wouldn’t be that complicated – especially since it spends all of its time rotating around us. However due to tidal-locking, looking up into the night’s sky …

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NASA to go all American with its ISS crew flights by 2017

Space is becoming a far more commercial venture these days, with the likes of SpaceX, Boeing and Virgin Galactic all developing new, more efficient and cheaper ways to take people and cargo into orbit. However it’s also been more commercial for NASA over the past few years, as since the …

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New Horizons probe to begin Pluto snapshots

The New Horizon’s probe has been sailing through the murky black of space for almost a decade, with little to report but some atmospheric and magnetosphere tests when receiving a gravity assist from Jupiter. That was all part of the plan though, to bring the space-craft into a nearby encounter …

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Space X sea-barge landing too ‘hard’

Commercial space organisation, Space X, attempted a frequently delayed unmanned mission to the International Space Station on Saturday, delivering supplies and important cargo to the orbiting station for the first time in months. While the launch itself went off without a hitch, the big scientific experiment with it was to see …

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Hubble takes photo stitching to new heights

Anyone who has used a digital camera and some editing software, will have tried to create a panorama by combining two or more photos together. It’s a technique that can be easily accomplished – with a product like Photoshop – for half a dozen photos or so. The folks at …

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If NASA was a travel agency…

Even though the private industry looks set to overtake NASA in the race to dominate the endless blackness outside of our own little world, here’s hoping that the space agency and its international counterparts continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible, rather than resorting to more commercial ventures. Still, …

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NASA discovers best Earth-like planet yet

Chances are we’re going to colonise inhospitable environments in our own solar system long before we look to do so anywhere else, but that doesn’t mean we can’t dream of landing craft on worlds where much more acceptable gravity and temperatures won’t make it such a pain to get up …

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Mars may have methane producing microbes

nasa mars methane

In a paper released in the Science academic journal a few days ago, a group of NASA scientists has confirmed the existence of methane gas on Mars. This is a good indicator of life, as 95% of methane here on Earth is generated by Microbes. While this is in itself impressive, some of the other …

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NASA and Lockheed to test Orion space capsule today

The Orion capsule that could one day carry humans to the surface of Mars, is set to be tested today by NASA and its developers, Lockheed Martin, sending it almost 6,000KM (3,700 miles) from Earth, to make sure critical components work when confronted with heavy radiation and high re-entry temperatures. …

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US cargo delivery rocket explodes soon after launch

An unmanned rocket that was on its way to the International space station to drop off several thousand kilos worth of supplies to the waiting astronauts, has exploded shortly after leaving the launchpad. Nobody was hurt in the incident, but it’s expected to delay any future launches at the Wallops …

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Next MARS spacecraft to arrive this weekend

Hey Mars, guess who’s coming to dinner? No not one of those rude rover types that trundles all over your beautiful face. It’s MAVEN? She just wants to hang out in orbit and analyse your atmosphere, you’re cool with that right? Great, she should be arriving on the 21st September, this Sunday. …

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Curiosity rover reaches main scientific destination

The Curiosity rover is a marvel of modern engineering. After spending eight months in the cold black of space, it descended through Mars’ carbon dioxide rich atmosphere and landed in the Gale Crater in August 2012. From there it conducted a few simple scientific experiments, but spent the majority of …

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Meteorite – perhaps – crashes in Nicaragua

Since the official NASA update to Kerbal Space Program, many people around the world have gotten their taste for how difficult it can be to land on anything smaller than a planet in the game, making it even more impressive that we’re looking to do the same thing in real …

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NASA’s next Mars rover will test basic terraforming

The Mars Curiosity rover is a not-so-little badass, having taken astounding pictures of the surface of the red planet, zapped rocks with lasers to find out their chemical components and given us hope that we might one day find life on the seemingly dead world. It’s older cousin, Opportunity, is …

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NASA begrudgingly agrees microwave space thruster works

Space exploration costs billions and billions of dollars, which is why it’s serious business. NASA is firmly of that mind set and doesn’t go about validating bogus theories willy nilly, but this week it’s – seemingly begrudgingly – lent credence to the practical application of a microwave space drive that …

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Opportunity Rover breaks Mars distance record

Curiosity might be the current darling of the science world, having only landed on Mars in 2012, but its older brother Opportunity is making headlines today, because it just became the most travelled Rover in the history of space exploration, beating out the Soviet Union Lunokhod 2, which landed on …

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NASA to use smartphones for robotic intelligence

In just three days time, NASA is set to send a handful of Android smartphones into orbit, with plans to dock with the International Space Station (ISS) and deliver supplies. However those smartphones will do more than just let the astronauts get a quick game of Angry Birds in before …

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Quadcopters could be used to explore Titan

Who’d have thought that an organisation like NASA, with its tens of billions of dollars of annual budget, would look to what has become a toy industry, for its latest ideas? In a new plan to explore Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, NASA has begun discussions of using a small quadcopter, …

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NASA starts testing shuttle successor

Despite President Obama ending both the Shuttle program and Constellation (return to the moon by 2020) programs at NASA over the past few years, the organisation hasn’t been resting on its laurels. One of its biggest developments has been designing and prototyping the successor to the iconic Shuttle, known as …

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