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Curiosity Really Starts to Click
August 09, 2012
Nasa's Curiosity rover has begun satisfying the curiosity of mission scientists by sending high-quality images of Mars' surface back to Earth. Although it's only had since Sunday night to collect data, Curiosity has sent a batch of snapshots that are already allowing the NASA team to garner a good deal of information.
Curiosity Begins Capturing Martian Kodak Moments
August 07, 2012
Following the most complex landing ever attempted on Mars, NASA's most advanced Mars rover to date landed on the Red Planet at 10:32 p.m. PDT on Sunday. Dubbed "Curiosity," the one-ton, car-sized rover had been in flight for 36 weeks. Its complicated touchdown settled the device near the foot of a mountain three miles tall and 96 miles in diameter inside the Red Planet's Gale Crater.
Gliese 581g: A Potentially Habitable World or Not?
July 31, 2012
There's been considerable debate over the existence of Gliese 581g ever since the discovery of the "Goldilocks" planet was first reported nearly two years ago, but new research claims to provide additional evidence that the potentially habitable "super-Earth" really is out there.
Astronomers Spot Moon No. 5 Circling Un-Planet Pluto
July 13, 2012
Pluto may no longer be considered a true planet following its official reclassification in 2006, but that doesn't appear to be stopping the tiny dwarf planet from amassing a considerable number of celestial "followers." Just this week, in fact, a team of astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope announced their discovery of yet another moon orbiting Pluto.
From Venus With Love: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Celestial Show
June 05, 2012
The planet Venus will create a rare spectacle on Tuesday when it passes directly in front of our sun, creating an image for viewers on Earth that won't be repeated until the year 2117. Known as "the 2012 Transit of Venus," the nearly seven-hour journey will begin at 3:09 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time (22:09 UT) Tuesday and will be widely visible around the globe.
Re-Enter the Dragon
May 31, 2012
SpaceX's Dragon space capsule returned to Earth on Thursday, 10 days after it took off into the wild blue yonder to resupply the International Space Station. The capsule touched down in the Pacific Ocean at 11:42 a.m. ET a few hundred miles west of Baja California, Mexico. It will be taken by boat to a port in California near Los Angeles.
SpaceX Chalks Up Giant Leap for Commercial Space Travel
May 25, 2012
The Dragon was caught by its tail on Friday. The unmanned SpaceX spacecraft, which launched into orbit earlier this week, has successfully docked with the International Space Station, marking a first for a cargo-carrying private spacecraft. The docking was assisted with the station's 58-foot robotic arm controlled by astronaut Don Pettit.
Phantom 'Planet X' May Lurk at Solar System's Edge
May 25, 2012
A giant but unseen planet may lurk on the outer edge of our solar system, making its presence known only by disrupting the orbits of nearby celestial objects, according to Rodney Gomes, an astronomer at the National Observatory of Brazil. Astronomers have long observed that a group of small, icy bodies in the so-called "scattered disc" region beyond the orbit of Neptune follow strange orbits around the sun.
Plenty of Nail-Biting Moments Ahead for SpaceX Mission
May 23, 2012
After last weekend's delayed launch, the Falcon 9 rocket built by SpaceX blasted off Tuesday, carrying the unmanned Dragon capsule into low-Earth orbit.While the launch itself could have been considered breathtaking, there will be more "hold your breath" moments ahead. The next one will come on Thursday when the craft is scheduled to dock with the International Space Station.
SpaceX Dragon to Soar to Launch History on Falcon's Wings
May 18, 2012
When the SpaceX Dragon capsule blasts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station atop the company's Falcon rocket Saturday morning, it will be doing more than just setting off on another cargo-laden trip to the International Space Station. Rather, as the very first commercial attempt ever to fly to the ISS, this test launch will be making history.
Shining Some Light on Sunspots
May 11, 2012
Right now, if you look at the sky at sunrise or sunset when the sun's light is dim, you might be able to see Sunspot AR1476, which is now wending its way across the face of Sol, with your naked eye. The sunspot measures 160,000 km across, or about a dozen times Earth's diameter. Eyeballing the sun might hurt your eyes, of course, so it's better to avoid looking directly at it.
Asteroid Miners May Set the Stage for Space Colonization
April 24, 2012
On Tuesday, the founders of Planetary Resources held a press conference at the Museum of Flight in Seattle to announce a new megamillion-dollar plan to use commercially built robotic ships to travel to the asteroid belt to mine for valuable minerals including platinum and gold. "As we move beyond the bounds of Earth to a universe that is full of resources, we can finally bring those materials back to Earth," said speaker Peter Diamandis, cofounder of Planetary Resources.
IBM Plans Massive Computer System to Digest Big Telescope Data
April 02, 2012
IBM is teaming up with The Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, otherwise known as "Astron," on a five-year project to look into very fast, low-power exascale computer systems for the world's largest and most sensitive radio telescope. The project, to be called "DOME," will cost about $44 million.
Solar Belch Could Stink Up Energy and Communications Networks
March 08, 2012
Solar flares -- clouds of charged particles and plasma from the sun -- have hit Earth, according to the National Weather Service. The solar flares have been making their way toward the planet since Sunday. The storms can seriously disrupt GPS signals, radio communications and the power grid.
Protecting NASA From Hackers Is Not Rocket Science, Say Analysts
March 05, 2012
NASA has become a popular target of hackers. The space agency's computer network was breached 13 times in 2011 -- to the point where suspected Chinese hackers gained "full functional control" of computers used by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory," a government inspector general told congressional investigators.
NASA Dreams of Floating Space Station Twixt Earth and Moon
February 14, 2012
The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration is looking into setting up a base near the moon to further space exploration. As it's envisioned, the base will go into a halo orbit of the Earth-moon libration point 2, known as "EM L-2," above the far side of the moon. Essentially, a spacecraft in a halo orbit goes around and around near a libration, or Lagrangian, point -- in this case E-M L2.
Intel Explores New Modes of Communication for Stephen Hawking
January 10, 2012
World-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking's physical condition is further deteriorating, and Intel wants to help the famous scientist continue to share his ideas with the world. Hawking, who at 21 was diagnosed with a motor neurone disease, has been able to communicate with others through adaptive speech and computing technologies.
Paul Allen Shoots for Low Orbit
December 20, 2011
Billionaire Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen has launched a new company that will launch payloads into space from a monster aircraft. Allen's set up a new company, Stratolaunch Systems, for this project. He has revived his relationship with aerospace pioneer Burt Rutan to further his plans.
NASA Spots Possible Earth 'Twin' 600 Light-Years Away
December 05, 2011
NASA's Kepler mission on Monday confirmed the discovery of a small planet 600 light-years away from Earth in the "habitable zone" of a star not unlike our own sun. About 2.4 times the size of Earth, the newly confirmed planet -- called "Kepler-22b" -- is the smallest yet found to orbit in the middle of the habitable zone, or the region where liquid water could exist on a planet's surface.
Fully Loaded Curiosity Rover Readies for Trek to Red Planet
November 21, 2011
Following a one-day delay, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission featuring its new Curiosity rover is now scheduled for launch on Saturday, Nov. 26, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Representing the largest and most advanced rover ever sent to the Red Planet, the automobile-sized Curiosity vehicle will look for evidence of water, carbon and other key elements in the Martian soil and atmosphere.

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