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February 27 2014

February 26 2014

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February 11 2014

New NASA Photos Point to Water on Mars
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New clues are emerging about the mysterious streaks that appear on Mars' surface during warm weather, though scientists still can't say for sure that they're caused by flowing water.

The marks, known as recurring slope lineae (RSL), snake down some crater walls and other inclines when the mercury rises on the Red Planet. New research finds seasonal changes in iron minerals at RSL sites, suggesting that brines containing an iron antifreeze may flow there from time to time — but direct evidence of water remains elusive.

"We still don't have a smoking gun for existence of water in RSL, although we're not sure how this process would take place without water," Lujendra Ojha, a graduate student at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, lead author of two recent RSL studies, said in a statement. (Ojha discovered the RSL in 2011, while an undergraduate at the University of Arizona.)

Read more...

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Google to Wins Contract to Lease NASA-Owned Historic Airfield
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Google executives have been parking their private jets at NASA-owned Moffett Airfield since 2007, but now the company is poised to officially lease the Silicon Valley space.

Planetary Ventures, a Google-backed aeronautics company, won a contract to lease the historic Hangar One at Moffett, which is located just a few miles from Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Though the specifics of the contract are not yet set in stone, Planetary Ventures has essentially agreed to take over operational costs of the facility and rehabilitate it.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden called the deal one part of a larger effort to save tax dollars by "making surplus or under-utilized property available to the private sector or other government partners," in a statement released Monday. Read more...

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February 10 2014

NASA Wants to 3D Print Equipment in Space
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The newest adopter of 3D printing isn't some hobbyist in a basement — it's NASA.

The agency is already building some of its customized spacecraft and instrument parts using 3D printing, and someday soon, astronauts might even make tools and replacement by 3D printing them in space.

NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate has launched several programs to create prototypes of tools for current or future missions using 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, a manufacturing technique that uses Computer-Aided Design (CAD) models to build objects layer-by-layer out of plastic, metal or other materials. Read more...

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February 07 2014

Every Winter Olympics Host City Since 1924 — From Space
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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center collected images of all the cities and surrounding areas that have hosted the Winter Olympics since 1924. Most of these photos were taken by satellites, but some are from astronauts who were living on board the International Space Station.

The 2014 Winter Olympics are underway in Sochi after a spectacular — albeit a little strange and not quite flawless — opening ceremony.

Take a look at these amazing images below.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments. Read more...

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Curiosity Rover's First Photo of Earth from Mars
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NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars has captured its first view of Earth from the surface of the Red Planet — a striking image that shows our home planet as a bright light in the Martian sky, with the moon shining nearby.

The Curiosity rover photographed Earth from Mars on Jan. 31 using the left-eye camera on its head-like science mast. You can see a video of Curiosity's Earth-from-Mars images here.

The rover apparently watched the Martian sunset, then photographed Earth in the night sky about 80 minutes later, NASA officials said in an image description

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February 06 2014

ISS Astronauts Are Betting on Winter Olympics With Space Food
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The 2014 Winter Olympics are about to begin in Sochi, Russia, and astronauts will be watching the games from their vantage point high above Earth on the International Space Station.

The space station currently plays host to a crew of six international astronauts and cosmonauts, a unique viewing party for one of the biggest worldwide events of the year. NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio expects that there will be some friendly international competition during the games, especially if the Russians and Americans compete against each other. You can watch the full space sports interview on Space.com, with Mastracchio also touching on the recent Super Bowl XLVIII. Read more...

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January 31 2014

'Dream Chaser' Spacecraft Set to Blast Off Next Year
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The private space industry is going to infinity and beyond — or at the very least, into orbit.

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Space Systems announced that their spacecraft will launch on Nov. 1, 2016 in an unmanned, orbital flight, with plans to launch a manned flight in 2017.

After making a deal with United Launch Alliance — a company that provides space launch services for the U.S. government — the SNC Space Systems' craft, known as Dream Chaser, will launch attached to an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

Two years ago, NASA committed $1.1 billion to three companies — Boeing, SpaceX and SNC Space Systems — to get astronauts flying in American spacecrafts again in what was called the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCAP) initiative. Currently, American astronauts have to tag along in Russian Soyuz capsules to get to the International Space Station, a trip that costs NASA $70.7 million per seat. Read more...

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The Solar Eclipse You Could Only See From Space
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The Sun and Moon decided to put on a show Thursday — but only for the lucky few with good seats, in space.

In what is known as a lunar transit, the Moon passed between NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and the Sun, giving the observatory a view of a partial solar eclipse only visible from space

Lunar transits like this happen two or three times a year, but Thursday's was particularly special. According to SDO's mission blog, the entire eclipse lasted two and half hours — the longest lunar transit thus far in the SDO mission

SDO is the first mission to be launched as a part of NASA's Living With a Star Program, a program designed to research the causes of solar variability and its impacts on Earth and help scientists understand the Sun's influence on Earth. The observatory was launched on Feb. 11, 2010 from Cape Canaveral. Read more...

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January 28 2014

The Hunt for Killer Asteroids
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Sergey Khaibrakhmanov was sleeping when he heard the explosion. Startled, his heart already pounding, he jumped awake in bedWhat the hell was that?

It was loud, whatever it was, enough to shake the apartment and scare him half to deathDid a plane just crash?

He edged to the side of his bed as debris sprinkled from the ceiling, speckles of dust and plastic tile, falling like snow in sporadic, sluggish patterns. The silence, eerily juxtaposed against the bang, was ominous, unreal even. His ears began to ring.

A breeze whistled inside from the direction of the balcony. The glass door — or what was left of it — lay in broken pieces on the carpet, sparkling like a tiny sea of diamondsShit. Read more...

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January 27 2014

NASA's Upcoming Space Telescope Looks Into the Universe's Past
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Have you ever wished you could see pictures of the farthest corners of the universe? That could become a reality in a few years

NASA announced this week that it has completed the final review stage of its James Webb Space Telescope.

"What that means is all of the designs are complete for the Webb and there are no major designs left to do," said Richard Lynch, NASA spacecraft bus manager for the Webb telescope, in a statement.

The new telescope, which is set to launch in 2018, will surpass the capabilities of its predecessor, the Hubble telescope, which went into orbit in 1990 Read more...

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January 24 2014

The Stray Rover on the Far Side of Mars
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PASADENA, Calif. — Hanging over the stage at Caltech’s Beckman Auditorium was a giant illustration of NASA’s Opportunity rover, its name blasted in big, celebratory block letters. It was supposed to be an event solely focused on the rover, which just hit its 10-year anniversary on Mars, a feat considering it was only slated to drive for 90 days

The speakers, most of whom worked on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) team, were given one directive: share your best stories of “Oppy,” as it’s lovingly nicknamed.

But objectives be damned, this team was going to talk about another rover first. Read more...

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January 23 2014

10-Year-Old Opportunity Rover Is Still Finding Crazy Stuff on Mars
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NASA's Opportunity rover may have landed on Mars 10 years ago, but it's still sending valuable data to scientists on Earth. The rover's latest findings show that water once stirred rocks on the edge of the Endeavor Crater — and it was suitable for life

Much of the evidence of water we've previously seen on Mars shows that it was very acidic — scientists often compare it to Spain's Rio Tinto, which is famous for its deep reddish color and acidity — and therefore not the greatest place to sustain even the "hardiest extremophile microorganisms," as researchers put it. That super-salty, highly-acidic water is a signature trait of a more recent Mars. Read more...

More about Space, Nasa, Opportunity, Mars, and Curiosity
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