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For its crazy 2020 asteroid capture mission and other projects, NASA is developing next-gen "Hall effect thrusters" to corral an asteroid and put it into the moon's orbit. At the same time, the European Space Agency (ESA) is trying to improve its own Hall thrusters to power future missions. If you...

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April 1, 2015 at 12:34PM
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Russia's Roscosmos space agency is in a bind. It makes money ferrying American astronauts to the International Space Station, but it's going to have a lot of unclaimed seats once NASA starts using capsules from Boeing and SpaceX. The solution? It's resuming space tourism. When 2018 rolls around, E...

6 days ago 0 Comments
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Mars One promises to send humans on a one-way trip to the red planet, with the intent to colonize, by 2027. Once the first four people leave Earth for Mars, there's no turning back, no panic button, no chance to return home. This aspect of the trip isn't just for drama -- it's a core tenet of Mars...

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NASA's Curiosity rover isn't done finding signs that Mars once had the prime ingredients for life... not by a longshot. The explorer robot has discovered evidence of nitrates, the nitrogen compounds that are some of the key nutrients for life, in rocks at three places near its landing site. This s...

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A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences hypothesizes that when Jupiter rocked up to our then-infant solar system, it obliterated the incumbent planes, and gave us a lot of apparent quirks of our solar system. Konstantin Batygin and Gregory Laughlin's study h...

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It's trivial to see mature stars in action, but baby stars are another matter. They 'only' spend 150,000 years in their earliest formative stage, and they rarely give away clues that they're around. That's what makes the above pictures so important -- scientist Emily Safron and colleagues have bec...

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As much as humanity knows about Mars, the planet is still chock-full of surprises. Just ask NASA: University of Colorado researchers using its MAVEN probe have discovered phenomena in the Martian skies that you would never see on Earth. For one, there are auroras that are so energetic (their elect...

13 days ago 0 Comments
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Here's the first X-class solar flare of 2015, which erupted on March 11th. Here's the good part: it was so powerful it caused radio blackouts in many parts of the globe. According to NASA, it was an X2 flare: an explosion on the sun's surface that's twice as intense as the already huge and uncom...

14 days ago 0 Comments
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"Asteroid hunters." It sounds like some Hollywood blockbuster / straight-to-DVD "classic" that already exists, but now you, yes you, can be one... from your PC. NASA has launched a desktop app that recruits civilians to help identify asteroids from telescope photography, helped by a special astero...

16 days ago 0 Comments
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When you picture the Milky Way galaxy, you probably imagine a relatively flat disc. Well, you may have to get that image out of your head -- astrophysicists have determined that the galaxy has at least four "ripples," making it look more like a piece of corrugated cardboard than a gentle circle. T...

16 days ago 0 Comments
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Far and away, the most expensive part of manned spaceflight involves just getting the payload off the ground. But as humanity expands its extraterrestrial influence beyond the International Space Station to the moon, Mars and beyond, space-faring nations are increasingly turning to reusable sh...

18 days ago 0 Comments
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The idea of powering humanity by gathering an endless supply of solar energy from space has taken a huge step towards becoming a reality. Scientists working for JAXA, Japan's space administration, have announced a major breakthrough in wireless power transmission ... in that they've actually been ...

19 days ago 0 Comments
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As you might imagine, astronauts typically need to stay laser-focused on their missions -- even a brief distraction could lead to a broken part or some other crisis. They won't have to worry about keeping their eyes (and hands) on the ball if NASA has its way. It's teaming up with Osterhout Design...

20 days ago 0 Comments
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This is where stars are born. Nearly 30 infant blue-white stars (100,000 times brighter and 50 times bigger than our own Sun), which are formed by collapsing hydrogen gas clouds in the southern Ara constellation, constitute star cluster NGC 6193. The European Southern Observatory's VLT telescope, ...

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After a few months of slumber due to a lack of sunlight, the Philae comet lander might be close to waking up. It's receiving enough sun now that the Rosetta probe will attempt to resume contact between March 12th and 20th. If communication is successful, the next step will be to decide what resear...

21 days ago 0 Comments
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Gravity can play a lot of tricks with light, and we're not just talking about black holes. Take this recent Hubble Space Telescope discovery from UC Berkeley's Patrick Kelly, for example: those four lights are actually a distant supernova magnified and split into four images by the gravitational l...

23 days ago 0 Comments
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The Hubble Space Telescope spots a lot of stars, but some of them are seemingly more eager to pose for snapshots than others. Take the star you see above, for example. That's V1331 Cyg, a young stellar object that's conveniently sending a jet of gas directly toward Hubble, providing a clear (and r...

23 days ago 0 Comments