NASA

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Mission May Unravel Mystery of Ceres' 2 Bright Spots

NASA spacecraft enters the dwarf planet's orbit on March 6

(Newser) - With a NASA spacecraft closing in on the dwarf planet Ceres , scientists were looking forward to figuring out the origins of a mysterious bright spot. But it turns out there are actually two bright spots, right next to each other, reports Mashable . The best guess continues to be ice of... More »

Get Ready to Welcome Pluto Back as a Planet

Astronomer thinks Ceres will join the club, too

(Newser) - Vanderbilt astronomer David Weintraub thinks Pluto was wrongly kicked out of the planet club in 2006. But he's confident that this is going to be a very big year for Pluto and for another so-called "dwarf planet" named Ceres, he writes in the Conversation . NASA spacecraft will visit... More »

The Hubble Spots 'Smiley Face' in Space

Its 'eyes' are actually galaxies

(Newser) - The universe is smiling down on us—almost literally. The Hubble Telescope has captured a "smiley face" in space: two bright yellow eyes (a cluster of galaxies called SDSS J1038+4849), a white nose, and a faint smile and incomplete circle around the entire face. But those curving lines "... More »

Video Unveils 'Dark' Side of the Moon

NASA makes video with data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

(Newser) - Curious about the far side of the moon? No one has seen it from Earth because it's always facing away from us, but a new animated video aims to light up the darkness, Tech Times reports. NASA made the video using data from its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has... More »

FAA Trying to Regulate Moon Business

Reuters analyzes FAA letter to Bigelow Aerospace

(Newser) - Can American businesses now stake their claim on the moon? That's the indication from an FAA letter to Bigelow Aerospace, in which the agency reveals plans to "leverage the FAA's existing launch licensing authority to encourage private sector investments in space systems by ensuring that commercial activities... More »

NASA Closes In on Dwarf Planet— and Its Mystery Spot

Ceres asteroid might even hold oceans: experts

(Newser) - After years of preparation, NASA is about to learn a lot more about an asteroid that, a scientist says, is "actually the largest body between the sun and Pluto that a spacecraft has not yet visited." In exploring the 600-mile-wide Ceres, "we're going to reveal the... More »

Your Christmas Lights Are Visible From Space

US cities grow up to 50% brighter around the holidays

(Newser) - You're helping make the world a brighter place just by switching on your Christmas lights. New data shows many US cities brighten by 20% to 50% between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, and it's all visible from space, Wired reports. A research team used a NASA-NOAA satellite... More »

Scientists Find 'Coldest Place in the Universe'

The Boomerang Nebula is minus 458 degrees Fahrenheit

(Newser) - Think winter is cold in your neck of the woods? It's nothing compared to the Boomerang Nebula (also known as the Bow Tie Nebula), where a dying star 5,000 light-years away has created the coldest known place in the universe, Smithsonian reports in a wintery look at the... More »

NASA Wasted $349M on 'Ghost Tower'

Unused project to cost $700K per year to keep up

(Newser) - Four years ago, NASA knew it wouldn't likely use a giant tower originally intended to test rockets—because the testing program was canceled. Yet the agency kept building the A-3 test stand and finally finished the $349 million project in June. And the costs keep coming, with the Mississippi... More »

NASA Emails Wrench to Astronaut

Thanks to the wonders of 3D printing

(Newser) - Butch Wilmore had a common problem—he couldn't find a socket wrench—with an uncommon twist: He's an astronaut on the International Space Station about 270 miles above the nearest hardware store. Solution? NASA emailed him one, in a manner of speaking. As the Guardian reports, NASA's... More »

Kepler 'Rises From the Ashes,' Finds a 'Super-Earth'

Unlivable new planet about 2.5 times the size of Earth discovered during K2 mission

(Newser) - The Kepler spacecraft has had its shares of ups and downs since its 2009 launch. The downs have included a 2013 mechanical failure that left Kepler supposedly "beyond repair" . The ups have included a "resourceful strategy" that made use of pressure from sunlight to allow Kepler to be... More »

California's Massive Drought Deficit: 11T Gallons of Water

That's 130K Rose Bowls' worth: NASA

(Newser) - Even the biggest reservoir in the US wouldn't provide enough water to replace what's been lost in California's drought. In fact, you'd need 1.5 times that much water, or 11 trillion gallons, to do so, according to NASA satellite findings. Another way to put it... More »

Rover's Discovery Raises Hopes of Life on Mars

Curiosity detects methane

(Newser) - The Mars rover has delivered what a NASA scientist calls an "oh my gosh moment"—it detected methane on the red planet, reports the New York Times . The discovery is making headlines because the gas had to originate somewhere, and one possibility is that the source is some... More »

Pilots May Have to Fly Jetliners All Alone

NASA funds study to consider historic change

(Newser) - Imagine peeking into a jetliner cockpit and seeing a single pilot in there, responsible for flying all of those people. Well, NASA wants to seriously consider that option with a new $4 million study, the Wall Street Journal reports. Contract winner Rockwell Collins Inc. will look at whether a second... More »

NASA Craft Gets Final Wake-Up Call for Pluto Flyby

New Horizons probe is awake and ready for its July 2015 encounter

(Newser) - New Horizons just got what's probably the earliest wakeup call ever. Even though it's not supposed to fly by Pluto—the destination of its nine-year, 3-billion-mile journey—until July, the NASA craft roused itself from its "hibernation" slumber and is fully awake for the last leg of... More »

'YES! Splashdown!' Orion Returns to Earth

It traveled 60K miles

(Newser) - As the official Orion Spacecraft Twitter feed put it: "YES! Splashdown!" In just 4.5 hours , Orion traveled 60,000 miles and went farther into space than any ship designed for humans has gone in 42 years, reports NASA . Orion landed, stable and upright, in the Pacific at... More »

NASA Launches Orion, Begins the 'Mars Era'

Second time's the charm for 'Mars ship'

(Newser) - After yesterday's launch was canceled amid gusts of wind and technical problems, Orion successfully blasted off at 7:05am today as thousands of people watched in Cape Canaveral. "This is Day 1 of the Mars era," said NASA administrator Charles Bolden; the space agency plans for the... More »

NASA Scrubs Launch of 'Mars Ship'

Valve problem delays Orion unmanned maiden voyage

(Newser) - The spacecraft that NASA hopes to one day send to Mars is cooling its heels on the Cape Canaveral launchpad this morning, its maiden voyage delayed by gusts of wind and leaky valves, reports the AP . NASA says it needs more time to address the valve issues, but the Orion... More »

Plug Pulled on World's 2nd-Most-Watched Clock

NASA countdown clock iconic since 1969

(Newser) - After London's Big Ben, NASA says its Kennedy Space Center countdown clock was the world's most watched. Not anymore: It was taken down yesterday, WESH reports. The clock, with 336 40-watt light bulbs, has been around since November 1969, when it ticked away the seconds until the launch... More »

Last Chance to Send Your Name to Mars!

NASA will put your name on microchip and blast it into space on Orion spacecraft

(Newser) - If you've concluded that a one-way ticket to Mars isn't for you, there's a tamer alternative: Send your name to Mars instead. Today is the last day to sign up to get your moniker on a "dime-sized microchip" that's being blasted into space on the... More »

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