NASA

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After 442M Miles, NASA Craft Enters Mars' Orbit

Maven will study red planet's atmosphere to prep for possible astronauts

(Newser) - After 442 million miles and a year on the space road, Maven has finally reached its destination. The NASA spacecraft successfully completed a harrowing 30-minute "orbital insertion" into Mars' orbit last night, the AP reports. "I don't have any fingernails any more, but we've made it,... More »

Boeing, SpaceX Deal Means Return of US Spaceflight

In a few years, we won't have to hitch rides with Russia

(Newser) - NASA handed out two contracts worth $6.8 billion today and with them announced the imminent return of human spaceflight from the US. Boeing and SpaceX "have each presented to us designs that will allow us to fly crews to the International Space Station in just a few years,... More »

Passing Asteroid Tied to Blast in Nicaragua

Scientists say 'Pitbull' 2014 RC caused Managua blast

(Newser) - A house-sized asteroid nicknamed "Pitbull" came close to Earth over the weekend—and appears to have taken a bite out of Nicaragua. There was a mysterious blast in the capital, Managua, late Saturday night, and government scientists believe it's connected to asteroid 2014 RC, reports Reuters . The explosion... More »

Asteroid Zips by Earth This Weekend

'Pitbull' won't hit us, though

(Newser) - Sky-watchers, take note: An asteroid is going to whiz by our planet this weekend. Asteroid 2014 RC, aka "Pitbull," will make its closest pass 25,000 miles over New Zealand about 2:15pm Eastern tomorrow, reports USA Today . Nobody will be able to see the 60-foot-wide rock with... More »

NASA Plans to Test World's Biggest Rocket in 2018

Someday, it might take humans to Mars

(Newser) - NASA is moving ahead with plans to build a massive rocket designed to explore deep space and culminate in human trips to Mars, the agency announced yesterday. The Space Launch System has passed from design phase to construction, reports the Houston Chronicle , and an unmanned test mission (not to Mars,... More »

NASA: That 'Thigh Bone' on Mars Was Really a...

...rock. Sorry.

(Newser) - Sorry, ET lovers: That "fossilized thigh bone" spotted on Mars this week was really just (can you bear the tension) a rock, NASA says. "No bones about it!" writes the agency on its website . "Mission science team members think its shape is likely sculpted by erosion,... More »

Tiny Find: Stardust From Beyond Solar System?

Citizen scientists help discover what could be interstellar space dust

(Newser) - Earth may be host to some far-from-home specks. A NASA spacecraft that sent space samples back to our planet in 2006 captured an astounding find that's just coming to light: seven specks of stardust believed to be the first from outside our solar system. Finding the teeny fragments, captured... More »

After 10-Year Chase, Space Probe Catches Comet

Spacecraft to be 1st to hook up with a comet in yearlong trip around sun

(Newser) - The thrill is often in the chase itself—though for European Space Agency scientists, there's definitely a thrill in actually catching the object they've been chasing. The Rosetta space probe, which was sent hurtling through space a decade ago to hunt down comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko—aka the "rubber... More »

Moon Caves Might Shelter Future Astronauts

NASA studying about 200 lunar pits

(Newser) - If humans ever set up camp on the moon, NASA thinks they can make great use of some natural shelter: moon caves. As Vice explains, the space agency has identified more than 200 lunar pits on the moon's surface, and those pits lead to caves below that range anywhere... More »

We'll Be Visiting Pluto in a Year ... Sort Of

Flyby mission to get closer to dwarf planet than ever before

(Newser) - Exactly one year from today, a spacecraft will be "arriving" at Pluto—or so a planetary scientist puts it. More specifically, the New Horizons craft, about the size of a baby grand piano and carrying no one, will be passing closer to the dwarf planet than we've ever... More »

Space Buffs' Hopes Crushed by Lack of Nitrogen

Looks like they won't be able to move ISEE-3 after all

(Newser) - It looks like space buffs' plan to push an aged NASA space probe into a new orbit has come up against a deal-breaker. Weeks after making contact with the International Sun-Earth Explorer-3, or ISEE-3, the group of citizen scientists has learned the tanks on the spacecraft are apparently empty of... More »

'Citizen Scientists' Take Over Old NASA Satellite

ISEE-3 wakes up after years

(Newser) - A satellite originally launched in 1978 is getting a new lease on life after NASA stopped using it. NASA shut down the satellite, called ISEE-3, in 1997, and it's been spinning uselessly around the sun for years. But a crowdfunded team of "citizen scientists" last month got NASA'... More »

NASA's 'Flying Saucer' Test a Success—Sort of

Parachute fails to fully deploy in Mars landing simulation

(Newser) - NASA's test of a flying saucer-esque vehicle ended with a bit of a bumpy landing, but the space agency is calling the experiment a step forward in its quest to land large payloads on Mars. As the AP reports, NASA yesterday launched the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator in the... More »

Astonishing NASA Image Captures Color of 10K Galaxies

Hubble shot spans light spectrum, took 841 orbits to create

(Newser) - Thousands of galaxies of all ages, shapes, and colors can be seen in a stunning new image from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. Some of the oldest galaxies visible appear as light from nearly 12 billion years ago, almost as old as the universe, but NASA says the most exciting... More »

Space Buffs Awaken Old NASA Probe

Group sends commands to 36-year-old spacecraft

(Newser) - A group of space enthusiasts has managed to gain control of an abandoned NASA spacecraft that has been dormant since the '90s. The International Sun-Earth Explorer, or ISEE-3, was launched in 1978 to study solar wind and, since NASA showed little interest in waking it up, the group hatched... More »

Jupiter's Great Red Spot Has Really Shrunk

It looks more like a circle than an oval

(Newser) - The signature red spot we see in pictures of Jupiter could fit three Earths next to each other—in the late 1800s. The Great Red Spot is getting smaller, and the reason is a mystery, Reuters reports. It was some 25,000 miles across in the late 19th century; by... More »

Square 'Hole' Spotted in Sun

Gap in magnetic field is unusual shape

(Newser) - There's a big square "hole" in the sun this week, according to NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. The dark spot in the sun's outer atmosphere is a phenomenon known as a "coronal hole," a gap in the magnetic field where solar wind rushes out, reports... More »

'Brand New' Meteor Shower Born in 200-Year-Old Comet

Camelopardalid could rival Perseids—or be totally lame

(Newser) - About 200 years ago, a comet known as 209P/LINEAR passed through our cosmic neighborhood, leaving a trail of detritus in its wake. Next week, our humble planet will plow through that debris field, and the resulting meteor shower has NASA more than a little excited—as well as not quite... More »

NASA Goes With 'Tron-Like' Design for Next Spacesuit

Public got a chance to vote on new look

(Newser) - It's time for Tron. NASA has announced the results of a public vote for its next-generation spacesuit design, and with more than 60% of 200,000 votes, the "Technology" option won. NASA says that it's "laser-focused" on heading to Mars and that this new Z-series of... More »

Antarctic Iceberg Is 6 Times Size of Manhattan

Could pose shipping problems in Antarctic winter

(Newser) - Last year, a huge chunk of ice broke off of Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica—and an iceberg six times the size of Manhattan was born. Dubbed B31, the iceberg "is now well out of Pine Island Bay and will soon join the more general flow in the Southern... More »

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