NASA

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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 »

Doomed Rocket's Engine Was Ancient, a 'Joke'

Leftover from Soviet program in '60s, '70s; crabcakes aboard tragically burnt

(Newser) - The cause of yesterday's rocket explosion over Wallops Island, Va., remains under investigation: While a tweet from Orbital Sciences refers to a "vehicle anomaly," other reports have focused on aging rocket engines. They were built in the 1960s and 1970s to send Soviet cosmonauts to the moon,... More »

Unmanned Rocket Explodes After Liftoff at NASA Site

It was on its way to the International Space Station

(Newser) - A rocket that was supposed to deliver supplies to the crew aboard the International Space Station exploded in spectacular fashion just six seconds after liftoff this evening, reports CNN . The good news is that nobody was aboard, and NASA says nobody appears to have been killed on the ground at... More »

SpaceX Capsule Full of Experiments Lands

High seas had delayed its return; another launch set for tomorrow

(Newser) - A SpaceX capsule loaded with space station experiments is back on Earth. The unmanned Dragon capsule parachuted yesterday into the Pacific, west of Mexico's Baja Peninsula. It departed the International Space Station earlier in the day with 3,300 pounds of gear for NASA, including valuable science samples. More »

US Spaceplane Back After Secret 2-Year Mission

NASA still mum on what the X-37B is up to

(Newser) - A US spaceplane returned safe and sound yesterday after a two-year mission somewhere up there, reports Space.com . And what the unmanned X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle was doing for all that time is, as they say, classified. The shuttle-like craft came in without a hitch at Vandenberg Air Force Base... More »

Antarctic Ice Is Growing —But Why?

NASA scientists seek to explain expanding ice

(Newser) - Amid the rising calamity of climate change, Antarctic sea ice has hit an all-time high—but why? Well, scientists aren't quite sure, the Smithsonian reports. "It's really not surprising to people in the climate field that not every location on the face of Earth is acting as... More »

US' Worst Spot for Methane: Four Corners

Site where 4 states meet produces triple the typical amount of the gas

(Newser) - Put together all the methane produced by the coal, oil, and gas industries each year across the UK, and you'll have a good estimate of the amount produced in a small stateside area between 2003 and 2009. The 2,500-square-mile Four Corners region—where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and... More »

13-Year-Old's Plan: Be First on Mars

Alyssa Carson is already giving talks, going on Jeopardy

(Newser) - Alyssa Carson has already given a TEDx talk in Greece, and the 13-year-old is due on Jeopardy this coming week. But these are small achievements compared to her goal since she was 4 years old: to be the first human to set foot on Mars, CNET reports. "NASA takes... More »

'Thousands' of Hidden Mountains Found in the Sea

Satellite images show seamounts at least a mile high rising from ocean floor

(Newser) - Underscoring how much of the Earth remains mysterious, scientists have located "thousands" of previously unknown underwater mountains, known as "seamounts," reports LiveScience . The discovery, announced in this month's Science journal, was a joint effort between a European Space Agency satellite and one from NASA that used... More »

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