space exploration

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Europe Fears Its Mars Lander Has Crashed

The ESA lost contact with its robot less than a minute before it landed

(Newser) - It appears Europe's latest attempt to put a lander on the surface has Mars has once again resulted in failure. The BBC reports the European Space Agency lost communication with the Schiaparelli robot less than a minute before it was supposed to reach the Martian surface Wednesday. The lander'... More »

China Launches Its Longest Manned Space Trip

2 astronauts will touch down for 30 days on experimental space station

(Newser) - Two Chinese astronauts began the country's longest crewed space mission yet on Monday, blasting off on a spacecraft for a 30-day stay on an experimental space station as China steadfastly moves toward becoming a space superpower, the AP reports. Ahead of the launch, one astronaut shouted, "We are... More »

Obama Aims for Mars, but Venus May Be More Logical

One drawback: We'd never be able to plant a flag

(Newser) - President Obama wants to have humans on Mars in about 20 years, a goal that prompts all kinds of questions about the logistics of such a feat. But as Brian Fung writes in the Washington Post , it also prompts a more fundamental question: Why Mars and not Venus? As proponents... More »

Obama's 'Clear Goal' for Getting Americans on Mars

We'll send them by 2030s, per new White House, NASA initiative

(Newser) - President Obama has a Tuesday op-ed on CNN , but he's not writing about Election 2016—or even anything on Earth. Instead, the president announces America's plans for a "giant leap to Mars," with a "clear goal" to get humans to the red planet by the... More »

Elon Musk Says Humans Could Be on Mars in 10 Years

And living in a permanent Martian colony in 50 years

(Newser) - Human's have two choices: "become a spacefaring species" or perish in an "extinction event on Earth," Elon Musk said Tuesday during the International Astronautical Conference in Mexico while laying out his plan to colonize Mars. Here's what you need to know about the SpaceX founder'... More »

A Suitcase-Sized Lander Just Got Closer to the Moon

Moon Express plans to send lander next year

(Newser) - It's one small step for a company, but it could be a giant leap for capitalism. On Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration gave a company called Moon Express permission for an unmanned lunar landing, making it the first private company the US has approved for a moon mission, the... More »

We've Got Our First Look at Jupiter From NASA Craft

High-resolution images to follow from Juno

(Newser) - The NASA spacecraft that entered Jupiter's orbit earlier this month has sent back its first image of the planet. Think of it as a test shot, with the better, high-resolution photos to come next month. Still, the image released by NASA shows Jupiter, its famous red spot, and three... More »

'Juno, Welcome to Jupiter'

Probe slips into orbit after 5-year journey

(Newser) - After spending five years traveling to Jupiter , NASA's Juno probe entered the gas giant's orbit Monday night by executing a make-or-break maneuver that was accurate within a second. Team members at the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory cheered as they received confirmation that the spacecraft... More »

Hawking on Board With One of Biggest Space Plans Ever

Idea is to fly to our neighboring star system, 25T miles away

(Newser) - Three big names unveiled a space proposal Tuesday so ambitious there's a good chance you wouldn't live long enough to celebrate its success. Assuming it ever gets off the ground. It's called the Breakthrough Starshot, and the idea backed by Stephen Hawking, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, and... More »

After Scare, Kepler Spacecraft Back in Business

More planet-hunting awaits

(Newser) - To astronomers' relief, NASA's planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft has won another reprieve. The spacecraft—responsible for detecting thousands of planets beyond our solar system— slipped into emergency mode last week nearly 75 million miles from Earth, reports the AP . Ground controllers managed to stabilize the probe Sunday, and NASA announced... More »

We Need to Rename Mars' Moons Quickly

Phobos and Deimos are way too dark, writes essayist

(Newser) - Each new discovery about Mars seems to show that it's more like Earth than we imagined. NASA, meanwhile, is firming up plans for a trip there. It's high time, then, for a long overdue chore, writes Fortunato Salazar in the Guardian —we've got to rename the... More »

'Alien Megastructure' May Be Comet Family

But it's still a very strange star, astronomers say

(Newser) - KIC 8462852 is an odd and fascinating star, astronomers say—but it probably isn't host to an "alien megastructure," as some researchers suggested as a longshot possibility when the star and its highly unusual dimming pattern first came to attention. Instead, Iowa State University researchers who studied... More »

Mars Is Destroying Its Own Moon

Poor Phobos is doomed

(Newser) - The days are numbered for one of Mars' two moons, and the culprit turns out to be Mars itself. It seems that the two are engaged in what Discovery describes as a gravitational tug-of-war, and Mars is going to win. It will take a while, about 30 million to 50... More »

Unusual Star Raises Talk of Alien 'Megastructures'

SETI may take a closer look

(Newser) - Something very weird has been spotted in space, and a quote from an astronomer at Penn State gets to the heart of why it's so intriguing: "Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to... More »

Why Rosetta's Comet Looks Like a Rubber Duck

Think low-speed collision

(Newser) - Serious space junkies might be able to identify the comet on which Europe's Rosetta space orbiter landed last year as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Everyone else might remember that it kind of looks like a rubber duck . The odd shape has been a topic of debate among scientists, and a new paper... More »

First-Ever Visit to Dark Side of Moon in the Works

Plans to land probe on moon's far side by 2020

(Newser) - If everything goes to plan with China's space program—which so far everything has since the country launched its first astronaut in 2003—it will become the first country to land a probe on the "dark side of the moon," the AP reports. This week, Zou Yongliao... More »

Scientist: We Need Mars to Be Liberated of Earth

It must be independent, not a colony, in order to thrive

(Newser) - With plans to send humans to Mars in the works , one astrobiologist says the time to prevent an interplanetary version of the Revolutionary War is now. Jacob Haqq-Misra, who works for a nonprofit dedicated to promoting international unity in space, lays out his plan for a completely independent Mars in... More »

NASA Scores Rarely Seen View of the Moon

From a million miles away, no less

(Newser) - NASA has a new toy in space, and it's already delivered an awe-inspiring view of the moon and Earth. The space agency has produced a GIF—see it here —of the moon passing in front of our planet. A few things make it unique: The view is taken... More »

NASA Finds Earth's 'Older Cousin'

Kepler-452b has NASA scientists excited

(Newser) - Kepler-438b , move over for Kepler-452b. The latter is the name of a planet newly discovered by the Kepler space telescope that is now the most Earth-like one NASA has found so far, reports the BBC . It's about one and a half times the size of Earth , and orbits... More »

After Pluto, Spacecraft Has Another Big Mission

Next up: the Kuiper belt

(Newser) - The New Horizons spacecraft has wowed us back on Earth with its 3 billion-mile Pluto mission , but it's still got a lot of traveling to do. In fact, scientists expect it to keep making headlines for another two decades or so. After Pluto, the spacecraft is off to explore... More »

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