NASA

SpaceX plans to be on Mars as early as 2018

SpaceX plans to be on Mars as early as 2018

SpaceX plans to land on Mars as early as the year 2018, the company announced in a tweet today. Mars has become the newest goal for space agencies around the world, and companies like SpaceX are helping develop the technology necessary to get humans there. According to the tweet, SpaceX plans to “send a Dragon to Mars as soon as 2018. Red Dragons will inform overall Mars architecture, details to come.”

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NASA is training astronauts with new simulators from Boeing

NASA is training astronauts with new simulators from Boeing

NASA has a new pair of training simulators courtesy of Boeing, and they’re designed to train astronauts on how to control the space agency’s next-generation spacecrafts. A pair of crew astronauts tried out the simulators yesterday, with NASA saying they offering realistic simulations of the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft. Astronauts will also be training for the SpaceX Crew Dragon for future International Space Station runs.

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NASA’s accepting Mars habitat prototype ideas until June

NASA’s accepting Mars habitat prototype ideas until June

Before we send humans to Mars, we need somewhere for them to live. NASA has been entertaining ideas for deep space habitats for years, and now it is actively seeking proposals on the development of those prototypes. This is the next step in the NextSTEP Broad Agency Announcement from October 2014, and it’s being called NextSTEP-2. NASA describes NextSTEP as a “public-private” partnership.

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Kepler spacecraft stable again as team seeks emergency mode cause

Kepler spacecraft stable again as team seeks emergency mode cause

NASA researchers were recently surprised to find its Kepler spacecraft in Emergency Mode, something that had started about 14 hours before a course change the space agency had planned. That maneuver was cancelled and mission researchers began work on recovering Kepler, announcing today that they successfully brought the spacecraft out of Emergency Mode yesterday. As of Sunday morning, Kepler was stable and it is now in its lowest fuel-burning mode.

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Houston we have a problem: Kepler spacecraft in Emergency Mode

Houston we have a problem: Kepler spacecraft in Emergency Mode

The Kepler spacecraft may have just been given a new lease in life, entering into a new K2 mission after it successfully completed its original task in 2012. However, it seems that the space telescope is showing some signs of fatigue. On April 7, during a scheduled contact, the spacecraft was discovered to be in Emergency Mode or EM. The exact cause of that mode switch remains unknown. Needless to say, the NASA team in charge of Kepler is hard at work at investigating the cause and getting the spacecraft back in working condition.

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Pluto’s ‘ice spider’ is NASA’s most striking find this month

Pluto’s ‘ice spider’ is NASA’s most striking find this month

We’re not even halfway through April yet, and NASA’s already tantalizing us with some fascinating discoveries this month. The most recent one involves an “ice spider” on Pluto, a large part of the planet’s landscape featuring “an unusual geological feature” the space agency describes as looking like a big ol’ spider. A color image of the region was snapped by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft last summer, and the photo has just recently been made public.

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NASA sending fungi into space to study drug development

NASA sending fungi into space to study drug development

A team of researchers from NASA and the University of Southern California will be the first in the world send fungi into space with the goal of developing medical drugs. The fungi, which are known to produce molecules called secondary metabolites, will hitch a ride to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX rocket scheduled to launch on April 8th. Secondary metabolites can be used to create beneficial medicine for humans, such as the antibiotic penicillin.

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NASA’s helping track deer birth rates from space

NASA’s helping track deer birth rates from space

NASA is using its satellites to help researchers track deer births from space. This is made possible by tracking vegetation across the nation using satellite imagery. Mule deer, the variety cited by NASA, are in need of ample amounts of vegetation during the late stages of pregnancy and for a while after giving birth -- knowing that, and by using NASA's satellite data, researchers have been able to figure out when fawning season will start.

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BEAM inflatable room launches for ISS next week

BEAM inflatable room launches for ISS next week

The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, also known as BEAM, will be making its way to the International Space Station per next week’s launch. BEAM is an inflatable habitat (a room) designed by Bigelow Aerospace, and it will be attached to the ISS for testing. During its time, astronauts will occupy the habitat for a handful of hours at a time, doing so a few times each year for the next two years. Bigelow’s researchers will gather data from the habitat and learn how it holds up in space.

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HoloLens Dev Edition ships today with a tiny Buzz Aldrin

HoloLens Dev Edition ships today with a tiny Buzz Aldrin

This week the folks at Microsoft have announced the release of the first edition of HoloLens. This version of the headset will be sent to developers only - it'll be a HoloLens Developer Edition as such. The shipping on this developer edition will begin today, and Microsoft suggests that developers will begin to be able to develop apps immediately. They've also given a single example of development time for a standard HoloLens app - six weeks. They first app they've developed will have its code posted to GitHub soon.

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NASA wants to solve Hot Jupiter exoplanet mystery

NASA wants to solve Hot Jupiter exoplanet mystery

One of the mysteries of the universe that NASA really wants to solve has to do with a type of exoplanet called a hot Jupiter. These planets are gas giants like Jupiter in our solar system, only they are much hotter thanks to orbiting very close to their parent stars. Scientist assumed for a long time that our solar system was the norm, but with more and more hot Jupiter planets discovered, it turns out our solar system is the odd ball in the universe.

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Arctic sea ice hits a record low, second year in a row

Arctic sea ice hits a record low, second year in a row

NASA declared January this year as the warmest month, displacing last year's record. It wasn't just living creatures, however, who were affected by the heat. Unsurprisingly, the volume of ice in our polar regions, particularly the Arctic north, were drastically affected as well. While frozen seawater normally expands during the fall and winter months, NASA has measured the Arctic sea ice area at 5.607 million square miles. While that may still sound big, it's slightly lower than that 5.612 million square miles from last year, making it the lowest recorded number since 1979.

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