NASA

ISS could mount lasers to blast away space debris

ISS could mount lasers to blast away space debris

As the ISS floats above earth, it's actually hurtling around its orbit at 17,000 mph. Any debris that it encounters at that speed could have major consequences, so the ISS often has to change course throughout its orbit just to avoid space debris from previous missions. According to NASA, there are about 3,000 tons of space debris in a cloud around Earth in low-Earth orbit. There is another belt of debris higher above the earth in geo-synchronous orbit. A team of Japanese scientists proposed a solution using lasers to blast the debris before it can damage the ISS.

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This One Photo: Australia’s aurora captured in space

This One Photo: Australia’s aurora captured in space

A fantastic photo (and short video) of the Aurora Australis are captured by NASA astronaut Terry Virts. "Flying away from one of the most incredible auroras I've seen," said Virts, "just west of Australia." In addition to capturing the photo you're about to see full size, Virts also captured a Vine. That means he captured one of the most fantastical visions most humans on Earth will never see from his position with a camera that then bashed the video down to miniature size in order for us normal citizens to be able to see, over and over again.

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NASA greenlights SpaceX’s Falcon 9 for less risky missions

NASA greenlights SpaceX’s Falcon 9 for less risky missions

It may have so far failed at the promise of a reusable space rocket, but things are still looking good for SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket. While it won't be carrying humans any time soon, it has at least been certified by NASA for Category 2 space missions. These missions are described as "medium risk", as they only involve carrying satellites and less critical and less expensive cargo. It may not be the Category 3 that SpaceX ultimately wants, but it's still a big step forward in boosting credibility and clout.

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NASA spots “galactic cannibalism” served rare

NASA spots “galactic cannibalism” served rare

Galaxies feasting on their smaller siblings may sound like the stuff of science-fiction, but NASA has captured a surprisingly rare example on camera. The shot, of elliptical galaxy NGC 3923 situated more than 90 million light years away from Earth, was snapped by the Hubble Space Telescope, though it's not the distance that makes it special. Instead, it's the fact that not only is it a so-called "shell galaxy", but one which shows unusual symmetry that has NASA's astronomers curious.

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NASA sets $2.25m prize for 3D printed Mars habitats

NASA sets $2.25m prize for 3D printed Mars habitats

Getting astronauts safely to Mars is only the start of your problems when you're trying to explore the red planet: then you have to give them somewhere to live. NASA has kick-started a competition to figure out just how to do that, challenging inventors to come up with a way to not only 3D print a habitat - preferably using materials found on-site - but do so at least semi-autonomously. To encourage the best brains in construction, NASA is dangling a $2.25m prize in the 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge.

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NASA probe take first photo of Pluto’s 5 moons

NASA probe take first photo of Pluto’s 5 moons

Pluto may not have full planet status anymore, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have a moon or two… or five. And for the first time, NASA has managed to capture the dwarf planet and all five of those moons in a single photo. The image was taken by the New Horizons spacecraft and its Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) camera. The spacecraft is scheduled for a flyby of Pluto on July 14th, and took a series of pictures from April 25th through May 1st, resulting in the historic photo.

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Ceres bright spots caused by unknown “highly reflective material”

Ceres bright spots caused by unknown “highly reflective material”

Back in February, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft snapped some nearer pictures of the dwarf planet Ceres than previously obtained, and in them we saw a mystery: a couple of very bright spots on the surface. The cause of the spots was — and still is — unknown, but as the spacecraft draws closer to the planet it has been able to take increasingly clearer images. The latest show the same two bright spots are still there, only now they look more like they’re made of a bunch of smaller reflective patches.

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This stunning blue Mars sunset makes Monday feel easier

This stunning blue Mars sunset makes Monday feel easier

Monday can be tough, but spare a thought for NASA's Curiosity rover, up on Mars witnessing spectacular blue sunsets but with no-one to watch them with. The first such sunset to be captured in color by the plucky robot rover, the four shots - you can see the animation after the cut - were snapped on April 15, 2015 from Mars' Gale Crater, as Curiosity marked its 956th Martian day on the red planet.

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ISS astronaut holds weekly geography quiz on Twitter

ISS astronaut holds weekly geography quiz on Twitter

It's one thing to say you know your geography by identifying where a place is on a map, but could you recognize a location just from seeing a picture of it? What if the photo was taken from above from the International Space Station? If you're up to the challenge, it's time to start following US astronaut Scott Kelly of NASA on Twitter, where he's started a weekly game of asking people to identify what part of the world the space station is currently flying over, giving them only a photo and a single clue.

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Hubble spots giant gas halo around Andromeda Galaxy

Hubble spots giant gas halo around Andromeda Galaxy

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has spotted a giant gas halo around the Andromeda Galaxy, something that is said to be so large it stretched approximately a million lightyears from the Andromeda Galaxy and halfway to the Milky Way. The discovery was made by a team of researchers being led by Notre Dame’s Nicolas Lehner, an astrophysicist. With this discovery, researchers will be able to discern more about these massive spiral galaxies, including both the Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way.

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Mercury’s magnetic mystery deepens with suicide probe data

Mercury’s magnetic mystery deepens with suicide probe data

NASA's Messenger probe may have ended its four year mission by crashing into Mercury last week, but its rich data is still turning up new discoveries for scientists. Readings taken while Messenger buzzed the surface of Mercury - at times less than 10 miles up - have revealed an unexpectedly long legacy of magnetic fields, matched only by Earth's in the inner solar system, which raises new questions about how the planet formed.

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