NASA

ISS crew to return to US sector: no ammonia detected

ISS crew to return to US sector: no ammonia detected

Early this morning, a potential ammonia leak on the International Space Station forced a trio of astronauts to move from the US segment of the ISS into the Russian segment, sealing off the US segment in the process until further data could be collected. An alarm had been triggered that could have indicated an ammonia leak, and in addition the ISS's protection software proceeded to shut down one of a pair of redundant cooling loops. Fortunately, all has ended well.

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NASA VolcanoBot 1 explores volcano in Hawaii

NASA VolcanoBot 1 explores volcano in Hawaii

NASA is aiming for the farthest reaches of space, but not all of its activities take place on planets elsewhere. In recent months, the space agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory took to Hawaii where a small robot -- dubbed the VolcanoBot 1 -- was fed into an inactive volcanic fissure where no human can ever tread. From its position there, the robot is able to acquire information on volcanoes that might otherwise be difficult or impossible to glean, leading to expanded research efforts in the future.

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Nissan, NASA to collaborate on self-driving cars for 2015

Nissan, NASA to collaborate on self-driving cars for 2015

Nissan and NASA make for strange bedfellows, especially when the bed isn't exactly something that will roll out in outer space. And yet the car maker and the space agency have struck up a deal that will see the two working together on autonomous drive vehicles, the current holy grail in automotive technology. The exchange of technologies and ideas is aimed to help both organizations, but Nissan will be the first to show the fruits of that partnership before the year ends.

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NASA creates retro-cool travel posters for exoplanets

NASA creates retro-cool travel posters for exoplanets

NASA is always there to provide us with beautiful pictures of the universe around us, but recently it introduced some new images that caught many off guard: adorable retro-styled travel posters for a few exoplanets. The travel aspect of the posters is just a fun thought (at this point in time, anyway), but the exoplanets detailed in the posters are very much real, and the space agency slipped a tidbit of info in about each one alongside artwork that seems straight out of an old pamphlet.

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NASA plans lobotomy for forgetful Mars rover

NASA plans lobotomy for forgetful Mars rover

One of NASA's Martian rovers is facing the indignities of old age, with the hard-working explorer suffering robot amnesia that has led to data loss and even persistent system crashes. The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has put in more than a decade of overtime on the red planet, well-exceeding the initial project goals. However, vital components like the flash memory used to store mission data are feeling their age, forcing NASA to think creatively to stop the rover from forgetting entirely why it's on Mars and blacking out completely.

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NASA’s Dawn spacecraft makes history as Ceres nears

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft makes history as Ceres nears

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has emerged safely from the opposite side of the sun and is just months away from reaching Ceres, the distant and mysterious dwarf planet next on the list for its multi-year space survey. Dawn - which checks off on several factors more commonly associated with science fiction tropes, like ion drives and distant space exploration - launched back in 2007, and Ceres is in fact its second stop since then. Previously, the probe spent more than a year orbiting a protoplanet named Vesta, but scientists manning the project are if anything even more eager to see what it makes of Ceres.

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MAVEN nears solving mystery of Mars’ disappearing atmosphere

MAVEN nears solving mystery of Mars’ disappearing atmosphere

Even while the Mars rover Curiosity continues to discover the secrets of Martian water billions of years ago, a somewhat unsung hero silently orbits the planet searching for clues on why that water disappeared over time. The MAVEN orbiter, short for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, continues to sample and analyze the tenuous atmosphere of the red planet in order to solve the mystery of its thinning atmosphere, that will eventually lead to more clues as to what befell this planet that could have very well supported organic life in the past.

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NASA’s NuSTAR takes single massive photo of our sun

NASA’s NuSTAR takes single massive photo of our sun

NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR for short, has taken its first photo of our solar system's Sun. This image is the "most sensitive solar portrait ever taken in high-energy X-rays" according to NASA, and you'll be able to view it in full glory right this minute. This first image - of many, hopefully - covers "the west limb of the sun" and it's been caught by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) - and it's primed and ready to be a wallpaper on your device, of course.

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Zero-G espresso cups heading to ISS in February

Zero-G espresso cups heading to ISS in February

Even astronauts, perhaps most especially astronauts, need their daily coffee fix. But what is usually a relaxing and pleasant experience here on earth turns into a chore out there in space. Coffee lovers would rather die than drink coffee with a straw yet that is how it's done up there. Well, not anymore. Or rather, hopefully not anymore soon, with these specially designed "espresso cups" from Portland State University that injects some scientific thinking into a modern age problem: how to drink coffee from a cup in space.

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NASA emailed new socket wrench to ISS astronauts

NASA emailed new socket wrench to ISS astronauts

We have a winner for the most interesting email attachment of 2014! NASA recently provided the astronauts currently aboard the International Space Station (ISS) with a new tool via little more than a standard email. The attachment was actually instructions for a special 3D printer the astronauts have thanks to a delivery from a SpaceX Dragon capsule back in September. The printer is specially made to work in low gravity, and the emailed instructions included the design for a socket wrench that was specifically needed.

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