NASA

The largest ever Hubble photo shows Andromeda’s glory

The largest ever Hubble photo shows Andromeda’s glory

Taking high-resolution photos of your neighbors is usually frowned upon, but not when the neighbor in question is the Andromeda galaxy and the camera is the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA has shared the sharpest large composite image ever taken of the sprawling mass of stars, space dust, and more, a vast 1.5 billion pixels that together cover a 61,000 light year long section of the galaxy. It's a shot that gets more and more involving even as you zoom in closer, but NASA is hoping that it will do more than just amaze people.

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NASA releases Ceres shots as Dawn nears dwarf planet

NASA releases Ceres shots as Dawn nears dwarf planet

NASA has shared its newest photos of distant dwarf planet Ceres, the next destination for the long-traveling Dawn spacecraft as it continues its nearly two-decade mission. The 590 mile wide planet is just 27 pixels across in Ceres' first snapshot, beamed back to Earth as the exploring spaceship makes its approach, but that's still enough to help guide the craft into orbit. Meanwhile, the quality will only increase as the distance from the mysterious planet shrinks: NASA says that the next scheduled photos will be the best shots of Ceres ever seen by human eyes.

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Was 2014 really the hottest year on record?

Was 2014 really the hottest year on record?

Is climate change real, has the Earth got warmer, and was 2014 truly the hottest year on record? NASA waded into the heated argument over heat with unequivocal claims that we can't ignore rising temperatures, citing not only its own numbers but those of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and concluding the environment is getting hammered by greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. However, while the claims may be bold, other researchers are less convinced that the results are so clean-cut, arguing that the sheer complexity of taking an average of the world's temperature leaves certainties far from reach.

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NASA spots the Mars lander lost for a decade

NASA spots the Mars lander lost for a decade

It was the little space explorer that astronomers forgot, the Beagle 2 Mars Lander that went silent back in 2003 and has never spoken up since, but thanks to NASA's eye-in-the-sky has now been found again. Scientists at the European Space Agency had resigned themselves to never knowing the fate of Beagle 2, which landed on the red planet as part of the Mars Express mission but then failed to respond after touchdown on December 25, 2003. New shots from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, however, have revealed the final resting place of the lander, as well as tantalizing details about quite how far into its mission it actually made it.

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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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