A submarine for diving through lakes of methane, a tiny satellite designed to snare an asteroid, and solar sail for deep-space probes are all among NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program for 2014, as the space agency hunts for the next big thing in exploration. Several of the new NIAC proposals, notable for often taking more outlandish approaches to science and technology than mainstream NASA research, tackle planetary exploration such as the advances needed for human missions to be safe and affordable.
The NASA Spacecraft 3D app has been updated today to allow all iOS and Android users take part in an experience which puts spacecraft in their living room. This app utilizes augmented reality in a way that the creators of the PlayRoom for PS4’s Camera would be proud of. Place a ship here, run it around there, and take photos all the while.
Three huge volcanic eruptions from Jupiter's moon Io are forcing astronomers to rethink how peaceful space might be, with "curtains of fire" consisting of tens of cubic miles of lava surging from the orbiting mass. Fountains of lava gushed from gaps in Io, one of Jupiter's four moons, in a two week period in August 2013, NASA says, despite having previously been thought to be rare events.
Have you ever wondered what a Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma thruster is? You might have, and not even realized it. The engine, seen above, is considered a bit of an anomaly. Previously laughed-off as science fiction nonsense, the actual engine has been built by two separate teams, and verified by NASA as legitimately usable.
A cancelled NASA program appears to be the source of a major stash of mirror components Corning will soon be donating to a private cause. Suggesting the original project will not be revealed due to customer confidentiality, Corning has made note that they’ll be sending the collection to BoldlyGo Institute. This group will be aiming to put its ASTRO-1 telescope into orbit within the next 15 years.
NASA will take advantage of new tiny satellite technology, CubeSats, to test a new weather-monitoring technology that could help unlock the secrets of climate change, the space agency has announced. IceCube - also known as Earth-1, is around a foot long and four inches wide, and takes advantage of satellite standardization expected to make launching orbiting probes faster and more cost-effective.
NASA’s Opportunity Rover has set the human record for off-world driving distance this week. This record was previously held by the Soviet Union’s Lunokhod 2 rover, whose record was smashed as Opportunity kicked out 25 miles (40 kilometers) of driving. Any opportunity to one-up our space-race comrades, that’s what we like!
The search for another planet capable of supporting life has hit an unexpected bump, with astronomers remotely surveying distant exoplanets realizing their assumptions about whether water is present could be deeply flawed. New results from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have revealed tiny amounts of atmospheric water vapor around three exoplanets initially thought "ideal candidates" when they were identified last year.