NASA

NASA shows off moon phases from the far side

NASA shows off moon phases from the far side

Growing up we always called the far side of the moon the dark side of the moon. We had this mental image of that side of the moon being perpetually in the dark, but that isn’t true. The sun shines its light on the far side of the moon as well, but we don’t ever get to see that side of the moon from Earth. NASA has some very cool moon phases and libration videos that show the moon from the view we have here on Earth.

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Curiosity spitting odd findings after Mars dust feast

Curiosity spitting odd findings after Mars dust feast

NASA's Curiosity rover has been busy with its drill again, and analysis of the second sample of Martian rock is already turning up some unexpected conditions back when the red planet supported liquid water. Curiosity put its low-percussion-level drill into play for the first time last week, carving a chunk out of a site known as "Mojave 2" at the base of Mount Sharp, and feeding it in powder form into its Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument. Turns out, even though the analysis isn't finished yet, there are already signs of a surprising amount of jarosite, to a degree that suggests Mars was - at least in parts - a whole lot more acidic than predicted by earlier testing.

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Space Tourism is still a distant dream

Space Tourism is still a distant dream

If you're anything of an Elon Musk or SpaceX fan, or have just been following the two's high-profile news and announcements, your imagination may have been tickled pink by the prospect of regularly flying into space for leisure or business. In other words, space tourism. But despite the growing body of news around developments in this area, particularly in the design and manufacturing of rockets, recent rocket explosions should have also been a rather tragic wake up call, one that should make us ask again the most important and lingering question of all: are we really ready for non-professional, commercial space travel?

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Hubble captures 3x Jupiter moon transit

Hubble captures 3x Jupiter moon transit

The event that the Hubble space telescope captured this week only happens once or twice every ten years. What we're seeing here is three of the four Galilean satellites - moons, that is - moving around Jupiter's gaseous surface, all within the same frame at the same time. Their shadows are all in the frame at the same time, at least. Here you'll see the moons "Io", "Callisto", and our good friend "Europa." That last one we'll be visiting in the next 9 years if we're lucky.

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NASA Pluto photos arrive after 9 year mission

NASA Pluto photos arrive after 9 year mission

The New Horizons mission has sent back its first photos here after 9 years and 1 month since launch. Onboard the LORRI craft, an 8.2-inch (20.8-centimeter) aperture focuses visible light to a charge-coupled device - a digital camera, that is to say, works with a telescope aimed directly at one of our furthest cousins in the Solar System: Pluto. February 4th (yesterday) also marks what would've been Clyde Tombaugh's 109th birthday - Tombaugh is credited with first discovering Pluto all the way back in 1930.

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NASA heads to Europa to seek life… in 7 years

NASA heads to Europa to seek life… in 7 years

Let's get real about the NASA Jupiter moon Europa mission just given the thumbs-up by the White House yearly budget this week. While the news is booming, there's something important to remember - we're not nearly prepared yet to get there. NASA still needs to begin orbiting Jupiter with a craft like the Europe Clipper to get a better look at Europa. After that, a landing could possibly be attempted - and at that time we're looking at a touch-down "as early as" the year 2022.

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NASA White House budget up (and down)

NASA White House budget up (and down)

Even with a $500-million-dollar boost compared to last year's total, NASA is only being provided with a potential 0.46% of the Federal Budget. While you'll hear many hearty claps and hoorays at the targets for this budget, this would be another in a long line of drops in percentage-of-total for the federal budget for NASA. The last time NASA received any amount over 1% of the total federal budget was back in 1993. Not that NASA could use the money for anything important like saving humans from an extinction level event, or anything like that.

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Falcon Heavy flight animation reveals SpaceX’s future vision

Falcon Heavy flight animation reveals SpaceX’s future vision

Elon Musk's SpaceX has just released a new flight animation video that reveals its vision of how it wants it next launch to proceed. Presuming, of course, it doesn't end up in flames. It shows what will be the first test flight for the heavy-lift Falcon rocket and also throws in some hints of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where SpaceX plans to have its second Florida launch pad later this year. That is, of course, if all goes well.

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Kepler discovers our Solar System’s “ancient twin”

Kepler discovers our Solar System’s “ancient twin”

NASA's Kepler Space Telescope has been studying the system they've called Kepler-444 for about four years. This system, they say, was formed about 11.2 billion years ago, making it one of the most ancient star systems with terrestrial-sized planets discovered thus far. This star system is important not because of its age, on the other hand, but because of its resemblance to our own Solar System. Five planets surround this system's star, each of them rocky, none of them able to support life (as we know it, that is to say).

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