NASA

Space Station trio land safe after 199 days in orbit

Space Station trio land safe after 199 days in orbit

A trio of crew members have returned from the International Space Station after 199 days spent in orbit, arriving back on our planet earlier today to mark an all around successful trip. The crew underwent medical tests of various sorts upon returning, including things like performing tasks, taking steps over obstacles, and tasks to test how well they can balance — all of which lends data to the space agency’s researchers regarding the effects of time spent in space on the human body.

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Saturn’s newest ring is the largest in the solar system

Saturn’s newest ring is the largest in the solar system

When it comes to planets with ring systems in our solar system, we all know that Saturn has rings. What we didn’t know for decades was that the traditional ring system we all know about wasn't all of the rings Saturn had. In 2009, scientists discovered a new ring around Saturn and after being researched for years, scientists think they now know how large the newest ring around Saturn is.

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Life on Mars may be preserved in meteorite-made glass

Life on Mars may be preserved in meteorite-made glass

A paper released this week by K. Cannon and J. Mustard shows how ancient life on Mars could be preserved by meteorite glass. Impact glass, or glass-rich impactites, have the ability to both encapsulate and preserve biosignatures on Earth. Because of this, these scientists show how Mars may have bio-rich preserves that rovers on Mars may not have even begun to explore. While we've been looking for signs of life - or ancient life - on Mars for many years, we might just have not been looking in the right place!

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NASA successfully launches its ‘flying saucer': watch live

NASA successfully launches its ‘flying saucer': watch live

After being hit with delays, NASA has finally launched its "flying saucer", which is officially known as the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD). This saucer-shaped contraption is only undergoing testing at this point, though in the future it could be used to send payloads to Mars. The odd shape comes in part from a cushion about the payload, helping protect it; there is also a large parachute that deploys so the payload, both current and future, makes it safely to the ground. The event is still broadcasting live (link after the jump).

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Mars solar conjunction will cause spacecraft communications to degrade in June

Mars solar conjunction will cause spacecraft communications to degrade in June

Every 26 months Mars ends up behind the sun when seen from the perspective of Earth. That means that while the Red Planet is behind the Sun, communications between the spacecraft on and orbiting the planet will be diminished. The phenomenon is known as the Mars solar conjunction and leads to disrupted radio communications between the planets. To prevent any garbled communications between Earth and Mars from causing potential harm to spacecraft, communications are stopped temporarily.

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NASA drone tracking trials tap Verizon towers

NASA drone tracking trials tap Verizon towers

NASA and Verizon are working together on air traffic control for drones, aiming to use existing cellphone towers to track and even ground unmanned aircraft. The deal will see the space agency kick off trials at its Ames Research Center in California this summer, focusing on small, low-altitude drones which currently don't make it onto the radar of traditional air traffic management. The goal is an automated system which would open the skies to drone delivery, something which already has Amazon and Google throwing their money at NASA.

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NASA has postponed ‘flying saucer’ launch

NASA has postponed ‘flying saucer’ launch

As we’d reported yesterday, NASA spent the day preparing to launch its Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator, more commonly referred to as the LDSD and ‘flying saucer’, the latter of which refers to its stereotypical design. This would have been the second flight for the LDSD, had it actually happened. Unfortunately the space agency was forced to postpone the launch instead due to poor conditions -- it will be trying again tomorrow, and hopefully the conditions will be favorable enough for it to proceed.

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Hubble telescope spots Pluto’s moons wobbling in ‘chaos’

Hubble telescope spots Pluto’s moons wobbling in ‘chaos’

NASA has released a series of images created based on data from the Hubble Space Telescope, and upon first glance they appear to show dinosaur egg-like oblong objects — those objects are, however, Pluto’s moons Hydra and Nix, and according to the space agency they are “tumbling in absolute chaos”. Such a conclusion was made after analyzing the data from Hubble, which reveals that the two moons wobble about rather than have any set steady course. You can see the "chaos" for yourself in a series of illustrations NASA has released.

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Watch NASA prep LDSD flying saucer test here and now

Watch NASA prep LDSD flying saucer test here and now

This is not a test in science fiction, but a real release of one massive payload headed for space, courtesy of NASA. What you're about to see - as early as Wednesday of this week - is NASA's second flight of its saucer-shaped Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator. That's also known as LDSD. This craft was first launched aboard a giant helium balloon from the United States Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii all the way back in June of last year. This time, it's headed for a cool 180,000 feet above the surface of the earth.

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Hubble captures time lapse of shock collision from black hole

Hubble captures time lapse of shock collision from black hole

In a galaxy far away — about 260 million light years from our planet, to be exact — there was a plasma jet blasted from within a giant black hole. We know this thanks to the Hubble telescope, which captured images of the event that were later assembled into a time-lapse video (which we have after the jump). This is said to show a “rear-end collision” of a couple of high-speed knots of matter being blasted out of a supermassive black hole. It’s also the first discovery of such a phenomenon.

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