NASA

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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Launch America: SpaceX, Boeing to taxi NASA astronauts to ISS

Launch America: SpaceX, Boeing to taxi NASA astronauts to ISS

This week the folks at NASA, SpaceX, and Boeing presented a new program for their combined efforts to continue sending astronauts to the International Space Station. This Commercial Crew Transportation system will be operating under the title Launch America. This system is working with both SpaceX and Boeing, both private organizations, to bring the cost of sending US-based astronauts down significantly. NASA has been using the same system since 2011 to send astronauts to the ISS, one based on Russian technology, one this Launch America system will replace.

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Asteroid 2004 BL86 has its own moon, reveals NASA

Asteroid 2004 BL86 has its own moon, reveals NASA

You've likely heard of the big asteroid that zipped by our planet today, and if you were particularly lucky you might have even spotted it when it was its closest point. NASA dished all the details on the fly-by ahead of time, and now it is back with more, this time with some info about the space rock itself: namely that it has a moon of its own. The moon was spotted on radar images as the asteroid neared the Earth earlier today, and as such it is a somewhat more rare occurrence than the average asteroid hurling past us.

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NASA private space flights in 2017 to save rubles and respect

NASA private space flights in 2017 to save rubles and respect

SpaceX and Boeing plan to launch astronauts into space in 2017, as NASA's Commercial Crew program prepares to bring launches back onto US soil and in the process end the reliance on Russia. The two private companies are "the future of astronaut transportation to and from the [International Space Station]" Dr. Ellen Ochoa, Johnson Space Center director, said today, with the first flights expected to begin in just a few years time. However, while the ISS may be the first destination, the orbiting research platform isn't the extent of the Commercial Crew program's ambitions. In fact, it's paving the way for manned missions to Mars.

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A huge asteroid is about to buzz Earth

A huge asteroid is about to buzz Earth

Try not to let it worry you, but a 550 meter wide chunk of space rock is going to hurtle past Earth at more than 33,000 mph very soon, another near-miss asteroid a celestially-slight 745,000 miles from our planet. While it may not sound all that close - the moon is on average 239k miles from us - asteroid 2004 BL86 is enough to have astronomers from NASA and other space agencies tracking its location closely, given the potential for destruction (or even species-level catastrophe like the "colossal bad luck" that saw the dinosaurs wiped out) the impact of such a rock would have.

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NASA eyes using small helicopters to help Mars rovers

NASA eyes using small helicopters to help Mars rovers

Mars might very soon have its own version of a drone to patrol its skies. NASA is considering creating a Mars Helicopter, an addon to future rovers that will become the advance party of these roaming laboratories. These vehicles will become the eyes of scientists on earth that will help them better determine where to direct rovers to, making each trip more efficient and focusing primarily on more "exciting" parts of Martian landscape, increasing the distance traveled up to three times.

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Opportunity abound: walking on Mars virtually with NASA

Opportunity abound: walking on Mars virtually with NASA

NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover has been rolling around the surface of the red planet for 11 years. To celebrate, the craft has sent back a panorama image viewable by you in full definition right this minute. To get up close and personal with the surface of Mars, NASA has also been collaborating with Microsoft over the past few weeks and months, having an early peek at their new Windows Holographic system with Microsoft HoloLens - making walking on the planet's surface much more of a "real" experience than ever before.

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Rosetta hunt for Philae weighed against science sacrifice

Rosetta hunt for Philae weighed against science sacrifice

The Rosetta comet probe mission may not have gone entirely to plan, but the science is still pouring out - not to mention water from the comet itself - as the ESA considers hunting down the stalled lander. Triumph at getting the Philae lander to the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November 2014 turned to frustration when a less-than-perfect touchdown left the probe short on sunlight and prematurely powered-down. Now, the European Space Agency is considering using the orbiting Rosetta spacecraft to go on a Philae hunt, but there's a price to be paid in potential future research.

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Microsoft HoloLens will take NASA scientists to Mars — virtually

Microsoft HoloLens will take NASA scientists to Mars — virtually

Microsoft’s HoloLens is a pretty neat concept, and already showing a lot of promise. Via a headset and virtual environment, we’d be able to do all kinds of things like assemble or design something to be 3D printed, and it certainly has a lot of gaming angles. As far as virtual environments go, there might be no cooler one than mars, and that’s what NASA and Microsoft have in mind. Using HoloLens, NASA wants to let Earth-bound scientists work in space — virtually.

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