NASA

NASA shelves fuel-efficient tech, effectively slashes outer planet exploration

NASA shelves fuel-efficient tech, effectively slashes outer planet exploration

NASA this weekend all but abandoned a money-saving technology due to a lack of money. You read that correctly. The space agency's budget woes are so suffocating that it can't even get the funding to develop ways to make missions more efficient. In this case, the efficiency would have been massive: the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG)--the program that just effectively got the ax--would have let many space missions require just one-fourth the fuel they currently need.

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NASA video imagines young Mars with lakes and clouds

NASA video imagines young Mars with lakes and clouds

NASA's Goddard Conceptual Image Lab has released a video illustrating the way Mars might have looked 4 billion years ago, back when both Mars and Earth were young. It's one of the most complex scientifically informed animations the studio has ever produced, NASA says, and it is breathtaking. The music is epic-- like something you'd hear in an ancient battle movie scene--and the watery, cloudy scenery will really get your imagination going. There's even a surprise ending. Check out the video after the jump.

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NASA Cassini probe snaps pictures of Saturn’s rings and a tiny Earth

NASA Cassini probe snaps pictures of Saturn’s rings and a tiny Earth

It's difficult to really wrap our minds around how massive the distances are in our solar system. A photograph from the NASA probe Cassini currently studying Saturn has been released that helps illustrate exactly how vast the distance from Saturn to the Earth is. If you've ever stepped outside on a clear night and looked up at Mars or other planets that resemble stars in the nighttime sky, it's hard to imagine being so far away from Earth that it appears the same way.

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Robonaut to get new legs in 2014

Robonaut to get new legs in 2014

Just like Lt. Dan, Robonaut is set to get some new legs. NASA has announced that its robotic astronaut is currently aboard the ISS and will be getting a pair of robotic legs in 2014. When Robonaut was first sent to the ISS, the robot was only a torso with a pair of highly advanced hands.

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NASA says Chelyabinsk-like meteor strike 7x more likely than previously believed

NASA says Chelyabinsk-like meteor strike 7x more likely than previously believed

One of the most damaging meteor strikes in recorded history occurred earlier this year over the frigid Russian town of Chelyabinsk. The meteor injured as many as 1000 people when it entered the Earth's atmosphere over the Russian city creating shockwaves that shattered windows and rained shards of debris on people in the city. Scientists were later able to determine the meteor weighed in the area of 10,000 tons and is a chrondite.

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Kepler Space Telescope data suggests up to 40 billion Goldilocks planets

Kepler Space Telescope data suggests up to 40 billion Goldilocks planets

A new analysis of Kepler Space Telescope data by Berkeley astronomers suggests that as many as 40 billion planets with climates similar to Earth's may be calculated to exist in the Milky Way galaxy. Of those, 11 billion orbit stars similar to our sun. The rest of the hypothetical planets orbit red dwarf stars, which are the same size as our sun but cooler. New news nicely complements the more in-depth recent mineral analysis of the single planet Kepler Planet 78b.

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