NASA

NASA image shows bizarre circular mound on Mars

NASA image shows bizarre circular mound on Mars

We've seen quite a few pictures snapped beyond our own world -- there's the recent Europa image, for example -- and the newest shot from Mars is no different. What is unique is the natural structure it shows: a circular mound in an otherwise smooth landscape. NASA posted the image yesterday with a statement pondering what the feature might be, and it is leaning toward volcanism as being the cause. As always, we've the rest of the details available after the jump.

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Orion launch scrubbed over rocket valve glitch

Orion launch scrubbed over rocket valve glitch

NASA has been forced to scrub today's Orion launch, though over technical issues with the rocket rather than the inclement weather conditions which caused numerous hiccups this morning. The team at Cape Canaveral had hoped to begin Orion's first test flight at 7:05 ET today, but were stalled by gusting winds. Issues with the fill and drain valves on the Delta IV Heavy rocket were what finally killed today's chances, however, though the next window isn't far off.

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Weather stalls NASA Orion launch

Weather stalls NASA Orion launch

NASA's launch plans for the Orion spacecraft today have been hit with unexpectedly strong winds, leaving the first flight of the new capsule on hold as weather conditions are monitored. Orion was meant to blast off from Cape Canaveral at 7:05am EST today, but an automatic shutdown was triggered when systems caught strong winds whistling past the launch platform. A second attempt less than an hour later was similarly blocked by NASA's safety-conscious systems.

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NASA talks the path to send humans to Mars

NASA talks the path to send humans to Mars

NASA has been working to develop the technology that will eventually be used to send humans to Mars and other places in the solar system. The goals of the mission to Mars and others were outlined in the US National Space policy that was issued in 2010. NASA says that astronauts living aboard the ISS are helping to prove many of the technologies and communications systems that will be needed for deep space missions, such as putting people on Mars.

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NASA polishes Orion for first test flight Dec 4th

NASA polishes Orion for first test flight Dec 4th

NASA is readying the first flight of its new Orion spacecraft set to take place this week, as it refines the technology that is expected to one day take astronauts to Mars. Due to blast off on Thursday, December 4, Orion - and the mighty United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket it will sit atop - won't be manned this time around, but instead used as a test-bed to see how well it will cosset future human passengers from dangers like radioactivity, heat, and more.

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We could fuel astronauts with human waste says research

We could fuel astronauts with human waste says research

Future astronauts and planetary colonists may end up breathing and watering plants with human waste, not to mention traveling in vehicles powered by it, if one research team has its way. NASA tasked the group at the University of Florida with figuring out what to do with the inevitable outcome of astronaut's freeze-dried meals, preferably something more productive than simply flushing it away into the nearest black hole. While the initial goal was lightening the load for space-faring folk, though, the research could have new implications down on Earth, too.

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We’ve just figured out how Earth’s force-field works

We’ve just figured out how Earth’s force-field works

A planet-scale force field sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but scientists using NASA probes have discovered that Earth is in fact protected by just such a phenomenon, with speedy electrons from a vast and naturally-occurring twin torus of radiation kept away from us. The Van Allen belts were first measured in 1958, each a gathering of charged particles kept in place by the planet's own magnetic field, and varying in size and strength according to the output of the sun. However, it's only now that their interaction with Earth's plasmasphere and how it acts as a forcefield has been understood.

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New footage shows Antares rocket explosion from the ground

New footage shows Antares rocket explosion from the ground

Late last month, the unmanned Antares rocket launched. Shortly after lift-off, a problem occurred, and there was an explosion that sent the rocket back to earth. When Antares hit the ground, a second and much more jarring explosion took place, destroying the rocket and damaging much of the structure surrounding it. On the ground were a few cameras, put there to record a successful launch. Now that the cameras have been recovered, we get a first-hand shot of what a rocket explosion really looks like from near the launch pad.

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Espresso finally arrives on the ISS

Espresso finally arrives on the ISS

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoferetti has made it to the International Space Station along with the rest of Expedition 42, but it may be the Italian's luggage that prompts the most excitement on the orbiting research platform. Among the equipment being brought up to the ISS is a special espresso machine, the first designed to work in zero-gravity, dubbed ISSpresso: handiwork of coffee stalwarts Lavazza and aerospace engineering firm Argotec, it needed to work around some significant environmental issues, like the fact that hot espresso couldn't be relied upon to drip down neatly into a cup.

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Craigslist was down: a short interview with the hacker blamed for it

Craigslist was down: a short interview with the hacker blamed for it

Overnight Craigslist experienced some down time in the form of a hacker redirect. Today we've had a short chat with one of the hackers blamed for the mess, along with word on his most recent project as a musician called YTCracker - a project we've also covered very recently. It would seem that it's no coincidence that one event happened right on top of the other - it might also be no coincidence that 15 years ago today, YTCracker broke into NASA's webpage for the Goddard Flight Center, vandalizing it with a warning for US government to beef up security.

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