NASA

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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This is the tech NASA will take to Jupiter’s ice moon

This is the tech NASA will take to Jupiter’s ice moon

NASA has announced the tech toys its Europa mission will be equipped with, a battery of gadgets to do scientific study with around Jupiter's moon. Nine instruments have been selected after NASA threw open its inbox to suggestions from the research community, in preparation for the $30m study that will hopefully see a solar-powered craft orbit Europa's icy surface for three years. Among the hardware will be instrumentation to figure out if the moon does indeed have huge underground oceans.

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Did stowaway gas foul Curiosity’s Mars methane findings?

Did stowaway gas foul Curiosity’s Mars methane findings?

NASA's Curiosity rover has sparked an unexpected argument over methane on Mars, as operators attempt to figure out whether the gas is local or imported. The existence of methane on the red planet could be a strong indicator either of biological life or even just lingering geological activity, hence scientists' collective interest in whether it's present or not. However, while Curiosity seems to have spotted the gas, there are some who think it itself is responsible for it.

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VAMP inflatable space plane could explore Venus

VAMP inflatable space plane could explore Venus

Aerospace company Northrop Grumman has unveiled a new idea for an aircraft that is designed specifically to explore the upper atmosphere of Venus. The aircraft is called the Venus Atmospheric Maneuverability Platform or VAMP for short. The aircraft is an inflatable device that would be deployed from space and skim the upper atmosphere of Venus. Northrop designed the VAMP to be light enough to stay aloft in the atmosphere of Venus using little or no energy.

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NASA discovers brightest galaxy, burning with 300 trillion suns

NASA discovers brightest galaxy, burning with 300 trillion suns

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has discovered a remote galaxy, far, far away that is the brightest galaxy known to date. Researchers calculated it burns with the light of 300 trillion suns. The sheer brightness of this galaxy puts it in an entirely new class of space objects, extremely luminous infrared galaxies (ELIRGs), discovered using WISE. NASA has been using WISE, opposed to other methods, to target ELIRGs because the dust surrounding these super-luminous galaxies blocks visible light, and reduces it to infrared light.

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NASA has big plans for DARPA’s scary “Deep Web”

NASA has big plans for DARPA’s scary “Deep Web”

NASA is weighing in on the Memex "Deep Web" search project, hoping to harness DARPA's at-times ominous index to crunch vast quantities of space data. A team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is working with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to add a contextual layer to search, not only allowing the system to view webpages more like humans might, but even capable of drawing links between images and individual frames of videos. If it succeeds, it could be a much-needed blast of positive PR for a project that has become mired in controversy.

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