NASA

Houston we have a problem: Kepler spacecraft in Emergency Mode

Houston we have a problem: Kepler spacecraft in Emergency Mode

The Kepler spacecraft may have just been given a new lease in life, entering into a new K2 mission after it successfully completed its original task in 2012. However, it seems that the space telescope is showing some signs of fatigue. On April 7, during a scheduled contact, the spacecraft was discovered to be in Emergency Mode or EM. The exact cause of that mode switch remains unknown. Needless to say, the NASA team in charge of Kepler is hard at work at investigating the cause and getting the spacecraft back in working condition.

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Pluto’s ‘ice spider’ is NASA’s most striking find this month

Pluto’s ‘ice spider’ is NASA’s most striking find this month

We’re not even halfway through April yet, and NASA’s already tantalizing us with some fascinating discoveries this month. The most recent one involves an “ice spider” on Pluto, a large part of the planet’s landscape featuring “an unusual geological feature” the space agency describes as looking like a big ol’ spider. A color image of the region was snapped by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft last summer, and the photo has just recently been made public.

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NASA sending fungi into space to study drug development

NASA sending fungi into space to study drug development

A team of researchers from NASA and the University of Southern California will be the first in the world send fungi into space with the goal of developing medical drugs. The fungi, which are known to produce molecules called secondary metabolites, will hitch a ride to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX rocket scheduled to launch on April 8th. Secondary metabolites can be used to create beneficial medicine for humans, such as the antibiotic penicillin.

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NASA’s helping track deer birth rates from space

NASA’s helping track deer birth rates from space

NASA is using its satellites to help researchers track deer births from space. This is made possible by tracking vegetation across the nation using satellite imagery. Mule deer, the variety cited by NASA, are in need of ample amounts of vegetation during the late stages of pregnancy and for a while after giving birth -- knowing that, and by using NASA's satellite data, researchers have been able to figure out when fawning season will start.

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BEAM inflatable room launches for ISS next week

BEAM inflatable room launches for ISS next week

The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, also known as BEAM, will be making its way to the International Space Station per next week’s launch. BEAM is an inflatable habitat (a room) designed by Bigelow Aerospace, and it will be attached to the ISS for testing. During its time, astronauts will occupy the habitat for a handful of hours at a time, doing so a few times each year for the next two years. Bigelow’s researchers will gather data from the habitat and learn how it holds up in space.

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HoloLens Dev Edition ships today with a tiny Buzz Aldrin

HoloLens Dev Edition ships today with a tiny Buzz Aldrin

This week the folks at Microsoft have announced the release of the first edition of HoloLens. This version of the headset will be sent to developers only - it'll be a HoloLens Developer Edition as such. The shipping on this developer edition will begin today, and Microsoft suggests that developers will begin to be able to develop apps immediately. They've also given a single example of development time for a standard HoloLens app - six weeks. They first app they've developed will have its code posted to GitHub soon.

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NASA wants to solve Hot Jupiter exoplanet mystery

NASA wants to solve Hot Jupiter exoplanet mystery

One of the mysteries of the universe that NASA really wants to solve has to do with a type of exoplanet called a hot Jupiter. These planets are gas giants like Jupiter in our solar system, only they are much hotter thanks to orbiting very close to their parent stars. Scientist assumed for a long time that our solar system was the norm, but with more and more hot Jupiter planets discovered, it turns out our solar system is the odd ball in the universe.

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Arctic sea ice hits a record low, second year in a row

Arctic sea ice hits a record low, second year in a row

NASA declared January this year as the warmest month, displacing last year's record. It wasn't just living creatures, however, who were affected by the heat. Unsurprisingly, the volume of ice in our polar regions, particularly the Arctic north, were drastically affected as well. While frozen seawater normally expands during the fall and winter months, NASA has measured the Arctic sea ice area at 5.607 million square miles. While that may still sound big, it's slightly lower than that 5.612 million square miles from last year, making it the lowest recorded number since 1979.

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NASA finds signs of an old frozen lake on Pluto

NASA finds signs of an old frozen lake on Pluto

NASA has released an image of what was likely a lake long, long ago in Pluto’s past. The image shows a frozen, somewhat random smooth patch on an otherwise rocky landscape, one that looks very similar to a lake or pond surrounded by hills and mountains. The image was taken by the space agency’s New Horizons spacecraft, which also found evidence of possible past liquid channels that flowed across the planet’s surface.

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NASA says moon spin axis shifted by 5-degrees 3 billion years ago

NASA says moon spin axis shifted by 5-degrees 3 billion years ago

NASA has discovered evidence via research that it funded that indicates eons ago the surface of the moon might have looked different from Earth. According to the research the spin axis of the moon shifted by about 5-degrees around 3 billion years ago. Evidence of this movement was found in how ancient lunar ice is distributed seen as evidence of water delivered to the early solar system.

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NASA Ceres low-orbit pics show salt, mountains, shiny craters

NASA Ceres low-orbit pics show salt, mountains, shiny craters

Yesterday, NASA researchers unveiled a bunch of images revealing a close-up look at Ceres, the dwarf planet. These images were captured by the Dawn spacecraft when it was at its lowest orbit, and they include some detailed views of the Occator Crater, as well as the shiny surfaces causing those mysterious bright spots. A color-enhanced map of Ceres has been released, as well as a video explaining different features on the landscape.

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NASA explores equipment to keep astronauts fit

NASA explores equipment to keep astronauts fit

NASA is talking up some of the equipment that it has invented for astronauts to use to keep fit while they are on a long duration space missions. To avoid losing muscle and bone mass, astronauts must work out for two hours each day. During the week ISS astronauts have access to three different pieces of workout gear, a bike, a treadmill, and the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device dubbed ARED.

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