NASA

Pluto has pits likely made by ice

Pluto has pits likely made by ice

It's no secret that Pluto has ice across its face, appearing with more than a couple bits of proof since NASA's closest approach earlier this year. NASA mission New Horizons sought out the surface of this planet-like space body, coming near enough that they're now presenting photos that are about 130 miles (210 kilometers) across. The image we're seeing today shows a collection of small pits and troughs, created - more than likely - by icy liquids, forming solidly then evaporating away over time.

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NASA’s new sun photo shows massive coronal hole

NASA’s new sun photo shows massive coronal hole

This week, NASA published an incredible photo of our sun, and within the image we see a giant, somewhat jagged black void. That dark spot is a big coronal hole, according to the space agency, an area on the sun where “the magnetic field is open to interplanetary space.” It looks frightening, but is nothing to worry about; according to NASA, the photo was taken by its Solar Dynamics Observatory on October 10.

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NASA reveals Cassini’s amazing north pole photos of Saturn’s moon Enceladus

NASA reveals Cassini’s amazing north pole photos of Saturn’s moon Enceladus

Following spacecraft Cassini's flyby of Saturn's moon Enceladus on October 14th, NASA has released the first photos of the satellite's north pole region. While more photos are still being transmitted to Earth over the next few days, these first photos reveal the best and closest look at the frozen ocean-covered Enceladus thus far. Wednesday's flyby saw Cassini get within 1,142 miles (1,838 kilometers) of Saturn's moon, the closest its been since arriving at the planet in 2004.

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New Horizons Pluto Science Data Revealed

New Horizons Pluto Science Data Revealed

So far, all we have seen of Pluto is the images that New Horizons took as it sped past the former planet. Months after that flyby was completed the first of the scientific data that the probe recorded is finally being unveiled. This week scientists studying that data have published the first overview of what the probe discovered about Pluto.

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Mars’ ancient lakes may have supported life

Mars’ ancient lakes may have supported life

The news and discoveries related to water on Mars just keep flowing! Shortly after NASA's exploration of the red planet recently confirmed that water in liquid form still exists, new data has suggested that there once may have been enough to support life. NASA's Curiosity rover has been studying the Gale crater, discovering evidence that it was once the site of a lake-like body of water, and for a long period as well.

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Astronauts on Mars: NASA details 3-phase plan

Astronauts on Mars: NASA details 3-phase plan

NASA details the three phases in reaching Mars with human astronauts, including Earth Reliant, Proving Ground, and Earth Independent. The first of these, Earth Reliant, requires that we make certain we're capable of existing outside of our own atmosphere for long periods of time. This includes astronaut missions aboard the International Space Station. Part of NASA's plan requires that we extend ISS operations until at least the year 2024. NASA also suggests that they'll need to pursue an evolvable SLS via Exploration Upper Stage before advanced solid rocket boosters if they're ever to make a craft that'll bring humans to Mars AND be able to bring them back to Earth.

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Pluto’s sky and ice revealed: blue and red

Pluto’s sky and ice revealed: blue and red

The sky on Pluto is blue, NASA showed the world today, and the ground has water ice. While other sorts of more "volatile" ices appear to mask the water ice found around the planet, some water ice can be seen in photos captured by New Horizons spacecraft earlier this year. Much of this water ice is surrounded by what NASA scientists call "reddish tholin colorants" on the surface of Pluto. Many of these photos are still arriving in the NASA labs for analyzation.

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NASA’s Curiosity takes photo of future stomping grounds

NASA’s Curiosity takes photo of future stomping grounds

NASA’s Curiosity rover is still puttering around the Red Planet, drilling small holes and taking pictures and giving its human operators better insight into humanity’s future home away from home. Over the weekend, the space agency published a composite image of the upper region of Mount Sharp, Curiosity’s future stomping grounds, taken by the rover on September 9. In it we get a look at a beautiful landscape not so different from our own.

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A small, frosty Mars avalanche was caught on camera

A small, frosty Mars avalanche was caught on camera

Earth isn’t the only place with cold avalanches; Mars, the big Red Planet that is maybe the next stepping stone for the human race, is also home to avalanches, though they’re not quite the same as the ones we’re familiar with. HiRISE recently caught one of those frosty events on camera, which from the perspective it was taken looks merely like a puff of cotton on a cracked, barren red stone landscape.

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NASA shares tips on how to grow space lettuce

NASA shares tips on how to grow space lettuce

Space: the final frontier! Or so the TV show says. But before that becomes a full fledged reality, we humans first need to solve a few puzzles, one of which is how to sustain life on prolonged journeys and expeditions. And part of that means having to grow your own food. Last August, astronauts on the International Space Station tasted the almost literal first fruits of their labors of growing vegetables, particularly lettuce in outer space. Now NASA has released a short clip that reveals some insights on the process.

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NASA gives better look at Ceres’ surface with colorful map

NASA gives better look at Ceres’ surface with colorful map

Ceres, a dwarf planet, has proven quite the mystery for NASA, and it has been working steadily for several months to unravel those mysteries. To help it better understand the composition of the planet's surface, the space agency used several images to create a map of the surface using bright, highly saturated colors. This map, particularly the use of the colors, highlights elements of the surface that otherwise wouldn't be apparent.

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Pluto’s biggest moon is a beautiful, scarred wonder

Pluto’s biggest moon is a beautiful, scarred wonder

NASA has published a new photo giving us a startlingly clear look at Pluto’s biggest moon, Charon. It shows many battle wounds, pocked with impact craters and traced over with deep grooves. Those scars show a history, says NASA, one that is “surprisingly complex and violent.” Images were taken by the space agency’s New Horizons spacecraft, and they were then combined together and the color was enhanced. The final result is a high resolution photo full of distinct features.

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