NASA

Ceres’ bright mystery spots are (probably) salt

Ceres’ bright mystery spots are (probably) salt

Earlier this year, NASA teased us with a mystery: very bright spots on the otherwise seemingly dim planet Ceres. Every month or so, NASA would publish a new image taken as its Dawn spacecraft grew closer. Soon, the mystery spot was clearly shown as two mystery spots, and not too long after that those two spots turned out to be many more smaller spots. All sorts of theories, official and unofficial, surfaced. Now NASA has an answer.

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You’re going to Mars, I went to NASA

You’re going to Mars, I went to NASA

I woke up at 5:30 AM after a string of nightmares about being left alone on a dusty red planet. Like a fool I'd eaten a gigantic piece of chocolate cake the night before while watching a set of tiny teaser clips of "The Martian" to mentally prepare for the next day, which was then, now, today. "It's OK," I told myself. "Stay calm. You're in Houston. You're on East NASA Parkway in the same hotel you'd checked in to the day before. Today you're going to go on a brief ride in a Mars rover and talk to an astronaut."

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New Orbital ATK Cygnus launched to bring science equipment to ISS

New Orbital ATK Cygnus launched to bring science equipment to ISS

Recent rocket launches like that of the Super Strypi in Hawaii have been met with accidents and failure, leading to the lost of valuable, not to mention expensive, equipment. So when Orbital ATK's enhanced Cygnus rocket launches successfully, carrying 7,000 lbs worth of scientific tools and machines, NASA and Orbital definitely have reason to rejoice. The rocket is headed to the ISS to deliver its scientific payload, along with other interesting gadgets, and hang around for a month before plummeting to its death back to Earth.

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New Horizons images shows off Pluto’s mountains

New Horizons images shows off Pluto’s mountains

Last summer the New Horizons spacecraft made its closest pass by the dwarf planet Pluto. The spacecraft is still sending back data and images and the latest images to be released by NASA are now available. These images show part of a sequence of images that were snapped near the probe's closest approach to Pluto and have resolution of 250-280 feet.

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NASA Space Cups let astronauts drink liquids without a straw

NASA Space Cups let astronauts drink liquids without a straw

The days of astronauts having to drink to liquids from a vacuum-sealed pouch with a straw may soon be over. NASA and engineering firm IRPI have teamed up for a new study involving experimental "Space Cups" that allow astronauts in microgravity to drink from a glass as they would on Earth. The Space Cups are currently aboard the International Space Station for the Capillary Beverage Experiment, and while they may not be as fancy as the concept space glass from whiskey distillery Ballantine, they do function similarly.

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NASA’s James Webb Space telescope gets its first mirror

NASA’s James Webb Space telescope gets its first mirror

One small step for James Webb, one giant leap for telescopes, or something like that. NASA has just proudly announced that the first of 18 mirrors has just been installed the soon to be completed James Webb Space Telescope. Just one mirror, you say. So what's the big deal, you ask? Considering that just this one mirror can fit around seven mirrors from the Hubble Space Telescope and considering James Webb is set to replace dear old Hubble by 2018, that's quite the milestone achievement indeed.

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SpaceX receives first manned mission order from NASA

SpaceX receives first manned mission order from NASA

NASA has made a big step towards sending astronauts into space from American soil by issuing SpaceX its first mission order to launch astronauts into orbit. The new order is the second in a series of guaranteed orders that NASA will make for the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contracts.

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NASA’s Orion capsule features thermal protecting chrome paint job

NASA’s Orion capsule features thermal protecting chrome paint job

Late last week, NASA unveiled one of the features of its in-development Orion spacecraft, which will be used to transport human crews one day in missions to Mars and deep space. The agency highlighted the capsule's new metallic chrome color, which isn't for impressive looks, but rather to protect the spacecraft from extreme heat and cold during its missions.

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NASA moves from growing veggies to flowers on the ISS

NASA moves from growing veggies to flowers on the ISS

Following their success at growing lettuce in space for the very first time (and then eating it), NASA's International Space Station crew is moving on from salads to a garden. The agency says astronaut Kjell Lindgren has begun an experiment attempting to grow the very first flowers from space. Growing flowers, in this case, zinnias, is still part of NASA's Veggie plant growth system, a wider study on microgravity's effects of plant life.

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This ‘Chemical Laptop’ will help NASA detect life on other planets

This ‘Chemical Laptop’ will help NASA detect life on other planets

While NASA's rovers are used to explore the surface of other planets, the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has developed a "Chemical Laptop" that could accompany missions and be used to help detect signs of life. NASA describes the Chemical Laptop as akin to a small, portable laboratory capable of analyzing samples to identify materials associated with life, such as amino acids and fatty acids.

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Martian moon Phobos shows signs of impending destruction

Martian moon Phobos shows signs of impending destruction

It seems that our red neighbor just can't catch a cosmic break. After losing most of its atmosphere and almost all of its water thanks to bombardment from the sun, Mars is now likely to lose one of its moons in a few million years. Phobos, the moon that orbits closest to Mars, is showing external signs that it might be on its way out and could fall apart in 30 to 50 million years. This time, however, it might be Mars itself that will be partly to blame.

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NASA reveals Mars losing atmosphere at an alarming rate

NASA reveals Mars losing atmosphere at an alarming rate

As promised, NASA made a huge announcement regarding Mars thanks to its Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission, or MAVEN. It revealed that the Martian atmosphere is thinning at a fast rate every second. The culprit? The same solar winds that whip our system, including Earth. The data gathered by MAVEN can help scientists piece together the mystery of how Mars become the cold and arid planet it is today, and perhaps offer hints about future habitable planets in solar systems much similar to ours.

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