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DSCOVR success: watch SpaceX launch NASA’s space weather station

DSCOVR success: watch SpaceX launch NASA’s space weather station

You may have heard of the craft called DSCOVR, but what is it, exactly? Why is NASA working with SpaceX to launch this craft into orbit between our sun and the Earth? It'll serve as a warning beacon - that's what. DSCOVR stands for Deep Space Climate Observatory, and now that it's been launched into space (just last night), it'll allow much better lead time for NOAA's space weather alerts and forecasts. Geomagnetic storms is what this craft will be warning against - where, when, and how severe we'll be getting them.

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Watch the ESA’s car-sized shuttle take off

Watch the ESA’s car-sized shuttle take off

This week the European Space Agency's Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) took off on a Vega rocket. This takeoff sequence was done at the European Spaceport in French Guiana on Wednesday (February 11th) at 8:40 a.m. EST (1340 GMT). This craft was a prototype for a reusable orbiter, prepared to move passengers into space in the future. Below you'll be able to watch this spacecraft take off successfully, heading 340 km into space not long after its initial launch earlier this morning. This system precedes a program called PRIDE: Program for Reusable In-orbit Demonstrator for Europe.

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Android Wear may run out of time as Apple Watch nears

Android Wear may run out of time as Apple Watch nears

Android Wear may have beaten Apple Watch to market, but demand for smartwatches running Google's OS hasn't been as rampant as some predicted, new research released today suggests. Over 720,000 Android Wear watches shipped in 2014, Canalys suggests, and while some like Motorola's Moto 360 can't be produced fast enough to meet demand, the overall diagnosis is that the smartwatch market is still up for grabs. While the research firm appears confident that Google will continue to improve Android Wear, the lingering question is whether those enhancements can come quickly enough.

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Geoengineering not so great, so says Science

Geoengineering not so great, so says Science

Two reports from the Nation Academy of Sciences (NAS) have arrived this week suggesting that so-called "geoengineering" isn't good for the planet. They suggest that the term "geoengineering" isn't a legitimate term, saying instead that the term "Climate Intervention" would be more appropriate. Why, you might ask, do they say that we shouldn't be trying to control the weather? It's simple: we don't yet know the consequences of our actions. Methods for changing our planet's makeup like albedo modification and carbon dioxide removal may still have dire consequences we don't yet understand.

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SpaceX launching two craft at once today: Watch Live

SpaceX launching two craft at once today: Watch Live

For the third time in as many days, the team at SpaceX set up for another attempt at launching a deep-space weather buoy. The first attempt at launching this satellite called DSCOVR was on Sunday, stopped stopped just moments before takeoff due to a problem with an Air Force radar. Monday another launch was attempted and halted. A technical glitch was to blame - a reset was planned for this afternoon. This re-launch will take place at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at at 6:05 p.m. EST (2305 GMT) today.

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400-year old pollution found in Andean ice cap

400-year old pollution found in Andean ice cap

A group of scientists have announced that they've found some extremely old pollution this week, picked up in an ice cap in the Peruvian Andes. Traces of air pollution, they suggest, date back to over 400 year-old mining operations that happened hundreds of miles away. Researchers suggest that this is the first clear evidence of human-made air pollution in South America from any time before the Industrial Revolution. Pollution here likely originated in what's now Bolivia - in the Potosí mountaintop silver mines.

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Dwarf stars discovered on collision course

Dwarf stars discovered on collision course

One of our favorite telescopes in the world - the ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), has aided in spotting a couple of stars set to collide. At the center of the planetary nebula Henize 2-428, two stars orbit one another. These two planetary bodies are both dwarf stars drawing ever-nearer to each other, eventually set to touch and create one massive explosion. A thermonuclear explosion, that is to say, with a Type "la" supernova to follow. Sadly, none of us living today will be around to see this event, as it'll take place some 700 years from now.

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Glitch scrubs SpaceX sun-spy satellite launch

Glitch scrubs SpaceX sun-spy satellite launch

SpaceX's plans to launch a new satellite intended to monitor solar wind were scrubbed last-minute on Sunday, though the ambitious rocket start-up isn't to blame. The Falcon 9 rocket should have been SpaceX's fifteenth to launch - and its first deep-space mission - taking a satellite dubbed DSCOVR into orbit for the US government. However, glitches with the Air Force radar system that SpaceX was to use to track the rocket's booster stage meant takeoff was cancelled with less than three minutes to go.

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Doctoral student develops ‘Where’s Waldo’ search algorithm

Doctoral student develops ‘Where’s Waldo’ search algorithm

Remember all the time you spent as a kid trying to find Waldo (or Wally, if you're outside the U.S.) in the Where's Waldo books? Well, like almost everything else these days, computers have turned us humans into chumps when it comes to that activity. We can now thank a doctoral student in computing for developing an algorithm that optimizes the search process and identifies the best places on the page to find the striped shirt and glasses-wearing character.

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Curiosity spitting odd findings after Mars dust feast

Curiosity spitting odd findings after Mars dust feast

NASA's Curiosity rover has been busy with its drill again, and analysis of the second sample of Martian rock is already turning up some unexpected conditions back when the red planet supported liquid water. Curiosity put its low-percussion-level drill into play for the first time last week, carving a chunk out of a site known as "Mojave 2" at the base of Mount Sharp, and feeding it in powder form into its Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument. Turns out, even though the analysis isn't finished yet, there are already signs of a surprising amount of jarosite, to a degree that suggests Mars was - at least in parts - a whole lot more acidic than predicted by earlier testing.

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