space travel

B612 says Earth avoids massive asteroids with “blind luck”

B612 says Earth avoids massive asteroids with “blind luck”

With Earth Day round the bend, you’d expect to hear some positive news regarding our planet and the celestial bodies that surround it; instead we have some not-so-good-news. According to former NASA astronauts, we're depending on "blind luck" when it comes to the asteroids avoiding our planet. Apparently we get hit three to ten times more by large-scale asteroids than what is being officially declared by the authorities, this information being brought forward by this trio of space-fairing fellows this week.

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SpaceX shows T9R launch ahead of Dragon mission to ISS

SpaceX shows T9R launch ahead of Dragon mission to ISS

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has just posted video of a successful F9R launch, their re-usable rocket concept. The shuttle (pronounced “f-niner”, incidentally) is shown taking off, rising to 250 meters, then landing right next to the launch pad. Though this flight took place in Texas, SpaceX hopes moving venues will let them show off a bit more.

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International Space Station’s robotic crew member gets legs

International Space Station’s robotic crew member gets legs

Robonaut 2 is a robot living aboard the International Space Station with its many scientists, taking on tasks that allow the crew to do more scientific research while it does menial labor. This beast was developed by NASA and GM (General Motors) and will - as of this week - be getting its own pair of Climbing Legs. These legs will allow the robot to be much more versatile than ever before.

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HD cameras installed on ISS for Russia/Canada study

HD cameras installed on ISS for Russia/Canada study

The International Space Station is seeing quite a bit of activity this Christmas week, with today’s action surrounding the installation of two high-fidelity cameras. This installation was initiated under Expedition 38 and executed by Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos). This mission happens just three days after a US-based expedition (as seen in the hero image of this article) to replace faulty water pumps on the station.

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Life on Mars: Curiosity sends back first rock datings

Life on Mars: Curiosity sends back first rock datings

This week the NASA folks behind the Curiosity Mars rover mission have published a set of papers which suggest that they're closer than ever to finding habitable environments on the planet. These findings are pre-emptive in finding actual organic materials, and show how life could maybe, possibly have existed on Mars at one time. Basically the scientists on this project have said they're confident that there's a possibility of life at this point without literally saying they've found that life outright.

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Mars flyby mission aiming for 2017 launch, says Dennis Tito

Mars flyby mission aiming for 2017 launch, says Dennis Tito

Back in February, Dennis Tito revealed his ambitious plan to send a married couple on a flyby mission to Mars, something he has detailed today to members of Congress in a push to get the US government on board (figuratively speaking). Despite the science fiction-esque sound of it all, Tito says that the project can take place within the next couple of years rather than decades, and that he is aiming for December 2017.

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NASA shelves fuel-efficient tech, effectively slashes outer planet exploration

NASA shelves fuel-efficient tech, effectively slashes outer planet exploration

NASA this weekend all but abandoned a money-saving technology due to a lack of money. You read that correctly. The space agency's budget woes are so suffocating that it can't even get the funding to develop ways to make missions more efficient. In this case, the efficiency would have been massive: the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG)--the program that just effectively got the ax--would have let many space missions require just one-fourth the fuel they currently need.

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World View will send tourists to the edge of space via balloon

World View will send tourists to the edge of space via balloon

One of the only ways for you to get anywhere near space if you don't work for NASA is to buy a $250,000 ticket on Virgin Galactic. If you like the idea of traveling to the edge of space, but you want to do it for less than $250,000, a company called World View, which is a division of a private company called Paragon Space Development Corp. has a new plan to get passengers to the edge of space.

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