space travel

Mars plumes: why the low resolution?

Mars plumes: why the low resolution?

Why are these "clouds" being viewed from Earth by telescope, instead of from mars, by the MGO? This was one of the more pointed questions we received when our first exploration of the "Mars plume" was released earlier this week. We decided to take a closer look at this seemingly obvious situation - why look at the planet from afar when we could be so much closer? Aren't there pieces of equipment on and around the planet that could have taken better photographs of this planetary phenomenon?

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Rosetta comet photos: up close and personal with 67P

Rosetta comet photos: up close and personal with 67P

Less than 9 kilometers from the surface of a comet, Rosetta is taking photos for us humans to see. While we've yet to hear from Philae since shortly after it landed, Rosetta's still in full operation. Taking photos from just about as close to the surface as the craft is going to get, our first glimpses from above the surface of this comet are coming in now. These aren't the first views we've gotten of the rock - we got some photos from Philae, after all - but they are the largest and most impressive.

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Interstellar’s black hole code leads to real science

Interstellar’s black hole code leads to real science

To achieve the effect of a black hole in the film Interstellar, Christopher Nolan worked with real physicist Kip Thorne to depict scientifically-sound images. Thorne and a team at Double Negative Visual Effects worked to create a new code to solve the equation for visualizing light beams as seen from a viewer as they approach a black hole. This has never been done before. While previous studies have been performed at great distances and with light rays, this system bundled light beams together to create an image that was realistic, beautiful, and scientifically sound.

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Virgin Galactic’s launch spot will be a former Boeing facility

Virgin Galactic’s launch spot will be a former Boeing facility

For the past few months, SpaceX and its launches, and its landings, have been the focus of many rocket science and space travel news, but it is hardly the only game in town. It's rival Virgin Galactic will soon be entering the news again once it starts the construction of what would be its future launching pad. The company has just inked a deal that would let it build a 150,000 sq. ft. facility on a former Boeing space at Long Beach Airport, where it plans to have LuancherOne launches every two to three hours.

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Next ISS crew pose as Jedi in official group photo

Next ISS crew pose as Jedi in official group photo

They will boldly go where other men have gone before. Or are we mixing up pop culture references. After all, it's not that easy to think of Jedi Knights and the almost magical Force when you think about astronauts. But that is exactly what the Expedition 45 crew bound for the International Space Station later this year did for their official photo, donning the robes, and weapons, of the Jedi order with the slogan "The Science Continues" set in the style of a Star Wars film.

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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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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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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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Neil Armstrong’s moon landing white bag contents explored

Neil Armstrong’s moon landing white bag contents explored

This month the estate of Neil Armstrong has revealed a white bag of items used by the Astronaut aboard Apollo 11 on his mission to the Moon. These items were collected by Armstrong at the end of his mission and have remained relatively dormant for decades - sitting amongst his personal belongings in his home. This year the Neil Armstrong Estate begins their loan of these items to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, where they'll be explored, researched, and eventually displayed for all to see.

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