space travel

Kepler discovers our Solar System’s “ancient twin”

Kepler discovers our Solar System’s “ancient twin”

NASA's Kepler Space Telescope has been studying the system they've called Kepler-444 for about four years. This system, they say, was formed about 11.2 billion years ago, making it one of the most ancient star systems with terrestrial-sized planets discovered thus far. This star system is important not because of its age, on the other hand, but because of its resemblance to our own Solar System. Five planets surround this system's star, each of them rocky, none of them able to support life (as we know it, that is to say).

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Launch America: SpaceX, Boeing to taxi NASA astronauts to ISS

Launch America: SpaceX, Boeing to taxi NASA astronauts to ISS

This week the folks at NASA, SpaceX, and Boeing presented a new program for their combined efforts to continue sending astronauts to the International Space Station. This Commercial Crew Transportation system will be operating under the title Launch America. This system is working with both SpaceX and Boeing, both private organizations, to bring the cost of sending US-based astronauts down significantly. NASA has been using the same system since 2011 to send astronauts to the ISS, one based on Russian technology, one this Launch America system will replace.

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Exoplanet J1407b discovered with more rings than Saturn

Exoplanet J1407b discovered with more rings than Saturn

There's a planet out there in the universe that has rings of matter surrounding it so large, they eclipse its nearby sun. This is J1407b, near the star J1407. The image you see here comes from Ron Miller of the University of Rochester, and it shows the planet and its rings as they would have appeared in early 2007. The planet was discovered back in 2012, but just now its become clear how extraordinary this planetary body truly is. Rings so massive they make our nearby planet Saturn look miniature by comparison.

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Opportunity abound: walking on Mars virtually with NASA

Opportunity abound: walking on Mars virtually with NASA

NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover has been rolling around the surface of the red planet for 11 years. To celebrate, the craft has sent back a panorama image viewable by you in full definition right this minute. To get up close and personal with the surface of Mars, NASA has also been collaborating with Microsoft over the past few weeks and months, having an early peek at their new Windows Holographic system with Microsoft HoloLens - making walking on the planet's surface much more of a "real" experience than ever before.

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Microsoft HoloLens will take NASA scientists to Mars — virtually

Microsoft HoloLens will take NASA scientists to Mars — virtually

Microsoft’s HoloLens is a pretty neat concept, and already showing a lot of promise. Via a headset and virtual environment, we’d be able to do all kinds of things like assemble or design something to be 3D printed, and it certainly has a lot of gaming angles. As far as virtual environments go, there might be no cooler one than mars, and that’s what NASA and Microsoft have in mind. Using HoloLens, NASA wants to let Earth-bound scientists work in space — virtually.

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SpaceLife jacket connects you with our Martian future

SpaceLife jacket connects you with our Martian future

The Mars Line Interplanetary Travel organization - SpaceLife - will be who you're working with when you don the SpaceLife jacket. The first piece of clotting to be created by the SpaceLife line, this jacket was made for "Life for Space", and the team that've made it aren't pulling any punches with bits and pieces that'll make the wearer feel like a real astronaut. Users will not be able to wear this into space on its own - it's not NASA-approved by any means - but it's certainly going to keep you fashionable while you dream of your future days in the heavens.

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Orion replay: behind-the-scenes, on the ground

Orion replay: behind-the-scenes, on the ground

Over the past 24 hours, NASA's Orion spacecraft had a weather delay, a rocket valve glitch, and a successful launch. The Delta IV Heavy rocket took off at 7:05 AM Eastern Time, reaching low-Earth orbit in around 20 minutes. What you're about to see is the liftoff replay and a set of behind-the-scenes images you would not have seen in the live feed - on the ground, at the launch site, and behind the control boards at NASA as the rocket took off, then as the craft landed in the Pacific Ocean.

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3D printer on ISS makes first item: a part for itself

3D printer on ISS makes first item: a part for itself

Made In Space’s 3D printer, which is currently housed on the International Space Station, has printed its first item. While Earthbound printers might be used for toys or other trinkets, the 3D printer in space has a better idea: parts. The first item the printer printed was a spare part. For itself. the 3D printer orbiting the one on your desk is very similar, too: ABS plastic, fed through a filament, that lays out items on a base. The printer arrived via SpaceX’s Dragon ship.

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New footage shows Antares rocket explosion from the ground

New footage shows Antares rocket explosion from the ground

Late last month, the unmanned Antares rocket launched. Shortly after lift-off, a problem occurred, and there was an explosion that sent the rocket back to earth. When Antares hit the ground, a second and much more jarring explosion took place, destroying the rocket and damaging much of the structure surrounding it. On the ground were a few cameras, put there to record a successful launch. Now that the cameras have been recovered, we get a first-hand shot of what a rocket explosion really looks like from near the launch pad.

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Elon Musk teases SpaceX’s “X-Wing” grid fins

Elon Musk teases SpaceX’s “X-Wing” grid fins

No, this doesn't mean that SpaceX's next spacecraft will be a starfighter from Star Wars. After all, these hypersonic grid fins make the Falcon 9-R look nothing like the almost iconic rebel ship. They do, however, still play a pivotal role, no pun intended. These fins are designed to help control and steer the rocket during its return trip from space. This will hopefully ensure that the craft will be able to land safely even on hard ground and survive to fly another day.

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