space travel

New unmanned Dream Chaser spacecraft designed for ISS missons

New unmanned Dream Chaser spacecraft designed for ISS missons

Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) created a new spacecraft to compete in NASA's latest space vehicle contract. SNC's newest creation is the Dream Chaser Cargo System. This futuristic looking spacecraft is designed to fly back and forth between earth and the International Space Station (ISS) and is planning to do so completely unmanned. The newest model of the Dream Chaser is in the running for NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) contract and will be competing against other private companies such as Space X and Boeing.

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Dear Mars, what’s that dust? MAVEN seeks answers

Dear Mars, what’s that dust? MAVEN seeks answers

NASA's MAVEN craft has sent back data on auroras and dust at high altitudes above Mars - the latter is a mystery to observers both amateur and professional. Back in February a couple of amateur stargazers first announced spotting this dust cloud (having spotted it all the way back in 2012). There was quite a bit of nay-saying at the time about the origin of said photos - and their resolution - so we explained why images of the dust were of such terrible quality. Now it's MAVEN's turn.

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Hubble finds an underground ocean on Jupiter’s largest moon

Hubble finds an underground ocean on Jupiter’s largest moon

The possibility of life on other planets just became more probable with NASA's Hubble telescope's latest discovery. Hubble uncovered evidence of a giant underground ocean on Jupiter's largest moon, Ganymede. Ganymede is the largest moon in our entire solar system and has long drawn the focus of astronomers as they search for conditions that could be hospitable to life on other planets. The theory of underground oceans on Ganymede was first proposed on in the 1970's, but it wasn't until now that scientists uncovered solid evidence.

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The UK steps closer to creating Europe’s first spaceport

The UK steps closer to creating Europe’s first spaceport

American companies like Elon Musk's SpaceX have been testing new limits in spaceflight. Airports are for airplanes, while rockets, satellites, and commercial spaceflights have to use their very own spaceports. The US is dappled with spaceports, and now the UK plans join us on the forefront of spaceflight. The British government has come that much closer to action in building its own spaceport, which would be the first spaceport in all of Europe. They just released their results coming off of a three-month long consultation.

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Unseen vintage NASA photos shown in Bloomsbury Auction house

Unseen vintage NASA photos shown in Bloomsbury Auction house

This week the folks at Dreweatts for Bloomsbury Auctions have revealed a collection previously uncirculated NASA photos from space. These photos will go up for auction after being exhibited for a period of time in London at Mallett Antiques. The photos in this collection were sourced from the archives of the Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, Texas, where many unreleased NASA photos go after a mission is complete. What we're hoping to do today is to show you the largest versions of these photos available and make them widely available so they'll never be shut away again.

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Black hole’s bad breath could hamper the heavens

Black hole’s bad breath could hamper the heavens

One supermassive black hole's blasting winds could have major effects on the growth of stars in its host galaxy. NASA and the ESA have both observed winds being blown out of a black hole called PDS 456. Using NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and the ESA’s XMM-Newton telescope, scientists like Fiona Harrison of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have been able to begin calculations of the power of this and other black holes in the near future. With great power comes the supreme ability to slow down the speed at which stars age.

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A Red Dwarf buzzed our Solar System 70k years ago

A Red Dwarf buzzed our Solar System 70k years ago

There are always foreign rocks floating in an out of our solar system, but it's particularly rare that a whole star would come anywhere near our sun. That's what happened, according to a group of astronomers from the US, Europe, Chile, and South Africa. This (relatively small) Red Dwarf entered and exited our extended system through the distant cloud of comets known as the Oort Cloud. Not that we noticed it - it happened around 70,000 years ago, well before we were around to see it.

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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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