Space

US Air Force’s new initiative trains operators for space battles

US Air Force’s new initiative trains operators for space battles

U.S. Air Force Space Command has announced its new Space Mission Force initiative, a plan that will train satellite operators to respond to various threats and to control satellites in threatening environments. The Space Mission Force is more than a year into planning, and it comes from the Space Command’s head Gen. John Hyten. In the event space becomes a “contested environment,” this new USAF program will make sure a greater number of satellite operators are able to engage in so-called space battles.

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NASA puts Groot and Rocket Raccoon on official space station patch

NASA puts Groot and Rocket Raccoon on official space station patch

Groot and Rocket Raccoon, the talking racoon and tree from Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, are becoming a part of official NASA history. The pair have been chosen by space agency to adorn this year's mission patch for the International Space Station's National Laboratory. The adorable patch was revealed by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) at San Diego Comic-Con.

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NASA sends astronauts into the sea for Mars training mission

NASA sends astronauts into the sea for Mars training mission

NASA’s NEEMO 21 undersea training mission has started, the space agency announced today. Officially called the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations 21, the expedition lasts for 16 days and subjects astronauts to the kind of conditions they could expect to endure on a long space mission. It’s yet another piece of NASA’s Mars puzzle, not only preparing astronauts for such a future mission but also lending more data to the space agency for refining future plans.

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New NASA Goddard video shows one year time-lapse of Earth from space

New NASA Goddard video shows one year time-lapse of Earth from space

There have been a lot of developments concerning space lately, whether we're talking about the study of exoplanets or catching glimpses of protoplanetary disks around young stars. Sometimes, though, it's nice to be reminded of back home, our pale blue dot that is floating through this same universe that offers so much in the way of scientific discovery. A new video from NASA Goddard is doing just that, using photos from the EPIC camera on NOAA's DSCOVR satellite.

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Curiosity rover can now choose some targets autonomously

Curiosity rover can now choose some targets autonomously

Now that the Curiosity rover has been cruising around on the surface of Mars for a long time, NASA is giving the machine the ability to choose some of its own targets for more study. Curiosity is now able to select rocks to target its laser spectrometer on autonomously. NASA says that this is the first time that an instrument of this kind has been autonomously operated on any robotic planetary mission.

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NASA’s new R&D institute focuses on long-term astronaut health

NASA’s new R&D institute focuses on long-term astronaut health

Spending a lot of time in space can have severe health ramifications for astronauts; those on the International Space Station must be careful to adhere to a strict exercise regimen, for example, and NASA has been using them as part of its wider research on the health effects of space. To further its work in this area, NASA has teamed up with Baylor College of Medicine in Houston to launch a new R&D institute focused on astronaut health.

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NASA atmosphere study: two exoplanets could possibly support life

NASA atmosphere study: two exoplanets could possibly support life

NASA says a pair of exoplanets may have habitable atmospheres based on an atmospheric study researchers recently performed. The scientists focused on exoplanets similar in size to Earth that are described as being ‘temperate.’ The study was done using the Hubble Space Telescope, and found that the exoplanets TRAPPIST-1c and TRAPPIST-1b have atmospheres that could possibly support life.

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Elon Musk wants to land three rockets at the same time

Elon Musk wants to land three rockets at the same time

Now that it has a few successful rocket landings under its belt, including two on land, SpaceX is moving on to the next ambitious goal: landing more than one rocket "almost" simultaneously. This surprising revelation was made, and confirmed by Elon Musk himself, when the space travel company was reported to be seeking approval for two additional landing pads on Florida's Space Coast in order to indeed land the three rockets of a Falcon Heavy rocket within just minutes of each other.

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NASA spots two potentially life-supporting alien planets

NASA spots two potentially life-supporting alien planets

Two freshly-identified planets could feasibly support life, NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab has concluded, the latest crop of Earth-like possibilities spotted by the Kepler Space Telescope. Though 181 light years away from our own Earth, the two new discoveries are half of a quartet of "promising" planets that could be rocky, among other life-sustaining criteria.

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NASA imagines landing on Pluto’s surface in new video

NASA imagines landing on Pluto’s surface in new video

This month celebrates the one year anniversary of New Horizons' visit to Pluto, everyone's favorite dwarf planet. Launched back in 2006, New Horizons was our first opportunity to get up close and personal with Pluto, and even though the flyby was a brief one, the pictures and measurements New Horizons was able to capture are awe-inspiring. To celebrate the one year anniversary of the flyby, NASA is imagining what it would be like to land on the surface of Pluto with a new video that strings together more than 100 images from the New Horizons mission.

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Astronomical map shows 1.2 million galaxies in about a quarter of the sky

Astronomical map shows 1.2 million galaxies in about a quarter of the sky

The image you see here with all the purple, red, yellow, and orange blobs is an astronomical map and at first glance, you might think that it is showing stars. It's not showing stars, what it is showing are all the galaxies out there hiding in the nighttime sky. The galaxies in this image and it represent about 650 cubic billion light-years of space.

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NASA shows off its next Mars rover, plans 2020 launch

NASA shows off its next Mars rover, plans 2020 launch

NASA’s Curiosity rover is rolling around Mars, and has provided researchers with all kinds of data on the Red Planet, not to mention the cache of photos. While Curiosity is busy doing its thing, NASA is already working on its next Mars-destined rover, and it recently showed off a detailed render of the contraption. According to the space agency, the rover’s design has passed “a major development milestone” and will soon be getting its finalized design.

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