Space

Curiosity’s latest Mars discovery: a floating ‘spoon’

Curiosity’s latest Mars discovery: a floating ‘spoon’

NASA's Curiosity rover keeps snapping pictures of things that look like other things, and some people insist it's all proof of a grand conspiracy and/or aliens. We haven't actually stumbled upon an alien yet (at least as far as we've been told), but we have come across rocks that look like rats, crabs, a woman, a pyramid, pieces of old houses, and whatever other images your brain forms from the rumble. And now, a spoon...but not just any ol' spoon.

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3.2 Gigapixel digital camera is a go

3.2 Gigapixel digital camera is a go

If you aren't impressed with the 23 megapixel camera sensors on some of the highest end smartphones, then this one might just knock you off your feet. Of course, it isn't going to be used on a smartphone, or any small device for that matter. This 3.2 gigapixel camera will be the digital eye of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) on top of the Cerro Pachón mountain in Chile. And it has just received the Department of Energy's thumbs up to start its construction in order to give scientists deeper insight into the mysteries of the universe.

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NASA’s Mars simulation begins year of isolation in Hawaii dome

NASA’s Mars simulation begins year of isolation in Hawaii dome

NASA's latest test in preparing for a manned mission to Mars began on Friday last week, with six people entering a small dome in Hawaii where they will remain for one full year. The voluntary isolation experiment has a crew of four Americans; a pilot, architect, doctor/journalist, and soil scientist; along with a French astrobiologist and German physicist. The group will live together in a dome that measures 36 feet wide and 20 feet tall, and can only outside if wearing a full spacesuit.

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New Horizons’ next target after Pluto flyby revealed

New Horizons’ next target after Pluto flyby revealed

NASA spacecraft New Horizons completed its historic flyby of dwarf planet Pluto back in July, so what's next for the little spacecraft? It looks like it's going to be 2014 MU69, a comet-like object that lies some 1.5 billion km beyond Pluto, NASA has said. The space agency is still reviewing the mission plan, but if approved New Horizons will reach 2014 MU69 in January of 2019. The 45 km diameter object is significant as scientists believe it might be the starting form of planets like Pluto.

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NASA-funded research enacts Wolverine-style healing

NASA-funded research enacts Wolverine-style healing

Researchers have created a material compound that, when ripped, punctured, or damaged in any way, is able to heal itself in a very short span of time. While we're not quite sure on if this technology has any applicability to human or mutant skin, like that of the Marvel Comics character Wolverine, it certainly appears to work in the field. What we're looking at here is what researchers suggest is a "terminator"-style material. We're thinking it's a bit more like our favorite quick-healing Canadian.

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Russia reveals photos of its latest manned spacecraft

Russia reveals photos of its latest manned spacecraft

It's sometimes easy to forget that the US's NASA and SpaceX aren't the only agencies coming up with new and improved ways to get humans into space. Russia is another nation with similar ambitions, and they've recently revealed the first photos of their new in-development spacecraft. The photos, published by the Russian Space Agency, show what is to be the eventual replacement for the Soyuz-TMA, the current spacecraft the nation uses to get cosmonauts to the International Space Station.

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Cosmic butterfly: Hubble pictures the Twin Jet Nebula

Cosmic butterfly: Hubble pictures the Twin Jet Nebula

Forget the butterflies in your stomach, this one is in space. OK, so maybe it's a bit of a deformed butterfly, but the image of what is popularly known as the Twin Jet Nebula captured by the ever so reliable Hubble Space Telescope is just as beautiful, exhibiting a grand display of colors. But almost like a real butterfly whose existence signals its impeding death, this delightful show is really the dying breath of an old star, as if giving the universe one last light show before it kicks the cosmic bucket.

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Stephen Hawking theorizes escaping a black hole

Stephen Hawking theorizes escaping a black hole

Upon the event horizon of a black hole, suggested leading physicist Stephen Hawking this week, information may not be lost. While all matter is sucked into the hole, prevailing theories that all will be lost - are not quite as solid as they were before Hawking spoke. It was at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm this month that Hawking presented a new idea on how information may be able to escape a black hole - a flat, useless form, but released nonetheless.

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NASA’s new Ceres photo zooms in on shiny mystery mountain

NASA’s new Ceres photo zooms in on shiny mystery mountain

If case you haven’t been following closely, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has been sending back photos from the dwarf planet Ceres over the past several months, each one showing the celestial body more clearly as the spacecraft grows closer. Soon after the pictures began rolling in, NASA had a mystery on its hands: bright spots shining in an otherwise dull and dim landscape. As it grew nearer, the photos also revealed a cone-shaped mountain. Dawn recently sent back a close up shot of one shiny structure, but the puzzle is no closer to being solved.

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Japan’s cargo ship arrives at ISS: whiskey, mice and more aboard

Japan’s cargo ship arrives at ISS: whiskey, mice and more aboard

After four days, Japan’s cargo ship has safely arrived at the International Space Station. The delivery was made by the H-II Transfer vehicle (HTV-5), and it brings with it, among other things, that whiskey we talked about earlier this month. Says NASA, the delivery was comprised of nearly 9500 lbs of experiments and supplies; it arrived at 6:55AM EDT after having been launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency on August 19. The cargo vehicle was launched from the Tanegashima Space Center via the nation’s H-IIB rocket.

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