Space

We’ve just figured out how Earth’s force-field works

We’ve just figured out how Earth’s force-field works

A planet-scale force field sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but scientists using NASA probes have discovered that Earth is in fact protected by just such a phenomenon, with speedy electrons from a vast and naturally-occurring twin torus of radiation kept away from us. The Van Allen belts were first measured in 1958, each a gathering of charged particles kept in place by the planet's own magnetic field, and varying in size and strength according to the output of the sun. However, it's only now that their interaction with Earth's plasmasphere and how it acts as a forcefield has been understood.

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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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This little rover thinks it’s time we went back to the moon

This little rover thinks it’s time we went back to the moon

The attentions of the space-faring industry may have turned to more distant targets, like Mars or even hurtling comets, but that's not to say there's not still room to explore a closer neighbor, like our own moon. Carnegie Mellon has revealed the robotic rover it believes will not only clinch it part of a $20m+ Google Lunar XPrize, but discover new and unseen pits and caves that pock the moon's surface. Dubbed Andy, the robot is predominantly the handiwork of students, and took just nine months to develop.

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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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Espresso finally arrives on the ISS

Espresso finally arrives on the ISS

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoferetti has made it to the International Space Station along with the rest of Expedition 42, but it may be the Italian's luggage that prompts the most excitement on the orbiting research platform. Among the equipment being brought up to the ISS is a special espresso machine, the first designed to work in zero-gravity, dubbed ISSpresso: handiwork of coffee stalwarts Lavazza and aerospace engineering firm Argotec, it needed to work around some significant environmental issues, like the fact that hot espresso couldn't be relied upon to drip down neatly into a cup.

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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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NASA remasters stunning image of Jupiter’s moon Europa

NASA remasters stunning image of Jupiter’s moon Europa

NASA has again remastered images taken in the 1990s of Jupiter's icy moon Europa, and it is the most stunning version yet. In it we get a look at the moon's vein-like threading through an otherwise pitted and etched white landscape -- says the space agency, this image best shows what Europa would look like to the human eye, never mind that it itself resembles a close-up shot of an eye. This follows a different version of the moon NASA released back in 2001, which was lower resolution and had more saturated colors.

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Rosetta Philae lander detects organic molecules on comet surface

Rosetta Philae lander detects organic molecules on comet surface

After a decade long journey Rosetta was able to insert itself into orbit around its target comet and more recently, it sent its Philae lander down to the surface of the comet to see what the comet is made of. The latest report from the scientists running the Rosetta program is that the Philae lander has detected organic molecules on the surface of the comet. These organic molecules are carbon containing and are the basis of life here on Earth.

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Russian dashcams catch another explosion in the sky

Russian dashcams catch another explosion in the sky

Russia is well-known for the number of dashcams around to catch all varieties of interesting things, and thanks to those cameras we've seen quite a few explosions in the sky. This past April, some cameras caught another meteor on video, this one having happened in the nation's Murmansk region. That wasn't the last of the night-time light show however, and just recently another explosion has happened -- this one exceptionally bright and long-lasting -- and it was caught on camera in the Sverdlovsk region. We've got a couple different videos of it after the jump.

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AMC introduces the Unlimited Movie Ticket: Interstellar first

AMC introduces the Unlimited Movie Ticket: Interstellar first

Back when Star Wars was first released, it quickly became common - at least with a classic like that - to go to a film more than once in the theater. The trend was summoned once again with Titanic, then again with the Star Wars prequels. AMC Theaters and Paramount Pictures have caught on to the trend at last, revealing an "Unlimited Ticket." This is not like the subscription passes of the past for certain theaters or certain brands. Instead, this is a first-of-its-kind Interstellar-specific ticket.

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