Space

ThumbSats can carry experiments into near-Earth orbit for normal people

ThumbSats can carry experiments into near-Earth orbit for normal people

Part of the challenge in getting smaller science experiments into space is the cost of a rocket launch. A new type of satellite has been built called the ThumbSat that is small enough at it could be crammed into the nooks and crannies of a launch vehicle potentially making a launch cheaper. Early next year 20 of the ThumbSats will be launched and will beam data to earth via a network of 50 listening stations around the world.

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Jupiter spinning: NASA shares 4K video and map photos

Jupiter spinning: NASA shares 4K video and map photos

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center have shared a set of images captured with the Hubble space telescope's high-performance Wide Field Camera 3 of the planet Jupiter. These images confirm what's been suspected of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter for many years - it's shrinking. Not only is the now-more-orange-than-red spot shrinking, it's becoming more circular than it's been in the past. According to NASA, the long axis of the spot is now 150 miles (240 kilometers) shorter now than it was in 2014.

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ESA displays three modules to be used in its first Mercury mission

ESA displays three modules to be used in its first Mercury mission

The European Space Agency (ESA) will be conducting its first mission to the planet Mercury in 2017, dubbed BepiColombo. As part of an open house for the public earlier this month, the ESA put the three spacecraft that will be used in the mission on display. The two orbiters and one electric propulsion module are still in testing, so they remained enclosed in glass in cleanroom conditions during the public viewing.

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Mars’ ancient lakes may have supported life

Mars’ ancient lakes may have supported life

The news and discoveries related to water on Mars just keep flowing! Shortly after NASA's exploration of the red planet recently confirmed that water in liquid form still exists, new data has suggested that there once may have been enough to support life. NASA's Curiosity rover has been studying the Gale crater, discovering evidence that it was once the site of a lake-like body of water, and for a long period as well.

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Private Mission to Moon a go in 2017

Private Mission to Moon a go in 2017

SpaceIL will be the first team of private citizens to have a lander reach our Earth's Moon if all goes according to plan - inside the year 2017. The team at SpaceIL have signed up with California's Spaceflight Industries to bring their craft to space in a SpaceX Falcon 9 launcher in the second half of the year 2017. If the SpaceIL team reach the moon first, they'll be the winners of the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition - which will give them $30 million dollars for the accomplishment. They'll also be just the fourth country to land a rover on our Moon.

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Israeli Google Lunar XPRIZE team scores first private Moon mission

Israeli Google Lunar XPRIZE team scores first private Moon mission

SpaceIL, a private space exploration company from Israel competing in Google's Lunar XPRIZE competition, has announced it's the first team to get a launch contract to send their private rover into space and hopefully land it on the Moon. The Google Lunar XPRIZE competition is awarding $20 million to the first privately-funded moon landing. SpaceIL's contract with California's Spaceflight Industries means the team has a "ticket to the moon" that will see their aircraft launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket scheduled for the second half of 2017.

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NASA’s Curiosity takes photo of future stomping grounds

NASA’s Curiosity takes photo of future stomping grounds

NASA’s Curiosity rover is still puttering around the Red Planet, drilling small holes and taking pictures and giving its human operators better insight into humanity’s future home away from home. Over the weekend, the space agency published a composite image of the upper region of Mount Sharp, Curiosity’s future stomping grounds, taken by the rover on September 9. In it we get a look at a beautiful landscape not so different from our own.

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Over 8400 Images from Apollo missions added to Flickr

Over 8400 Images from Apollo missions added to Flickr

Some of the coolest images that NASA has ever taken came from its early space exploration missions. One of the most ambitious missions that NASA has ever performed were the Apollo missions that sent man to the moon for the first time. It has been decades since those missions ended and many of the high-resolution photos that were taken have been unseen by people.

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A small, frosty Mars avalanche was caught on camera

A small, frosty Mars avalanche was caught on camera

Earth isn’t the only place with cold avalanches; Mars, the big Red Planet that is maybe the next stepping stone for the human race, is also home to avalanches, though they’re not quite the same as the ones we’re familiar with. HiRISE recently caught one of those frosty events on camera, which from the perspective it was taken looks merely like a puff of cotton on a cracked, barren red stone landscape.

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NASA shares tips on how to grow space lettuce

NASA shares tips on how to grow space lettuce

Space: the final frontier! Or so the TV show says. But before that becomes a full fledged reality, we humans first need to solve a few puzzles, one of which is how to sustain life on prolonged journeys and expeditions. And part of that means having to grow your own food. Last August, astronauts on the International Space Station tasted the almost literal first fruits of their labors of growing vegetables, particularly lettuce in outer space. Now NASA has released a short clip that reveals some insights on the process.

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NASA gives better look at Ceres’ surface with colorful map

NASA gives better look at Ceres’ surface with colorful map

Ceres, a dwarf planet, has proven quite the mystery for NASA, and it has been working steadily for several months to unravel those mysteries. To help it better understand the composition of the planet's surface, the space agency used several images to create a map of the surface using bright, highly saturated colors. This map, particularly the use of the colors, highlights elements of the surface that otherwise wouldn't be apparent.

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