Space

NASA uses 3D printer to make copper rocket engine part

NASA uses 3D printer to make copper rocket engine part

NASA has long wanted to use 3D printers to make parts for space missions when they are needed rather than having to carry huge amounts of spare parts to cover every possible breakage event. NASA is also looking to use 3D printers here on Earth to reduce the cost of building and maintaining rockets and other systems. NASA has used a 3D printer to make its first full-scale copper rocket engine part.

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NASA creates a scientific super squad to search for alien life

NASA creates a scientific super squad to search for alien life

S.H.I.E.L.D. had better watch out. NASA has just assembled the Avengers—of space scientists. Dubbed the Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS), it is a team of scientists reaching across various disciplines whose for the common goal of searching for life on distant exoplanets far outside our own solar system. NASA and the scientific community realized that although different researchers had the same goal of finding biosignatures, or life on other planets, no one was regularly communicating with scientists outside his own discipline.

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Elon Musk insists SpaceX rocket landing will work (eventually)

Elon Musk insists SpaceX rocket landing will work (eventually)

While last week's news of the Falcon 9 rocket's oh-so-close-but-not-quite landing attempt was somewhat disappointing to SpaceX fans and observers, Elon Musk isn't giving up! The SpaceX founder commented in a pair of tweets on Saturday that they had determined the rocket's crash was caused by a slower than expected throttle valve response. The latest event is part of a continued attempt by SpaceX to land a rocket on a floating platform — as opposed to crashing into the sea — in order to reuse it in future launches.

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NASA’s Dawn captures most detailed pics of Ceres to date

NASA’s Dawn captures most detailed pics of Ceres to date

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft is back in dwarf planet Ceres’ sunny-side orbit after spending in excess of a month on the planet’s dark side. Now that it can see again, the spacecraft has captured a series of new pictures of the tiny planet, and they are the most detailed and highest resolution so far, having been snapped at a distance of 21,000 miles. Furthermore, the images have been aggregated into a short animation showing the planet rotate in relatively small increments.

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SpaceX CRS-6 mission success: Tweets from space

SpaceX CRS-6 mission success: Tweets from space

The SpaceX mission known as CRS-6 had two points of success - one up in space at the ISS, another in the Atlantic Ocean. While the Earthbound piece of this pie did not land successfully - but came OH SO CLOSE - the package delivered to the ISS did, indeed, arrive completely safely. Onboard were 2 tons of science and supplies - including coffee - for the crew of the International Space Station for all nations aboard. No more instant coffee for those above our heads doing science!

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New SpaceX Falcon 9 crash video shows how close they came

New SpaceX Falcon 9 crash video shows how close they came

SpaceX had a successful launch this week to send supplies to the ISS inside its Dragon capsule. The more interesting bit about the launch was SpaceX's latest attempt to have the Falcon 9 rocket land on a floating platform at sea so that it could be refitted and reused. The last time SpaceX tried to have the Falcon 9 land at sea on the platform it created a fantastic explosion.

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NASA’s Mercury probe is about to crash (and they couldn’t be happier)

NASA’s Mercury probe is about to crash (and they couldn’t be happier)

Normally a hugely expensive spacecraft crashing into a planet wouldn't be a cause for celebration, but NASA scientists are gleeful at the prospect later this month. Messenger, a probe launched back in 2004 and which has been orbiting Mercury for roughly the past four years, will very soon run out of propellant and go hurtling toward the surface. Rather than mourning it, however, NASA is positively embracing the destruction.

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NASA Spitzer Space Telescope discovers exoplanet 13,000 light years away

NASA Spitzer Space Telescope discovers exoplanet 13,000 light years away

NASA has used the Spitzer Space Telescope to discover many exoplanets and so far, most of those exoplanets have been relatively close in the cosmic scheme of things. The latest exoplanet that NASA has discovered with Spitzer is much farther away from the Earth than most previously discovered. The new planet is a distant gas giant that is about 13,000 light years away making it one of the most distant planets known to man.

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Watch the SpaceX rocket landing (now in video form)

Watch the SpaceX rocket landing (now in video form)

Before we'd only had tiny glimpses of the near-landing bit of the Falcon 9 rocket. Now we've got a fully operational video from off the starboard bow. This video shows how the rocket flew in at great speed, nearly - so very, very nearly - landing on the "Just Read The Instructions" autonomous sea craft. But with a final blast, it fell to the wayside. Time to try, try again, of course, as Elon Musk suggests they'll be approaching an 80% success rate by the end of this year.

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