Space

Mars solar conjunction will cause spacecraft communications to degrade in June

Mars solar conjunction will cause spacecraft communications to degrade in June

Every 26 months Mars ends up behind the sun when seen from the perspective of Earth. That means that while the Red Planet is behind the Sun, communications between the spacecraft on and orbiting the planet will be diminished. The phenomenon is known as the Mars solar conjunction and leads to disrupted radio communications between the planets. To prevent any garbled communications between Earth and Mars from causing potential harm to spacecraft, communications are stopped temporarily.

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Airbus’ Adeline jumps on the reusability rocket

Airbus’ Adeline jumps on the reusability rocket

Claimed to be already five years in the making, Airbus just revealed its own take on the idea of a reusable rocket that its chief rival in the space, SpaceX, has been preaching for years. Called Adeline, which is a more memorable form of its "Advanced Expendable Launcher with Innovative engine Economy" name, the rocket aims to address the weaknesses in SpaceX's implementation. In particular, instead of focusing on returning the full first stage of the rocket like SpaceX does, Adeline prioritizes the most important and most valuable part of that stage: the engine and avionics.

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After glitch, LightSail spacecraft finally unfurls its sails

After glitch, LightSail spacecraft finally unfurls its sails

The LightSail has finally deployed its solar sails after encountering glitches that if unsolved, could have scrapped the mission. LightSail was launched into space almost forty years after science fiction genius, Carl Sagan, first thought of the idea of a spacecraft that could sail by solar rays. The project is headed by the Planetary Society, which touts Bill Nye (the Science Guy) as its CEO. After encountering a software glitch that left the LightSail unresponsive and unable to send data back to earth, the ground team went into overdrive trying to solve the problem.

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Hubble telescope spots Pluto’s moons wobbling in ‘chaos’

Hubble telescope spots Pluto’s moons wobbling in ‘chaos’

NASA has released a series of images created based on data from the Hubble Space Telescope, and upon first glance they appear to show dinosaur egg-like oblong objects — those objects are, however, Pluto’s moons Hydra and Nix, and according to the space agency they are “tumbling in absolute chaos”. Such a conclusion was made after analyzing the data from Hubble, which reveals that the two moons wobble about rather than have any set steady course. You can see the "chaos" for yourself in a series of illustrations NASA has released.

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Lasers of the future will be capable of reproducing gamma-ray bursts

Lasers of the future will be capable of reproducing gamma-ray bursts

If you thought lasers were powerful now, just wait a couple of years. A group of researchers have said that new laser technology coming down the pipeline over the next few years will able to reproduce a gamma-ray burst — an explosion in space that emits more energy within a few minutes than the sun in its lifetime — here on Earth. One of the scientists who contributed to a study on this possibility says the goal is to learn exactly what happens within "some of the most energetic events in the universe."

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Watch NASA prep LDSD flying saucer test here and now

Watch NASA prep LDSD flying saucer test here and now

This is not a test in science fiction, but a real release of one massive payload headed for space, courtesy of NASA. What you're about to see - as early as Wednesday of this week - is NASA's second flight of its saucer-shaped Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator. That's also known as LDSD. This craft was first launched aboard a giant helium balloon from the United States Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii all the way back in June of last year. This time, it's headed for a cool 180,000 feet above the surface of the earth.

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ESA Mars Explorer images shows effects of wind on Mars

ESA Mars Explorer images shows effects of wind on Mars

We all see the effect of the wind here on Earth every day. Winds can be mild breezes that shake the leaves up to gales that can topple trees and destroy homes. On Mars, the winds can be much the same as they are here on Earth and the ESA has released a new image that shows a bit of what the wind on Mars does to the surface of the red planet.

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Half of this antelope population may have been killed by rocket fuel

Half of this antelope population may have been killed by rocket fuel

A mysterious loss of life suddenly grips the remaining population of an endangered species throughout Asia. The Saiga Antelope is experiencing major loss over the past several weeks, and all in Kazakhstan. "This loss is a huge blow for saga conservation in Kazakhstan and in the world," said Kazakhstan's vice agriculture minister Erlan Nysynbaev. Scientists suggest that this scale of death in a single species is absolutely unprecedented. Why is it that in a place where more than 90% of this creature's population exists, is it dying so rapidly?

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LightSail test mission plagued by software glitch

LightSail test mission plagued by software glitch

Earlier this month, we talked a bit about the LightSail spacecraft that was going to be launched into space for its first official test. The actual launch of the spacecraft fitted with the SolarSail went off without a hitch and the test craft is now in orbit. That is where things began to go wrong for the team of scientists behind the project. Right now, the LightSail test mission is on hold after a software glitch has left the craft frozen and unresponsive.

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Hubble captures time lapse of shock collision from black hole

Hubble captures time lapse of shock collision from black hole

In a galaxy far away — about 260 million light years from our planet, to be exact — there was a plasma jet blasted from within a giant black hole. We know this thanks to the Hubble telescope, which captured images of the event that were later assembled into a time-lapse video (which we have after the jump). This is said to show a “rear-end collision” of a couple of high-speed knots of matter being blasted out of a supermassive black hole. It’s also the first discovery of such a phenomenon.

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This One Photo: The birth of a star-forming nebula, RCW 34

This One Photo: The birth of a star-forming nebula, RCW 34

Witness the birth of a nebula by the name of RCW 34, complete with the cosmic process called "champagne flow" as young stars cook themselves inside-out. The image you're seeing here was captured by the ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile. This is the birth of a brightly, gloriously light cloud of gas, found in the southern constellation of Vela. Otherwise known as the south of The Sails, this image is the result of the workings of the Very Large Telescope's FORS instrument - that's the Focal reducer and low dispersion spectrograph in effect.

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SpaceX Falcon 9 now also certified for DoD missions

SpaceX Falcon 9 now also certified for DoD missions

Just a week after its NASA Category 2 greenlight, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket has just received a new certification. The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center or SMC has just announced that the launch system has been certified for use in national security space missions. While this doesn't immediately mean that the Falcon 9 will carry the DoD's next payload, it does mean that SpaceX is now eligible to bid for such contracts, making it one of only two certified launch providers, the other being the United Launch Alliance (ULA).

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