Space

Rosetta’s lander may be fading, but its photos are incredible

Rosetta’s lander may be fading, but its photos are incredible

Philae may be lost somewhere on Comet 67P, rapidly running out of power, and yet to tie itself down safely, but that's not stopping the Rosetta mission from sending back some incredible photos of the hurtling space rock. Images captured both by the lander itself and the Rosetta rocket that delivered it to Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko - and is currently orbiting it as a radio lifeline back to Earth - show the incredible surface both from close orbit and from Philae's unexpectedly awkward current resting place, though how much longer the probe will be able to send back footage is unclear.

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Philae future in question as comet lander battery dwindles

Philae future in question as comet lander battery dwindles

The Philae lander that traveled 3.98 million miles to land on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenkohas is now frantically attempting as much scientific research as it can, with the ESA concerned that its batteries could die in less than a day. The European Space Agency planned to run Philae, its Rosetta mission probe to a comet hurtling 80,000 mph through space, through until March 2015, investigating how the icy space rock was affected by the sun as it travels in the solar system, but an awkward landing - or, more accurately, three landings - has left the future of the experiment in question.

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Virgin Galactic pilot speaks amid tech woe whispers

Virgin Galactic pilot speaks amid tech woe whispers

Concerns have been raised about Virgin Galactic's safety and the pace at which development was driven, in the aftermath of the SpaceShipTwo crash which killed one pilot and left the other dependent on his automatic parachute deployment to survive. Richard Branson's ambitious space tourism scheme has been in disarray for several years, insiders claim, with secret technical issues at odds with the public roadmap for commercial flight. Meanwhile, pilot Peter Siebold told the National Transportation Safety Board that he was unaware that his copilot had unlocked the aerodynamic elements of SpaceShipTwo, believed to have been instrumental to the crash taking place.

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Rosetta lander sends comet postcard (but there’s a problem)

Rosetta lander sends comet postcard (but there’s a problem)

As unusual views of space go, the surface of a comet rushing more than 80,000 mph through the universe from a tiny lander perched on its surface ranks pretty high on the list. That's just what the European Space Agency's Philae lander has beamed back to Earth - via the Rosetta spaceship it hitched a ride to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenkohas on - after successfully landing on the rocky surface yesterday. It's the incredible culmination of a decade-long journey and a seven hour descent; problem is, while the view might be dramatic, it's also threatening Philae's long-term survival.

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Rosetta mission success: comet landing a go!

Rosetta mission success: comet landing a go!

This morning the ESA Space Probe Rosetta has successfully sent a lander to a comet. This was the first time humanity has ever accomplished such a task. It's been confirmed as of 10:05 AM Central Time that the Philae Lander has touched down and that the Rosetta craft is indeed receiving signals from the surface of the comet. This 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is the first comet to have been landed on by a human-sent craft in space. Now we begin the wait for photos from the surface.

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Rosetta’s comet-harpooning lander is on its way down

Rosetta’s comet-harpooning lander is on its way down

A spacecraft harpooning a comet: it should be something out of a science fiction movie, but it's actually a mission underway right now, with the European Space Agency's Rosetta probe set to grapple with a chunk of hurtling space rock. The mission officially began back in 2004 when Rosetta and the Philae lander started their journey to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenk, but cranked up the excitement in the early hours of this morning as spacecraft and rock came together. Philae shared a last-minute photo on Twitter - which you can see after the cut, as well as live video of the action itself - and then began its careful journey down fourteen miles to the surface.

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Rosetta/Philae to land on orbiting comet tomorrow

Rosetta/Philae to land on orbiting comet tomorrow

A full decade in the making, tomorrow will likely be the first time we land on a comet. At around 4:30pm Central European time (about 10:30 EST stateside), the Philae lander is set to touch down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Should it be successful, the robotic Philae is the first craft built by humans to ever land on a moving comet. Philae is set to detach from its Rosetta spaceship about six hours ahead of landing on Comet 67P.

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Elon Musk confirms army of micro-satellites in the works

Elon Musk confirms army of micro-satellites in the works

One can say a lot of things about Elon Musk, but no one can deny that the man has vision and imagination. Confirming in public, at least to the Internet, a rumor that has been floating around since Saturday, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO revealed that his space-faring company is indeed working on small-sized satellites. Unlike the more ambitious goal of propelling humans into space, this endeavor has a more philanthropic bent, aiming to bring Internet to more people. Kind of like Google's Project Loon, but with satellites.

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Google takes over NASA’s Moffett Field for aviation, robotics

Google takes over NASA’s Moffett Field for aviation, robotics

In an interesting agreement, Google will take control of NASA’s Moffett Field. the 60-year agreement will see Google invest up to $200 million in the property. Though they’re operating and investing in the air strip, which previously used by Google as a private airstrip, NASA will ultimately retain ownership. According to NASA, Google’s Planetary Ventures LLC branch, a shell company for investment purposes, will dole out $1.16 billion over the contract, and reduce NASA’s operating cost by $6.3 million annually.

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Elon Musk working to bring the world affordable internet via satellites

Elon Musk working to bring the world affordable internet via satellites

Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, is said to be working with a former satellite executive from Google in a venture that aims to provide affordable internet to the globe. This comes from sources speaking to the Wall Street Journal, who added that while nothing has been finalized, the current talks are around the construction of a satellite factory needed to produce some 700 units needed for the project.

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