Space

A huge asteroid is about to buzz Earth

A huge asteroid is about to buzz Earth

Try not to let it worry you, but a 550 meter wide chunk of space rock is going to hurtle past Earth at more than 33,000 mph very soon, another near-miss asteroid a celestially-slight 745,000 miles from our planet. While it may not sound all that close - the moon is on average 239k miles from us - asteroid 2004 BL86 is enough to have astronomers from NASA and other space agencies tracking its location closely, given the potential for destruction (or even species-level catastrophe like the "colossal bad luck" that saw the dinosaurs wiped out) the impact of such a rock would have.

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NASA eyes using small helicopters to help Mars rovers

NASA eyes using small helicopters to help Mars rovers

Mars might very soon have its own version of a drone to patrol its skies. NASA is considering creating a Mars Helicopter, an addon to future rovers that will become the advance party of these roaming laboratories. These vehicles will become the eyes of scientists on earth that will help them better determine where to direct rovers to, making each trip more efficient and focusing primarily on more "exciting" parts of Martian landscape, increasing the distance traveled up to three times.

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Rosetta hunt for Philae weighed against science sacrifice

Rosetta hunt for Philae weighed against science sacrifice

The Rosetta comet probe mission may not have gone entirely to plan, but the science is still pouring out - not to mention water from the comet itself - as the ESA considers hunting down the stalled lander. Triumph at getting the Philae lander to the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November 2014 turned to frustration when a less-than-perfect touchdown left the probe short on sunlight and prematurely powered-down. Now, the European Space Agency is considering using the orbiting Rosetta spacecraft to go on a Philae hunt, but there's a price to be paid in potential future research.

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Microsoft HoloLens will take NASA scientists to Mars — virtually

Microsoft HoloLens will take NASA scientists to Mars — virtually

Microsoft’s HoloLens is a pretty neat concept, and already showing a lot of promise. Via a headset and virtual environment, we’d be able to do all kinds of things like assemble or design something to be 3D printed, and it certainly has a lot of gaming angles. As far as virtual environments go, there might be no cooler one than mars, and that’s what NASA and Microsoft have in mind. Using HoloLens, NASA wants to let Earth-bound scientists work in space — virtually.

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US Navy launches MUOS-3 satellite to support ground troops

US Navy launches MUOS-3 satellite to support ground troops

The launch of the third Mobile User Object Satellite or MUOS-3 may be downplayed by some because of its purpose of assisting, and therefore furthering, warfighting but the moment is also of significance to rocket science and engineering. The satellite has so far been the heaviest payload that the Altas V launch system has ever had to carry, testifying to the system's capability and the rocket's durability. It also marked the 200th launch of the Centaur upper stage on the Atlas in it's nearly 50 year run.

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SpaceX confirms $1bn Google investment

SpaceX confirms $1bn Google investment

SpaceX has confirmed its new funding round, with Google and Fidelity splashing $1bn to grab a chunk of Elon Musk's rocket company. Rumors of the planned investment began yesterday, with Google said to be particularly keen on working on satellite internet services after its own project to blanket the planet with broadband in a similar fashion fell through in 2014. The deal will see Google and Fidelity together holding just short of 10-percent of SpaceX, valuing it at around $10bn in total.

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The largest ever Hubble photo shows Andromeda’s glory

The largest ever Hubble photo shows Andromeda’s glory

Taking high-resolution photos of your neighbors is usually frowned upon, but not when the neighbor in question is the Andromeda galaxy and the camera is the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA has shared the sharpest large composite image ever taken of the sprawling mass of stars, space dust, and more, a vast 1.5 billion pixels that together cover a 61,000 light year long section of the galaxy. It's a shot that gets more and more involving even as you zoom in closer, but NASA is hoping that it will do more than just amaze people.

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NASA releases Ceres shots as Dawn nears dwarf planet

NASA releases Ceres shots as Dawn nears dwarf planet

NASA has shared its newest photos of distant dwarf planet Ceres, the next destination for the long-traveling Dawn spacecraft as it continues its nearly two-decade mission. The 590 mile wide planet is just 27 pixels across in Ceres' first snapshot, beamed back to Earth as the exploring spaceship makes its approach, but that's still enough to help guide the craft into orbit. Meanwhile, the quality will only increase as the distance from the mysterious planet shrinks: NASA says that the next scheduled photos will be the best shots of Ceres ever seen by human eyes.

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Opera singer Sarah Brightman to spend ten days on the ISS

Opera singer Sarah Brightman to spend ten days on the ISS

If you aren't a fan of British opera singers, you might not recognize the name Sarah Brightman. She is a 54-year-old soprano singer who started singing on stage in Phantom of the Opera. Word has surfaced that the singer is currently in training for an out of this world trip- literally. Brightman has reportedly spent a whopping $52 million to spend ten days in space on the ISS.

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Sid Meier’s Starships once again takes to the stars

Sid Meier’s Starships once again takes to the stars

Sid Meier is a name that is quickly associated with turn-based strategy and world building games, most of which take place on our beloved planet Earth. But after Civilization: Beyond Earth, itself seen as a "spiritual successor" of Sid Meier's own Alpha Centauri run, the acclaimed game designer seems to be turning his gaze skyward once more. Firaxis has just announced what is bound to be its next hit title, Starships, which unambiguously revolves around the development of your own star fleet and, perhaps, the formation of your own interstellar federation.

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