Space

Google said close to $1bn SpaceX investment

Google said close to $1bn SpaceX investment

Google is reportedly near to splashing a considerable amount of cash on SpaceX, Elon Musk's ambitious space exploration company, as part of a funding round that would value the company at more than $10bn. SpaceX has already begun running unmanned resupply missions to the International Space Station, and is currently testing reusable rocket technology that could potentially slash the cost of putting people, satellites, and other cargo into orbit, or even further beyond, such as a manned mission to Mars that Musk continues to promise. According to insiders, with Google's own space plans stumbling, the next best thing is a slice of SpaceX.

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NASA spots the Mars lander lost for a decade

NASA spots the Mars lander lost for a decade

It was the little space explorer that astronomers forgot, the Beagle 2 Mars Lander that went silent back in 2003 and has never spoken up since, but thanks to NASA's eye-in-the-sky has now been found again. Scientists at the European Space Agency had resigned themselves to never knowing the fate of Beagle 2, which landed on the red planet as part of the Mars Express mission but then failed to respond after touchdown on December 25, 2003. New shots from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, however, have revealed the final resting place of the lander, as well as tantalizing details about quite how far into its mission it actually made it.

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SpaceX rocket crashes and explodes on landing at sea

SpaceX rocket crashes and explodes on landing at sea

SpaceX has been performing very well with its rockets and Dragon spacecraft delivering supplies to the ISS for NASA. So far, most of those trips have gone off without a hitch. SpaceX has an ambitious plan that would allow it to capture those first stage rockets and reuse them to make the cost of sending cargo and people into space more affordable.

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Richard Branson plans to launch 648 small satellites for broadband

Richard Branson plans to launch 648 small satellites for broadband

Virgin Galactic CEO Richard Branson has announced that he wants to launch an entire constellation of small satellites into space that will be used to deliver broadband connectivity. The satellites will be used by a company called OneWeb to deliver broadband to millions of users around the world who don't currently have access to broadband internet. To start with 648 satellites would be launched.

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ISS crew to return to US sector: no ammonia detected

ISS crew to return to US sector: no ammonia detected

Early this morning, a potential ammonia leak on the International Space Station forced a trio of astronauts to move from the US segment of the ISS into the Russian segment, sealing off the US segment in the process until further data could be collected. An alarm had been triggered that could have indicated an ammonia leak, and in addition the ISS's protection software proceeded to shut down one of a pair of redundant cooling loops. Fortunately, all has ended well.

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Elon Musk wants a Seattle engineering office to further Mars push

Elon Musk wants a Seattle engineering office to further Mars push

Elon Musk has had a lot to say in recent times, and among the discussion of cars and business have been tidbits about his Mars aspirations. It is no secret that Musk is looking to expand humans' presence in the universe, and he has spoken extensively about reasons why it is important (not to mention concern about artificial intelligence becoming troublesome in the very near future). In a recent interview, Musk revealed plans for a satellite engineering office in Seattle.

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NASA VolcanoBot 1 explores volcano in Hawaii

NASA VolcanoBot 1 explores volcano in Hawaii

NASA is aiming for the farthest reaches of space, but not all of its activities take place on planets elsewhere. In recent months, the space agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory took to Hawaii where a small robot -- dubbed the VolcanoBot 1 -- was fed into an inactive volcanic fissure where no human can ever tread. From its position there, the robot is able to acquire information on volcanoes that might otherwise be difficult or impossible to glean, leading to expanded research efforts in the future.

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SpaceX fails in ambitious rocket re-use test

SpaceX fails in ambitious rocket re-use test

SpaceX's attempt to land a reusable rocket on a floating recovery platform ended in failure this week, with outspoken founder Elon Musk admitting it was "close, but no cigar" for the technology. The ambitious mission was to see the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket maneuver its way back down after propelling Dragon 9 the initial step of the way to the International Space Station, dropping down to a pad in the Atlantic ocean. If successful, it would have been one of the most impressive acts of recycling around, with the first stage a whopping fourteen-stories tall.

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NASA creates retro-cool travel posters for exoplanets

NASA creates retro-cool travel posters for exoplanets

NASA is always there to provide us with beautiful pictures of the universe around us, but recently it introduced some new images that caught many off guard: adorable retro-styled travel posters for a few exoplanets. The travel aspect of the posters is just a fun thought (at this point in time, anyway), but the exoplanets detailed in the posters are very much real, and the space agency slipped a tidbit of info in about each one alongside artwork that seems straight out of an old pamphlet.

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NASA plans lobotomy for forgetful Mars rover

NASA plans lobotomy for forgetful Mars rover

One of NASA's Martian rovers is facing the indignities of old age, with the hard-working explorer suffering robot amnesia that has led to data loss and even persistent system crashes. The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has put in more than a decade of overtime on the red planet, well-exceeding the initial project goals. However, vital components like the flash memory used to store mission data are feeling their age, forcing NASA to think creatively to stop the rover from forgetting entirely why it's on Mars and blacking out completely.

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