Space

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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This is the tech NASA will take to Jupiter’s ice moon

This is the tech NASA will take to Jupiter’s ice moon

NASA has announced the tech toys its Europa mission will be equipped with, a battery of gadgets to do scientific study with around Jupiter's moon. Nine instruments have been selected after NASA threw open its inbox to suggestions from the research community, in preparation for the $30m study that will hopefully see a solar-powered craft orbit Europa's icy surface for three years. Among the hardware will be instrumentation to figure out if the moon does indeed have huge underground oceans.

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Did stowaway gas foul Curiosity’s Mars methane findings?

Did stowaway gas foul Curiosity’s Mars methane findings?

NASA's Curiosity rover has sparked an unexpected argument over methane on Mars, as operators attempt to figure out whether the gas is local or imported. The existence of methane on the red planet could be a strong indicator either of biological life or even just lingering geological activity, hence scientists' collective interest in whether it's present or not. However, while Curiosity seems to have spotted the gas, there are some who think it itself is responsible for it.

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VAMP inflatable space plane could explore Venus

VAMP inflatable space plane could explore Venus

Aerospace company Northrop Grumman has unveiled a new idea for an aircraft that is designed specifically to explore the upper atmosphere of Venus. The aircraft is called the Venus Atmospheric Maneuverability Platform or VAMP for short. The aircraft is an inflatable device that would be deployed from space and skim the upper atmosphere of Venus. Northrop designed the VAMP to be light enough to stay aloft in the atmosphere of Venus using little or no energy.

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NASA discovers brightest galaxy, burning with 300 trillion suns

NASA discovers brightest galaxy, burning with 300 trillion suns

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has discovered a remote galaxy, far, far away that is the brightest galaxy known to date. Researchers calculated it burns with the light of 300 trillion suns. The sheer brightness of this galaxy puts it in an entirely new class of space objects, extremely luminous infrared galaxies (ELIRGs), discovered using WISE. NASA has been using WISE, opposed to other methods, to target ELIRGs because the dust surrounding these super-luminous galaxies blocks visible light, and reduces it to infrared light.

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This One Photo: An Eagle on a gravestone at Fort Snelling National Cemetery

This One Photo: An Eagle on a gravestone at Fort Snelling National Cemetery

On Memorial Day 2015, a photo of a bald eagle perching on the gravestone of a fallen soldier rings true to the spirit of the day. Today is a day when the United States remembers those women and men who died serving in the country's armed forces, and this one photo taken at Fort Snelling National Cemetery by photographer Frank Glick has struck a nerve. While the photo itself was taken months ago - scratch that, YEARS AGO - the image has spread *again* in a big way since earlier this morning.

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Here’s what it looks like when your rocket launch aborts

Here’s what it looks like when your rocket launch aborts

A pilot's eye view of what happens when a rocket launch goes wrong is not something most would like to experience, but SpaceX can help you live it vicariously. Elon Musk's commercial space flight company has released capsule footage from the Dragon craft used in the launch abort system test completed successfully earlier this month, a vital backup should something go wrong when the ship starts taking human passengers up into Earth's atmosphere and beyond.

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NaSt1 “Nasty” star blasts gas disk in death display

NaSt1 “Nasty” star blasts gas disk in death display

NASA and the Goddard Space Flight Center use the Hubble Space Telescope to watch the Wolf-Rayet star NaSt1 blow its outer layers. This star isn't exactly new - in fact its thousands of years old, and it was first discovered by humans several decades ago. What's strange about this star and what makes it newsworthy today is its unique pancake-shaped disk of gas. Normally a star such as this shows a couple of lobs of gas blasting from opposite sides. The disk surrounding this star is nearly 2 trillion miles wide.

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X37-B: Everything we know about this secret Air Force space mission

X37-B: Everything we know about this secret Air Force space mission

The United States Air Force X37-B Space Plane (one of two) takes off into orbit above Earth in its fourth secretive mission. The craft itself is not a secret - we know what it's capable of. The contents of the craft are not entirely secret - we know MOST of what's inside. What the United States Air Force is doing on this mission with the cargo they carry - that's the question here. With one of two X-37B space planes headed to space with, amongst other cargo, 10 minuscule "cubesats" and a real deal Solar Sail, we'll be interested to see what becomes of their testing and action.

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ISS could mount lasers to blast away space debris

ISS could mount lasers to blast away space debris

As the ISS floats above earth, it's actually hurtling around its orbit at 17,000 mph. Any debris that it encounters at that speed could have major consequences, so the ISS often has to change course throughout its orbit just to avoid space debris from previous missions. According to NASA, there are about 3,000 tons of space debris in a cloud around Earth in low-Earth orbit. There is another belt of debris higher above the earth in geo-synchronous orbit. A team of Japanese scientists proposed a solution using lasers to blast the debris before it can damage the ISS.

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SpaceX teases Mars-bound future with retro travel posters

SpaceX teases Mars-bound future with retro travel posters

Back in January, NASA published some inspirational travel posters for far away planets based on real travel posters from the past. Now SpaceX has followed suit, only it wants your attention to be solely on Mars — the subject of its new three retro posters. The space company dropped the posters on its Flickr account over the weekend, and though we doubt this is what life on Mars would actually look like, it’s a fun way to dream of a future in space while enjoy the nostalgia of classic science fiction-like artwork.

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