Space

Blue Origin first to successfully land reusable rocket, beating SpaceX

Blue Origin first to successfully land reusable rocket, beating SpaceX

Elon Musk's SpaceX has been generating most of the headlines recently when it comes to privately owned space agencies, but Blue Origin, owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, has just taken the lead in one of the former's most impressive initiatives: to develop a reusable rocket and successfully land it after launch. Blue Origin announced today that its BE-3 rocket took an unmanned crew capsule to suborbital heights, separated, and then made a controlled decent ending with a vertical landing.

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Phobos to put a ring on Mars, proper Beyonce style

Phobos to put a ring on Mars, proper Beyonce style

Mars closest moon, Phobos, is about to crash into the planet's atmosphere, creating a ring around it in the process. Phobos currently orbits Mars at around 3,700 miles above the planet's surface. It's currently on its way inward - eventually it'll start to break apart. The sad news is, we won't be able to see this crash happen. The good news is, we won't be around to see any potential ill effects. This ring-making will take place in between 20 to 40 million years from now.

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SpaceX receives first manned mission order from NASA

SpaceX receives first manned mission order from NASA

NASA has made a big step towards sending astronauts into space from American soil by issuing SpaceX its first mission order to launch astronauts into orbit. The new order is the second in a series of guaranteed orders that NASA will make for the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contracts.

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NASA’s Orion capsule features thermal protecting chrome paint job

NASA’s Orion capsule features thermal protecting chrome paint job

Late last week, NASA unveiled one of the features of its in-development Orion spacecraft, which will be used to transport human crews one day in missions to Mars and deep space. The agency highlighted the capsule's new metallic chrome color, which isn't for impressive looks, but rather to protect the spacecraft from extreme heat and cold during its missions.

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Astronaut Scott Kelly photographs a UFO

Astronaut Scott Kelly photographs a UFO

Astronaut Scott Kelly has photographed and shared an image of an unidentified flying object - in the most rudimentary sense of the term. One of the many photos shared by the man that's spending a year in space has appeared with a bright shiny light in its upper right-hand quadrant, without instant explanation - prompting every big-haired UFO theory maniac to suspect that he's hiding something! Does this photograph prove there's alien life hovering above our Earth right this minute? No, not really.

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Nearby galaxy discovered to have most dark matter ever known

Nearby galaxy discovered to have most dark matter ever known

In studying Triangulum II, a dwarf galaxy nearby the Milky Way, researchers from CalTech have come to realize that it has the largest concentration of dark matter ever known. It wasn't obvious at first, seeing as how dark matter is invisible to both eyes and instruments, but the realization came when they went to measure its mass, finding that it was much, much denser than it should've been for having so few stars.

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NASA moves from growing veggies to flowers on the ISS

NASA moves from growing veggies to flowers on the ISS

Following their success at growing lettuce in space for the very first time (and then eating it), NASA's International Space Station crew is moving on from salads to a garden. The agency says astronaut Kjell Lindgren has begun an experiment attempting to grow the very first flowers from space. Growing flowers, in this case, zinnias, is still part of NASA's Veggie plant growth system, a wider study on microgravity's effects of plant life.

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US Congress Moon Mining Act will bypass international treaty

US Congress Moon Mining Act will bypass international treaty

A new piece of legislation by the name of The U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act has just passed the U.S. House of Representatives. This legal document would "facilitate commercial exploration for and commercial recovery of space resources by United States citizens" - this means we could fly to our Moon, for example, and take home a bunch of space rocks for our very own. Believe it or not, this appears to fly well with previous laws which include the international Outer Space Treaty of 1967.

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NASA donates two robots for DARPA Mars research and exploration

NASA donates two robots for DARPA Mars research and exploration

Two university groups receive their very own Valkyrie robots from NASA as part of the DARPA Robotics Challenge. NASA calls these robots the Valkyrie or "R5" models, as revealed earlier this year as part of the DARPA Robotics Challenge. These robots and their intended purpose are important to the future of beyond-Earth exploration. Both are humanoid so that they're able to "help or even take the place" of astronauts that'd otherwise be working in extreme space conditions and environments.

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This ‘Chemical Laptop’ will help NASA detect life on other planets

This ‘Chemical Laptop’ will help NASA detect life on other planets

While NASA's rovers are used to explore the surface of other planets, the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has developed a "Chemical Laptop" that could accompany missions and be used to help detect signs of life. NASA describes the Chemical Laptop as akin to a small, portable laboratory capable of analyzing samples to identify materials associated with life, such as amino acids and fatty acids.

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100bn megaton superflares make “most Earth-like” planet a no-go

100bn megaton superflares make “most Earth-like” planet a no-go

One of the planets earmarked as potentially most Earth-like is dissuading guests, with the discovery of vast superflares rendering it inhospitable. Researchers had believed Kepler-438b to be the most similar to our own planet as any discovered by the Kepler space telescope to-date, coming close both in size and temperature to Earth, but it turns out our suns are very different.

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Leonid Meteor Shower tonight: how to watch it live

Leonid Meteor Shower tonight: how to watch it live

Tonight is the most ideal of two nights to view the Leonid Meteor Shower raining down from the LEO constellation. To do this, you'll want to find a nice, flat spot to lie on the ground outside or on the floor inside - anywhere that you have a wide open view of the night sky. You'll want to be looking just between Leo Minor and Cancer, at the tail of Leo, in the Leonids area. Starting at around midnight Eastern time and onwards through the night you should have a fairly good view of the meteor shower overhead.

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