Space

What are these weird Mars clouds? Stargazers aren’t sure

What are these weird Mars clouds? Stargazers aren’t sure

A huge plume of haze extending more than 600 miles from the surface of Mars has stumped astronomers, with the cause of the unexpected extrusion still the cause of fierce speculation. Spotted for the first time in 2012, the high-altitude emissions were first tracked by amateurs who initially doubted their telescopes, so different from the usual clouds and aurora they were. Now, researchers from the European Space Agency have waded in, but while they may have far stronger telescopes (not to mention a bigger budget), they're still stuck at the theorizing stage.

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Interstellar’s black hole code leads to real science

Interstellar’s black hole code leads to real science

To achieve the effect of a black hole in the film Interstellar, Christopher Nolan worked with real physicist Kip Thorne to depict scientifically-sound images. Thorne and a team at Double Negative Visual Effects worked to create a new code to solve the equation for visualizing light beams as seen from a viewer as they approach a black hole. This has never been done before. While previous studies have been performed at great distances and with light rays, this system bundled light beams together to create an image that was realistic, beautiful, and scientifically sound.

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Virgin Galactic’s launch spot will be a former Boeing facility

Virgin Galactic’s launch spot will be a former Boeing facility

For the past few months, SpaceX and its launches, and its landings, have been the focus of many rocket science and space travel news, but it is hardly the only game in town. It's rival Virgin Galactic will soon be entering the news again once it starts the construction of what would be its future launching pad. The company has just inked a deal that would let it build a 150,000 sq. ft. facility on a former Boeing space at Long Beach Airport, where it plans to have LuancherOne launches every two to three hours.

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Next ISS crew pose as Jedi in official group photo

Next ISS crew pose as Jedi in official group photo

They will boldly go where other men have gone before. Or are we mixing up pop culture references. After all, it's not that easy to think of Jedi Knights and the almost magical Force when you think about astronauts. But that is exactly what the Expedition 45 crew bound for the International Space Station later this year did for their official photo, donning the robes, and weapons, of the Jedi order with the slogan "The Science Continues" set in the style of a Star Wars film.

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DSCOVR success: watch SpaceX launch NASA’s space weather station

DSCOVR success: watch SpaceX launch NASA’s space weather station

You may have heard of the craft called DSCOVR, but what is it, exactly? Why is NASA working with SpaceX to launch this craft into orbit between our sun and the Earth? It'll serve as a warning beacon - that's what. DSCOVR stands for Deep Space Climate Observatory, and now that it's been launched into space (just last night), it'll allow much better lead time for NOAA's space weather alerts and forecasts. Geomagnetic storms is what this craft will be warning against - where, when, and how severe we'll be getting them.

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After rovers, NASA sets its eyes on unmanned submarines

After rovers, NASA sets its eyes on unmanned submarines

One could probably say that NASA has gotten land and aerial space travel down to a T, with numerous rockets, satellites, and rovers under its belt. One thing that is quite novel for it is underwater exploration. But being NASA, it is, of course, more interested in water that isn't on Earth. Now the world's premiere space agency is making plans to design and build a drone submarine, one that would travel to space and explore Titan, one of Saturn's many moons.

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Exploding meteor caught on dash cam in New Zealand

Exploding meteor caught on dash cam in New Zealand

Thanks to the increasing number of dashcams on cars across the globe, we've seen fireballs of various sorts caught on camera in places that mostly lie within Russia. Yet another has been caught on camera, this time in New Zealand where a meteor can be seen zipping into view between the clouds, then exploding with a bright light followed by zooming out of view. Unlike some of the massive fireballs we've seen in other videos, this one was relatively fast and simple, and punctuated with a quick woo! from the driver.

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SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches after multiple setbacks

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches after multiple setbacks

SpaceX has successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket after previous setbacks, and though all went well with the launch itself, plans to recover the booster had to be scrapped due to severe weather at the landing site. This follows previous planned launch dates which were delayed repeatedly -- in a tweet, Elon Musk said that they could not "delay any longer". This marks a successful launch of the DSCOVR probe, which is destined to orbit nearly 1 million miles in space.

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Watch the ESA’s car-sized shuttle take off

Watch the ESA’s car-sized shuttle take off

This week the European Space Agency's Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) took off on a Vega rocket. This takeoff sequence was done at the European Spaceport in French Guiana on Wednesday (February 11th) at 8:40 a.m. EST (1340 GMT). This craft was a prototype for a reusable orbiter, prepared to move passengers into space in the future. Below you'll be able to watch this spacecraft take off successfully, heading 340 km into space not long after its initial launch earlier this morning. This system precedes a program called PRIDE: Program for Reusable In-orbit Demonstrator for Europe.

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