Space

NASA’s Juno spacecraft will arrive at Jupiter next July

NASA’s Juno spacecraft will arrive at Jupiter next July

Pluto is getting all the attention at the moment, and Ceres is also still capturing attention, but NASA is already eyeing the future and that future will include a close-up look at Jupiter. The space agency will be getting a close look via its Juno spacecraft, and it announced this week Juno's arrival date: July 4, 2016, less than a year from now. As with some of its other missions, NASA is hoping to find out how the planet formed and some information on its structure.

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We can now watch Pluto rotate in space

We can now watch Pluto rotate in space

As New Horizons begins its final approach toward Pluto, NASA presents a Google Earth-mapped surface of the spinning space body. The final approach toward the planet has begun - this NASA-led mission will get within a few thousand miles of Pluto on the 14th of this month. Today we get our first spherical map of the planet as placed with Google Earth onto our own planet. Strange as that may sound, it provides as accurate a visual for the planet as we've ever seen. You've seen the flat images before - now watch Pluto spin in space.

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NASA shows off Pluto’s stunning Whale of a Feature

NASA shows off Pluto’s stunning Whale of a Feature

NASA's New Horizons probe is currently studying Pluto and scientists on the project have released a flat projection of visible parts of the sphere of Pluto that shows off a very interesting feature of the dwarf planet. Images so far have shows light and dark patches at the equator of Pluto including a long, dark band that has been dubbed "the whale."

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SpaceX still bemused over CRS-7 explosion says Musk

SpaceX still bemused over CRS-7 explosion says Musk

SpaceX is struggling to figure out what exactly happened to the CRS-7 rocket last week, after the planned resupply mission to the ISS exploded after takeoff. "The data does seem to be quite difficult to interpret," SpaceX founder Elon Musk conceded, speaking at the ISS R&D Conference in Boston today. "Whatever happened is not a simple straightforward thing." Nobody was injured in the explosion, but SpaceX's resupply missions to the International Space Station are on hold until the incident is understood.

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NuSTAR uncovers five new black holes and a galaxy full of potential

NuSTAR uncovers five new black holes and a galaxy full of potential

Using NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), researchers have uncovered five new supermassive black holes and the potential for many more. This research, led by astronomers at Durham University, United Kingdom, suggests that not only are there five supermassive black holes that'd been previously undiscovered. They also suggest that there's a whole galaxy of black holes that are just lying in wait, clouded by dust, awaiting the eye of NuSTAR to de-dust or otherwise see through their guise to uncover them.

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NASA’s New Horizons sends back more Pluto pics

NASA’s New Horizons sends back more Pluto pics

NASA has released the latest batch of photos its New Horizons spacecraft has taken of the dwarf planet Pluto, and in them we see a larger and somewhat less fuzzy version of the two shots from last week. Those same mysterious dark spots are visible in them, as are other crevices and shadows. There are three images total, and they were taken from July 1 to July 3 before the spacecraft had its brief operational hiccup. We've all three after the jump!

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New Horizons Pluto mission blinks out just days from goal

New Horizons Pluto mission blinks out just days from goal

Before you start having a heart attack at the idea that we won't get any closer to Pluto, take heed - New Horizons is now back online. For just a short period of time - right around an hour - the craft blinked offline. This was a radio communications glitch that seemed to fix itself - somehow or another - by 3:15pm EDT on the 4th of July, when everyone was out at the beach sipping on brewskies. Except NASA engineers, of course, who were on the task at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, making certain this wasn't an error that'd have the craft offline just days before it reaches its closest point to Pluto.

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Another trip to the USSR’s space rocket graveyard

Another trip to the USSR’s space rocket graveyard

Photographer Ralph Mirebs once again enters off-limits Russian space launch facility ground in Kazakstan at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. This time he's not at Site 112A with the USSR's versions of the space shuttle. Instead, he's just a hop, skip, and a jump away at the launch silo for Энергия-М, aka "Energy-M". In the image you see below, the tower we're entering here stands in front of the building we entered late last month with Mirebs at Site 112A with shuttles aplenty.

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Rosetta comet unlikely to carry life, despite scientist claims

Rosetta comet unlikely to carry life, despite scientist claims

One set of scientists suggest this week that Rosetta's comet could have micro-organic life - another says no. Nearing the end of its ten-year journey to catch up with comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, Rosetta's met with some controversy this week. Several astrophysicists from Cardiff and Buckingham Universities have spoken up at the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno, suggesting that 67P appears to have frozen lakes embedded within. This, they say, could mean that the comet could have organic debris on it. Not all scientists agree with this hypothesis.

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