Space

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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NASA’s Dawn spacecraft makes history as Ceres nears

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft makes history as Ceres nears

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has emerged safely from the opposite side of the sun and is just months away from reaching Ceres, the distant and mysterious dwarf planet next on the list for its multi-year space survey. Dawn - which checks off on several factors more commonly associated with science fiction tropes, like ion drives and distant space exploration - launched back in 2007, and Ceres is in fact its second stop since then. Previously, the probe spent more than a year orbiting a protoplanet named Vesta, but scientists manning the project are if anything even more eager to see what it makes of Ceres.

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MAVEN nears solving mystery of Mars’ disappearing atmosphere

MAVEN nears solving mystery of Mars’ disappearing atmosphere

Even while the Mars rover Curiosity continues to discover the secrets of Martian water billions of years ago, a somewhat unsung hero silently orbits the planet searching for clues on why that water disappeared over time. The MAVEN orbiter, short for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, continues to sample and analyze the tenuous atmosphere of the red planet in order to solve the mystery of its thinning atmosphere, that will eventually lead to more clues as to what befell this planet that could have very well supported organic life in the past.

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NASA’s NuSTAR takes single massive photo of our sun

NASA’s NuSTAR takes single massive photo of our sun

NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR for short, has taken its first photo of our solar system's Sun. This image is the "most sensitive solar portrait ever taken in high-energy X-rays" according to NASA, and you'll be able to view it in full glory right this minute. This first image - of many, hopefully - covers "the west limb of the sun" and it's been caught by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) - and it's primed and ready to be a wallpaper on your device, of course.

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Zero-G espresso cups heading to ISS in February

Zero-G espresso cups heading to ISS in February

Even astronauts, perhaps most especially astronauts, need their daily coffee fix. But what is usually a relaxing and pleasant experience here on earth turns into a chore out there in space. Coffee lovers would rather die than drink coffee with a straw yet that is how it's done up there. Well, not anymore. Or rather, hopefully not anymore soon, with these specially designed "espresso cups" from Portland State University that injects some scientific thinking into a modern age problem: how to drink coffee from a cup in space.

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NASA emailed new socket wrench to ISS astronauts

NASA emailed new socket wrench to ISS astronauts

We have a winner for the most interesting email attachment of 2014! NASA recently provided the astronauts currently aboard the International Space Station (ISS) with a new tool via little more than a standard email. The attachment was actually instructions for a special 3D printer the astronauts have thanks to a delivery from a SpaceX Dragon capsule back in September. The printer is specially made to work in low gravity, and the emailed instructions included the design for a socket wrench that was specifically needed.

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A huge ice reservoir could be hiding inside Mars

A huge ice reservoir could be hiding inside Mars

A vast cache of water or ice could be lurking just beneath the surface of Mars, scientists claims, using meteorite research to figure out where the "missing Martian water" might have actually ended up. While signs of the historic effects of subsurface and ground ice have been observed in previous orbital surveys, evidence for a lingering supply of water has proved troublesome to pin down, even though the red planet's history is believed to have seen it wet and warm. By looking at the make-up of Martian meteorites found on Earth, however, connections have been spotted between them and a possible surface reservoir.

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