Space

LightSail spacecraft burns up on reentry after successful mission

LightSail spacecraft burns up on reentry after successful mission

Early on in the LightSail mission, things weren't going well for the team behind the test mission for a revolutionary spacecraft called LightSail. The test mission was hit with a software glitch early on that kept the LightSail from being deployed. Eventually the reason that the spacecraft was in safe mode was found to be power levels lower than expected in the Earth's shadow and higher than expected in direct sunlight.

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NASA shows off its first 4K ISS video

NASA shows off its first 4K ISS video

For decades, NASA has been big on getting normal, everyday Americans excited about space exploration and travel. One of the ways it gets the public involved with space is by releasing lots of beautiful photos and videos for people to check out. To make space look better to those interested enough in it to vote for elected officials that support giving NASA money for space exploration, NASA has always moved its video and photo technology along as technology progressed.

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Your Sunday Space Surprise: Philae is alive!

Your Sunday Space Surprise: Philae is alive!

Scientists at the European Space Agency have had a Sunday surprise, with the plucky Philae lander unexpectedly waking up after over half a year of hibernation. The probe landed on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November 2014, but celebrations quickly soured when the ESA team realized its positioning would leave it short on sunlight for its solar panels. After around 60 hours of operation, Philae shut down and left the scientists uncertain whether it would be heard from again.

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NASA will launch CubeSats as part of next year’s Mars mission

NASA will launch CubeSats as part of next year’s Mars mission

NASA has announced that when it launches a stationary lander next year as part of its Mars effort, it will include a pair of CubeSats. This will mark the first time CubeSats have been flown into deep space, says the space agency, and a success will demonstrate that the technology is able to rapidly transmit data about the status of the primary spacecraft destined for Mars. The CubeSats were both built by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and will fly independent of the InSight lander, which will land on Mars next September.

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NASA photographs Pluto: watch New Horizons approach

NASA photographs Pluto: watch New Horizons approach

Today NASA's New Horizons spacecraft presented a series of images beamed back from space as it moves close to Pluto. Closer than we've ever been before. This mission's images - attained between May 29th and June 2nd, show Pluto as a "complex world with very bright and very dark terrain." NASA suggests that these images "afford the best views ever obtained of the Pluto system." Below you'll see these images in their full glory - and NASA's provided links to RAW images as well, if that's what you're all about.

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English high school student discovers exoplanet

English high school student discovers exoplanet

Discovering a new planet is something that many astronomers dream of and at the ripe age of 15-years-old, an English high school student named Tom Wagg has done just that. Wagg has discovered a gas-giant exoplanet that he first came across two years ago while he was doing a work-experience study at Keele University in England. Additional observations of the planet have now been made and the existence of the planet has been confirmed.

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Proposed solar storms alarm could give 24hr advanced warning

Proposed solar storms alarm could give 24hr advanced warning

Solar storms can, at times, present a problem for our planet -- you've likely experienced at one point or another GPS troubles and such due to solar storms. In some cases, though, solar storms could pose larger risks to things like power grids. Advanced warning of these larger, potentially dangerous storms gives people a chance to prepare, but present systems only give up to an hour's warning. A new proposed system, however, would increase that warning time to a day or longer.

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Space Station trio land safe after 199 days in orbit

Space Station trio land safe after 199 days in orbit

A trio of crew members have returned from the International Space Station after 199 days spent in orbit, arriving back on our planet earlier today to mark an all around successful trip. The crew underwent medical tests of various sorts upon returning, including things like performing tasks, taking steps over obstacles, and tasks to test how well they can balance — all of which lends data to the space agency’s researchers regarding the effects of time spent in space on the human body.

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Saturn’s newest ring is the largest in the solar system

Saturn’s newest ring is the largest in the solar system

When it comes to planets with ring systems in our solar system, we all know that Saturn has rings. What we didn’t know for decades was that the traditional ring system we all know about wasn't all of the rings Saturn had. In 2009, scientists discovered a new ring around Saturn and after being researched for years, scientists think they now know how large the newest ring around Saturn is.

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Life on Mars may be preserved in meteorite-made glass

Life on Mars may be preserved in meteorite-made glass

A paper released this week by K. Cannon and J. Mustard shows how ancient life on Mars could be preserved by meteorite glass. Impact glass, or glass-rich impactites, have the ability to both encapsulate and preserve biosignatures on Earth. Because of this, these scientists show how Mars may have bio-rich preserves that rovers on Mars may not have even begun to explore. While we've been looking for signs of life - or ancient life - on Mars for many years, we might just have not been looking in the right place!

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