Space

Richard Branson plans to launch 648 small satellites for broadband

Richard Branson plans to launch 648 small satellites for broadband

Virgin Galactic CEO Richard Branson has announced that he wants to launch an entire constellation of small satellites into space that will be used to deliver broadband connectivity. The satellites will be used by a company called OneWeb to deliver broadband to millions of users around the world who don't currently have access to broadband internet. To start with 648 satellites would be launched.

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ISS crew to return to US sector: no ammonia detected

ISS crew to return to US sector: no ammonia detected

Early this morning, a potential ammonia leak on the International Space Station forced a trio of astronauts to move from the US segment of the ISS into the Russian segment, sealing off the US segment in the process until further data could be collected. An alarm had been triggered that could have indicated an ammonia leak, and in addition the ISS's protection software proceeded to shut down one of a pair of redundant cooling loops. Fortunately, all has ended well.

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Elon Musk wants a Seattle engineering office to further Mars push

Elon Musk wants a Seattle engineering office to further Mars push

Elon Musk has had a lot to say in recent times, and among the discussion of cars and business have been tidbits about his Mars aspirations. It is no secret that Musk is looking to expand humans' presence in the universe, and he has spoken extensively about reasons why it is important (not to mention concern about artificial intelligence becoming troublesome in the very near future). In a recent interview, Musk revealed plans for a satellite engineering office in Seattle.

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NASA VolcanoBot 1 explores volcano in Hawaii

NASA VolcanoBot 1 explores volcano in Hawaii

NASA is aiming for the farthest reaches of space, but not all of its activities take place on planets elsewhere. In recent months, the space agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory took to Hawaii where a small robot -- dubbed the VolcanoBot 1 -- was fed into an inactive volcanic fissure where no human can ever tread. From its position there, the robot is able to acquire information on volcanoes that might otherwise be difficult or impossible to glean, leading to expanded research efforts in the future.

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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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