NASA

NASA and DOE test compact nuclear Mars power system for future missions

NASA and DOE test compact nuclear Mars power system for future missions

The US Department of Energy and NASA have teamed up to test a compact nuclear power system that may one day sustain human energy needs on Mars. The system is being tested in the Nevada desert, where initial tests have proven successful. According to US officials, a full-power test will be performed in March under the NASA Kilopower project.

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NASA creates beautiful fly through video of Orion Nebula

NASA creates beautiful fly through video of Orion Nebula

NASA has whipped up something that anyone who has ever looked at images of the Orion Nebula has probably dreamed of doing. The video shows what it would be like to fly through the nebular and is made using a combination of visible and infrared images of the nebula taken from the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes. The IR images are pictures of what we can’t see with our naked eyes.

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NASA Mars orbiter finds thick layers of exposed water ice on Martian slopes

NASA Mars orbiter finds thick layers of exposed water ice on Martian slopes

NASA has released an enhanced image taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's (MRO) HiRISE camera; in it, we see layers of underground ice that are exposed on the Mars landscape. The space agency says the MRO found a total of eight locations where these thick ice layers are exposed, all of them on eroding slope faces. Researchers explain that regions like this may mean frozen water will be more easily accessible to humans and robots than previously anticipated.

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Curiosity finds strange, tiny Mars feature: trace fossils possible

Curiosity finds strange, tiny Mars feature: trace fossils possible

NASA's Curiosity rover has discover an unusual -- an quite tiny -- feature on the Mars landscape, one with a strange shape and an unknown explanation. The features, which may be related to minerals, were found in an area so interesting that researchers had sent the rover back for a second look. The features' strange appearance have raised questions about whether NASA has discovered trace fossils on the Red Planet, and researchers aren't ruling that out yet.

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NASA research shows CFC ban is helping ozone hole recover

NASA research shows CFC ban is helping ozone hole recover

Ozone depletion is on the decline, according to NASA, which has announced that scientists have demonstrated a particular aspect of this via a satellite instrument for the first time. According to the instrument, which was made by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, chlorine atom levels are decreasing and with that comes a decrease in their destruction of the ozone layer. The favorable change is the direct result of international bans on chlorofluorocarbons, NASA says.

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NASA and American Girl team for Luciana, an aspiring astronaut

NASA and American Girl team for Luciana, an aspiring astronaut

NASA has partnered with American Girl, the two have announced, hoping to "inspire young girls to learn about" STEM-related fields. The space agency's involvement comes via a Space Agency Agreement, NASA explains. For its part, NASA provided American Girl with its input for the doll company's upcoming related book series, as well as reviewing the NASA-themed merchandise and providing experts for the company's advisory board.

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NASA wants to send a spacecraft to explore Alpha Centauri

NASA wants to send a spacecraft to explore Alpha Centauri

Alpha Centauri, a star system located more than four light-years from Earth, has caught NASA's eye in a big way. A Jet Propulsion Laboratory team wants to send a spacecraft to explore the system, though it will take decades to get all the groundwork in place. The exploration, should it actually happen, would take place around the Apollo II mission's 100th anniversary in 2069.

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NASA wants to either fly around one of Saturn’s moons or meet up with a comet next

NASA wants to either fly around one of Saturn’s moons or meet up with a comet next

This week NASA has narrowed down its list of potential next missions to a pair and both sound awesome. Exactly which of the mission will be undertaken we won’t know until 2019, but we do know the two potentials. One of the missions would send a probe out to meet comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

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Skull-shaped asteroid returns in 2018 after initial Halloween flyby

Skull-shaped asteroid returns in 2018 after initial Halloween flyby

On Halloween 2015, an asteroid shaped eerily similar to a human skull flew past Earth without issue. The timing was a fun coincidence, perhaps, but it won't be the last time we see this particular space rock. Researchers say the Skull Asteroid is destined to fly by Earth again next year, doing so a little later than the first time around: in November 2018.

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Google AI finds exoplanet, bringing alien solar system to 8

Google AI finds exoplanet, bringing alien solar system to 8

Google's machine learning technology has discovered the existence of a new exoplanet that was missed by NASA the first time around. The exoplanet is located in the alien solar system now known to contain eight planets all revolving around same star, Kepler-90. This makes the Kepler-90 system tied with our own solar system, which also contains eight planets circling the same star. The newly discovered exoplanet is called Kepler-90i.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be screened on the ISS

Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be screened on the ISS

Star Wars fans currently located in space will get a chance to watch the latest series installment before returning to Earth, NASA has confirmed. Astronauts located on the International Space Station will be given a special movie night, allowing them to watch the movie alongside the rest of the world. Disney is working with NASA to make sure the ISS crew gets this opportunity, but some of the details are still missing.

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Trump wants Americans on the moon again, Mars afterwards

Trump wants Americans on the moon again, Mars afterwards

The past few years have been kind to space science in general and especially to NASA. Advancements in technology, monumental achievements, and historic phenomena has made being an astronaut and even a space scientist or engineer cool again. When Trump took the helm of the world’s largest superpower, there were worries that the outspoken president would de-emphasize the country’s space program. With a little indirect help from a rival, however, Trump signed a directive that would put Americans back on the moon and, in the future, on Mars as well.

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