NASA

NASA successfully inflates space habitat on second try

NASA successfully inflates space habitat on second try

Saturday saw NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station successfully inflate an expandable habitat — basically a pod that acts as an additional, experimental room. It was their second attempt at doing so, after the first try on Thursday didn't work due to higher forces of friction than expected. Now that the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) is inflated, it measures 10.6 feet across and 5.6 feet long, although it is not yet at maximum capacity.

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New Horizons shows most detailed view of Pluto’s surface to date

New Horizons shows most detailed view of Pluto’s surface to date

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has provided the best look at Pluto’s surface to date, and NASA has assembled the images into a pleasant video, as well as a high-resolution image strip you can check out for yourself. The image shows approximately 260ft of Pluto’s surface per pixel, and is a strip of the face photographed while New Horizons’ flew by last July. The spacecraft was within 23 minutes of its closest point to the planet when it took the images.

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How to see Mars on Monday

How to see Mars on Monday

This Memorial Day, Mars will be closer to Earth than it's been at any point in the past 11 years. Back in 2005, Mars got up close and personal with our Earth - we didn't even really have smartphones back then. Now, here on Memorial Day, Mars will be appearing low in the east-southeast sky just after darkness. When you see it, Mars will be the color of sand - or just a bit more orange.

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NASA uses crash dummies in extreme Orion drop tests

NASA uses crash dummies in extreme Orion drop tests

NASA’s Orion spacecraft will eventually make a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean with living astronauts inside — those astronauts will experience “some of the greatest forces on the human body,” according to the space agency. Before that time comes, though, NASA is fitting Orion with crash test dummies and sending them through this rapid deceleration first to see what happens.

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New Hubble image of Mars shows details 20-30 miles across

New Hubble image of Mars shows details 20-30 miles across

The Hubble space telescope may be aged, but it still takes some of the most spectacular images of our solar system that you will ever see. NASA has shown off a new image of Mars taken by Hubble and it is high resolution showing off detail on the surface of Mars as small as 20-30 miles across. It never ceases to amaze that the Hubble Space Telescope can snap pictures that detailed of a planet that is 50 million miles from Earth.

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NASA software ‘clones’ machine parts to predict breakdowns

NASA software ‘clones’ machine parts to predict breakdowns

The breakdown of machine parts always has the potential to create serious problems, whether it be in something like a car, or a piece of equipment such as a telescope. And when it comes to essential moving parts, like those in, say, a helicopter, a failure can put lives at risk. But a new piece of software from the NASA-owned subsidiary Sentient Science offers a solution by "cloning" these parts and predicting breakdowns before they happen.

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The ISS is full of microbes, and NASA may get a shipment of them today

The ISS is full of microbes, and NASA may get a shipment of them today

The International Space Station is home to all manner of experiments, being used to test everything from how plants grow in space to how whiskey is affected. The ISS is also home to to various Earth microbes that are being exposed to a microgravity environment, presenting researchers with a chance to study how such an environment affects them. The space agency is performing a three-part study on these microbes, and it might get its final batch in a shipment from space today.

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NASA: Kepler has discovered (at least) 1,284 new planets

NASA: Kepler has discovered (at least) 1,284 new planets

NASA has unleashed some big news today: out of thousands of potential new planets spotted by the Kepler space telescope, 1,284 of them have been verified as new planets, and that could just be the start of things. It all started with Kepler’s July 2015 catalog of potential planets — there were 4,302 of them in total. Following an analysis, NASA determined that 1,284 of them are probably planets (greater than 99-percent odds), and that another 1,327 potential planets may be added to the ‘verified planets’ list after additional analyses are wrapped up.

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Mercury Transit sets planet against our sun

Mercury Transit sets planet against our sun

This morning the planet Mercury passed between our planet and our Sun, allowing us to see its silhouette with clarity. This is one of about 13 times the planet passes between ours and the sun per century - the last time this happened, you probably didn't have a smartphone - back in 2006. The image you see above comes from NASA and was captured by Bill Ingalls. NASA has also provided a time-lapse video showing the passing of the planet across the face of our sun.

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NASA makes 56 patents public domain, launches searchable database

NASA makes 56 patents public domain, launches searchable database

NASA has released a bunch of patents for its technologies so that anyone can use them. A total of 56 “formerly-patented” technologies developed by the government are now available in the public domain, meaning they can be used for commercial purposes in an unrestricted manner. To make it easier to find these technologies and others like them, NASA has also created a new searchable database that links the public to thousands of the agency’s now-expired patents.

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SpaceX plans to be on Mars as early as 2018

SpaceX plans to be on Mars as early as 2018

SpaceX plans to land on Mars as early as the year 2018, the company announced in a tweet today. Mars has become the newest goal for space agencies around the world, and companies like SpaceX are helping develop the technology necessary to get humans there. According to the tweet, SpaceX plans to “send a Dragon to Mars as soon as 2018. Red Dragons will inform overall Mars architecture, details to come.”

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NASA is training astronauts with new simulators from Boeing

NASA is training astronauts with new simulators from Boeing

NASA has a new pair of training simulators courtesy of Boeing, and they’re designed to train astronauts on how to control the space agency’s next-generation spacecrafts. A pair of crew astronauts tried out the simulators yesterday, with NASA saying they offering realistic simulations of the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft. Astronauts will also be training for the SpaceX Crew Dragon for future International Space Station runs.

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