space exploration

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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Voyager 1’s thrusters still after 37 years of sleep

Voyager 1’s thrusters still after 37 years of sleep

Considering how the odds were stacked against it, Voyager 1’s new lease on life, even if just three years at most, is nothing short of a miracle. The spacecraft has been traveling space for 40 years and, since 2012, has left our solar system, becoming the first and so far only man-made interstellar object. So when crucial parts of it start failing, there is almost no hope. Fortunately, Voyager 1 seems to refuse to give up the ghost and its backup thrusters have been successfully fired up, even after being left unused for 37 years.

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NASA reinvents the wheel

NASA reinvents the wheel

Next time someone chides you for wasting your time reinventing the wheel, tell them that the smart folks at NASA did it too. Of course, they didn’t as much as reinvent the wheel as they made a new kind of wheel. The space agency, of course, has been toying with all sorts of new wheels that would let its machines and future human explorers safely and comfortably, as much as they can, across the moon, Mars, and beyond. And NASA might have finally found an answer in the form of a deforming and compliant tire made of springs memory alloy springs.

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Google Maps now lets you navigate through our solar system

Google Maps now lets you navigate through our solar system

While we’re probably still dozens of years away from actually getting lost in our travels between planets in our neighborhood, that doesn’t mean we can’t start pretending already. Google Maps was originally created as a way to navigate our own terra firm but has long expanded to ocean depths, volcanoes, and, now, outer space. Google has just added not a few round objects from our solar system, both planets, moons, and one former planet, so you can live out your space-faring fantasies while companies scamper to make that a thing.

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Elon Musk’s multiplanetary vision includes our own Blue planet

Elon Musk’s multiplanetary vision includes our own Blue planet

Elon Musk just held a press conference revolving around his "multiplanetary species" campaign and, while a large part of his presentation recapped SpaceX's adventures and misadventures, the ambitious luminary didn't fail to impart some extraordinary plans as well. By now, it is no secret that he plans to set up camp on Mars and even on the moon. But it seems that Musk's dream of making life multiplantery will also come back full circle to make life here on Earth just as spectacular.

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Mars Rover Concept looks more like a sci-fi armored van

Mars Rover Concept looks more like a sci-fi armored van

When you hear or read about off-planet rovers, you probably think of unmanned, somewhat smaller vehicles built for exploration and scientific missions. This concept Mars rover, in contrast, looks like something the Dark Knight himself would ride into battle. More armored car than mobile lab, this Rover Concept from NASA’s “Summer of Mars” promotion isn’t meant to actually roam the Red Planet. It serves more as a seedbed for actual rover technologies, as well as an inspiration to those visiting the Kennedy Space Center complex.

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Saturn’s and Jupiter’s moons might be able to sustain life

Saturn’s and Jupiter’s moons might be able to sustain life

Finding life or indeed living on other planets ourselves has always been a dream but, at the rate that we’re going, it might soon become a critical necessity. Much of our off-planet colonization fantasies have focused on planets outside our solar system but, as NASA scientists are finding out, we might not have to look that far. Two separate and rather old NASA missions are discovering clues that Enceladus, Saturn’s icy moon, and Europa, Jupiter’s equally icy moon, might have just the right elements to sustain life, either ours or someone else’s.

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Google Lunar XPRIZE diversity prize split among 16 teams, 5 going to the moon

Google Lunar XPRIZE diversity prize split among 16 teams, 5 going to the moon

While NASA has its eyes set on Mars and beyond, Google still has its crosshairs on the moon. Despite its relatively proximity, a lunar mission is still something only large and well-funded governments are able to pull off. Well, not anymore. Through Google’s Lunar XPRIZE campaign, it is showing that even private groups, with the right contracts, can go to and land on the moon. Now it is formally announcing five such groups who will be, or should, by the end of the year launch their mission, for science and profit!

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Schiaparelli lander’s mysterious crash partially solved

Schiaparelli lander’s mysterious crash partially solved

On 19th October, the European Space Agency rejoiced as its first ExoMars mission successfully completed one of two initial goals. The Trace Gas Orbiter was finally in orbit around its red planet target. However, rejoicing gave way to scratched heads and furrowed brows as the second part of that phase remained in question. The Schiaparelli lander had mysteriously vanished after it detached from the orbiter to land on the surface. Its remains were found three days later and now the ESA has released its initial findings on what may have caused its premature demise.

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Elon Musk Reddit AMA takes humans on Mars to stay there

Elon Musk Reddit AMA takes humans on Mars to stay there

Elon Musk is a man with many dreams and many companies to make those dreams come true. But as far as moon shots, or perhaps Mars shots, are concerned, his dream of populating the red planet with inhabits, human or otherwise, is perhaps the most eccentric and most incredible, in the literal sense of the word, of them all. But to prove that he means business, and hard science, Musk took to Reddit to answer fans' and doubters' burning questions on how he plans to get people to Mars for good.

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China’s humongous single-dish radio telescope goes online

China’s humongous single-dish radio telescope goes online

The desire to scour the heavens for proof that we aren’t the only intelligent life in the universe is not limited to a few countries and nations. In its ambition to also become a major power in space, China is also jumpstarting its own exploration of the galaxies outside our own. That exploration will now be powered by a gigantic, single-dish radio telescope that just went live Sunday, becoming not only the largest of its kind, snatching the title from Puerto Rico, but also attempting to be the most powerful.

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Jupiter’s North Pole is so unlike Jupiter, other gas planets

Jupiter’s North Pole is so unlike Jupiter, other gas planets

When you say “North Pole”, people will undoubtedly think of elves, Santa, and snow. Jupiter’s north pole, however, is anything but jolly. Initial data acquired from the Juno spacecraft’s first orbital flyby have started to open up more questions than NASA scientists could have imagine. While both north and south poles are, indeed, as stormy as the tempestuous giant of our solar system, images that Juno have gathered defy expectations and presumptions, revealing a plant that is just as mysterious as it is huge.

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