space travel

NASA astronaut sets US record for longest duration in space

NASA astronaut sets US record for longest duration in space

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly set a new record last week for American in space. On Friday, October 16th, his cumulative time spent in space hit 382 days, surpassing the previous record set by NASA astronaut Mike Fincke in 2011. Kelly is currently aboard the International Space Station, serving as commander. He has just passed 200 days on a nearly year-long mission, intended to study long-term microgravity's effects on the human body, which he will be returning from in March 2016.

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Pluto has pits likely made by ice

Pluto has pits likely made by ice

It's no secret that Pluto has ice across its face, appearing with more than a couple bits of proof since NASA's closest approach earlier this year. NASA mission New Horizons sought out the surface of this planet-like space body, coming near enough that they're now presenting photos that are about 130 miles (210 kilometers) across. The image we're seeing today shows a collection of small pits and troughs, created - more than likely - by icy liquids, forming solidly then evaporating away over time.

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SpaceX return-to-flight full speed ahead with Orbcomm and SES

SpaceX return-to-flight full speed ahead with Orbcomm and SES

SpaceX officials announce two missions to initiate the company's return-to-flight initiative after a disastrous event earlier this year. Back in June of 2015, one SpaceX CRS-7 mission craft exploded en-route to the International Space Station. After much explanation of why that event occurred, SpaceX is ready to move onward and upward. Two missions announced this week include one which will carry a communications satellite for Luxembourg-based SES SA, and another that'll deliver an array of satellites for Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions provider ORBCOMM Inc.

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Astronauts on Mars: NASA details 3-phase plan

Astronauts on Mars: NASA details 3-phase plan

NASA details the three phases in reaching Mars with human astronauts, including Earth Reliant, Proving Ground, and Earth Independent. The first of these, Earth Reliant, requires that we make certain we're capable of existing outside of our own atmosphere for long periods of time. This includes astronaut missions aboard the International Space Station. Part of NASA's plan requires that we extend ISS operations until at least the year 2024. NASA also suggests that they'll need to pursue an evolvable SLS via Exploration Upper Stage before advanced solid rocket boosters if they're ever to make a craft that'll bring humans to Mars AND be able to bring them back to Earth.

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NASA countdown to human Mars tests begins: 8-years left [UPDATE]

NASA countdown to human Mars tests begins: 8-years left [UPDATE]

This week NASA has revealed that their crewed mission to Mars spacecraft testing timeline has been set. After an uncrewed Orion capsule (Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1)) was tested successfully in December of 2014, two more test flights have begun setup: Exploration Missions 1 and 2 (EM-1 and EM-2). As NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said of the first of several test missions, "[Orion is] a huge step for NASA and a really critical part of our work to pioneer deep space on our Journey to Mars." With NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, EM-1 will take off first without a human crew, and EM-2 will be launched with a human crew inside the next 8 years, by the year 2023.

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Here’s how Blue Origin will launch space tours from Florida

Here’s how Blue Origin will launch space tours from Florida

This morning Amazon.com's Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin, announced that the space company would launch tourists from a new Florida-based launchpad. This is the first time the company has formally announced a place from whens they will be launching, and the new closest point to when we'll be able to take a trip to space as everyday common citizens. Blue Origin's announcement via Bezos this morning places their new launch site at Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral in Florida.

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SpaceX’s Crew Dragon is designed for luxurious space travel

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon is designed for luxurious space travel

Just because being jettisoned into space, and falling back to earth at ungodly speeds, might be a harrowing experience, that doesn't mean the journey has to be uncomfortable as well. Playing into its goal to carry humans into space, both professional astronauts and eventually "space commuters", Elon Musk's SpaceX revealed interior shots of its new Crew Dragon capsule, trying to set a new standard for passenger comfort. And it definitely looks more comfortable and almost luxurious. Well, as luxurious as a rocket cabin can be.

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NASA’s Mars simulation begins year of isolation in Hawaii dome

NASA’s Mars simulation begins year of isolation in Hawaii dome

NASA's latest test in preparing for a manned mission to Mars began on Friday last week, with six people entering a small dome in Hawaii where they will remain for one full year. The voluntary isolation experiment has a crew of four Americans; a pilot, architect, doctor/journalist, and soil scientist; along with a French astrobiologist and German physicist. The group will live together in a dome that measures 36 feet wide and 20 feet tall, and can only outside if wearing a full spacesuit.

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NASA responds to Curiosity’s photos of little green women

NASA responds to Curiosity’s photos of little green women

This week one of NASA's scientists working on the Mars rover project was asked to comment on multiple sightings of odd objects on the planet's surface. Everything from Martian crabs to Martian rats and back to the newest: a lizard! Today we'll go through a number of photos of supposed alien life on Mars along with Ashwin Vasavada's responses to each of them. We'll begin with the especially terrifying prospect of the miniature ghostly striding woman found several weeks ago.

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Russia reveals photos of its latest manned spacecraft

Russia reveals photos of its latest manned spacecraft

It's sometimes easy to forget that the US's NASA and SpaceX aren't the only agencies coming up with new and improved ways to get humans into space. Russia is another nation with similar ambitions, and they've recently revealed the first photos of their new in-development spacecraft. The photos, published by the Russian Space Agency, show what is to be the eventual replacement for the Soyuz-TMA, the current spacecraft the nation uses to get cosmonauts to the International Space Station.

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LawBreakers trailer destroys Earth’s moon, fudges science a bit

LawBreakers trailer destroys Earth’s moon, fudges science a bit

In the first trailer for the Boss Key production LawBreakers, this game suggests what might happen were our moon to suddenly explode. They suggest that this explosion was caused by humans - that'd be a feat in and of itself: this massive rock is 3,475 km in diameter and not an easy nut to crack. The moon would require the equivalent of 30 trillion megatons of TNT to destroy - 600 billion nuclear warheads or more. Luckily, "clandestine government testing on the lunar surface" has this covered.

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Stephen Hawking theorizes escaping a black hole

Stephen Hawking theorizes escaping a black hole

Upon the event horizon of a black hole, suggested leading physicist Stephen Hawking this week, information may not be lost. While all matter is sucked into the hole, prevailing theories that all will be lost - are not quite as solid as they were before Hawking spoke. It was at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm this month that Hawking presented a new idea on how information may be able to escape a black hole - a flat, useless form, but released nonetheless.

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