Space

NASA Pluto photo shows wispy clouds in a stunning glow

NASA Pluto photo shows wispy clouds in a stunning glow

In summer 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft took an incredible photo of Pluto that NASA has made public today. The image shows the planet as a dark shadow, its shape visible only due to the soft white glow coming from its backlit side. The image is newsworthy itself due to its sheer beauty — this is definitely one to get framed for your office — but it also has some small features exposed for researchers and the public alike to see. One of those features is a small low-hanging cloud.

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Blue Origin scores NASA partnership for delivering new technologies to space

Blue Origin scores NASA partnership for delivering new technologies to space

SpaceX has already been working with NASA for some time, with the private space agency delivering supplies to the ISS with its reusable rockets, but now rival Blue Origin has landed a similar partnership. The Jeff Bezos-owned space tourism company is now approved for helping NASA deliver new technologies to the edge space for testing. This will be done with Blue Origin's similarly reusable New Shepard rocket, which is capable of reaching suborbital heights.

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NASA unveils new planet-themed stamps for the USPS

NASA unveils new planet-themed stamps for the USPS

The USPS has just launched a new packet of space-themed stamps, and NASA recently showed them off. Rolling out now at your local post office is a new themed stamp pack called “Views of Our Planets,” and they include images of the various planets in our solar system. The images are stunning, colorful, and include Earth. The pack features a total of 16 Forever stamps.

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Kepler-62f could have oceans and be habitable, study finds

Kepler-62f could have oceans and be habitable, study finds

There’s a planet called Kepler-62f located about 1,200 lightyears from our own planet, and NASA introduced it to the public back in early 2013. At the time, NASA had said the planet is located in a “habitable zone,” and now a new study suggests the planet could itself be habitable. A group of researchers studied the planet and came to several conclusions about it, including that it likely has liquid water — possibly oceans — and could have an atmosphere that is the same as our own planet's.

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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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Comet 67P dust discovered to contain building blocks of life

Comet 67P dust discovered to contain building blocks of life

It turns out that comets have been responsible for spreading some of the key ingredients for life throughout the solar system. The European Space Agency has announced that its Rosetta probe has detected some of these building blocks of life within the dust and gas that surrounds Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Scientists suggest this is the process that could have led to such chemical building blocks being delivered to a newly-formed Earth long ago.

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SpaceX nails its fourth successful rocket landing

SpaceX nails its fourth successful rocket landing

SpaceX made yet another successful landing with its reusable Falcon 9 rocket on Friday, marking the fourth time in total, and the third in a row to take place on a drone ship in the Atlantic ocean. Between SpaceX and Jeff Bezos' space agency Blue Origin, these rocket landings may become so frequent they start to get a little boring.

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Blue Origin’s next rocket launch will crash in order to study results

Blue Origin’s next rocket launch will crash in order to study results

The Blue Origin spaceflight agency has successfully launched and landed its reusable New Shepard rocket three times now, an impressive record on its own. But if the goal is consumer space flights, they need to know how to prepare for and deal with situations where things don't go perfectly. That's why their next flight will see the empty crew capsule intentionally crash-land, owner and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has revealed.

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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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Evidence of Martian ice age discovered

Evidence of Martian ice age discovered

A team of scientists at the Southwest Research Institute have been pouring over data collected by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and report that they have found evidence of an ice ago in the polar deposits of Mars. The team says that the same forces that drive ice ages here on Earth drive ice ages on Mars. Those forces are long-term cyclical changes in the orbit and tilt of the planet that directly affect how much solar radiation the planet receives at each latitude.

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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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