Space

NASA RASSOR rover digs for water, oxygen, and rocket fuel components

NASA RASSOR rover digs for water, oxygen, and rocket fuel components

NASA is working on a concept rover called the Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot or RASSOR. RASSOR is apparently pronounced "razor" giving it the cool sound that NASA seems to prefer when naming things. The goal of the rover is to help future missions to other planets overcome weight constraints by mining the surface of the planet for resources like water, oxygen, and rocket fuel components.

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Rosetta makes controlled comet impact to end mission

Rosetta makes controlled comet impact to end mission

It has been more than two years since Rosetta set off to investigate a comet, and now the mission has reached its end. The European Space Agency reports that Rosetta made a planned impact onto the comet, with that last maneuver having taken place at 22:50 CEST. The spacecraft made its collision from an altitude of almost 12 miles. Though researchers on Earth can no longer communicate with Rosetta, the spacecraft did transmit some final data about the comet before impact, and the researchers are waiting to find out what it contains.

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Mercury joins Earth as tectonically active planet

Mercury joins Earth as tectonically active planet

NASA made a short but substantial announcement on Monday: Mercury is tectonically active, joining Earth as the second tectonically active planet located in our solar system. The realization was made thanks to research funded by NASA, which found that Mercury — which is small, hot, and shrinking, the space agency says — is continuing to contract, resulting in small fault scarps that are “geologically young" and serve as signs of tectonic activity.

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SpaceX Mars mission event: all the important details

SpaceX Mars mission event: all the important details

Today Elon Musk and his group of space magicians have explained how they'll make it possible for the everyday citizens to reach Mars in our lifetime. What we're doing here is running down some of the key details - all the important details, that is - for the common citizen. The citizen that plans on going to Mars as soon as possible, that is. The first item on our list that we'll be chopping up is the SpaceX timeline. It's ambitious, but very much within the realm of possibility for this forward-thinking company.

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SpaceX shows off its Mars Interplanetary Transport System in new video

SpaceX shows off its Mars Interplanetary Transport System in new video

There's been a lot of talk about sending humans to Mars, but one big question persists among all of the conversation: how are we going to do it? The idea seems easy enough considering that we've sent humans on manned missions to the Moon, but Mars is an entirely different beast. There seem to be multiple entities out there with a plan, but one - Elon Musk's SpaceX - is visualizing the trip to the red planet in a new video.

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NASA spies what may be plumes of water erupting on surface of Europa

NASA spies what may be plumes of water erupting on surface of Europa

Using the Hubble Space Telescope scientists have imaged what they think might be plumes of water erupting on the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa. This is the first direct finding to bolster other observations made using the Hubble that lead scientists to believe that Europa erupts with water plumes that throw water vapor high into the atmosphere of Europa. The big deal with this discovery is that it suggests that future missions to Europa might be able to gather samples of the subsurface ocean without having to drill through miles of ice.

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Pluto may have a secret super salty liquid ocean

Pluto may have a secret super salty liquid ocean

Pluto may have a liquid ocean hidden beneath its surface, according to researchers, the evidence of which has been growing. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has contributed toward that pool of evidence, and now researchers with Brown University have built upon it, developing models of the planet in order to estimate how thick this buried ocean may be. Based on their work, a newly published study estimates that Pluto could have an undersurface layer of salty liquid water that is more than 100 kilometers thick.

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Raptor interplanetary engine test fired by Space X

Raptor interplanetary engine test fired by Space X

Elon Musk, head of Space X and Tesla has offered up some details on the engine that Space X plans to use to travel the distances between planets. Musk didn’t offered up full details on the engine, but did give us some insight into the powerful new rocket. Musk says that the engine is called the Raptor interplanetary transport engine.

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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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SpaceX believes helium system breach caused recent Falcon 9 explosion

SpaceX believes helium system breach caused recent Falcon 9 explosion

When one of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rockets abruptly exploded without warning earlier this month, the space agency and founder Elon Musk were left confused and in the dark about what happened, resulting in a big mystery. The rocket, which was to deliver a Facebook satellite into space, was undergoing a routine filling operation, but its engines were inactive. Now SpaceX believes it's found the cause: a breach in the helium system located in the craft's liquid oxygen tank.

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Destination: Mars uses Microsoft HoloLens to bring the Red Planet to life

Destination: Mars uses Microsoft HoloLens to bring the Red Planet to life

Visitors to the Kennedy Space Center Complex will get to walk on the surface of Mars thanks to some slick virtual reality features that take advantage of Microsoft HoloLens tech. The new experience is called Destination: Mars and it allows users to walk on Mars using real images from the Curiosity Rover. Destination: Mars is a Kennedy Space Center Visitor complex exclusive, will be located in a pop-up theater, and will be available for viewing through January 1, 2017.

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Ancient comet disintegrates in deep blue Hubble space photo

Ancient comet disintegrates in deep blue Hubble space photo

Most of NASA’s photos are visually stunning but similar in nature: bright stars and planets are mixed with large splashes of saturated colors, dust clouds and debris usually mixed in amidst it all. A new photo the space agency shared this week is very different but no less great — it shows a very deep blue background with bright blue particles mixed in, the entire image covered with what could easily be mistaken for film grain. The photo is calm, relaxing, and a small glimpse at the death of an ancient comet.

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