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New Image Technique Yields Ultra Clear Views of Titan

NASA February 12, 2015 During 10 years of discovery, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has pulled back the smoggy veil that obscures the surface of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. Cassini’s radar instrument has mapped almost half of the giant moon’s surface; revealed vast, desert-like expanses of sand dunes; and plumbed the depths of expansive hydrocarbon seas. What could make that scientific bounty ... Read More »

3-D Printer Creates Its First Object on the Space Station

NASA November 25, 2014 The International Space Station’s 3-D printer has manufactured the first 3-D printed object in space, paving the way to future long-term space expeditions. “This first print is the initial step toward providing an on-demand machine shop capability away from Earth,” said Niki Werkheiser, project manager for the International Space Station 3-D Printer at NASA’s Marshall Space ... Read More »

Learning to “Live Off the Land” in the Frontier of Space

NASA October 31, 2014 Safely sending human explorers to and from Mars will be the challenge of a generation. We don’t yet know what clues astronauts will uncover in the Martian soil or atmosphere that reveal new knowledge about our solar system, but one thing is certain, Mars contains critical resources that can sustain human presence. Harvesting those resources will ... Read More »

Laser Communication Breakthrough – 80 Megabits/sec from Moon

ESA April 25, 2014 Just before NASA’s latest Moon mission ended last week, an ESA telescope received laser signals from the spacecraft, achieving data speeds like those used by many to watch movies at home via fibre-optic Internet. During an intense, three-day effort starting on 1 April, ESA’s Optical Ground Station in Spain received data signals via laser from the ... Read More »

3-D Printing to Revolutionize Space Travel

ESA April 15, 2014 This close-up shows a titanium ball manufactured by 3D printing. ESA is investigating the potential of this promising new technology to transform the way space missions are put together. 1. Items impossible to make any other way “This design is a perfect example of additive manufacturing (AM),” explains ESA materials engineer Benoit Bonvoisin. “These balls are ... Read More »

Space Sunflower Could Help Photograph Exoplanets

NASA JPL March 20, 2014 A spacecraft that looks like a giant sunflower might one day be used to acquire images of Earth-like rocky planets around nearby stars. The prototype deployable structure, called a starshade, is being developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. The hunt is on for planets that resemble Earth in size, composition and temperature. ... Read More »

Searching Interstellar Dust for Signs of Life

NASA February 04, 2013 While the origin of life remains mysterious, scientists are finding more and more evidence that material created in space and delivered to Earth by comet and meteor impacts could have given a boost to the start of life. Some meteorites supply molecules that can be used as building blocks to make certain kinds of larger molecules ... Read More »

Space Droids Battle Each Other in Contest

ESA January 21, 2014 A comet heading towards Earth threatens humanity’s existence – that was the virtual scenario of this year’s Zero Robotics tournament. Secondary-school students from across Europe controlled miniature satellites on the International Space Station in a competition to save our planet. The Space Station was turned into a playing field for the finals. The ultimate robot game ... Read More »

New “Sticky-Foot” Robots Can Crawl Up Walls

ESA January 02, 2014 Climbing robots that mimic the stickiness of gecko lizard feet could work in space as well as on Earth, ESA has shown, raising the prospect of hull-crawling automatons tending future spacecraft. Robots crawling across spacecraft surfaces are a common sight in science fiction films from Silent Running to Wall-E. But, in reality, how might they stick ... Read More »

Update: Astronauts Finish ISS Repair Work

NASA December 24, 2013 (Updated Story) Following two spacewalks to replace a degraded pump module on the truss, or backbone, of the International Space Station, flight controllers in the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston successfully restarted the new pump Tuesday night. The pump module controls the flow of ammonia through cooling loops and radiators outside ... Read More »

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