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Methane and Organic Chemicals Found on Mars

NASA December 16, 2014 NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has measured a tenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the atmosphere around it and detected other organic molecules in a rock-powder sample collected by the robotic laboratory’s drill. “This temporary increase in methane — sharply up and then back down — tells us there must be some relatively localized source,” ... Read More »

Boulder-sized Asteroid to be Captured, NASA Says

NASA June 19, 2014 NASA is on the hunt for an asteroid to capture with a robotic spacecraft, redirect to a stable orbit around the moon, and send astronauts to study in the 2020s — all on the agency’s human Path to Mars. Agency officials announced on Thursday recent progress to identify candidate asteroids for its Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), ... Read More »

Venus Express to Plunge Into Venusian Atmosphere

ESA May 16, 2014 After eight years in orbit, ESA’s Venus Express has completed routine science observations and is preparing for a daring plunge into the planet’s hostile atmosphere. Venus Express was launched on a Soyuz–Fregat from the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 9 November 2005, and arrived at Venus on 11 April 2006. It has been orbiting Venus ... 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 »

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 »

Now Playing: Musical Space-Weather From the Moon

NASA January 09, 2014 The latest tool for checking space weather is an internet radio station fed by data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO. The radio station essentially operates in real time, receiving measurements of how much radiation the spacecraft is experiencing and converting those into a constant stream of music. The radiation levels determine which instrument is ... 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 »

Curiosity Determines the Age of a Martian Rock

NASA December 09, 2013 NASA’s Curiosity rover is providing vital insight about Mars’ past and current environments that will aid plans for future robotic and human missions. In a little more than a year on the Red Planet, the mobile Mars Science Laboratory has determined the age of a Martian rock, found evidence the planet could have sustained microbial life, ... Read More »

Curiosity Rover Fires Over 100,000 Laser Blasts

NASA JPL December 5, 2013 NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has passed the milestone of 100,000 shots fired by its laser. It uses the laser as one way to check which chemical elements are in rocks and soils. The 100,000th shot was one of a series of 300 to investigate 10 locations on a rock called “Ithaca” in late October, at ... Read More »

Happy 15th Birthday to the International Space Station!

ESA November 20, 2013 The International Space Station celebrates its birthday today, 15 years after the first module was launched in 1998. The Space Station is the largest cooperative project ever carried out in science, involving NASA, ESA, Roscosmos, the Canadian Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. On 20 November 1998 a Russian Proton rocket lifted off from ... Read More »

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