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Space

SpaceX has released on-board footage of its successful Crew Dragon Launch Abort System (LAS) test that took place at Launch Complex 40 of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station earlier this month. The success of the company's innovative new design of LAS represents a vital stepping stone in the spacecraft's road to becoming human rated. The newly released footage shows in real time the dramatic life saving contingency that would be triggered should a critical error be detected in the rocket below in a launch scenario.

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Even though it is around the same size as our own Moon and a whole lot farther from the Sun, Jupiter's moon Europa is considered one of our solar system's most likely candidates for harboring extraterrestrial life. A deep and mysterious ocean is thought to exist below its icy crust and has beckoned scientists for more than a decade. NASA is in the process of conceptualizing a future mission to explore Europa, and has now confirmed which scientific instruments it will send along to do the job.

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A fresh study examining data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft has led to to the discovery of the brightest galaxy in the universe. The galaxy, dubbed WISE J224607.57-052635.0, is believed to contain in excess of 300 trillion stars, and has given rise to a new group of astronomical objects – Extremely Luminous Infrared Galaxies, or ELIRGs.

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NASA has partnered with DARPA to develop technology that allows for the indexing of Deep Web content. The agency plans to turn the tool towards the wealth of data collected by its numerous spacecraft, as well as its huge archive of published scientific data, allowing researchers to better analyze findings while making it easier to confirm they're breaking new ground.

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CubeSats, tiny satellites about the size of a loaf of bread or smaller, hold the promise of opening space up to low-budget space missions, but currently they're largely restricted to Low-Earth Orbit (LEO). To broaden the scope of these pint-sized spacecraft, NASA is developing its CubeSat Application for Planetary Entry Missions (CAPE) concept, which would see the development of miniature space probes that can be sent in fleets on interplanetary missions for multi-point sampling, as opposed to the bus-sized, do-it-all probes that are currently in service.

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An international team of astronomers from Europe, Israel and the United States has succeeded in shedding light on the origin of Type la supernovae – powerful nuclear explosions in deep space that allow us to chart the vast distances between galaxies. It is known that a white dwarf star is responsible for creating the distinctive, intensely bright explosion, but the cause of the supernovae are still a topic of hot debate.

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ESA's Mars Express orbiter has captured images that may indicate the presence of supervolcanoes on the surface of Mars. If the findings are later confirmed, the existence of these leviathan volcanoes may greatly inform current theories on climate formation, as eruptions from the supervolcanoes could have dramatically altered the Martian global environment.

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Less than four months after lift-off, testing on NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory is complete, and science operations have begun. The data recorded by the mission, which will give rise to more accurate weather forecasting, will now be subject to a year of validation against existing measurements.

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An odd pair lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station today as the Planetary Society's LightSail nanosatellite piggybacked a ride atop an Atlas V rocket alongside the US Air Force's secret X-37B spaceplane.

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A collaborative team of ESA and University of Nottingham (UK) researchers has used satnav sensors to monitor small movements in the Forth Road Bridge in Scotland, providing real-time information to help make the decision whether to close the bridge during extreme weather conditions.

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