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Space

Grover Swartzlander, associate professor at RIT’s Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Sc...

Good things come in small packages – and sometimes in aerosol cans. To prove this, researchers at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California are working on technology for a future generation of space telescopes that may one day see the giant instruments replaced by swarms of particles that are deployed from a can and herded into place by laser beams.  Read More

The proposed Spaceport Australia would use air launch vehicles for space burials and space...

Plans are afoot to establish a spaceport in Australia. The town of Rockhampton in Queensland is one of three locations currently being considered as a potential site for the base, which would focus primarily on space tourism.  Read More

Artist's concept of Orion adjusting its attitude for re-entry (Image: NASA)

Orion is go for launch. At a press conference today, NASA and aerospace industry officials confirmed that the EFT-1 mission to test the deep-space capsule designed to carry astronauts beyond low Earth orbit has been given the final clearance for launch on Thursday morning. The unmanned spacecraft will lift off from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy booster on a four-hour flight that will send it 3,600 mi (5,800 km) from Earth before returning to Earth.  Read More

The Space Data Highway, also known as the European Data Relay System (EDRS), allows for fa...

The European Space Agency (ESA) has successfully linked up the Sentinel-1A and Alphasat satellites via laser, transmitting data across almost 36,000 km (about 22,400 miles) of space. The link allows for the delivery of data to Earth in near real time, and will be used for a wide range of applications including the timely monitoring of natural disasters.  Read More

The Andy Rover is designed to explore rough lunar terrain ( Photo: CMU)

Carnegie Mellon University has unveiled Andy, a four-wheeled unmanned rover designed to explore the rough terrain and recently discovered pits of the Moon. Developed in cooperation with Pittsburgh's Astrobotic Technology, the solar powered robot is CMU's entry for the US$20 million-plus Google Lunar XPrize, and may one day help pave the way toward permanent outposts on the Moon.  Read More

Venus Express carrying out aerobraking maneuver in July (Image: ESA–C. Carreau)

The European Space Agency's Venus Express unmanned probe is being put through a series of maneuvers in hopes that its remaining fuel can push it into a higher orbit. If successful, the orbit change will give the spacecraft a bit more life before it plunges into the Venusian atmosphere it was sent to investigate.  Read More

A natural shield has been found to protect the Earth from 'killer electrons'

The idea of putting a Star Trek-like force field around the entire Earth seems like the fodder for a fairly silly science fiction epic out of the 1930s, but according to space scientists, such a barrier already exists. Discovered by a pair of NASA space probes, the natural shield protects the Earth and near-Earth satellites from so-called "killer electrons" with a precision that cuts it off like a wall of glass.  Read More

Launch of the rocket TEXUS-49 (Image: Adrian Mettauer)

It may sound like the first chapter of a Quatermass thriller, but scientists from the University of Zurich have discovered that DNA can survive not only a flight through space, but also re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, and still remain active. The findings are based on suborbital rocket flights and could have considerable impact on questions about the origins of life on Earth and the problems of terrestrial space probes contaminating other planets.  Read More

Pratap Pullammanappallil poses with an anaerobic digester used in a process that turns hum...

Flushing the human waste produced on space missions out an airlock isn't an option for astronauts. Currently its stored in containers before being loaded into cargo vehicles that burn up as they pass through Earth's atmosphere, but researchers at the University of Florida (UF) have found a better use for the material, by developing a process to turn it into rocket fuel.  Read More

International Space Station Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore with the first object made in ...

The first 3D printer in space housed aboard the International Space Station (ISS) has run off its first object. The item was a faceplate embossed with "NASA and Made In Space, Inc" and is part of a NASA effort aimed at producing spare parts for long-range space flights and greatly simplifying mission logistics.  Read More

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