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Best evidence of active lava flows spotted on Venus

By - June 24, 2015 3 Pictures

ESA's Venus Express spacecraft has found the best evidence yet of active lava flows on Venus. Earlier missions to Venus have shown that the surface bears the unmistakable scarring of fierce, ancient volcanic activity. However, prior to Venus express, no mission had been successful in directly imaging clues to contemporary volcanism. This quirk has baffled scientists for years, as it has long been assumed that Venus hosts an internal heat source, and that heat has to escape somehow.

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Rosetta mission extended by nine months

ESA has announced that its Rosetta comet orbiter mission will be extended by nine months. The unmanned spacecraft that rendezvoused with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko last year will carry out further observations until September 2016, by which time it will be too far from the Sun to power itself and will land on the comet.

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— Space

Dawn zooms in on white spots, finds pyramid-like mountain on Ceres

By - June 24, 2015 4 Pictures

Fresh images snapped by NASA's Dawn spacecraft have provided a clearer look at the enigmatic white spots that mark the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres. The spots have baffled scientists who are unable to discern their nature or composition. To add to the intrigue the probe has spotted a solitary, unusual pyramid-like mountain jutting out of the otherwise relatively smooth surface.

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— Space

ESA successfully tests 3D printed thruster

By - June 21, 2015 3 Pictures

The European Space Agency (ESA) has successfully test fired a 3D printed platinum alloy thruster combustion chamber and nozzle. The world first test is further evidence that the 3D printing approach is a viable one for the aerospace industry, with the potential to cut costs by streamlining production methods and adding a greater level of flexibility in terms of supply and demand construction.

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NASA testing MRAP armored vehicles for launch pad evacuations

By - June 21, 2015 2 Pictures
Earlier this month, SpaceX carried out a successful test of the Crew Dragon's Launch Abort System (LAS), which would carry the capsule to safety in the event of an emergency. This is no doubt a great comfort to future space travelers, but what about the ground crew or if the astronauts aren't inside the capsule when an emergency occurs? To help protect them and speed them away from danger, NASA is testing a 45,000-pound MRAP armored vehicle as an evacuation carrier for upcoming manned missions. Read More
— Space

New research on Saturn's polar cyclones could allow for a better understanding of distant exoplanets

By - June 19, 2015 2 Pictures

A team of scientists from MIT has put forward a theory that would explain the presence of enormous polar cyclones present on the gas giant Saturn. The cyclones, first discovered by the Cassini spacecraft in 2008, are so massive that they could swallow the Earth in their expanse. The research may even lead to better characterization of the atmosphere of distant exoplanets.

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Scientists look at communicating with hypersonic vehicles using plasma resonance

By - June 18, 2015 1 Picture

Returning spacecraft hit the atmosphere at over five times the speed of sound, generating a sheath of superheated ionized plasma that blocks radio communications during the critical minutes of reentry. It's a problem that's vexed space agencies for decades, but researchers at China's Harbin Institute of Technology are developing a new method of piercing the plasma and maintaining communications.

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— Space

UrtheCast releases first Ultra-HD full-color video content from the International Space Station

By - June 17, 2015 4 Pictures

Today, Canadian company UrtheCast is celebrating the release of three full-color videos shot from its Ultra HD Iris imaging device, mounted on the exterior of the International Space Station (ISS). The videos are but a small taste of the high-quality, near-live streams that the company is planning to make available to the world with the full launch of the UrtheCast Earth-viewing platform.

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