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A stunning picture of Naples as taken from the ISS (Image: ESA/NASA)

A new crowdsourcing initiative is calling upon the public to help catalog the ever increasing library of images snapped of our planet, and more importantly its cities, at night from the International Space Station (ISS). With your help, the Cities at Night project could help map light pollution spanning the course of the 16 year period in which the images where taken, with the added bonus of giving volunteers the opportunity to flick through a catalog of stunning images that highlight the mark we make on our planet at night.  Read More

Artist's concept of Haybusa2 taking a surface sample on JU3 (Image: JAXA)

Sometimes it seems as if the history of spaceflight is a long exercise in oneupsmanship with each agency trying to top the others. Case in point is Japan's Hayabusa2 mission, which, following the landing of Philae on on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko last month, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) confirmed was successfully launched today at 1:22:04 pm JST from the Tanegashima Space Center on a mission to not only land on an asteroid, but to bomb it.  Read More

Is space-based solar power the answer to our energy needs? JAXA envisions solar satellites...

Space-based solar power seems like an idea from a Star Trek script, but given the uncertain future of its power generation industry, Japan stands to gain as much as anyone by exploring this potential source of renewable energy. The disaster at Fukushima, limited access to fossil fuels and advances in technology has, at least in the eyes of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), added further weight to the notion of a space-based solar power system. The agency is developing a complex roadmap involving a 1 GW extraterrestrial solar farm, a microwave beam and a man-made island in the Tokyo harbor which could be used collect solar energy in space and supply power to Earth by 2040.  Read More

The GPM Core Observatory is launched aboard a Japanese H-IIA rocket from the Tanegashima S...

The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory was launched last Thursday aboard a Japanese H-IIA rocket that blasted off from Tanegashima Space Center on Tanegashima Island in southern Japan. Weighing in at 4-ton, the GPM is the largest spacecraft ever built at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and will help provide a more detailed picture of the Earth's precipitation to assist climate scientists and help improve forecasting of extreme weather events.  Read More

Artist's impression of the GPM Core Observatory due to launch on February 27th (Image: NAS...

NASA is set to launch a new satellite designed to take detailed, near real-time measurements of rain and snowfall on a global scale whilst mapping the interior of storm systems. The Core Observatory of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) has been in development since 2005 and is a collaboration project between NASA and the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA). The satellite is due to be launched on the Japanese manufactured H-IIA delivery vehicle from the Tanegashima Space Centre, Tanegashima Island, Japan, on February 27.  Read More

Kirobo also sent this image to Mirata, its back-up robot on Earth

In space, no one can hear you scream, but they can hear a little robot speaking greetings in Japanese. Toyota announced today that a robot spoke from space for the first time. On August 21, the communications robot, Kirobo, sent greetings back to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS). Kirobo said, in translation, “On August 21, 2013, a robot took one small step toward a brighter future for all.”  Read More

Kirobo will travel to the ISS on August 4

In what may not be the most historic event in space exploration, but may be the cutest, Toyota has announced that the Kibo Robot Project’s “robot astronaut” Kirobo will be sent to the International Space Station on August 4. Unlike its human counterparts, the 13.4-in (34 cm) tall humanoid robot will travel aboard an unmanned Kounotori 4 cargo spacecraft launched from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Tanegashima Space Center atop a H-IIB rocket. Once at the ISS, Kirobo is scheduled to conduct the first-ever robot-human conversation experiments in December.  Read More

Kibo the Japanese communication robot floats in zero gravity aboard an airplane with its c...

The Japanese communication robot destined to join the crew aboard the International Space Station (ISS) this summer recently underwent some zero gravity testing. The Kibo Robot Project, organized by Dentsu Inc. in response to a proposal made by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, unveiled the final design of its diminutive humanoid robot and its Earthbound counterpart. Watch the cutest robot-related video of the year after the break.  Read More

The aquarium's purpose is to study the effects of space on marine life

The International Space Station is a little homier now thanks to its new aquarium. This addition isn't just intended to brighten up the lunch room - it’s a serious piece of experimental hardware built by the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) and delivered the the ISS on Friday, July 27, 2012 by the unmanned Japanese cargo ship, Kounotori3 (HTV3). The special aqueous habitat will be used to study the effects of the space environment on marine life.  Read More

An artist's concept of a solar sail in Earth orbit (Image: NASA)

What looked like a failed mission has turned into an unexpected win for NASA with the successful deployment of the first-ever solar sail in low-Earth orbit. More than a month after the NanoSail-D nanosatellite failed to eject from its parent satellite, engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center were pleasantly surprised when the 3.9 x 3.9 x 14.9-inch unit spontaneously separated from the Fast Affordable Scientific and Technology Satellite (FASTSAT) last week. On January 20, after a timed three-day countdown, the ultra-thin, 100-square-foot polymer sail carried by the nanosatellite was unfurled 650 km above Earth where it will remain in orbit for up to 120 days.  Read More

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