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After abandoning repair efforts, NASA is looking for alternative missions for Kepler (Imag...

If NASA has anything to say about it, Kepler is down, but not out. At a press teleconference on Thursday it announced that it has abandoned efforts to repair the damaged unmanned probe, which was designed to search for extrasolar planets and is no longer steady enough to continue its hunt. But the space agency is looking into alternative missions for the spacecraft based on its remaining capabilities.  Read More

On Monday, Juno had traveled half the distance to Jupiter (Image: NASA/Caltech)

NASA announced on Monday that its Juno space probe has reached the halfway mark on its voyage to Jupiter after covering a distance of 879 million miles. This seems odd when you consider that Juno will pass just 347 miles (559 km) from Earth in October. Why both of these facts are true is due to the complex orbit that Juno is following in order to reach its destination.  Read More

NASA map of over 1,400 potential Earth-striking asteroids (Image: NASA)

There’s something comforting about a map with “You are here” marked on it, but not when the arrow points to a spot where giant asteroids are whizzing by like cannon balls in a pirate movie. NASA has released a map of the inner Solar System showing the orbits of the 1,400 Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHA) known as of early this year. According to the agency, the plots show the orbits of asteroids over 460 ft (140 m) in diameter that pass within 4.7 million miles (7.5 million km) of Earth.  Read More

Europa (Image: NASA/JPL/Ted Stryk)

It's an icy inhospitable world, a little smaller than our own Moon: Europa. It's one of Jupiter's four largest satellites, the Galilean moons named after the polymath astronomer who discovered them in 1610. At the surface, the temperature never climbs above about -160º C (-256º F), yet it's thought that beneath the frozen epidermis there could be a liquid saltwater ocean. Were that the case, Europa would be about the best candidate for extraterrestrial life in the Solar System, albeit life in microbial form. That Europa could harbor life isn't news. That NASA is now considering landing a robot on Europa's surface is, and the agency has one or two ideas about what a robot should do when it gets there.  Read More

Time exposure of the 2007 Perseids (Image: NASA)

Early August always brings with it the promise of a spectacular show in the form of the Perseid meteor shower. This shower, which peaks August 11-13, is one of the most reliable and active meteor displays throughout the year. A new NASA study also shows that more Perseid meteors are fireballs (averaging over 100 per year) than in any other meteor shower.  Read More

Artist's impression of the Curiosity landing (Image: NASA)

Today, NASA paid tribute to its Curiosity rover, which has completed its first year exploring the planet Mars. On August 6, 2012 (August 5, PDT), the unmanned explorer landed on the Red Planet as the start of a two-year mission to seek out areas where life might have once, or could still exist. To commemorate this event, the space agency broadcast reminiscences by Curiosity team members from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. What follows is our own look at the top 10 milestones of Curiosity’s first year.  Read More

A nuclear-powered spacecraft is one winning concept of NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts...

A dozen inventors have received a chance to demonstrate the potential for their pet space projects as winners of NASA's 2013 Innovative Advanced Concepts Program Phase I awards. The award winners were chosen based on their potential to transform future aerospace missions by enabling either breakthroughs in aerospace capabilities or entirely new missions. Read on for a closer look at some of the most promising proposals with a view to how they would work, and where the tricky bits might be hiding.  Read More

Artist's concept of the LADEE spacecraft (Image: NASA)

Space communications have relied on radio since the first Sputnik in 1957. It’s a mature, reliable technology, but it’s reaching its limits. The amount of data sent has increased exponentially for decades and NASA expects the trend to continue. The current communications systems are reaching their limits, so NASA and ESA are going beyond radio as a solution. As part of this effort, ESA has finished tests of part of a new communications system, in preparations for a demonstration in October in which it will receive a laser data download from a NASA lunar orbiter.  Read More

Marshall engineers hot-fire tested 3D-printed injectors at 6,000° F (Image: NASA/MSFC)

3D printing technology has already made the move from engineering workshop to the home, and now it's set to make its mark in space. NASA has hot-fire tested 3D-printed rocket engine components, which have managed to withstand incredibly high temperatures and pressures to the same standard as traditionally manufactured parts. Being cheaper and faster to produce, 3D-printed parts have the potential to revolutionize the manufacturing of rocket engine components and save the space agency considerable time and money.  Read More

An illustration of InfraStructs (left) and the resulting  terahertz scans (right) (Image: ...

Fundamental to the Internet of Things is the idea that objects must be uniquely identifiable. RFID chips are perfect for assigning objects a digital fingerprint, at least so far as traditional manufacturing goes. But with the rise of 3D printing, incorporating an RFID chip into your object means interrupting the printing process. Now, scientists have come up with a way to 3D print a unique tag, called an InfraStruct, inside the object as it's being printed, and it's made possible by the slowly emerging field of terahertz imaging.  Read More

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