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Space Feature

Reaching for the stars: How lasers could propel spacecraft to relativistic speeds

How do you send man-made probes to a nearby star? According to NASA-funded research at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), the answer is simple: assemble a laser array the size of Manhattan in low Earth orbit, and use it to push tiny probes to 26 percent the speed of light. Though the endeavour may raise a few eyebrows, it relies on well-established science – and recent technological breakthroughs have put it within our reach.Read More

Space

Mars drone tech sniffs out methane leaks on Earth

Natural gas pipelines stretch for thousands of miles across entire continents and inspecting them for potentially dangerous leaks is a full-time, never-ending job. To take some of the pressure off, NASA is testing a quadcopter equipped with a miniature methane gas sensor originally designed for testing the Martian atmosphere. The space agency says that the exceptional sensitivity of the equipment makes it possible to monitor many miles of pipeline at a time from the air.Read More

Space

Cygnus cargo ship successfully docks with ISS

The Cygnus Orbital ATk Crs-6 mission has docked with the International Space Station (ISS). According to NASA, the unmanned cargo ship was successfully captured by US astronaut and Expedition 47 Commander Tim Kopra with the assistance of ESA astronaut and Flight Engineer Tim Peake at 6:51 am EDT using one of the station's robotic arms. It was then transferred to the Unity Module, where it docked with one of the Earth-facing ports.Read More

Space

Dawn continues to unravel Ceres' secrets

Dawn's science team has presented a treasure trove of data and images captured by the spacecraft as it orbits a mere 240 miles (385 km) above the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres. The observations, which include a stunningly detailed view of the famous Occator crater, are leading to a series of breakthroughs regarding the nature of the enigmatic wanderer including the first detection of ice water on the planetoid's surface.Read More

Space

Fire, meteor and gecko-gripper experiments en route to Space Station

At this moment, a spacecraft containing the means for astronauts to set fire outside the International Space Station is rocketing into outer space. The craft is an Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft, and it was launched courtesy of an Atlas V rocket from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on March 22 at 11:05 p.m. EDT. In addition to the materials for the fire-starting experiment, the resupply craft also has 7,500 lb (3,402 kg) of additional supplies aboard including the gear for a total of 250 experiments to be conducted aboard the ISS in the coming months. Here's a look at a few of the highlights.Read More

Space

High-resolution gravity map confirms Mars’ molten core

NASA has released a new gravity map for Mars stitched together from telemetry data collected by a trio of spacecraft over the course of 16 years orbiting the Red Planet. The map has already led to the confirmation that Mars hosts a molten liquid outer core, and insights relating to the titanic transfer of atmospheric material to the polar regions of the Red Planet during their winter cycle.Read More

Space

New class of enormous spiral galaxies discovered

Astronomers have discovered an entirely new breed of super massive galaxies that had previously been hiding in plain sight among spiral galaxies such as our own Milky Way. The vast galactic structures rank among the most luminous and largest of any galaxies discovered to date, and are believed to shine up to 14 times brighter than the Milky Way galaxy.Read More

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