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Space

Prototype moon buggy saved from junkyard goes to auction

When the Apollo 15 mission landed on the moon in July 1971, it took with it the first ever vehicle to be driven by humans on another world; the lunar roving vehicle (LRV). In the long and complex history prior to that event, however, NASA commissioned the construction of a range of test vehicles for the Apollo program, many of which were eventually scrapped once their experimental use was concluded. One such vehicle – a mid-1960s LRV prototype – ended up in the hands of a junkyard dealer who decided not to break it down for scrap but, instead, held on to it for some years. "Rediscovered" late in 2015, the long-lost prototype is now headed for auction where it is expected to fetch at least US$125,000. Read More

Space

Lockheed Martin component brings Webb Space Telescope into focus

A key component of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) came through its latest tests at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center with flying colors. According to Lockheed Martin, the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) instrument exceeded its requirements as it went through its Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) testing and will now be integrated into the telescope's instrument cluster for combined testing.Read More

Space

Kepler stable after being rescued from Emergency Mode

It was action stations for the Kepler mission team last Thursday when, during a scheduled contact, it was discovered the Kepler spacecraft was in Emergency Mode (EM). NASA subsequently declared a spacecraft emergency, giving engineers priority access to its Deep Space Network ground-based communications system. The spacecraft was successfully recovered from EM on Sunday morning and is now in a stable state, however, it is still unclear what triggered the craft's brief departure from regular operations.

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Space

Falcon 9 nails barge landing as Dragon returns to space

SpaceX scored a double first today as the Dragon spacecraft returned to service and the Falcon 9 booster nailed the first ever powered landing at sea. At 4:43 pm EDT, the CRS-8 mission lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 40 in Florida for the International Space Station (ISS) and after delivering the unmanned cargo ship into orbit the Falcon 9 first stage rocket made a safe touchdown on the drone barge "Of Course I Still Love You" stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.Read More

Space

New Horizons' observation of solar winds could aid future space travelers

Having already revolutionized our understanding of the dwarf planet Pluto, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is providing a rare look at the vast, seldom-visited region of space that is the outer solar system. New Horizons is currently cruising through deep space roughly 35 astronomical units out from the Sun. Prior to the spacecraft's July 14, 2015 encounter with Pluto, the spacecraft captured roughly three years worth of observational data detailing the characteristics of the all pervading solar winds known to emanate from our Sun.Read More

Space

Black hole weighing 17 billion suns found in "cosmic backwater"

Black holes are a bit like celebrities — the larger they are, the more activity they have swirling about them. It came as some surprise then, when two NASA telescopes spied a supermassive black hole in a relatively quiet neighborhood of the universe. The gravity gobbler has the weight of 18 billion of our suns and is found in a giant elliptical galaxy that should have a much more impressive bulge of stars near its center for a black hole of that size.Read More

Space

Satellites reveal El Niño's impact

Data from NASA satellites is being used to help scientists analyze how El Niño – a natural, regularly-occurring event that sees large volumes of warm water move through the Pacific Ocean – is affecting a population of tiny ocean plants. A decline in the number of these plants can cause big disruptions to coastal fishing industries.Read More

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