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NASA

Space

NASA taps Aerojet Rocketdyne for new space propulsion system

In anticipation of future deep-space missions, NASA has awarded a US$67 million, 36-month contract to Redmond, Washington-based Aerojet Rocketdyne to design and develop an Advanced Electric Propulsion System (AEPS). Based on previous ion thrusters like prototype NEXT and the Dawn mission to the asteroid Ceres, the new propulsion system could used to supply a future manned Mars mission.Read More

Drones

NASA puts nationwide traffic control system for drones to the test

If even half of the businesses hankering to get drones into US airspace are successful, the skies will soon be a whole lot busier than they are today. Looking to avert gridlock at altitude, NASA has been working on an air traffic management system for drones and today is carrying out its first coordinated testing, looking to see just how well it accommodates flights at different locations across the country.Read More

Science

Fermi telescope helps close in on the origin of gravitational waves

Astrophysicists made history last year when they detected gravitational waves – the elusive ripples in space-time that were first theorized by Albert Einstein as part of his theory of general relativity in 1916. Early efforts failed to pinpoint the visible light component of the chaotic event that triggered the waves. But now data from NASA's Fermi telescope has reduced the search area by around two-thirds, which will help scientists understand more about the nature of the event and improve their systems for detecting future gravitational wave events. Read More

Space Feature

Artist's impression: How to paint a planet

Exoplanets take many weird and wonderful forms, and we've only discovered a handful of the untold number that exist in our universe. Even though a small number have been directly imaged, most have been identified through indirect methods and in both cases, the actual appearance of the planet is left almost entirely to the imagination. This means that it falls to talented artists to provide an accessible interpretation of what these remote bodies could look like. We spoke to space artist Danielle Futselaar to uncover what goes into illustrating a planet.Read More

Space

Cosmic spider shows clear signs of active star formation

Captured by the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS), the Spider Nebula cuts a ghostly green figure in a new image release from NASA. The composite was captured in infrared light, a spectrum ordinarily invisible to the naked eye, though in this case common colors have been assigned to the different wavelengths allowing us to view the scene unaided.Read More

Space

The stuff of stars found in lunar soil from Apollo missions

When several of the Apollo missions returned from the moon between 1969 and 1972, they brought back samples of the lunar soil. New research into some of those samples has revealed that those missions also brought back something else – the remnants of a star that died near our solar system about two million years ago.Read More

Space

NASA begins testing electronic sail technology for deep space probes

It took Voyager 1 over 30 years to reach interstellar space, but scientists at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, are testing a new technology that could cut that time by two thirds. The Heliopause Electrostatic Rapid Transit System (HERTS) or E-sail concept is a novel form of propellant-less propulsion that relies on a series of wires to catch the solar winds. The technology promises to reduce the travel time from Earth to the heliopause – about 123 AU (18 billion km, 11 billion mi) from the Sun – to under 10 years.Read More

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