NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) has completed its critical design review – a major stepping stone on the way to becoming certified for manned spaceflight. Once complete, the SLS will be the most powerful launch vehicle ever constructed, capable of taking humans to hitherto unreachable destinations including a manned mission Mars.
submarines to bouncing rovers, NASA is never short of a crazy idea or
two, and now the agency is looking to explore the potential of using
"windbots" to investigate the skies above Jupiter. The
agency has invested US$100,000 of NIAC funds in the project, which
could potentially revolutionize how we gain data on some of the most
inhospitable planets in our solar system.
The odds of finding a habitable planet outside of our Solar System got a
significant boost today, as NASA announced the discovery of the most
Earthlike world orbiting the most Sunlike star yet. Named Kepler-425b,
the new world located 1,400 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus
was detected by the Kepler space telescope. It has been characterized
by the space agency as "Earth's bigger, older cousin."
A Russian-made Soyuz
TMA-17M blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome last night, as it undertook a journey to the
International Space Station. Aboard the spacecraft was NASA astronaut
Kjell Lindgren, Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) cosmonaut
Oleg Kononenko and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
astronaut Kimiya Yui. The initial launch
proceeded without incident, with the rocket successfully reaching preliminary staging orbit. However,
soon after reaching space it became apparent that the spacecraft's
port solar array had failed to open.
NASA's Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) has returned a breathtaking image of planet Earth from a distance of roughly one million miles from the homeworld. The image captures the full disk of our planet showing a stunning sunbathed vista of blue oceans and swirling clouds, with glimpses of the North and Central America land masses.
Having already provided us with numerous insights into the nature of the dwarf planet Ceres, NASA's Dawn spacecraft is ready to move into a new, lower mapping orbit, which will provide the most detailed views so far.
NASA has released more findings from the New Horizons Pluto probe; revealing new discoveries and mysteries about the dwarf planet and its moons. The images and instrument readings taken before and during the unmanned spacecraft's flyby on July 14 show a planet that is more active than previously expected, with some of the youngest features in the Solar System.
After nearly a decade in the wilderness of celestial classification, Pluto
is on the rise again. In 2006, the International Astronomical Union
voted to adopt a new definition of what makes a body a planet, and to
specifically demote Pluto to the status of dwarf planet. Now, with new
data and images streaming in from New Horizons
showing that Pluto is not only a little larger than previously thought,
but also home to some remarkable geological features (including what
may be some of the solar system's youngest mountain peaks, reaching to
11,000 ft/3,353 m high), many are saying it's time to restore the ninth planet to its previous station.
For the fourth time in history, the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) had to temporarily take shelter in their "lifeboat" as a piece of an old weather satellite made its closest approach today at 8:01 am EDT. As a precaution, the three men of Expedition 44 sealed hatches and porthole covers before retreating to the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft docked with the station.
After completing its historic flyby of Pluto, New Horizons is sending back the first high-resolution images from its encounter. Because of the very low bandwidth that the unmanned probe can sustain across a distance of 4.77 billion km (2.97 billion mi) from Earth, the images are coming in a trickle along with more urgent telemetry, but what has been received so far is already exciting NASA scientists.