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The Mars rover is powered by radioactive thermoelectric generator (dark cylinder on rear) ...

NASA has announced the cancellation of the decade-old program to develop a Sterling Radioisotope Generator for deep-space missions. This program was a response to the critical shortage in radioactive isotopes in general, and plutonium-238 in particular, in the US and worldwide. NASA will now be depending on rebuilding a Pu-238 production system, an option that is not without its drawbacks and challenges.  Read More

Dragon spacecraft in orbit during CRS-2 cargo mission to the ISS (Photo: SpaceX)

SpaceX has made progress toward an initial crewed flight in 2015 after a "milestone" safety review for manned space operations of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 launch vehicle.  Read More

VSS Enterprise during its recent supersonic test flight

NBCUniversal has signed an exclusive partnership with Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic to televise the space tourism company's first commercial passenger flight next August. Aboard the VSS Enterprise, will be Sir Richard, age 63, and his children, Holly, 31, and Sam, 28. The other passengers and crew have not yet been named.  Read More

Artist's concept of CleanSpace One approaching a satellite (Image: EPFL)

Back in the 1970s, there was a short-lived sitcom called Quark about an outer space rubbish collector. What was played for laughs back then may soon be a reality with the announcement that Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Swiss Space Systems (S3) have formed a partnership to launch the CleanSpace One satellite into orbit to collect space debris using a launch system that promises to be cheaper than using conventional techniques.  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

Commander Hadfield's videos have received millions of views on YouTube (Image: Canadian Sp...

After one hundred and forty-four days, 2,336 orbits of the Earth, and hundreds upon hundreds of posts to Twitter, Facebook and Youtube, Commander Chris Hadfield has returned from the International Space Station a household name – arguably space travel's first since the Apollo Moon landings. Gizmag takes a look back at Hadfield's 5-month mission to see how and why Hadfield inspired millions.  Read More

Mars One has received over 78,000 applications from people wanting to be the first to sett...

Despite the one-way nature of the trip, it seems there’s no shortage of people willing to pack their bags and experience life on Mars. Just two weeks after putting out the call for potential Mars settlers, Mars One had received over 78,000 applications from people in over 120 countries. With the application period set to last 19 weeks, the Mars One selection committees face a daunting task in whittling the numbers down to the four individuals that will ultimately make the journey that is planned for September 2022.  Read More

Breakfast wouldn't be breakfast without a good, hot bag of coffee

Since the early days of space travel, a consistent complaint has been bad coffee. Now a group of freshman engineering students at Rice University has developed a simple approach to alleviating this problem.  Read More

SpaceShipTwo producing an oxidizer contrail in a 'Cold Flow' test flight (Photo: MarsScien...

Just a week after the first in-flight venting of its nitrous system, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo has made an even more spectacular step on the way to its first powered flight. The craft's 25th glide flight on April 12 saw oxidizer flow through the craft’s propulsion system and expelled through the nozzle at its rear in what is known as a “Cold Flow” procedure.  Read More

Artist's concept of a fusion-drive ship

Traveling through deep space is a hazardous undertaking and choosing the right engine can mean the difference between a fast, successful mission and a slow one with mounting dangers of radiation sickness, equipment failures and personal conflicts. A team of researchers from the University of Washington (UW) and Redmond, Washington-based MSNW are aiming to expand the options by developing a new fusion drive rocket engine that promises to make possible a manned spacecraft that could reach Mars and return to Earth in months rather than years.  Read More

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