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Review of NASA's Ground Systems Development and Operations assesses progress determining infrastructure needs

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At NASA's Kennedy Space Center, the mobile launcher stands at Launch Pad 39B during structural and functional engineering tests. The structure is being modified to support the agency's Space Launch System. Kennedy's Ground Systems Development and Operations Program recently completed an important System Requirements Review/System Definition Review milestone in planning for future infrastructure needs. (Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

Dec. 12, 2012 — NASA's Ground Systems Development and Operations (GSDO) Program recently completed an important System Requirements Review/System Definition Review (SRR/SDR) as part of planning for future operations at the agency's Kennedy Space Center. The reviews help establish the...

SpaceX transitions to third commercial crew phase

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This artist concept shows the second stage engine of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket igniting to send the company's Dragon capsule into orbit as the first stage falls away. (Credit: SpaceX)

BestAstronomy (Nov. 1, 2012) — Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has completed its first three performance milestones for NASA's Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative, which is intended to lead to the availability of commercial human spaceflight services for...

NASA's Kennedy Space Center supporting effort to develop satellite servicing capabilities

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With his feet secured on a restraint on the space station remote manipulator system's robotic arm, NASA astronaut Mike Fossum holds the Robotics Refueling Mission payload. The four tools on the test device cut and manipulated wires, unscrewed caps, opened and closed valves and transferred fluid demonstrating that a remote-controlled robot can service and refuel a satellite. (Credit: NASA)

BestAstronomy (Oct. 19, 2012) — With satellites playing increasingly important...

Learning to live on Mars: Fatigue management program for controlling space-age jetlag

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BestAstronomy (Sep. 28, 2012) — Since the beginning of August, NASA's Mars rover, Curiosity, has been roaming all over the distant planet learning as much as it can about the Martian terrain. The mission control team back on Earth has also learned what it may be like on Mars by trying to live and work on a Martian day, which is about 40 minutes longer than an Earth day. This 'day' length causes havoc with the internal 24-hour body clock but researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital...

Soil heat shield concept passes arc jet testing

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An artist's concept of a spacecraft using a heat shield made from the soil of another world, called regolith. (Credit: NASA)

BestAstronomy (Sep. 27, 2012) — Arc jet testing under intense temperatures and pressures showed that heat shields made from the soil of other worlds will stand up to the conditions they would encounter plunging through Earth's atmosphere, researchers said this week.

Michael Hogue, a researcher at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida...

Navigating the seas of Titan, Saturn's largest moon

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Renderings of the proposed TALISE probe shows three possible means of propulsion: (top) paddle wheels on either side of the probe; (middle) screws on either side of the probe; and (bottom) wheels on either side of the probe. (Credit: SENER)

BestAstronomy (Sep. 27, 2012) — Humanity has landed a rover on Mars. Now, say scientists, it's time to land a boat on Titan. This outlandish scenario could become reality, according to scientists presenting their proposals at the...

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter explores the moon in 3-D

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Lobate scarps (a type of cliff) on the moon are found mostly in the highlands, and are relatively small and young. Scientists propose that they form as result of fracturing of the crust as the moon shrinks. Why is the moon shrinking? As the core slowly cools portions freeze from a liquid to a solid thus taking up less volume. Since the lobate scarps are small, hundreds of meters to several kilometers in length, and 10 to 50 meters in height, they must be young; otherwise everyday...

NASA Mars rover Curiosity finishes close inspection of rock target

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This image combines photographs taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) at three different distances from the first Martian rock that NASA's Curiosity rover touched with its arm. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

BestAstronomy (Sep. 25, 2012) — NASA's rover Curiosity touched a Martian rock with its robotic arm for the first time on Sept. 22, assessing what chemical elements are in the rock called "Jake Matijevic."

After a short drive the preceding day to...

Dawn Sees Hydrated Minerals on Giant Asteroid

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Pitted Terrain in Color: These enhanced-color views from NASA's Dawn mission show an unusual "pitted terrain" on the floors of the craters named Marcia (left) and Cornelia (right) on the giant asteroid Vesta. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/JHUAPL)

BestAstronomy (Sep. 20, 2012) — NASA's Dawn spacecraft has revealed that the giant asteroid Vesta has its own version of ring around the collar. Two new papers based on observations from the low-altitude mapping...

Juno's two deep space maneuvers are 'back-to-back home runs'

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A computer-generated image depicts NASA's Juno spacecraft firing its main engine. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

BestAstronomy (Sep. 18, 2012) — NASA's Juno spacecraft successfully executed a second Deep Space Maneuver, called DSM-2 last Friday, Sept. 14. The 30 minute firing of its main engine refined the Jupiter-bound spacecraft's trajectory, setting the stage for a gravity assist from a flyby of Earth on Oct 9, 2013. Juno will arrive at Jupiter on July 4...

NASA rover returns voice and telephoto views from Mars

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BestAstronomy (Aug. 27, 2012) — NASA's Mars Curiosity has debuted the first recorded human voice that traveled from Earth to another planet and back. Share This: See Also: Space & TimeNASAMarsSpace ExplorationSpace MissionsSolar SystemAstronomyReference Exploration of MarsPhoenix (spacecraft)Voyager programSpace observatory

In spoken words radioed to the rover on Mars and back to NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN) on Earth, NASA...

Phobos slips past Jupiter

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— Earlier this month, ESA's Mars Express performed a special manoeuvre to observe an unusual alignment of Jupiter and the martian moon Phobos. The impressive images have now been processed into a movie of this rare event.

At the moment when Mars Express, Phobos, and Jupiter aligned on 1 June 2011, there was a distance of 11 389 km between the spacecraft and Phobos, and a further 529 million km to Jupiter.

The High...

— Earlier this month, ESA's Mars Express performed a special...

EPOXI finds Hartley 2 is a hyperactive comet

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— Hartley 2's hyperactive state, as studied by NASA's EPOXI mission, is detailed in a new paper published in the journal Science by an international team of scientists that includes Lucy McFadden of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

After visiting a comet and imaging distant stars for hints of extrasolar planets, you could say the spacecraft used for EPOXI had seen its fair share of celestial...

— Hartley 2's hyperactive state, as studied by NASA's EPOXI mission, is...

Comet Hartley 2 in hyperactive class of its own: CO2 jets confirmed, new insight into composition, 'excited' rotation

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— Comet Hartley 2, is in a hyperactive class of its own compared to other comets visited by spacecraft, says a University of Maryland-led study published in the June 17 issue of the journal Science.

The comet was visited last fall by NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft during its EPOXI mission. The EPOXI science team's new, in-depth analysis of the images and data taken during the flyby confirms its earlier finding that...

— Comet Hartley 2, is in a hyperactive class of its own compared to...

Looking deep into a huge storm on Saturn

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— The atmosphere of the planet Saturn normally appears placid and calm. But about once per Saturn year (about thirty Earth years), as spring comes to the northern hemisphere of the giant planet, something stirs deep below the clouds that leads to a dramatic planet-wide disturbance.

The latest such storm was first detected by the radio and plasma wave science instrument on NASA's Cassini spacecraft [1], in orbit around...

— The atmosphere of the planet Saturn normally appears placid and...

Moon's rough 'wrinkles' reveal clues to its past

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— Written on the moon's weary face are the damages it has endured for the past 4-1/2 billion years. From impact craters to the dark plains of maria left behind by volcanic eruptions, the scars are all that remain to tell the tale of what happened to the moon. But they only hint at the processes that once acted -- and act today -- to shape the surface.

To get more insight into those processes, Meg Rosenburg and her...

— Written on the moon's weary face are the damages it has endured for...

Mars Express sees deep fractures on Mars

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— Newly released images from the European Space Agency's Mars Express show Nili Fossae, a system of deep fractures around the giant Isidis impact basin. Some of these incisions into the martian crust are up to 500 m deep and probably formed at the same time as the basin.

Nili Fossae is a 'graben' system on Mars, northeast of the Syrtis Major volcanic province, on the northwestern edge of the giant Isidis impact basin....

— Newly released images from the European Space Agency's Mars...

Spacecraft Earth to perform asteroid 'flyby' this fall

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— Since the dawn of the space age, humanity has sent 16 robotic emissaries to fly by some of the solar system's most intriguing and nomadic occupants -- comets and asteroids. The data and imagery collected on these deep-space missions of exploration have helped redefine our understanding of how Earth and our part of the galaxy came to be. But this fall, Mother Nature is giving scientists around the world a close-up ...

— Since the dawn of the space age, humanity has sent 16 robotic...

Taking the first step towards a Martian moon: Polish-built soil sample instrument completes first stage

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— The geological penetrator CHOMIK (Polish word for hamster), built at the Space Research Centre of the Polish Academy of Sciences for the purpose of collecting a soil sample from one of the Martian moons, has completed the first stage of the journey. Following successful tests, the flight model has been handed over to Moscow. At the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences the device will be ...

— The geological penetrator CHOMIK (Polish word for hamster), built at...

Huge dry ice deposit on Mars: NASA orbiter reveals big changes in Red Planet's atmosphere

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— NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has discovered the total amount of atmosphere on Mars changes dramatically as the tilt of the planet's axis varies. This process can affect the stability of liquid water, if it exists on the Martian surface, and increase the frequency and severity of Martian dust storms.

Researchers using the orbiter's ground-penetrating radar identified a large, buried deposit of frozen carbon...

— NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has discovered the total amount...

WISE delivers millions of galaxies, stars, asteroids

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— Astronomers across the globe can now sift through hundreds of millions of galaxies, stars and asteroids collected in the first bundle of data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission.

"Starting today thousands of new eyes will be looking at WISE data, and I expect many surprises," said Edward (Ned) Wright of UCLA, the mission's principal investigator.

WISE launched into space on Dec. 14, 2009 on...

— Astronomers across the globe can now sift through hundreds of...