space
American Astronauts Are Going Back to the Moon

President Donald Trump has signed a directive that authorises NASA to return American astronauts to the Moon—a mission that would lay the foundation for a possible mission to Mars. The renewed emphasis on space exploration, said Trump, is to ensure America’s primacy in space, to protect its citizens, and to create jobs. But while a coherent and ambitious space program is welcome news, the announcement can also be seen as a distraction. Read More >>

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Voyager 1 Just Fired Up Its Backup Thrusters for the First Time in 37 Years

Voyager 1, the probe which became the first man-made object to leave the solar system in 2012, has been away from home for a long, long time—approximately 40 years. It’s still been beaming back reams of data and, in its off time, sending extremely ill-advised texts to distant alien civilisations that may or may not exist. (It’s so lonely.) Now it’s over 13 billion miles from Earth. Read More >>

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NASA Will Use a Previously-Flown SpaceX Rocket for Its Next Supply Mission

In what will be a historic first for the US space agency, NASA has agreed to send supplies to the International Space Station aboard a previously used Falcon 9 rocket booster. Read More >>

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Stunning Aerosol Visualisation Accidentally Captures the Ferocity of This Year’s Hurricane Season

A new simulation produced by NASA’s Data Visualisation Studio packs four months of swirling atmospheric activity into a two minute clip that reminds us how unrelenting this past hurricane season really was. Read More >>

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NASA’s New Titanium Airless Tires Are Nearly Indestructible

Stretch a Slinky toy too far, and eventually the metal coil will be warped so much it won’t be able to return to its original spring shape. That’s a problem also faced by the metal spring tires designed to roll across our Moon, and other planets our rovers are exploring. But NASA has created an alternative, made from titanium, that can tackle any terrain and always return to its original tire shape. Read More >>

space
Cassini Swan Song Image of Saturn Left Me Speechless

Planets and robots lack hearts and minds, but they’re especially good at impacting ours. In its last days before ending itself, human-built Cassini turned around and snapped this farewell mosaic image of Saturn. Its title: “Farewell to Saturn.” Read More >>

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Watch NASA Launch Its Shiny New JPSS-1 Weather Satellite

NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration launched the Joint Polar Satellite System-1, the first in a “series of four highly advanced polar-orbiting satellites,” NASA announced on Saturday, with the agencies touting they expect significant improvements to their weather-forecasting abilities when JPSS-1 comes online in three months. Read More >>

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Watch NASA’s Mars 2020 Parachute Unfurl at Supersonic Speeds

In preparation for NASA’s next robotic mission to Mars, the space station has performed a successful test of a special parachute that’s designed to withstand the intense speeds involved during an atmospheric descent. Read More >>

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Next Generation Telescope Selects First Proposals From Scientific Community

There’s been some incredible images of the James Webb Space Telescope, the next generation telescope and successor to the Hubble. But we’re not really here to look at images of telescopes. We’re here to learn some dope space stuff. Read More >>

space
Aborting a Launch of NASA’S Orion Capsule Sounds Absolutely Horrifying

NASA is currently developing a space capsule, called Orion, that will eventually carry a crew of four astronauts to Low Earth Orbit and beyond. Should something go catastrophically wrong during launch, an abort system will work to save the lives of the astronauts—but whoa, would they ever be in for a hell of a ride. Read More >>

science
Let’s All Calm Down and Make Sense of That Antarctic Mantle Plume

Three decades ago, scientists began to study the possibility that there was a plume of hot rock coming up from the mantle, heating parts of Western Antarctica. Back in September, researchers published results of a model showing how such a plume might affect the Antarctic ice sheet. Yesterday, these headlines started to appear: Read More >>

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Uber Is Still Trying to Do that Flying Car Thing

Since the world we are currently living in is very much not the future we all dreamed of, NASA is teaming up with Uber to try to at least make a sliver of our flying-car dreams come true. Read More >>

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Watch a Simulated Launch of the Rocket That Will Get Us to Mars and Beyond

NASA engineers are currently hard at work developing Space Launch System 1—what will be the biggest, most powerful rocket ever built. The inaugural launch of this behemoth won’t happen any earlier than 2019, but NASA has released a spectacular simulation of the launch to whet our appetites. Read More >>

space
NASA to Deny Distant Rock of a Perfectly Good Name

Humans like naming things. We named a boat Boaty McBoatface. We named a bunch of animals after dicks. But some things already have perfectly good names. Like a distant rock NASA is tasking us with nicknaming. Read More >>

space
NASA’s Next Mars Rover Is Going to Be Seriously Badass

Should all go according to plan, NASA will launch its next Martian rover in July 2020. The robotic probe is still under construction, but early signs are that the next-gen rover will be equipped with an impressive assortment of high-tech gadgets. Read More >>