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NASA’s NuStar reveals flare from Milky Way’s black hole

Posted October 24, 2012 by

NASA’s newest set of X-ray eyes in the sky, the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, has caught its first look at the giant black hole parked at the center of our galaxy. The observations show the typically mild-mannered black hole during the middle of a flare-up. “We got lucky to have captured an outburst from the…

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SpaceX Grasshopper test

Posted November 16, 2012 by

On Nov. 1, 2012, SpaceX’s Grasshopper – a 10-story vertical takeoff and landing vehicle – lifted nearly two stories in an 8-second duration test hop. The rocket rose 17.7 feet, hovered, and touched back down safely on the pad at SpaceX’s rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas. Grasshopper consists of a Falcon 9 rocket first…

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Climate models predict increase in U.S. wildfire risk

Posted December 5, 2012 by

Scientists using NASA satellite data and climate models have projected drier conditions likely will cause increased fire activity across the United States in coming decades. Other findings about U.S. wildfires, including their amount of carbon emissions and how the length and strength of fire seasons are expected to change under future climate conditions, were also…

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Texas spaceport backers look to state for help

Posted January 4, 2013 by Christopher Sherman

Texas space aficionados hope rockets will someday be launched into orbit from a beachside site near the U.S.-Mexico border, but a tight state budget and a previously frustrated attempt to land such a spaceport could complicate efforts. Backers of a proposal to build a launch site at Boca Chica Beach, about 25 miles east of…

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Mars Science Lab prepares to drill for samples

Posted January 25, 2013 by Raphael Jaffe

After a successful first use of the Mars Dusting Tool, Curiosity is ready to start drilling into the surface of Mars. This has never been done before.

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NASA releases Glory Taurus XL launch failure report summary

Posted February 22, 2013 by

NASA has released a summary report on findings from a panel that investigated the unsuccessful 2011 launch of the agency’s Glory spacecraft. The satellite, designed to improve our understanding of Earth’s climate, was lost March 4, 2011, when it failed to reach orbit after launch aboard an Orbital Sciences Corp. Taurus XL rocket from Vandenberg…

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NASA’s Webb Telescope gets its wings

Posted March 18, 2013 by

A massive backplane that will hold the primary mirror of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope nearly motionless while it peers into space is another step closer to completion with the recent assembly of the support structure’s wings. The wings enable the mirror, made of 18 pieces of beryllium, to fold up and fit inside a…

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NASA’s Kepler discovers its smallest ‘habitable zone’ planets to date

Posted April 22, 2013 by

NASA’s Kepler mission has discovered two new planetary systems that include three super-Earth-size planets in the “habitable zone,” the range of distance from a star where the surface temperature of an orbiting planet might be suitable for liquid water. The Kepler-62 system has five planets; 62b, 62c, 62d, 62e and 62f. The Kepler-69 system has…

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NASA seeks proposals for commercial operations at Kennedy’s Launch Pad 39A

Posted May 20, 2013 by

NASA released a synopsis May 17 announcing plans to issue an announcement for proposals for the commercial use of Launch Pad 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The announcement is expected next week. Use of the launch pad by industry is designed to encourage commercial space activities along Florida’s Space Coast and…

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NASA announces asteroid grand challenge

Posted June 19, 2013 by

NASA announced June 18 a Grand Challenge focused on finding all asteroid threats to human populations and knowing what to do about them. The challenge, which was announced at an asteroid initiative industry and partner day at NASA Headquarters in Washington, is a large-scale effort that will use multi-disciplinary collaborations and a variety of partnerships…

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