space

3 Former Astronauts: Earth-Asteroid Collisions Are a Real But Preventable Danger

Three former astronauts — Ed Lu, Tom Jones, and Bill Anders — say that reassuring figures about the rarity of asteroid collisions with Earth are perhaps too reassuring. The B612 Foundation, of which Lu is a director, has been established to draw public awareness to the risks of a large asteroid hitting a population center — which these three men say is a far more serious public danger than has been acknowledged by NASA and other agencies. And beyond awareness, the Foundation’s immediate goal is to raise money to ” design and build an asteroid-finding space telescope and launch it by 2017,” and then, Armageddon-style, to follow that up with technology to divert any asteroids whose path would threaten earth.

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SpaceX Lands Launches Load to ISS, Successfully Tests Falcon 9 Over Water

mosb1000 (710161) writes “SpaceX is reporting that they’ve successfully landed the first stage of their CRS3 Falcon 9 rocket over the Atlantic Ocean today. This is potentially a huge milestone for low-cost space flight.” In another win for the company, as the L.A. Times reports, SpaceX also has launched a re-supply mission to the ISS.

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SpaceX Launches Load to ISS, Successfully Tests Falcon 9 Over Water

mosb1000 (710161) writes “SpaceX is reporting that they’ve successfully landed the first stage of their CRS3 Falcon 9 rocket over the Atlantic Ocean today. This is potentially a huge milestone for low-cost space flight.” In another win for the company, as the L.A. Times reports, SpaceX also has launched a re-supply mission to the ISS.

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SpaceX Launches Rocket to International Space Station

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SpaceX launched a rocket bound for the International Space Station on Friday — but what happens next has everyone sitting on the edge of their seats.

With the Dragon capsule safely in orbit and well on its way to the space station, the first stage separated and is now re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere. As the helium-filled rocket slows, it will extend four 25-foot-long landing legs and use its thrusters to briefly hover over the Atlantic Ocean before plopping down ever so gently onto the surface

If all goes to plan, it will be the most important thing SpaceX has accomplished to date, CEO Elon Musk tells Mashable. Musk has already made two of 12 slated cargo deliveries to the ISS as part of his $1.6 billion contract with NASA, and that is this launch’s primary goal. But Musk has been working behind the curtain to test out the reusability of this rocket Read more…

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NASA Moon Probe Crashes Into Lunar Surface as Planned

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NASA’s newest moon probe met its end during a vaporizing crash into the lunar surface Thursday night.

The space agency’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer spacecraft (LADEE for short) made its planned crash into the lunar surface between 12:30 a.m. EDT and 1:22 a.m. EDT on April 18, after orbiting the moon since October 2013. Scientists expected the impact, predicting that LADEE would hit the far side of the moon on or before April 21 because the probe was running out of fuel — as intended.

The impact itself was probably a violent event. NASA engineers think that the loveseat-sized probe broke apart as most of it heated up to several hundred degrees. It’s even possible that some of the material from the spacecraft vaporized during the crash, NASA officials said in a statement Read more…

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Google’s Project Tango Will Power NASA Robots in Space

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Just two months after Google announced Project Tango — an experimental Android-powered smartphone with 3D sensors — its Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) team is working to get a prototype inside the International Space Station to assist NASA astronauts with chores and tasks.

The 5-inch smartphone, which comes with 3D-tracking and mapping capabilities via its camera, will be attached to a robot (on a robotic platform called NASA Spheres) with the ability to navigate the station. The Spheres robots will work in zero-gravity and help those on board the International Space Station

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Elon Musk on Risky SpaceX Test: If It Works, It’s the Biggest Thing We’ve Done

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HAWTHORNE, California — If he can pull it off, it will be the most important thing SpaceX has accomplished to date, CEO Elon Musk tells Mashable.

At 5 p.m. on Thursday, less than 24 hours before launch, Musk is gearing up his team for a long night of last-minute tweaks and scrambles before Friday’s Falcon launch to the International Space Station

Musk has already made two of 12 slated cargo deliveries to the ISS as part of his $1.6 billion contract with NASA, and that is this launch’s primary goal. But Musk has been working behind the curtain to test out the reusability of this rocket. If things go as planned on Friday, he will attempt something he’s never tried before. Read more…

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The Insane, Probably Fake, Plan to Brighten the Moon

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It sounds like the plot of a James Bond movie: There’s a plan afoot to make the moon brighter in the night sky, potentially saving the world billions of dollars in power costs running street lamps.

How would such an ambitious idea even be possible? By strategically placing highly reflective material on the lunar surface. A lot of it.

The project is called Brighter Moon, and Swedish parent company Foreo says it has already secured more than $52 million in funding.

The thing is, Foreo is a cosmetics company. When asked for more information on the backers of Brighter Moon, company reps declined to name even one, citing privacy reasons. The “Foreo Institute” is also supposedly trying to crowd-fund a new kind of toothbrush — which may in fact be real — so the moon project may be an elaborate hoax created to drum up interest in that. Read more…

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Scientists Discover ‘Earth Cousin’ Planet That Could Support Life

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For the first time, scientists have discovered an Earth-size alien planet in the habitable zone of its host star, an “Earth cousin” that just might have liquid water and the right conditions for life

The newfound planet, called Kepler-186f, was first spotted by NASA’s Kepler space telescope and circles a dim red dwarf star about 490 light-years from Earth. While the host star is dimmer than Earth’s sun and the planet is slightly bigger than Earth, the positioning of the alien world coupled with its size suggests that Kepler-186f could have water on its surface, scientists say. You can learn more about the Read more…

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Kepler-186f: Most ‘Earth-Like’ Alien World Discovered

astroengine (1577233) writes “About 500 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus lives a star, which, though smaller and redder than the sun, has a planet that may look awfully familiar. With a diameter just 10 percent bigger than Earth’s, the newly found world is the first of its size found basking in the benign temperature region around a parent star where water, if it exists, could pool in liquid form (abstract). Scientists on the hunt for Earth’s twin are focused on worlds that could support liquid surface water, which may be necessary to brew the chemistry of life. “Kepler-186f is significant because it is the first exoplanet that is the same temperature and the same size (well, ALMOST!) as the Earth,” David Charbonneau, with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, wrote in an email to Discovery News. “Previously, the exoplanet most like Earth was Kepler-62f, but Kepler-186f is significantly smaller. Now we can point to a star and say, ‘There lies an Earth-like planet.’”"

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