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NASA considering space station for Mars dry run

March 21, 2012 3:35 am | News | Comments

The International Space Station may provide the setting for a 500-day pretend trip to Mars in another few years. NASA said Tuesday that consideration is underway to use the space station as a dry run for a simulated trip to and from Mars.

Astronomers discover quasars acting as gravitational lenses

March 16, 2012 9:16 am | News | Comments

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have found several examples of galaxies containing quasars, which far outshine the total starlight of their host galaxies. These superbright objects contained within the galaxy act as gravitational lenses, amplifying and distorting images of galaxies aligned behind them.

GM, NASA jointly developing robotic gloves for human use

March 14, 2012 6:27 am | News | Comments

General Motors (GM) and NASA are jointly developing a robotic glove that automotive workers and astronauts can wear to help do their respective jobs better while potentially reducing the risk of repetitive stress injuries.

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Oxygen detected in atmosphere of Saturn's moon Dione

March 5, 2012 3:40 am | News | Comments

Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists and an international research team have announced discovery of molecular oxygen ions in the upper-most atmosphere of Dione, one of the 62 known moons orbiting the ringed planet. The research was made possible by instruments aboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft, which was launched in 1997.

A model burster

March 2, 2012 3:30 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

For the first time, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and elsewhere have detected all phases of thermonuclear burning in a neutron star. The star, located close to the center of the galaxy in the globular cluster Terzan 5, is a model burster, say the researchers.

Fastest wind from stellar-mass black hole discovered

February 22, 2012 11:25 am | News | Comments

The fastest wind ever discovered blowing off a disk around a stellar-mass black hole has been observed by a team of astronomers. Using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory they clocked the record-breaking super wind at about 20 million mph, or about 3% of the speed of light.

Moon images show crust pulling apart

February 21, 2012 11:48 am | News | Comments

In new images from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), researchers have found what they believe is evidence of a rift valley. Small, narrow trenches called graben have been discovered in high-resolution imagery that seems to show that despite the fact the Moon is shrinking, forces are still acting that can pull it apart as well.

MoonKAM returns first video from the dark side of the moon

February 3, 2012 2:47 am | News | Comments

A camera aboard one of NASA's twin Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) lunar spacecraft has returned its first unique view of the far side of the moon. Thousands of fourth- to eighth-grade students will select target areas on the lunar surface and send requests to the GRAIL MoonKAM Mission Operations Center in San Diego. Photos of the target areas will be sent back by the satellites for students to study.

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New ideas sharpen focus for greener aircraft

January 30, 2012 10:36 am | News | Comments

Teams from three of the top United States aerospace corporations have spent the last year studying how to meet NASA’s sustainability goals for cleaner, more efficient aircraft. Among the requirements that prompted adventurous design work from the companies was a 50% reduction in fuel consumption and a 75% reduction in harmful emissions.

In search of the dark sky

January 23, 2012 5:21 am | News | Comments

Most astrophysicists stare at the night sky and look at stars. But Lance Simms from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory looks at the blackness of night and knows there something else there. Simms has been working for a year on a NASA project called the Cosmic X-Ray Background Nanosatellite. The breadbox-sized satellite, set for an August launch, will gather X-ray data from the cosmos and beam it back to Earth.

Mars rover finds mineral vein deposited by water

December 8, 2011 2:51 am | News | Comments

Proof that water flowed through underground fractures on Mars at some point in its history has been discovered by NASA’s Opportunity rover. Bright veins of a mineral, most likely gypsum, were observed by the rover and geologists judge by the formation that it was deposited by water.

NASA finds planet that's just about right for life

December 5, 2011 9:30 am | News | Comments

The Kepler planet-hunting telescope may have found a second Earth. Scientists say the temperature on the surface of the planet is about a comfortable 22.2 C (72 F). Its star could almost be a twin of our sun, and it likely has water and land.

NASA quiet sonic boom research effort ends with a whisper

December 2, 2011 8:47 am | News | Comments

NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center recently completed NASA’s latest quiet sonic boom research study at Edwards Air Force Base. The Waveforms and Sonic boom Perception and Response, or WSPR, project gathered data from a select group of more than 100 volunteer Edwards Air Force Base residents on their individual attitudes toward sonic booms produced by aircraft in supersonic flight over Edwards.

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Christmas burst reveals neutron star collision

December 2, 2011 3:14 am | News | Comments

A strangely powerful, long-lasting gamma-ray burst on Christmas Day, 2010 has finally been analyzed to the satisfaction of a multinational research team. Called the Christmas Burst, GRB 101225A was freakishly lengthy and it produced radiation at unusually varying wavelengths.

Physicists set strongest limit on mass of dark matter

November 28, 2011 3:33 am | by Richard Lewis, Brown University | News | Comments

Brown University physicists have set the strongest limit for the mass of dark matter, the mysterious particles believed to make up nearly a quarter of the universe. The researchers report that dark matter must have a mass greater than 40 GeV. The distinction is important because it casts doubt on recent results from underground experiments that have reported detecting dark matter.

NASA to support IU astronomer's quest to develop star formation database

November 21, 2011 4:52 am | News | Comments

Indiana University astronomer Samir Salim believes the vast archives produced by NASA's space telescopes and ground-based observatories hold the right information to create the largest resource ever for the study of how star formation proceeds in galaxies.

Separating signal and noise in climate warming

November 17, 2011 9:21 am | News | Comments

In order to separate human-caused global warming from the "noise" of purely natural climate fluctuations, temperature records must be at least 17 years long, according to climate scientists. To address criticism of the reliability of thermometer records of surface warming, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists analyzed satellite measurements of the temperature of the lower troposphere and saw a clear signal of human-induced warming of the planet.

Hubble discovers young dwarf galaxies bursting with stars

November 11, 2011 6:19 am | News | Comments

Dwarf galaxies are the most common type in the universe, but the 9 billion-year-old examples found by NASA’s Hubble telescope are unusually prolific and numerous.  The rapid star-birth seen in these newly found examples may force astronomers to reassess their understanding of the ways in which galaxies form.

NRL's MIGHTI selected by NASA for potential space flight

November 10, 2011 8:36 am | News | Comments

A Naval Research Laboratory instrument designed to study the Earth's thermosphere is part of a future science mission that has been selected by NASA for evaluation for flight.

Space shuttle data helps researchers develop better solar power production model

November 10, 2011 8:03 am | News | Comments

The space shuttle program may have ended, but data the space craft collected over the past three decades are still helping advance science. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego recently used measurements from NASA's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission to predict how changes in elevation, such as hills and valleys, and the shadows they create, impact power output in California's solar grid.

Study of clays suggests watery Martian underground

November 3, 2011 6:29 am | News | Comments

A new NASA study suggests if life ever existed on Mars, the longest lasting habitats were most likely below the Red Planet's surface. Spectral evidence gathered by orbiters support a new hypothesis that persistent warm water was confined to the subsurface, and erosional were carved during brief periods when the surface supported stable water.

Advanced Earth observer achieves orbit

October 28, 2011 7:44 am | News | Comments

After a years-long delay, NASA’s newest climate satellite blasted into space early Friday on a dual mission to improve weather forecasts and monitor climate change. Five scientific instruments will extend more than 30 key long-term NASA datasets, including ozone layer measurements, land cover, and ice cover.

Student-built satellite to prepare NASA instrument

October 26, 2011 7:03 am | News | Comments

When the M-Cubed satellite, built by University of Michigan students, goes into orbit, it will become the first CubeSat to test a NASA instrument for major space missions. It is scheduled to be launched on October 28.

New observations help solve ancient supernova mystery

October 24, 2011 12:03 pm | News | Comments

A mystery that began nearly 2,000 years ago, when Chinese astronomers witnessed what would turn out to be an exploding star in the sky, has been solved. New infrared observations from two NASA space telescopes reveal how the first supernova ever recorded occurred.

Moon rock sting terrifies California grandmother

October 24, 2011 7:18 am | by Thomas Watkins, Associated Press | News | Comments

Expecting the worst, NASA agents swept in on a 74-year-old woman in a Denny’s restaurant five months ago to recover what believed to be a moon rock being sold on the black market. The woman claimed the tiny speck of rock, encased in acrylic, was given to her husband by Neil Armstrong. Armstrong says otherwise, and NASA is silent on the case.

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