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Satellite confirms sharp decline in pollution from U.S. coal power plants

December 2, 2011 5:10 am | News | Comments

A team of scientists have used the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA's Aura satellite to confirm major reductions in the levels of a key air pollutant generated by coal power plants in the eastern United States. The pollutant, sulfur dioxide, contributes to the formation of acid rain and can cause serious health problems.

ONR-funded guided rockets hit fast-moving targets in test

November 30, 2011 3:44 am | News | Comments

A weapon prototype developed by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) successfully hit two high-speed boat targets during recent testing. ONR researchers produced the Low-Cost Imaging Terminal Seeker, a suite of low-cost technologies that modify existing helicopter-borne rockets into precision-guided weapons.

Los Alamos instrument to shine light on Mars habitability

November 29, 2011 4:51 am | News | Comments

With the successful launch of the Mars Science Laboratory on Saturday, Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers and scientists from the French space institute IRAP are poised to begin focusing the energy of a million light bulbs on the surface of the Red Planet to help determine whether Mars was or is habitable.  

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Signal received from Russia's Mars moon probe

November 23, 2011 8:23 am | by Melissa Eddy and Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press | News | Comments

Using a little side antenna rigged with a cone, technicians in Australia have received the first signal from an unmanned Russian spacecraft bound for a moon of Mars since it got stuck in Earth’s orbit two weeks ago. The signal raises hopes the mission might be saved.

NASA launching 'dream machine' to explore Mars

November 23, 2011 8:02 am | by Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer | News | Comments

As big as a car and as well-equipped as a laboratory, NASA's newest Mars rover blows away its predecessors in size and skill. Powered by plutonium, Curiosity will be lowered to the Martian surface by a jet pack and tether system similar to those used by sky cranes.

Thanksgiving in space may one day come with all the trimmings

November 22, 2011 3:11 am | News | Comments

Future astronauts spending Thanksgiving in space may not have to forgo one of the most traditional parts of the day's feast: fresh sweet potatoes. A Purdue University team developed methods for growing sweet potatoes that reduce the required growing space while not decreasing the amount of food that each plant produces.

Reliable nuclear device to heat, power Mars Science Laboratory

November 22, 2011 2:42 am | News | Comments

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission has the potential to be the most productive Mars surface mission in history. That's due in part to its nuclear heat and power source. When the rover Curiosity heads to space, it will carry the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator, the latest "space battery" that can reliably power a deep space mission for many years.

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.

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Researchers develop solar-powered runway anti-icing system

November 17, 2011 10:09 am | News | Comments

Engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas are developing an anti-icing system that could make airport runways safer and less expensive to maintain during winter months. The approach uses a conventional photovoltaic system to supply energy to a conductive concrete slab that would function as a surface overlay on runways.

Thomson Reuters publishes list of top global innovators

November 16, 2011 8:03 am | by R&D Editors | News | Comments

The 100 top innovators have been ranked this week by the Thomson Reuters’ intellectual property (IP) consulting arm. The U.S. continues to lead this list with a large share of innovators, and Asia and Europe place second and third, respectively. However, China is not yet ranked because of its practices regarding protecting IP and commercializing products globally.

Wanted: Astronauts; Missing: U.S. rocket to fly them

November 16, 2011 4:33 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Even without it’s own manned launch vehicle, NASA is afraid it will soon not have enough astronauts. The space agency needs about 55 astronauts, and currently has 58, but with veteran astronauts leaving the space agency NASA has begun its biggest effort yet to find recruits.

Despite snowstorm, latest Soyuz launch a success

November 14, 2011 1:13 pm | by Vladimir Ischenkov, Associated Press | News | Comments

Just days after losing control of a major mission to Mars and just months after the failure of the unmanned Progress cargo ship, Russia’s regained some of its confidence with a flawless launch Monday of a Soyuz rocket to the International Space Station. The launch took place despite whiteout blizzard conditions.

Alaska Airlines takes key steps toward lower carbon flight

November 14, 2011 2:44 am | News | Comments

On Nov. 9, Alaska Airlines initiated the first regular commercial service in the United States powered by a blend of sustainable biofuels from used cooking oil and petroleum-based jet fuel. The flights from SeaTac Airport to Washington D.C. and Portland, Ore. are important steps in a long journey that will provide a more sustainable and lower carbon future for the aviation industry.

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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.

Pilotless planes fly with help of drone phone

November 8, 2011 7:13 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Imagine controlling an airplane in flight just by holding your iPhone out in front of you: tilting it in the direction you want the plane to travel, or raising it to make the plane fly higher. Or tapping a point on a map on the screen, and having the plane automatically fly to the designated spot. Now, imagine if the plane itself were a continent away from where you're doing this iPhone-based controlling. What might seem like a figment of the imagination is actually fact.

Alaska Airlines launches biofuel-powered commercial service

November 7, 2011 7:41 am | News | Comments

Alaska Airlines will fly 75 commercial passenger flights in the United States powered by biofuel, starting this Wednesday. These flights signal aviation's next era, where sustainable biofuels can provide a viable alternative to conventional fuel and enable airlines to reduce their environmental impact.

China spacecraft dock together in orbit over Earth

November 3, 2011 4:57 am | by Gillian Wong, Associated Press | News | Comments

The Shenzhou 8 craft that was launched by China Tuesday docked today with the already orbiting Tiangong 1 module. The maneuver puts the country closer to manning its own space station, which could occur within the next decade. The U.S. and Russia are the only other countries to master the space docking technique.

Boeing leasing shuttle hangar to build new capsule

October 31, 2011 9:56 am | by Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer | News | Comments

On Monday, more than 100 Boeing, NASA and state and federal officials gathered in the massive empty former space shuttle hangar—Orbiting Processing Facility No. 3—for the announcement of the first-of-its-kind agreement allowing a private company to take over the government property.

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.

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.

EU launches its first satellite navigation system

October 21, 2011 8:17 am | by Raf Casert, Associated Press | News | Comments

In a bid to establish a system that is more precise and more reliable than the U.S.-established Global Positioning System, a Russian-French collaboration Friday launched the first two satellites of the European Union's Galileo navigation system.

SpaceX completes key milestone to fly astronauts to International Space Station

October 21, 2011 6:43 am | News | Comments

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) announced it has successfully completed the preliminary design review of its launch abort system, a system designed for manned missions using its Dragon spacecraft. This represents a major step toward creating an American-made successor to the space shuttle.

Venture investments grow in 3Q from last year

October 19, 2011 5:05 am | by Barbara Ortutay, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

According to a study out Wednesday venture capitalists invested more money in more U.S. startups in the third quarter than they did a year earlier. Though overall investments dropped from the second quarter, the software industry showed especially big jumps in venture capital quarter to quarter.

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