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Dark universe mission blueprint complete

June 20, 2012 4:41 am | News | Comments

The European Space Agency's Euclid mission to explore the hidden side of the universe—dark energy and dark matter—reached an important milestone that will see it head towards full construction.

ESA tests self-steering rover in 'Mars' desert

June 19, 2012 7:44 am | News | Comments

The European Space Agency (ESA) assembled a top engineering team then challenged them to devise a way for rovers to navigate on alien planets. Six months later, a fully autonomous vehicle was charting its own course through Chile's Mars-like Atacama Desert.

GTRI helps transform a T-6 trainer into a light attack aircraft

June 15, 2012 4:05 am | News | Comments

Researchers from the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) are helping convert an aircraft used to train pilots into one with intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and light attack capabilities. The new aircraft would provide a less expensive alternative to legacy warbirds like the A-10 and F-16 and could be used by foreign military allies as well as U.S. homeland security agencies.


Aircraft engineered with failure in mind may last longer

June 15, 2012 3:46 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Complex systems inhabit a "gray world" of partial failures, Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Olivier de Weck says: While a system may continue to operate as a whole, bits and pieces inevitably degrade. Over time, these small failures can add up to a single catastrophic failure, incapacitating the system. However, De Weck and his colleagues have created a design approach that tailors planes to fly in the face of likely failures.

Tiny planet-finding mirrors borrow from Webb Telescope playbook

May 25, 2012 5:25 am | by Lori Keesey | News | Comments

NASA’s next flagship mission, the James Webb Space Telescope, will carry the largest primary mirror ever deployed in space. Researchers has borrowed a page from its segmented mirror design to create a similar example just a half-inch in diameter. Strangely, the tiny mirror may one day become the standard for future space telescopes.

Commercial space race gets crowded behind SpaceX

May 24, 2012 12:24 pm | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

NASA has hired Space Exploration Technologies Corp. to deliver cargo to the International Space Station, but will eventually add astronauts. And the space agency is hiring other companies, too. Several firms—at least eight—think they can make money in space and are close enough to Musk's company to practically surf in his spaceship's rocket-fueled wake.

Study eyes how to keep a Mars tumbleweed rover moving on rocky terrain

May 23, 2012 6:17 am | News | Comments

New research from North Carolina State University shows that a wind-driven "tumbleweed" Mars rover would be capable of moving across rocky Martian terrain—findings that could also help the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) design the best possible vehicle.

Private supply ship rockets toward space station

May 22, 2012 8:58 am | by Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer | News | Comments

The SpaceX company made history as its Falcon 9 rocket, carrying 1,000 pounds of space station provisions in its Dragon capsule, rose from its seaside launch pad and pierced the pre-dawn sky, aiming for a rendezvous in a few days with the space station. If the mission proceeds as planned, Dragon will be the first commercial vessel to visit the space station.


Engineers tackle challenges of hypersonic flight

May 16, 2012 4:20 am | by Simon Firth, Stanford University | News | Comments

A multiyear collaboration among Stanford University engineering departments uses some of the world's fastest supercomputers to model the complexities of hypersonic flight. Someday, their work may lead to planes that fly at many times the speed of sound.

Rover on the move after surviving Martian winter

May 10, 2012 6:28 pm | News | Comments

After spending nearly five months conducting experiments in one spot, the NASA rover moved for the first time this week, rolling off the rock outcrop where it hunkered down for the Martian winter. Engineers will check its power supply before directing it north to study dust and bedrock.

First light from a super-Earth spotted

May 9, 2012 5:53 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Scientists on a planetary-heat-seeking mission have detected the first infrared light from a super-Earth—in this case, a planet some 40 light-years away. And according to their calculations, 55 Cancri e, a planet just over twice the size of Earth, is throwing off some serious heat.

Scientists use airship to look for meteorites

May 4, 2012 3:04 pm | News | Comments

A group of scientists took to the skies in a slow-moving airship Thursday in search of meteorites that rained over California's gold country last month. It's the latest hunt for extraterrestrial fragments from the April 22 explosion that was witnessed over a swath of Northern California and Nevada.

Vertical takeoff and landing UAV enters new development phase

May 1, 2012 6:20 pm | News | Comments

Part helicopter, part airplane, the Office of Naval Research-sponsored Flexrotor vertical takeoff and landing unmanned aerial vehicle has an oversized propeller with helicopter-like controls for vertical takeoff and landing and the wings of a conventional aircraft. If successful, the craft will extend UAV surveillance capabilities to smaller platforms like ships.


Terahertz waves guarantee radar dome integrity

May 1, 2012 7:15 am | News | Comments

Radio signals reach pilots on board an aircraft through the radar dome, the rounded nose of the aircraft. But if imperfections are introduced during the production of this nose, it can impede radio traffic. Researchers have developed a non-destructive testing system that will identify these errors during production.

Goddard, partners build cutting-edge instruments for MMS

May 1, 2012 6:54 am | News | Comments

NASA is readying a fleet of four identical spacecraft, the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission, for a 2014 launch to study space weather. The effort will require the development of highly sensitive spectrometers and cameras that operate at unprecedented performance levels.

Space shuttle Enterprise zooms over NYC on jet

April 27, 2012 10:01 am | by Deepti Hajela, Associated Press | News | Comments

As the Boeing 747 zoomed over the Manhattan skyline Friday, onlookers gawked at the unusual sight, realizing that the smaller plane hitched to its fuselage was an actual space shuttle. The Enterprise will soon make its home in New York City, basking in retirement about the Intrepid carrier in the Hudson River.

Company aims to strike it rich by mining asteroids

April 24, 2012 6:39 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

A group of high-tech tycoons wants to mine nearby asteroids wants to use commercially built robotic ships to squeeze rocket fuel and valuable minerals like platinum and gold out of the lifeless rocks that routinely whiz by Earth. The inaugural step, to be achieved in the next 18 to 24 months, would be launching the first in a series of private telescopes that would search for rich asteroid targets.

DARPA releases cause of hypersonic glider anomaly

April 22, 2012 1:46 pm | by John Antczak, Associated Press | News | Comments

Launched from an air base in California last summer, DARPA’s unmanned glider Hypersonic Technology Vehicle-2, achieve stable, controlled flight at speeds of Mach 20 for about three minutes before its flight system forced the craft into the ocean. The agency says it now knows the probable cause of the premature end to the flight.

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter brings “Earthrise” to everyone

April 20, 2012 7:20 am | News | Comments

On December 24, 1968, the astronauts aboard Apollo 8 were conducting an extensive photographic survey of the moon’s surface. When they paused to take a navigation sighting, they were shocked to see the Earth “rising” above the lunar surface. Using modern imagery, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has recreated the moment, shortly before the first real photograph was taken.

Flight Testing 3D Printing

April 19, 2012 11:54 am | by Shahrukh Tarapore, Senior Engineer, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories, Cherry Hill, N.J. | Articles | Comments

Lockheed Martin extends 3D printing to manufacturing and custom vehicles.

R & D Change in the 1980s

April 19, 2012 10:56 am | by R&D Editors | Articles | Comments

Globalization, the personal computer, and changing priorities set the stage for R&D 100 Award Winners.

Space shuttle Discovery poised for final takeoff

April 17, 2012 5:24 am | by Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer | News | Comments

Evoking memories of the earliest shuttle flights that started with a mate-demate device atop a modified jumbo jet, the space shuttle Discovery this morning departed on its final flight from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. The Discovery was bound for Washington, where it will become a museum piece at the Smithsonian Institution.

NASA collecting ideas on new strategy for exploring the Red Planet

April 16, 2012 3:36 am | News | Comments

Starting Friday, NASA’s Mars Program Planning Group began accepting ideas and abstracts online from the worldwide scientific and technical community as part of NASA's effort to seek out the best and the brightest ideas from researchers and engineers in planetary science. They hope to develop a new strategy for the exploration of Mars.

With rockets, so many things can and do go wrong

April 16, 2012 3:29 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

The giant explosion that gets a rocket off the ground isn't that complicated. In the case of North Korea’s failed rocket launch last week, two liquid propellants ignite when mixed. Controlling that explosion, and keeping the pointy end of the rocket pointed skyward, is what keeps engineers up at night, and is why rocket science is really, really hard.

Naval research office taps research teams to help reduce jet noise

April 12, 2012 12:28 pm | News | Comments

A person whispering is 20 decibels and a lawn mower is 90 decibels. Jet noise from tactical aircraft can reach 150 decibels on the flight line, and can cause permanent hearing loss to sailors and marines. The Office of Naval Research is funding a new project to help reduce this noise.

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