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November 2011 Top Stories


NASA Studying Ways to Make 'Tractor Beams' a Reality »» NASA Studying Ways to Make 'Tractor Beams' a Reality

[Tuesday, November 1, 2011] A a team of NASA scientists has won funding to study the concept for remotely capturing planetary or atmospheric particles and delivering them to a robotic rover or orbiting spacecraft for analysis.

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Image: Close-up Detail of the Walls of Newton Crater on Mars »» Image: Close-up Detail of the Walls of Newton Crater on Mars

[Tuesday, November 1, 2011] This image shows flows that appear on a slope inside Newton Crater. Sequences of observations recording the seasonal changes at this site and a few others with similar flows might be evidence of salty liquid water active on Mars today.

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Photo: Oahu, Hawai'i As Seen From Space »» Photo: Oahu, Hawai'i As Seen From Space

[Tuesday, November 1, 2011] The island has nearly a million residents -about 75 percent of the state's population. Erosion and volcanism give the island its unique shape. Oahu was created from two separate shield volcanoes that are connected by a central valley, the O'ahu Plain.

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Prehistoric Greenhouse Data from Ocean Floor Could Predict Earth's Future »» Prehistoric Greenhouse Data from Ocean Floor Could Predict Earth's Future

[Tuesday, November 1, 2011] New research from the University of Missouri indicates that Atlantic Ocean temperatures during the greenhouse climate of the Late Cretaceous Epoch were influenced by circulation in the deep ocean.

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Asteroid Lutetia: Postcard from the Past »» Asteroid Lutetia: Postcard from the Past

[Tuesday, November 1, 2011] ESA's Rosetta spacecraft has revealed asteroid Lutetia to be a primitive body, left over as the planets were forming in our Solar System. Results from Rosetta's fleeting flyby also suggest that this mini-world tried to grow a metal heart.

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Photo: The American West As Seen From the International Space Station At Night »» Photo: The American West As Seen From the International Space Station At Night

[Tuesday, November 1, 2011] This night time images from the International Space Station. It features Rocky Mountains, Denver-Colorado Springs (center-right), Santa Fe-Albuquerque, US Great Plains cities: Dallas-Oklahoma City, Kansas City and Chicago.

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White House Honors NASA With GreenGov Presidential Award »» White House Honors NASA With GreenGov Presidential Award

[Tuesday, November 1, 2011] NASA has won a GreenGov Presidential Award from the White House Council on Environmental Quality. The GreenGov awards celebrate exceptional efforts to promote sustainability in federal agency operations.

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NASA And Space Florida Small Satellite Research Center Partner In Space Launch Challenge »» NASA And Space Florida Small Satellite Research Center Partner In Space Launch Challenge

[Tuesday, November 1, 2011] NASA has signed an agreement with the Space Florida Small Satellite Research Center of Cape Canaveral, Florida, to manage the Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge, one of the agency's new Centennial Challenges prize competitions.

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Mars Express Observations Temporarily Suspended »» Mars Express Observations Temporarily Suspended

[Wednesday, November 2, 2011] Anomalies in the operation of the solid-state mass memory system on board Mars Express have caused science observations to be temporarily halted.

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Hinode's First Light - And Five More Years »» Hinode's First Light - And Five More Years

[Wednesday, November 2, 2011] On October 28, 2006, the Hinode solar mission was at last ready. The spacecraft launched on September 22, but such missions require a handful of diagnostics before the instruments can be turned on and collect what is called "first light."

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VLT observations of gamma-ray burst reveal surprising ingredients of early galaxies »» VLT observations of gamma-ray burst reveal surprising ingredients of early galaxies

[Wednesday, November 2, 2011] Gamma-ray bursts are the brightest explosions in the Universe. They are first spotted by orbiting observatories that detect the initial short burst of gamma rays.

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How Will Astronomy Archives Survive The Data Tsunami? »» How Will Astronomy Archives Survive The Data Tsunami?

[Wednesday, November 2, 2011] Astronomy is already awash with data: currently 1 PB (petabyte) of public data is electronically accessible, and this volume is growing at 0.5 PB per year.

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Constructing a Galactic coordinate system based on near-infrared and radio catalogs »» Constructing a Galactic coordinate system based on near-infrared and radio catalogs

[Wednesday, November 2, 2011] The definition of the Galactic coordinate system was announced by the IAU Sub-Commission 33b on behalf of the IAU in 1958.

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Photo: El Hierro Submarine Eruption As Seen From Space »» Photo: El Hierro Submarine Eruption As Seen From Space

[Wednesday, November 2, 2011] Off the coast of El Hierro, in the southwest reaches of the Canary Islands, Earth has been spewing gas and rock into the ocean.

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Image: A Global View of Mercury from Orbit »» Image: A Global View of Mercury from Orbit

[Wednesday, November 2, 2011] This mosaic is made primarily of MDIS images acquired as part of the surface morphology base map, which during the first six months of MESSENGER's orbital mission mapped over 98.7% of the surface with nearly 22,000 images.

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Photo: Central and Eastern Europe As Seen at Night From the International Space Station »» Photo: Central and Eastern Europe As Seen at Night From the International Space Station

[Wednesday, November 2, 2011] This image features Central and Eastern Europe, extending from the Netherlands to Hungary and Italy to northern Poland. Overall, the view includes the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Poland, and Hungary.

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NASA Announces Steven Squyres as New NASA Advisory Council Chairman »» NASA Announces Steven Squyres as New NASA Advisory Council Chairman

[Wednesday, November 2, 2011] NASA Administrator Bolden has named Cornell University Astronomy Professor Steven W. Squyres, as chairman of the NAC, an assembly of experts from various fields that offer guidance and policy advice to the administrator of America's space agency.

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NASA Study Of Clay Minerals Suggests Watery Martian Underground »» NASA Study Of Clay Minerals Suggests Watery Martian Underground

[Thursday, November 3, 2011] A new NASA study suggests if life ever existed on Mars, the longest lasting habitats were most likely below the Red Planet's surface.

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NASA Solicitation: Development of an On-Orbit Robotic Servicing Capability for Spacecraft »» NASA Solicitation: Development of an On-Orbit Robotic Servicing Capability for Spacecraft

[Thursday, November 3, 2011] NASA is soliciting information through this RFI to gather market research to assist NASA in developing strategies for supporting the development and dissemination of on-orbit robotic servicing capabilities for existing and future spacecraft.

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Photo: JAXA Astronaut Satoshi Furukawa Backlit Only By Earthshine »» Photo: JAXA Astronaut Satoshi Furukawa Backlit Only By Earthshine

[Thursday, November 3, 2011] Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, Expedition 29 flight engineer, holds a still camera while looking through a window in the Cupola of the International Space Station Space Station.

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Video: Progress 42P Re-Entering Earth's Atmosphere As Seen From The International Space Station »» Video: Progress 42P Re-Entering Earth's Atmosphere As Seen From The International Space Station

[Thursday, November 3, 2011] This video was taken by the crew of Expedition 29 on board the International Space Station. The sequence of shots was taken October 29, 2011 from 12:49:23 to 12:54:07 GMT.

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NASA-sponsored study describes how space flight impacts astronauts' eyes and vision »» NASA-sponsored study describes how space flight impacts astronauts' eyes and vision

[Thursday, November 3, 2011] A new study sponsored by NASA finds that space flights lasting six months or more can cause a spectrum of changes in astronauts' visual systems. Some problems, including blurry vision, appear to persist long after astronauts' return to Earth.

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Photos: Birth of an Iceberg in Antarctica »» Photos: Birth of an Iceberg in Antarctica

[Thursday, November 3, 2011] Flying over Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier in a DC-8 research plane, scientists participating in NASA's IceBridge mission made a startling discovery on October 14: a massive crack running about 29 kilometers across the glacier's floating tongue.

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NASA Postpones Nov. 4 Robotic Lander Test »» NASA Postpones Nov. 4 Robotic Lander Test

[Thursday, November 3, 2011] NASA has postponed Friday's 10:30 a.m. CDT 100-foot robotic lander altitude flight test to allow engineers more time to assess data from a recent test regarding an issue with the vehicle's propellant usage.

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Alexander Saltman Selected As Executive Director of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation »» Alexander Saltman Selected As Executive Director of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation

[Friday, November 4, 2011] Separately, the Commercial Spaceflight Federation is currently conducting an executive search for a new President to replace Rear Admiral Craig Steidle, who stepped down earlier this fall for medical reasons.

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Astrobiologists discover 'sweet spots' for the formation of complex organic molecules in the galaxy »» Astrobiologists discover 'sweet spots' for the formation of complex organic molecules in the galaxy

[Friday, November 4, 2011] Scientists searched for methanol, a key ingredient in the synthesis of organic molecules that could lead to life. Their results have implications for determining the origins of molecules that spark life in the cosmos.

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City Lights Could Reveal Extraterrestrial Civilization »» City Lights Could Reveal Extraterrestrial Civilization

[Friday, November 4, 2011] How easy would it be to spot a city on a distant planet? Clearly, this light will have to be distinguished from the glare from the parent star. Loeb and Turner suggest looking at the change in light from an exoplanet as it moves around its star.

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NASA's Fermi Finds Youngest Millisecond Pulsar, 100 Pulsars To-Date »» NASA's Fermi Finds Youngest Millisecond Pulsar, 100 Pulsars To-Date

[Friday, November 4, 2011] An international team of scientists using NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has discovered a surprisingly powerful millisecond pulsar that challenges existing theories about how these objects form.

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Scientists study the 'galaxy zoo' using Google Maps and thousands of volunteers »» Scientists study the 'galaxy zoo' using Google Maps and thousands of volunteers

[Friday, November 4, 2011] A team of researchers have measured the bar length of some 5000 galaxies with the help of amateur astronomers. The most precise results have been published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society journal.

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Mars 500 Crew Emerges After 500 Day Mission »» Mars 500 Crew Emerges After 500 Day Mission

[Friday, November 4, 2011] The record-breaking simulated mission to Mars has ended with smiling faces after 17 months. Mars500's six brave volunteers stepped out of their 'spacecraft' today to be welcomed by the waiting scientists.

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MESSENGER Image of Mercury: Peaks in Caloris Basin »» MESSENGER Image of Mercury: Peaks in Caloris Basin

[Friday, November 4, 2011] This image shows a portion of the eastern edge of Caloris basin. The floor of the Caloris basin is filled with volcanic plains, while the Caloris Montes, a ring of mountainous peaks, are found along the basin's rim.

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Photo: Dry Lake Bed and Sand Rodges, Eighty Mile Beach, Australia, As Seen From Space »» Photo: Dry Lake Bed and Sand Rodges, Eighty Mile Beach, Australia, As Seen From Space

[Friday, November 4, 2011] Photo: Dry Lake Bed and Sand Rodges, Eighty Mile Beach, Australia, As Seen From Space. Mission: ISS029 Roll: E Frame: 29633.

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NASA's Cassini Makes a New Pass at Enceladus »» NASA's Cassini Makes a New Pass at Enceladus

[Friday, November 4, 2011] NASA's Cassini spacecraft will acquire the first detailed radar images of Saturn's moon Enceladus during a flyby on Sunday, Nov. 6.

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NASA Dawn Status Report 31 October 2011 »» NASA Dawn Status Report 31 October 2011

[Friday, November 4, 2011] Dawn has completed another wonderfully successful phase of its exploration of Vesta, studying it in unprecedented detail during the past month.

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 White House Responds to Petition: Searching for ET, But No Evidence Yet »» White House Responds to Petition: Searching for ET, But No Evidence Yet

[Friday, November 4, 2011] The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race.

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Photo: Astronauts In The Oval Office »» Photo: Astronauts In The Oval Office

[Saturday, November 5, 2011] Janet Kavandi, Director of Flight Crew Operations at Johnson Space Center, presents President Obama with a jacket during a drop by with the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis in the Oval Office, Nov. 1, 2011.

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Launch date confirmed for PromISSe mission to Space Station »» Launch date confirmed for PromISSe mission to Space Station

[Saturday, November 5, 2011] ESA's next mission to the International Space Station will be launched on 21 December: Andre Kuipers will ride into orbit aboard the Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft as a member of the orbital outpost's Expedition 30.

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Nonterrestrial Artifacts Are Hard to Pin Down »» Nonterrestrial Artifacts Are Hard to Pin Down

[Monday, November 7, 2011] So far, we have not found any nonterrestrial artifacts in our solar system. The Fermi paradox, originally formulated by Enrico Fermi, asks, if intelligent life is common, why have no technological civilizations been observed.

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New Dwarf Galaxies Could Help Reveal Nature of Dark Matter »» New Dwarf Galaxies Could Help Reveal Nature of Dark Matter

[Monday, November 7, 2011] In work that could help advance astronomers' understanding of dark matter, University of Michigan researchers have discovered two additional dwarf galaxies that appear to be satellites of Andromeda, the closest spiral galaxy to Earth.

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Swarm: magnetic field satellites get their bearings »» Swarm: magnetic field satellites get their bearings

[Monday, November 7, 2011] ESA's Swarm satellites, which will unravel the complexities of Earth's magnetic shield, are being put through their paces to ensure that they will withstand the rigours of space. Marking an important milestone, the first satellite has undergone magnetic t

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Image: Topography of Vesta's South Polar Region »» Image: Topography of Vesta's South Polar Region

[Monday, November 7, 2011] The mountain/ central complex is the roughly circular feature in the center of the image and there are grooves, scarps and hummocky (eg. wavy/ undulating) terrane around and on this feature.

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Watch Mini-Asteroid 2005 YU55 Buzz Earth »» Watch Mini-Asteroid 2005 YU55 Buzz Earth

[Monday, November 7, 2011] Earth is about to be visited by the largest close-approaching asteroid on record. Known as 2005 YU55, it is about a quarter mile (400 meters) across, round, and quite dark.

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The Highest Resolution Image of the Sun's Surface Ever Obtained in Visible Light »» The Highest Resolution Image of the Sun's Surface Ever Obtained in Visible Light

[Monday, November 7, 2011] The 1.6-meter aperture New Solar Telescope (NST) at Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO), has captured the highest resolution image of the surface of the sun ever obtained in visible light. The image was acquired with adaptive optics.

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New Radar Image: Asteroid 2005 YU55 Approaches Close Earth Flyby »» New Radar Image: Asteroid 2005 YU55 Approaches Close Earth Flyby

[Monday, November 7, 2011] This radar image of asteroid 2005 YU55 was obtained on Nov. 7, 2011, at 11:45 a.m. PST (2:45 p.m. EST/1945 UTC), when the space rock was at 3.6 lunar distances, which is about 860,000 miles, or 1.38 million kilometers, from Earth.

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LRO Image: Hadley Rille and the Mountains of the Moon »» LRO Image: Hadley Rille and the Mountains of the Moon

[Tuesday, November 8, 2011] On 20 July 2011 the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter was commanded to roll to the east, allowing the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera to obliquely observe Hadley rille and the Apollo 15 landing site.

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NASA Proposes Orion Spacecraft Test Flight In 2014 »» NASA Proposes Orion Spacecraft Test Flight In 2014

[Tuesday, November 8, 2011] NASA plans to add an unmanned flight test of the Orion spacecraft in early 2014 to its contract with Lockheed Martin Space Systems for the multi-purpose crew vehicle's design, development, test and evaluation.

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Group Letter To Congress and the Obama Administration Regarding NASA's Commercial Crew Program »» Group Letter To Congress and the Obama Administration Regarding NASA's Commercial Crew Program

[Tuesday, November 8, 2011] We, the undersigned space leaders, are strong supporters of human spaceflight. Among us are former NASA astronauts, executives, and advisors, CEOs and directors of firms large and small, space scientists, space journalists, and others.

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Voyager 2 to Switch to Backup Thruster Set »» Voyager 2 to Switch to Backup Thruster Set

[Tuesday, November 8, 2011] NASA's Deep Space Network personnel sent commands to the Voyager 2 spacecraft Nov. 4 to switch to the backup set of thrusters that controls the roll of the spacecraft. Confirmation was received today that the spacecraft accepted the commands.

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Is the Pluto System Dangerous? »» Is the Pluto System Dangerous?

[Tuesday, November 8, 2011] New Horizons remains healthy and on course, now almost two times as far from the Sun as the Earth is, and approaching six years into its 9.5-year journey to the Pluto system.

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Canadarm Turns 30: Canadian Space Agency Salutes Three Decades of Industry Innovation »» Canadarm Turns 30: Canadian Space Agency Salutes Three Decades of Industry Innovation

[Tuesday, November 8, 2011] Canadarm, Canada's national icon of technological innovation, made its space debut on the U.S. Space Shuttle on November 13, 1981.

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DARPA Solicitation: Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA) »» DARPA Solicitation: Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA)

[Tuesday, November 8, 2011] The goal of ALASA is to develop a significantly less expensive approach for launching small satellites routinely, with a goal of at least threefold reduction in costs compared to current military and US commercial launch costs.

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NASA Administrator Names Peck Agency's Chief Technologist »» NASA Administrator Names Peck Agency's Chief Technologist

[Tuesday, November 8, 2011] NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has named Cornell University Professor Mason Peck to be the agency's chief technologist, effective in January. Peck will serve as the agency's principal advisor and advocate on matters concerning technology policy and pro

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AAAS Letter Expresses »» AAAS Letter Expresses "Grave Concerns" for OSTP Budget

[Wednesday, November 9, 2011] In a letter dated 8 November 2011, AAAS CEO Alan Leshner, executive publisher of Science, expressed "grave concerns regarding the prospect of a 50 percent reduction in the budget of the OSTP," as proposed by the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Video: Animation of Orion Exploration Flight Test -1 »» Video: Animation of Orion Exploration Flight Test -1

[Wednesday, November 9, 2011] This animation depicts the proposed test flight of the Orion spacecraft in 2014. During the test Orion will launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla., perform two orbit, and then will re-enter and land in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of the United States.

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Video: Asteroid 2005 YU55 Flyby »» Video: Asteroid 2005 YU55 Flyby

[Wednesday, November 9, 2011] Scientists working with the 230-foot-wide (70-meter) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, Calif., have generated a short movie clip of asteroid 2005 YU55.

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Video: NASA's New Upper Stage J-2X Engine Passes Major Test »» Video: NASA's New Upper Stage J-2X Engine Passes Major Test

[Thursday, November 10, 2011] NASA conducted a successful 500-second test firing of the J-2X rocket engine on Wednesday, Nov. 9, marking another important step in development of an upper stage for the heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS).

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International consensus on joint space exploration »» International consensus on joint space exploration

[Thursday, November 10, 2011] Representatives from 28 countries, the European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA) met in Lucca, Italy, on 10 November for the Third International Conference on Exploration and the first High-level International Space Exploration Platform.

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Exploring the last white spot on Earth »» Exploring the last white spot on Earth

[Thursday, November 10, 2011] We know surprisingly little about the interior of the Earth. The pressure at the centre can be calculated accurately from the propagation of Earthquake waves, and it is about three and a half million times atmospheric pressure.

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Keck Telescope Image of Asteroid YU55 »» Keck Telescope Image of Asteroid YU55

[Thursday, November 10, 2011] One of the world's largest optical/infrared telescopes has captured near-infrared light images of asteroid YU55 as it was departing its close flyby of Earth the night of Nov. 8, 2011.

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Pine Island Glacier: A Scientific Quest in Antarctica to Determine What's Causing Ice Loss »» Pine Island Glacier: A Scientific Quest in Antarctica to Determine What's Causing Ice Loss

[Thursday, November 10, 2011] An international team of researchers, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA, will helicopter onto the Pine Island Glacier ice shelf, one of Antarctica's most active, remote and harsh spots, in mid-December 2011--weather permitting.

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NASA's Hubble Observes Young Dwarf Galaxies Bursting With Stars »» NASA's Hubble Observes Young Dwarf Galaxies Bursting With Stars

[Thursday, November 10, 2011] Using its near-infrared vision to peer 9 billion years back in time, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered an extraordinary population of young dwarf galaxies brimming with star formation.

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NASA Can't Explain What MSL Is Looking For - And What It Can Find »» NASA Can't Explain What MSL Is Looking For - And What It Can Find

[Thursday, November 10, 2011] In a press conference today, NASA's Doug McCuistion just said "MSL is seeking signs of life but this is not a life detection mission". NASA is still confused as to what this mission is about - or at least its PR people are confused.

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NASA Ready For November Launch Of Car-Sized Mars Rover »» NASA Ready For November Launch Of Car-Sized Mars Rover

[Thursday, November 10, 2011] NASA's most advanced mobile robotic laboratory, which will examine one of the most intriguing areas on Mars, is in final preparations for a launch from Florida's Space Coast at 10:25 a.m. EST on Nov. 25.

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New Study Shows Very First Stars Not Monstrous »» New Study Shows Very First Stars Not Monstrous

[Thursday, November 10, 2011] The very first stars in our universe were not the behemoths scientists had once thought, according to new simulations performed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

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Giant Planet Ejected from the Solar System »» Giant Planet Ejected from the Solar System

[Thursday, November 10, 2011] Just as an expert chess player sacrifices a piece to protect the queen, the solar system may have given up a giant planet and spared the Earth, according to an article recently published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

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Hubble Observes Young Dwarf Galaxies Bursting With Stars »» Hubble Observes Young Dwarf Galaxies Bursting With Stars

[Thursday, November 10, 2011] Using its near-infrared vision to peer 9 billion years back in time, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered an extraordinary population of young dwarf galaxies brimming with star formation.

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Image: 30 Doradus - The Growing Tarantula Within »» Image: 30 Doradus - The Growing Tarantula Within

[Thursday, November 10, 2011] The star-forming region, 30 Doradus, is one of the largest located close to the Milky Way and is found in the neighboring galaxy, Large Magellanic Cloud.

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Space and its benefits for citizens and society: A top priority for Europe »» Space and its benefits for citizens and society: A top priority for Europe

[Saturday, November 12, 2011] The Conference, devoted to the benefits of space to citizens and society, confirmed that space is high on Europe's political agenda by including European authorities of the highest level.

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Spinning Blood Device Set to Safeguard Astronaut Health »» Spinning Blood Device Set to Safeguard Astronaut Health

[Saturday, November 12, 2011] ESA has begun developing a new blood-testing device for astronauts on the International Space Station. A wide range of ailments from diabetes to heart disease should be diagnosable in moments from a single drop of astronaut blood.

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Cassini Image: Spongy Hyperion »» Cassini Image: Spongy Hyperion

[Saturday, November 12, 2011] The sponge-like surface of Saturn's moon Hyperion is highlighted in this Cassini portrait, captured during the spacecraft's Sept. 16, 2011, flyby.

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Space Station Crew Members Launched Aboard Soyuz TMA-22 from Kazakhstan »» Space Station Crew Members Launched Aboard Soyuz TMA-22 from Kazakhstan

[Monday, November 14, 2011] NASA astronaut Dan Burbank and Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin launched to the International Space Station at 11:14 p.m. EST Sunday (10:14 a.m. Kazakhstan time, Monday) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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NASA Kicks Off Application Process For New Astronauts »» NASA Kicks Off Application Process For New Astronauts

[Monday, November 14, 2011] News media representatives are invited to attend a public announcement of NASA's process for selecting its next class of astronauts. The event starts at 1 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Nov. 15, in the Webb auditorium at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

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A Post-Mission Conversation With NASA NEEMO Aquanaut Steve Squyres »» A Post-Mission Conversation With NASA NEEMO Aquanaut Steve Squyres

[Tuesday, November 15, 2011] Cowing: Let's go back to what we were talking about before you began your NEEMO mission - the idea that being there - and doing it as - opposed to intellectualizing things ... Squyres: ... yea it is really different when you actually have to do it!

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Sierra Nevada Space Systems Completes Simulator and Avionics Laboratory Milestones for NASA's Commercial Crew Program »» Sierra Nevada Space Systems Completes Simulator and Avionics Laboratory Milestones for NASA's Commercial Crew Program

[Tuesday, November 15, 2011] Sierra Nevada Corporation's (SNC) Space Systems announces the completion of additional Dream Chaser Space System Milestones under NASA's Commercial Crew Development Phase 2 (CCDev2) Program.

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NASA and USGS Announce Media Briefing: How Will We Sustain a More Populated Planet? »» NASA and USGS Announce Media Briefing: How Will We Sustain a More Populated Planet?

[Tuesday, November 15, 2011] Since 1972, the Landsat Earth observation satellites have monitored changes at the Earth's land surface, including changes in forests, water bodies and agricultural and urban areas.

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What the Minibus Appropriations Bill Says About NASA's Budget »» What the Minibus Appropriations Bill Says About NASA's Budget

[Tuesday, November 15, 2011] Conferees filed their conference report for the first minibus appropriations bill Monday night. This is what they propose for NASA:

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MESSENGER Image of Mercury: Dominici Crater »» MESSENGER Image of Mercury: Dominici Crater

[Tuesday, November 15, 2011] Dominici crater, the very bright crater to the top of this image, exhibits bright rays and contains hollows. This crater lies upon the peak ring of Homer Basin, a very degraded peak ring basin that has been filled by volcanism.

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Getting Our Priorities Straight: Setting the SLS Vs Propellant Depot Argument In a Greater Context »» Getting Our Priorities Straight: Setting the SLS Vs Propellant Depot Argument In a Greater Context

[Tuesday, November 15, 2011] If you examine the use of stimulus funds from the American Recovery Act you will find a similar pattern. This expenditure has totaled well over $100 billion dollars since 2009, more than twice the entire NASA budget over this same period.

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Space Droids Using Sign Language? »» Space Droids Using Sign Language?

[Tuesday, November 15, 2011] I have seen Robonaut-2 in action and its dexterity is interesting - and rather facile. So ... how could NASA demonstrate this dexterity in new ways? Program it to use Sign Language.

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NASA Hosting Science Update about Jupiter's Icy Moon Europa »» NASA Hosting Science Update about Jupiter's Icy Moon Europa

[Tuesday, November 15, 2011] NASA will host a Science Update at 1 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Nov. 16, to discuss new theories concerning Jupiter's icy moon Europa. The event will be in NASA's James E. Webb Auditorium at 300 E St. SW in Washington.

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NASA Accepting Applications For Future Astronauts »» NASA Accepting Applications For Future Astronauts

[Tuesday, November 15, 2011] Do you dream of flying in space? Now is your chance. NASA is accepting applications for the agency's next class for the Astronaut Candidate Program.

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Suborbital Research Flight Giveaway Announced by XCOR Aerospace & Southwest Research Institute »» Suborbital Research Flight Giveaway Announced by XCOR Aerospace & Southwest Research Institute

[Wednesday, November 16, 2011] In a first of its kind prize for the reusable suborbital research community, XCOR Aerospace and the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) announced today that a research flight will be awarded to one lucky paid registrant at the NSRC-2012 Conference.

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NASA Announces 2011 NASA OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Video Contest »» NASA Announces 2011 NASA OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Video Contest

[Wednesday, November 16, 2011] NASA is kicking off its second annual NASA OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Video Contest to raise student awareness of how NASA technologies provide benefits to the public. Registration for the contest is open until January 3, 2012.

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NASA's Supercomputer Maintains Ranking, Supporting More Research »» NASA's Supercomputer Maintains Ranking, Supporting More Research

[Wednesday, November 16, 2011] NASA's largest supercomputer, Pleiades, maintained its status as seventh on the TOP500 list of the world's most powerful, high-performance computers.

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Students to Experience Free-Fall for Physics Experiment »» Students to Experience Free-Fall for Physics Experiment

[Wednesday, November 16, 2011] A team of current, past and future University of Central Florida students will float around in weightlessness like astronauts this month as part of a physics experiment that could provide valuable information for future trips to the Moon or asteroids.

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ESA Cubs delivered for first Vega flight »» ESA Cubs delivered for first Vega flight

[Wednesday, November 16, 2011] The first CubeSats to be sponsored by ESA's Education Office have been delivered to the agency's Space Technology and Research Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands.

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Conference Report to Accompany HR 2112 -- NASA Excerpts »» Conference Report to Accompany HR 2112 -- NASA Excerpts

[Wednesday, November 16, 2011] NASA section begins on Page 78 (converted from PDF document - typos are likely. Refer to original document)

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Space Quarterly Magazine Preview - Next Edition December 1 »» Space Quarterly Magazine Preview - Next Edition December 1

[Wednesday, November 16, 2011] The following is an excerpt from an article that appears in the next issue of Space Quarterly Magazine to be released on December 1. Following the excerpt is the table of contents for both the U.S. and Canadian editions.

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NASA Invites 150 Lucky Twitter Followers To Launch Of Mars Rover »» NASA Invites 150 Lucky Twitter Followers To Launch Of Mars Rover

[Wednesday, November 16, 2011] NASA has invited 150 followers of the agency's Twitter account to a two-day launch Tweetup on Nov. 23 and 25 at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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NASA'S Diverse Collaborations Spread The Stem Education Message »» NASA'S Diverse Collaborations Spread The Stem Education Message

[Wednesday, November 16, 2011] NASA's Office of Education is collaborating with a variety of organizations this week to engage students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and increase academic excellence.

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Supervolcanoes: Not a threat for 2012 »» Supervolcanoes: Not a threat for 2012

[Wednesday, November 16, 2011] The geological record holds clues that throughout Earth's 4.5-billion-year lifetime massive supervolcanoes, far larger than Mount St. Helens or Mount Pinatubo, have erupted.

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Image: The Cool Clouds of Carina »» Image: The Cool Clouds of Carina

[Wednesday, November 16, 2011] This site of violent star formation, which plays host to some of the highest-mass stars in our galaxy, is an ideal arena in which to study the interactions between these young stars and their parent molecular clouds.

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Mission X: train like an astronaut in 2012 »» Mission X: train like an astronaut in 2012

[Wednesday, November 16, 2011] ESA astronaut Andre Kuipers is inviting thousands of schoolchildren to perform physical activities and to learn about healthy nutrition to compete with teams from around the world to become as fit as astronauts. Mission X kicks off again in February.

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Image: Blooming Waters off Argentina As Seen From Space »» Image: Blooming Waters off Argentina As Seen From Space

[Wednesday, November 16, 2011] On a sunny spring day in November 2011, the clouds parted over coastal Argentina to reveal a massive bloom of phytoplankton coloring the ocean.

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Image: Low Clouds over Central Europe As Seen From Space »» Image: Low Clouds over Central Europe As Seen From Space

[Wednesday, November 16, 2011] A massive cloudbank sprawled over central Europe in early November 2011, with clouds extending from the North Sea to the foothills of the Alps. Over the crescent-shaped mountain range, skies remained clear.

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Red Dwarf Stars: Ages, Rotation, Magnetic Dynamo Activity and the Habitability of Hosted Planets »» Red Dwarf Stars: Ages, Rotation, Magnetic Dynamo Activity and the Habitability of Hosted Planets

[Wednesday, November 16, 2011] We report on our continued efforts to understand and delineate the magnetic dynamo-induced behavior/variability of red dwarf (K5 V - M6 V) stars over their long lifetimes.

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The Cratering History of Asteroid (21) Lutetia »» The Cratering History of Asteroid (21) Lutetia

[Wednesday, November 16, 2011] During the Rosetta flyby, the on-board OSIRIS imaging system acquired spectacular images of Lutetia's northern hemisphere revealing a complex surface scarred by numerous impact craters, reaching the maximum dimension of about 55km.

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NASA Solicitation: Payloads Requiring a Near-zero or Reduced Gravity Environment »» NASA Solicitation: Payloads Requiring a Near-zero or Reduced Gravity Environment

[Wednesday, November 16, 2011] NASA has released a solicitation, entitled "Announcement of Flight Opportunities (AFO) for Payloads Requiring a Near-Zero or Reduced Gravity Environment: Maturing Crosscutting Technologies that Advance Multiple Future Space Mission to Flight Readiness Sta

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Evidence for Subsurface Lake on Europa »» Evidence for Subsurface Lake on Europa

[Wednesday, November 16, 2011] Scientists have discovered what appears to be a body of liquid water the volume of the North American Great Lakes locked inside the icy shell of Jupiter's moon Europa - which could represent a new potential habitat for li

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2011 Report to Congress of the U.S. - China Economic and Security Review Commission »» 2011 Report to Congress of the U.S. - China Economic and Security Review Commission

[Wednesday, November 16, 2011] ... authoritative Chinese military writings advocate attacks on space-toground communications links and ground-based satellite control facilities in the event of a conflict.

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NASA Named One of Best Places To Work in Government »» NASA Named One of Best Places To Work in Government

[Thursday, November 17, 2011] NASA remains one of the best places to work in the federal government. In a survey released today by the Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit, non-partisan organization, the agency retains its ranking of number five.

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Jobs for the Future Brings NASA Resources to Community College Green Curricula »» Jobs for the Future Brings NASA Resources to Community College Green Curricula

[Thursday, November 17, 2011] Jobs for the Future and the National Wildlife Federation are introducing NASA's cutting-edge contributions in climate change science to community college green sector curricula as part of a new project called Building a Diverse, Green Workforce.

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Photos: SpaceX Dragon Capsule Mated To Unpressurized Trunk for ISS Demo Flight »» Photos: SpaceX Dragon Capsule Mated To Unpressurized Trunk for ISS Demo Flight

[Thursday, November 17, 2011] The SpaceX Dragon Capsule - slated to complete a demonstration flight to the ISS in early 2012 aboard a Falcon 9 rocket - completed a processing milestone this week when the capsule was mated with the trunk that will carry unpressurized cargo to the ISS.

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Shackleton Energy Company: Humans to Return to the Moon by 2019 »» Shackleton Energy Company: Humans to Return to the Moon by 2019

[Thursday, November 17, 2011] Shackleton Energy Company (SEC) Initiates Funding Process for Lunar Ice Mining to Establish the World's First Industrial Lunar Base and Propellant Depots in Space

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Images: Cassini Chronicles the Life and Times of Saturn's Giant Storm »» Images: Cassini Chronicles the Life and Times of Saturn's Giant Storm

[Friday, November 18, 2011] New images and animated movies from NASA's Cassini spacecraft chronicle the birth and evolution of the colossal storm that ravaged the northern face of Saturn for nearly a year.

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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Catches Sand Dunes In Motion »» Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Catches Sand Dunes In Motion

[Friday, November 18, 2011] Images from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show sand dunes and ripples moving across the surface of Mars at dozens of locations and shifting up to several yards. These observations reveal the planet's sandy surface is more dynamic than previously thought.

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New Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter High-Resolution Topographic Map of the Moon »» New Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter High-Resolution Topographic Map of the Moon

[Friday, November 18, 2011] The science team that oversees the imaging system on board NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has released the highest resolution near-global topographic map of the Moon ever created.

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GAO: Key Controls NASA Employs to Guide Use and Management of Funded Space Act Agreement »» GAO: Key Controls NASA Employs to Guide Use and Management of Funded Space Act Agreement

[Friday, November 18, 2011] According to NASA, once it becomes clear that the agency can appropriately use a funded Space Act agreement for a given initiative, it is not necessary to assess such additional risks because these are borne by the agreement partner.

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State Department: Leading with Diplomacy to Strengthen Stability in Space »» State Department: Leading with Diplomacy to Strengthen Stability in Space

[Friday, November 18, 2011] Remarks by Frank A. Rose, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, USSTRATCOM Cyber and Space Symposium.

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Hubble Confirms Galaxies Are Ultimate Recyclers »» Hubble Confirms Galaxies Are Ultimate Recyclers

[Friday, November 18, 2011] New observations by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope are expanding astronomers' understanding of the ways in which galaxies continuously recycle immense volumes of hydrogen gas and heavy elements.

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NASA's Chandra adds to black hole birth announcement »» NASA's Chandra adds to black hole birth announcement

[Friday, November 18, 2011] New details about the birth of a famous black hole that took place millions of years ago have been uncovered, thanks to a team of scientists who used data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory as well as from radio, optical and other X-ray telescopes.

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SpaceX Searches for New Commercial Launch Site »» SpaceX Searches for New Commercial Launch Site

[Friday, November 18, 2011] Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is searching for a new launch site to meet increasing demand from commercial customers.

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FY 2012 NASA Appropriations Bill Signed Into Law »» FY 2012 NASA Appropriations Bill Signed Into Law

[Friday, November 18, 2011] Yesterday the House and Senate passed H.R. 2112, providing funding for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The President signed this appropriations bill into law today.

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NASA Announces Space Shuttle Closeout Contract Modification »» NASA Announces Space Shuttle Closeout Contract Modification

[Saturday, November 19, 2011] NASA announced the Space Shuttle Program and subcontractor closeout modification to the Space Program Operations Contract (SPOC) with United Space Alliance (USA) of Houston, valued at $232.9 million.

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Researchers pinpoint date and rate of Earth's most extreme extinction »» Researchers pinpoint date and rate of Earth's most extreme extinction

[Saturday, November 19, 2011] It's well known that Earth's most severe mass extinction occurred about 250 million years ago. What's not well known is the specific time when the extinctions occurred.

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Antarctica's Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains Mystery Solved »» Antarctica's Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains Mystery Solved

[Saturday, November 19, 2011] NSF funded researchers may have at last answered a 50 year-old conundrum. They may now know how Antarctica's Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains were formed, which has been a question for scientists since their discovery in 1958.

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Cosmic particle accelerators get things going »» Cosmic particle accelerators get things going

[Saturday, November 19, 2011] ESA's Cluster satellites have discovered that cosmic particle accelerators are more efficient than previously thought. The discovery has revealed the initial stages of acceleration for the first time, a process that could apply across the Universe.

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Voyager 2 Completes Switch to Backup Thruster Set »» Voyager 2 Completes Switch to Backup Thruster Set

[Saturday, November 19, 2011] NASA's Voyager 2 has successfully switched to the backup set of thrusters that controls the roll of the spacecraft. Deep Space Network personnel sent commands to the spacecraft to make the change on Nov. 4 and received confirmation today that the switch h

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NASA Extends MESSENGER Mission »» NASA Extends MESSENGER Mission

[Saturday, November 19, 2011] NASA has announced that it will extend the MESSENGER mission for an additional year of orbital operations at Mercury beyond the planned end of the primary mission on March 17, 2012.

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NASA Mars Science Laboratory Launch Delayed »» NASA Mars Science Laboratory Launch Delayed

[Saturday, November 19, 2011] The launch of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V carrying NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) has been delayed one day to allow time for the team to remove and replace a flight termination system battery.

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Opportunity Mars Rover Continues Studies While Heading North »» Opportunity Mars Rover Continues Studies While Heading North

[Monday, November 21, 2011] The seasonal plan for Opportunity is to winter over on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater where northerly tilts are favorable for solar array energy production.

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New NASA Missions to Investigate How Mars Turned Hostile »» New NASA Missions to Investigate How Mars Turned Hostile

[Monday, November 21, 2011] Maybe because it appears as a speck of blood in the sky, the planet Mars was named after the Roman god of war. From the point of view of life as we know it, that's appropriate. The Martian surface is incredibly hostile for life.

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Research group proposes first system for assessing the odds of life on other worlds »» Research group proposes first system for assessing the odds of life on other worlds

[Monday, November 21, 2011] Even as our list of newly discovered "exoplanets" grows ever-longer, the search for life beyond our solar system will likely focus much more narrowly on the relatively few of these new worlds which exhibit the most Earth-like of conditions.

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ESA Council opens up to ten EU Member States »» ESA Council opens up to ten EU Member States

[Monday, November 21, 2011] Responding to the growing interest within Europe in space matters, ESA has invited 10 more countries to participate in meetings of its governing Council.

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NASA MRO HiRISE Image of Mars:  Wrinkle Ridges in Eastern Meridiani Planum »» NASA MRO HiRISE Image of Mars: Wrinkle Ridges in Eastern Meridiani Planum

[Monday, November 21, 2011] This wrinkle ridge crosses through a mound of layered material that's been exposed by erosion. This observation poses an excellent opportunity to look at the internal structure of a wrinkle ridge.

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Photo: The United States and Mexico - Gulf of Cortez and  Baja California - As Seen From Space »» Photo: The United States and Mexico - Gulf of Cortez and Baja California - As Seen From Space

[Monday, November 21, 2011] Parts of the U.S. and Mexico are seen in this image photographed by one of the Expedition 29 crew members from the International Space Station as it flew above the Pacific Ocean on Nov. 16, 2011.

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NASA MESSENGER Image: One of Mercury's Two »» NASA MESSENGER Image: One of Mercury's Two "Hot Poles"

[Monday, November 21, 2011] The small green square in this image marks the point at zero degrees latitude and 180 degrees longitude on Mercury's surface. This is one of Mercury's two "hot poles."

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NASA Flies Mighty Eagle Lander Prototype to New Heights (With Video) »» NASA Flies Mighty Eagle Lander Prototype to New Heights (With Video)

[Monday, November 21, 2011] NASA successfully completed the final flight in a series of tests of a new robotic lander prototype at the Redstone Test Center's propulsion test facility on the U.S. Army Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala.

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All Systems Go for Next TDRS Communication Spacecraft »» All Systems Go for Next TDRS Communication Spacecraft

[Tuesday, November 22, 2011] The most recent evaluations of NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) project confirmed all systems go for a third generation upgrade of the orbiting communications network

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Lightning Sprites Are Out-of-This-World »» Lightning Sprites Are Out-of-This-World

[Tuesday, November 22, 2011] Sprites are offshoots of electric discharges caused by lightning storms, and a valuable window into the composition of our atmosphere. Now researchers at Tel Aviv University say that sprites are not a phenomenon specific to our planet.

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Reliable nuclear device to heat, power Mars Science Lab »» Reliable nuclear device to heat, power Mars Science Lab

[Tuesday, November 22, 2011] NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, which is scheduled to launch this week, 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.

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NASA Develops New Game-Changing Technology »» NASA Develops New Game-Changing Technology

[Tuesday, November 22, 2011] Two NASA California centers have been selected to develop new space-aged technologies that could be game-changers in the way we look at planets from above and how we safely transport robots or humans through space and bring them safely back to Earth.

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NASA's Airborne Observatory Views Stars Forming Region W40 »» NASA's Airborne Observatory Views Stars Forming Region W40

[Tuesday, November 22, 2011] A new image from NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, provides the highest resolution mid-infrared image taken to-date of the massive star formation region in our galaxy known as W40.

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NASA Makes Science Communication Competition Interplanetary »» NASA Makes Science Communication Competition Interplanetary

[Tuesday, November 22, 2011] NASA, Cheltenham Festivals and the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science announce a partnership to operate a FameLab competition for the first time.

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Space Station Trio Lands Safely in Kazakhstan »» Space Station Trio Lands Safely in Kazakhstan

[Tuesday, November 22, 2011] Three International Space Station crew members safely returned to Earth on Monday, wrapping up nearly six months in space during which NASA and its international partners celebrated the 11th anniversary of continuous residence and work aboard the station.

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Virginia Completes Study of Commercial Space Flight Facility »» Virginia Completes Study of Commercial Space Flight Facility

[Tuesday, November 22, 2011] "As home to one of only four facilities licensed by the FAA to send rockets into orbit, the Wallops Flight Facility at MARS has the potential to become the leading commercial space flight facility in the United State."

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United Launch Alliance Completes Crucial Milestone Toward Certifying Atlas V for Human Spaceflight »» United Launch Alliance Completes Crucial Milestone Toward Certifying Atlas V for Human Spaceflight

[Tuesday, November 22, 2011] United Launch Alliance (ULA) today announced the completion of a key milestone that could lead toward the certification of the Atlas V launch vehicle for human spaceflight.

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National Environmental Policy Act NASA Routine Payloads on Expendable Launch Vehicles »» National Environmental Policy Act NASA Routine Payloads on Expendable Launch Vehicles

[Tuesday, November 22, 2011] This FONSI summarizes NASA's consideration of environmental impacts for routine payloads being launched at facilities addressed in the draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for NASA Routine Payloads on Expendable Launch Vehicles dated August 2011.

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Hubble Finds Stellar Life & Death in Globular Cluster »» Hubble Finds Stellar Life & Death in Globular Cluster

[Tuesday, November 22, 2011] A new Hubble image shows globular cluster NGC 1846, a spherical collection of hundreds of thousands of stars in the outer halo of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a neighboring dwarf galaxy of the Milky Way that can be seen from the southern hemisphere.

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NASA MRO HiRISE Image of Mars: Light-Toned Layered Rocks in Arabia and East Xanthe Regions »» NASA MRO HiRISE Image of Mars: Light-Toned Layered Rocks in Arabia and East Xanthe Regions

[Tuesday, November 22, 2011] The dark terrain at the north end of the image is heavily cratered and has thus been there (at the surface) longer than the brighter terrain in the rest of the image. But is it older, as heavily cratered terrain often indicates?

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NASA MESSENGER Image of Mercury: Crater Kertesz in 3D »» NASA MESSENGER Image of Mercury: Crater Kertesz in 3D

[Tuesday, November 22, 2011] These images were acquired as high-resolution targeted observations. Targeted observations are images of a small area on Mercury's surface at resolutions much higher than the 250-meter/pixel morphology base map or the 1-kilometer/pixel color base map.

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Landsat 5 Mission in Jeopardy »» Landsat 5 Mission in Jeopardy

[Tuesday, November 22, 2011] The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has stopped acquiring images from the 27-year-old Landsat 5 Earth observation satellite due to a rapidly degrading electronic component.

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UKube-1 final design approved »» UKube-1 final design approved

[Wednesday, November 23, 2011] The UK space Agency and Astrium have just approved the final design of UKube-1 - the UK's first CubeSat mission.

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NASA's NPP Satellite Acquires First VIIRS Image »» NASA's NPP Satellite Acquires First VIIRS Image

[Wednesday, November 23, 2011] This high-resolution image is of a broad swath of Eastern North America from Canada's Hudson Bay past Florida to the northern coast of Venezuela. The VIIRS data were processed at the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility (NSOF) in Suitland, Md.

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ESA tracking station receives signal from Russia's Phobos Mars mission »» ESA tracking station receives signal from Russia's Phobos Mars mission

[Wednesday, November 23, 2011] On Tuesday, 22 November at 20:25 UT, ESA's tracking station at Perth, Australia, established contact with Russia's Phobos-Grunt spacecraft.

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NASA Hosts Second Annual Education Stakeholders' Summit »» NASA Hosts Second Annual Education Stakeholders' Summit

[Wednesday, November 23, 2011] NASA's Office of Education will host the second Education Stakeholders' Summit Nov. 29-Dec. 2 in Chantilly, Va. The summit's theme is "An Innovative Solution for the STEM Workforce of Tomorrow."

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ESA opens Landsat archives »» ESA opens Landsat archives

[Thursday, November 24, 2011] In its archives, ESA holds around two million products that cover Europe and North Africa. The total amount of data available is worth about 450 terabytes - that's equivalent to about 900 000 hours of audio recorded at CD quality.

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Earth's core deprived of oxygen »» Earth's core deprived of oxygen

[Thursday, November 24, 2011] The composition of the Earth's core remains a mystery. Scientists know that the liquid outer core consists mainly of iron, but it is believed that small amounts of some other elements are present as well.

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Mars Science Laboratory Launch Milestones »» Mars Science Laboratory Launch Milestones

[Thursday, November 24, 2011] NASA's Mars Science Laboratory is tucked inside its Atlas V rocket, ready for launch on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

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ESA station keeps contact with Russian Mars mission Phobos-Grunt »» ESA station keeps contact with Russian Mars mission Phobos-Grunt

[Thursday, November 24, 2011] Following the first successful contact on Tuesday, ESA's tracking station in Australia again established two-way communication with Russia's Phobos-Grunt spacecraft on 23 November.

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Mars Express steadily returns to routine operation »» Mars Express steadily returns to routine operation

[Thursday, November 24, 2011] Controllers are making excellent progress in returning Mars Express to routine service. Some science activities have already resumed after being temporarily suspended last month following a series of faults related to the onboard data storage system.

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Apollo Zone Digital Image Mosaic and Digital Elevation Model Released »» Apollo Zone Digital Image Mosaic and Digital Elevation Model Released

[Friday, November 25, 2011] The maps are the result of 3 years worth of work by the ARC Intelligent Robotics Group (IRG) to align and process more than 4,000 images from the Apollo Metric (Mapping) Camera, which flew aboard Apollo 15, 16, and 17.

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Campus Party Silicon Valley Announcement »» Campus Party Silicon Valley Announcement

[Friday, November 25, 2011] The launch of the spacecraft Curiosity at Cape Canaveral has been delayed, and NASA cannot rule out another change of schedule. In light of this change, we are pushing back the launch of the website for Campus Party, the Silicon Valley Tech Festival.

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ESA station unable to establish new link with Phobos-Grunt »» ESA station unable to establish new link with Phobos-Grunt

[Friday, November 25, 2011] After establishing contact with Russia's Phobos-Grunt Mars mission earlier this week, ESA's tracking station in Australia received no signal from the spacecraft last night.

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NASA Mars Science Laboratory Begins Its Trip to Mars »» NASA Mars Science Laboratory Begins Its Trip to Mars

[Saturday, November 26, 2011] A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft, including the new rover, Curiosity has been launched.

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Evolutionary Biology Pioneer Lynn Margulis Has Died »» Evolutionary Biology Pioneer Lynn Margulis Has Died

[Saturday, November 26, 2011] nternationally renowned evolutionary biologist and author Lynn Margulis, a Distinguished University Professor of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a National Medal of Science recipient, died Nov. 22 at her home in Amherst.

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Image: Apollo 15 Landing Site In Great Detail »» Image: Apollo 15 Landing Site In Great Detail

[Sunday, November 27, 2011] The NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter rolled to capture this dramatic oblique view of the Apollo 15 landing site. Hadley rille, a great chasm in the lunar surface, carves its way through the center of this scene.

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NASA Develops Super-Black Material That Absorbs Light Across Multiple Wavelength Bands »» NASA Develops Super-Black Material That Absorbs Light Across Multiple Wavelength Bands

[Sunday, November 27, 2011] NASA engineers have produced a material that absorbs on average more than 99 percent of the ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and far-infrared light that hits it -- a development that promises to open new frontiers in space technology.

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Autonomous Spacecraft Navigation Based on Pulsar Timing Information »» Autonomous Spacecraft Navigation Based on Pulsar Timing Information

[Sunday, November 27, 2011] We discuss the possibility of an autonomous navigation system for spacecraft that is based on pulsar timing data.

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Video: Mars Science Laboratory Heads Out For Mars While Cenatur Vents »» Video: Mars Science Laboratory Heads Out For Mars While Cenatur Vents

[Sunday, November 27, 2011] This timelapse sequence shows a plume drifting against the background stars, probably caused by venting from the Centaur rocket after it carried out a burn over the Indian Ocean.

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Photo: Lake Orumiyeh, Iran As Seen From Space »» Photo: Lake Orumiyeh, Iran As Seen From Space

[Monday, November 28, 2011] Lake Orumiyeh (also Orumieh or Urmia) in northwestern Iran is one of the world's largest landlocked salt lakes, but it is shrinking.

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Photo: The Finger Lakes in Upstate New York as Seen From Space »» Photo: The Finger Lakes in Upstate New York as Seen From Space

[Monday, November 28, 2011] This nadir view from the International Space Station, flying at an altitude of approximately 220 miles, shows parts of two countries, including the Finger Lakes area of New York and part of two Great Lakes -- Ontario and Erie and the Niagara River.

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NASA MESSENGER Image of Mercury: Crater Juan de Mena »» NASA MESSENGER Image of Mercury: Crater Juan de Mena

[Monday, November 28, 2011] The small crater at the left side of this image is named for Juan de Mena, a Spanish poet of the 15th century. Mena has extensive bright rays, which can be better appreciated in the global map of Mercury (right on the equator, part way in from the left).

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NASA MRO HiRISE Image of Mars: Gullies and Lobate Material in a Crater in the Nereidum Montes »» NASA MRO HiRISE Image of Mars: Gullies and Lobate Material in a Crater in the Nereidum Montes

[Monday, November 28, 2011] This image includes a crater that has been heavily influenced by later geologic processes. First of all, terrain-altering or -burying processes have eliminated much of the pattern of ejecta that surrounds fresh craters.

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Ancient Environment Led to Earth's Current Marine Biodiversity »» Ancient Environment Led to Earth's Current Marine Biodiversity

[Monday, November 28, 2011] Much of our knowledge about past life has come from the fossil record, but how accurately does that record reflect the true history and drivers of biodiversity on Earth?

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Ten Years of VLT Adaptive Optics »» Ten Years of VLT Adaptive Optics

[Monday, November 28, 2011] 25 November 2011 marked the 10th anniversary of NACO, the first adaptive optics system to be installed on the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT). NACO's ultra-sharp vision has greatly contributed to the major discoveries made with the VLT.

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Mars Science Laboratory Entry, Descent and Landing Instrumentation (MEDLI) »» Mars Science Laboratory Entry, Descent and Landing Instrumentation (MEDLI)

[Monday, November 28, 2011] NASA's Mars Science Laboratory is expected to improve not only our knowledge of Mars but also the science of hypersonic flight -- more than five times the speed of sound -- within an out-of-this-world atmosphere.

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Image: Reclaimed Land in Afsluitdijk »» Image: Reclaimed Land in Afsluitdijk

[Monday, November 28, 2011] This Landsat image from 6 September 2010 shows the intertidal Wadden Sea and two shallow, artificial lakes in the Netherlands.

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Los Alamos ChemCam Instrument to Shine Light on Mars Habitability »» Los Alamos ChemCam Instrument to Shine Light on Mars Habitability

[Monday, November 28, 2011] When ChemCam fires its extremely powerful laser pulse, it will vaporize an area the size of a pinhead. The system's telescope will peer at the flash of glowing plasma created by the vaporized material and record the colors of light contained within it.

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Flat Transmission Spectrum of Super-Earth GJ1214b from Wide Field Camera 3 on Hubble Space Telescope »» Flat Transmission Spectrum of Super-Earth GJ1214b from Wide Field Camera 3 on Hubble Space Telescope

[Tuesday, November 29, 2011] Capitalizing on the observational advantage offered by its tiny M dwarf host, we present HST/WFC3 grism measurements of the transmission spectrum of the super-Earth exoplanet GJ1214b.

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NASA Launches apps@NASA »» NASA Launches apps@NASA

[Tuesday, November 29, 2011] NASA launched apps@NASA, a website where NASA employees and contractors can download mobile apps that securely access NASA systems. These apps enable users to perform critical job functions at anytime from anywhere via personal and NASA mobile devices.

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Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference Abstract Deadline is Fast Approaching »» Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference Abstract Deadline is Fast Approaching

[Tuesday, November 29, 2011] Session topics range from planetary science, atmospheric science, microgravity sciences (fundamental biology and physics), earth science, and astro/solar physics applications to talks on integration, launch and funding for scientific payloads.

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In The Heart Of Cygnus, NASA's Fermi Reveals A Cosmic-ray Cocoon »» In The Heart Of Cygnus, NASA's Fermi Reveals A Cosmic-ray Cocoon

[Tuesday, November 29, 2011] The constellation Cygnus, now visible in the western sky as twilight deepens after sunset, hosts one of our galaxy's richest-known stellar construction zones.

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Europe prepares new technologies for future launchers »» Europe prepares new technologies for future launchers

[Tuesday, November 29, 2011] ESA and the DLR German Space Center fired a Texus rocket 263 km into space on 27 November to test a new way of handling propellants on Europe's future rockets.

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Moon Express Designs and Engineers Lunar Mission with Autodesk Software »» Moon Express Designs and Engineers Lunar Mission with Autodesk Software

[Tuesday, November 29, 2011] Moon Express has selected Autodesk software to design its private missions to the Moon; unveils lunar micro-rovers and announces global design competition for lunar mining at Autodesk University

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