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MX-1 to Shoot for Moon - and $20 Million
December 07, 2013
Moon Express on Thursday unveiled the design of its MX-1 robotic spacecraft to more than 10,000 attendees at the closing session of Autodesk University in Las Vegas. Moon Express plans to deploy the unmanned MX-1 to the moon and perhaps capture Google's Lunar XPrize. The MX-1 will be able to perform a variety of scientific and commercial functions.
China Flies Jade Rabbit Rover to the Moon
December 02, 2013
China has launched a rover that is en route to the surface of the moon, marking the first time the Middle Kingdom has embarked on a moon-bound rover mission. The rover, called "Jade Rabbit," is affixed to a rocket that launched at 1:30 a.m. Monday morning local time. If all goes to plan, it is expected to land on the moon in mid-December. China has had two lunar orbit missions.
MAVEN to Search Mars' Atmosphere for Evolutionary Clues
November 19, 2013
NASA's MAVEN mission is under way following Monday's successful launch from Cape Canaveral of a spacecraft that will explore Mars' upper atmosphere and seek answers to questions about the planet's evolution. The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN, or MAVEN, craft is scheduled to travel for 10 months and reach Mars in September 2014. MAVEN is the first mission targeting Mars' upper atmosphere.
Space Agency: Pay No Attention to That Plummeting Satellite
November 11, 2013
The European Space Agency has predicted that when its fuel-less, Earth-bound, 2,000-pound research satellite crashes, it will likely crash into the ocean or polar regions. The satellite was expected to crash down some time on Sunday or Monday, according to the agency, which added, "with a very high probability, a re-entry over Europe can be excluded." Good news for Europeans, bad news for polar bears.
NSA-Bashing Brazil Claims It Spied Better
November 06, 2013
Few if any countries have been more outspoken, incredulous and chest-thumping over U.S. spying revelations than Brazil. Last summer, after Edward Snowden's leaks had made the rounds, Brazilian lawmakers proposed a law that would require e-businesses to store data in Brazil -- and only Brazil. Then, after it was revealed that the U.S. had spied on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Rousseff canceled a state visit to the U.S.
Kepler's Search for Life: Cosmic Haystack Just Got a Lot Bigger
November 05, 2013
Around a fifth of the Sun-like stars in the Milky Way are orbited by Earth-sized planets capable of sustaining life, suggests a study of data obtained by NASA's Kepler and the Keck Observatory. Those planets, up to twice Earth's size, are orbiting their stars in the so-called habitable zone -- that is, the range of orbits that would permit liquid water to exist on the surface.
Russian 'Pirates' Offer Hobbled NASA a Helping Tech Hand
October 08, 2013
Russia's Pirate Party wrote a letter to NASA offering to host the agency's website, which is currently out of commission because of the government shutdown. The Pirate Party -- a minority political movement in many European countries predicated on privacy and transparency -- informed NASA that it could use the party's dedicated servers until the U.S. government got off the ground.
A Satellite's-Eye View on Mobile Payments
September 17, 2013
Turn-by-turn directions have become a common technological enhancement to the automotive world thanks to a set of satellites dedicated to the task. To date, these radio positioning signals have been supplied to consumers primarily by the U.S. military through a satellite constellation called "GPS," or Global Positioning System. Essentially, receivers on the ground interpret the signals and tell you where you are.
Voyager's Intrepid Flight a Reminder of Human Audacity
September 13, 2013
NASA has confirmed that after 36 years of journeying, Voyager 1 has reached interstellar space. Voyager 1 has been traveling for about a year through a transitional plasma region in the space between the influence of Earth's sun and other stars. "Voyager 1 is the first true stellar explorer from Earth," said James R. Webb, Ph.D., professor of physics and director of the SARA Observatory.
Huawei Blasts US for Illegal NSA Spying
September 13, 2013
Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei is taking a PR victory lap following reports suggesting that the National Security Agency spied on the company. Earlier this week, Brazilian TV network Globo revealed a raft of documents that purportedly came from Edward Snowden. The files implicate the NSA, along with its British snooping ally, GCHQ, in spying on numerous targets.
Earth-to-Moon Laser Tests Could Ignite New Era in Space Comms
August 30, 2013
NASA is poised to launch a mission that will use lasers in a test of two-way communications between the Earth and the moon. The Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration will herald a new area of space communications. The LLCD equipment will be on board the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, which will launch Sept. 6 using Orbital Science's Minotaur V rocket.
Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, It's Off to the Asteroid Mines We Go?
August 13, 2013
Researchers in the UK recently identified 12 small asteroids close enough to Earth to be used in mining operations that could begin as early as 2021. The research was part of a larger effort by both private and public institutions to learn more about the potential for tapping into asteroids that could contain large deposits of valuable resources including platinum, iron-nickel ore or gold.
Boeing Shows Off Space Taxi's Sleek Interior
July 23, 2013
Boeing unveiled the interior of its Crew Space Transportation-100 commercial spacecraft Monday, giving the public a first look inside the craft and offering two NASA astronauts the chance to climb inside and test it. The company designed the CST-100 to be a safe, reliable and cost-effective way to send astronauts to Low Earth Orbit destinations, including the International Space Station.
The Moon May Soon Become a Stargazer
July 19, 2013
The International Lunar Observatory Association and Moon Express have definitively announced the first mission to the Moon's south pole, tentatively scheduled for 2016. It will involve delivering the International Lunar Observatory to Malapert Mountain, a roughly 3-mile-high rise on the surface of the Malapert lunar crater, to conduct astronomical observations and communications with Earth.
New Rover to Take Up Hunt for Martian Life in 2020
July 10, 2013
NASA is gearing up for a 2020 Mars rover mission designed to search for signs of past life, according to a 154-page report released Tuesday. The unnamed 2020 mission's search for life is the "next logical step" for Martian exploration, NASA said. The new rover's design will be based on its predecessor, Curiosity, which landed on Mars last summer and is still roaming the planet's surface.
Pocket Spacecraft Wants to Fly You to the Moon
July 02, 2013
Pocket Spacecraft is offering ordinary people the opportunity to track and personalize their own tiny spacecrafts on a journey to the moon. Pocket Spacecraft is hoping to raise about $440,000 via its Kickstarter campaign to finance a mission that would send small polyimide discs called "Scouts" aboard a larger spacecraft, the Interplanetary CubeSat mothership, into space.
NASA's Voyager Edges Closer to the Stars
June 29, 2013
NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft is close to becoming the first human-made object to travel between the stars. The spacecraft, which is now more than 11 billion miles from the sun, has entered the so-called "magnetic highway," showing two of the three signs that could confirm it has entered interstellar space: the presence of charged particles from the sun shooting out into space; and cosmic rays
In Space, No One Can Hear PayPal Cha-Ching
June 27, 2013
It was once virtually unthinkable for a company to operate on a global scale, but if a recent move by PayPal is any indication, this small planet of ours may soon be just the beginning. In fact, PayPal on Thursday announced the launch of PayPal Galactic, an initiative that's designed to address the upcoming need for universal payments from space.
Little Kirobo to Become First Robot Space Talker
June 27, 2013
The first human-robot conversation in space will take place later this year aboard the International Space Station. The chat will be between Kirobo, a humanoid communication robot, and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata. "I believe that this development is a significant milestone in the exploration of space," said William I. Newman, a professor of earth and space sciences at UCLA.
3D Food Printer Could Sustain Long-Distance Space Explorers
May 22, 2013
In space no one can hear you call out for pizza, but technology being developed in a NASA-funded project might let astronauts print one instead -- or any number of potentially delectable meals. Systems and Materials Research Corporation received a $125,000 grant from NASA to build a prototype device that prints food.

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