Zuckerberg to call ISS astronauts via Facebook Live

Washington, May 28 : Taking connectivity to a new high, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg will speak with three astronauts currently living and working aboard the International Space Station on June 1, NASA said in a statement.

Yoo too could watch the Earth-to-space call live on NASA's Facebook page.

During the 20-minute Facebook Live video call with NASA astronauts Tim Kopra and Jeff Williams, and the ESA's (European Space Agency's) Tim Peake, Zuckerberg will ask questions submitted on NASA's Facebook page by its users.

Some of the questions already posted on the Facebook page include-- How long will it take for foods to rot in ISS? Will the ISS ever become privately owned when decommissioned ?

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Veteran US astronaut Scott Kelly says goodbye to NASA

Washington, April 2 : NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who recently completed a year-long mission on the International Space Station
(ISS) during his 20-year-long association with the US space agency, retired on Friday.

The veteran astronaut said goodbye to his illustrious career with the US record for most cumulative time in space - 520 days.

He will continue to participate in the ongoing research related to his one-year mission, providing periodic medical samples and supporting other testing in the same way his twin brother and former astronaut Mark Kelly, made himself available for NASA's twins study.

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US record-setting astronaut Scott Kelly to retire: NASA

Washington: US astronaut Scott Kelly, who recently completed a year-long mission on the International Space Station, will retire from NASA effective April 1, the US space agency said on Friday.

NASA said Kelly will continue to participate in the ongoing research related to his one-year mission, providing periodic medical samples and supporting other testing in the same way his twin brother, former astronaut Mark Kelly, made himself available for NASA's twins study during his brother's mission, Xinhua reported.

"This year-in-space mission was a profound challenge for all involved, and it gave me a unique perspective and a lot of time to reflect on what my next step should be," Kelly said in a statement.

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New NASA technology to better measure Earth's orientation

Washington: The US space agency has deployed an advanced technology to precisely measure Earth's orientation and rotation - information that helps provide a foundation for navigation of all space missions and for geophysical studies of our planet.

The technology includes a new class of radio antenna and electronics that provide broadband capabilities for Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI).

This technique has been used to make precise measurements of the Earth in space and time.

To meet the demand for more precise measurements, a new global network of stations called the VLBI Global Observing System
(VGOS) is being rolled out to replace the legacy network.

NASA just completed the installation of a joint NASA-US Naval Observatory VGOS station in Hawaii.

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NASA's new Mars exploration mission set for May 2018 launch

Washington, March 10 : Future Mars exploration has got a date, finally. NASA's new InSight mission -- set to study the deep interior of Red Planet -- is targeting a new launch window that begins on May 5, 2018, with a Mars landing scheduled for November 26 in the same year.

The Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) mission will help scientists understand how rocky planets -- including Earth -- formed and evolved.

The spacecraft had been on track to launch this month until a vacuum leak in its prime science instrument prompted NASA in December to suspend preparations for launch.

"The science goals of InSight are compelling and the NASA and France's space agency Centre National d'Études Spatiales

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NASA's asteroid hunting spacecraft in key testing phase

Washington, March 9 : The first US mission to collect a sample of an asteroid and return it to Earth in September this year is undergoing a major milestone in its environmental testing.

NASA's Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft is in thermal vacuum testing - designed to simulate the harsh environment of space and see how the spacecraft and its instruments operate under 'flight-like' conditions.

OSIRIS-REx is scheduled to launch in September and travel to the asteroid Bennu to collect a sample and return it to Earth for study.

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Citizen sky gazers helping NASA unlock sizzling auroras

Washington, March 9 : The US space agency is using citizen science observations to unlock the secrets behind auroras -- geomagnetic storms that are beautiful but can also cause power outages and interrupt satellite systems.

One such space weather scientist, Liz MacDonald has seen auroras more than five times in her life.

MacDonald, now at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, founded Aurorasaurus -- a citizen science project that tracks auroras through the project's website, mobile apps and Twitter.

On the evening of October 24, 2011, MacDonald was left amazed -- not by any bright, dancing lights in the sky but by the number of aurora-related tweets on her computer screen.

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New study shows formation of structures in universe

Washington D. C., Mar 8. : A new code of numerical simulations have been developed which offers a glimpse of the complex process of the formation of structures in the universe.

Based on Albert Einstein's equations, the physicists at the University of Geneva were able to integrate the rotation of space-time into their calculations and calculate the amplitude of gravitational waves, whose existence was confirmed for the first time on February 12,

Until now, scientists studied the formation of large-scale cosmological structures based on numerical simulations of Newtonian gravitation. These codes postulate that space itself does not change and is said to be static, while time goes on.

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NASA to spend USD 20 million developing supersonic 'X-plane'

Washington, Mar.2 : The National Aeronautic Space Agency (NASA) has awarded Lockheed Martin USD 20 million to design a new series of supersonic aircraft.

Known as "low boom" flight demonstration aircraft, NASA hopes these quieter "X-planes" will pave the way for the reintroduction of commercial supersonic flights.

Charles Bolden, the administrator of NASA, announced the news during an event at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Virginia yesterday.

The design for Lockheed's test plane will be about half the size of a commercial plane and will "likely" be piloted, according to NASA, which leaves some room for autonomy.

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NASA announces plans to build supersonic passenger jet

Washington, March 1 : US space agency NASA announced that it is planning to build a supersonic passenger jet which will be as quiet and efficient as possible, the media reported on Tuesday.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on Monday said that it has awarded a first contract, worth $20 million, to the US company Lockheed Martin to develop a preliminary design of an aircraft which surpasses the speed of sound, EFE news reported.

Despite using a jet engine, which traditionally causes loud noise, the sound levels produced by the new aircraft would be minimal.

The new design would also meet the requirements for reduction of pollution as it would optimize fuel consumption.

"NASA is working hard to make flight greener, safer and quieter," said Bolden.

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NASA explorer decodes interstellar magnetic field

Washington: What is out there at the edge of our solar system? Scientists using data from NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer
(IBEX) have pinned down an interstellar magnetic field which lies at the very edge of the giant magnetic bubble surrounding our solar system called the heliosphere.

Immediately after its 2008 launch, IBEX spotted a curiosity in a thin slice of space: More particles streamed in through a long, skinny swath in the sky than anywhere else.

The origin of the so-called "IBEX ribbon" was unknown - but its very existence opened doors to observing what lies outside our solar system, the way drops of rain on a window tell you more about the weather outside.

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NASA astronaut coming back to Earth but efforts on to reach Mars

Washington: NASA astronaut Scott Kelly who along with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Korniyenko arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) in March last year will return together to Earth in little more than a week.

Kelly paved the way for future missions including Mars when he embarked on a one-year mission. The year-long endeavour has seen Kelly accomplishing several key missions, including growing the first space vegetable and flower, the US space agency said in a statement.

NASA has partnered with other space agencies to conduct numerous human research investigations to see how the human body changes during a year in space.

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Astronomers record rotation of cloudy 'super-Jupiter'

Washington, Feb 19 - In a maiden attempt to decode the rotation of a massive exoplanet, astronomers using Hubble Space Telescope have measured the rotation rate of a cloudy "super-Jupiter" by observing the varied brightness in its atmosphere.

The planet called 2M1207b is about four times more massive than Jupiter. It is a companion to a failed star known as a brown dwarf, orbiting the object at a distance of five billion miles.

By contrast, Jupiter is approximately 500 million miles from the Sun. The brown dwarf is known as 2M1207. The system resides 170 light-years away from Earth.

“The result is very exciting. It gives us a unique technique to explore the atmospheres of exoplanets and to measure their rotation rates,” said Daniel Apai from University of Arizona in Tucson.

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NASA's Chandra observatory spots oldest light in the universe

Washington, Feb 17 - Using the data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers have discovered a jet from a very distant supermassive black hole being illuminated by the oldest light in the universe.

The discovery shows that black holes with powerful jets may be more common than previously thought in the first few billion years after the Big Bang.

The light detected from this jet was emitted when the universe was only 2.7 billion years old, a fifth of its present age.

At this point, the intensity of the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB) left over from the Big Bang was much greater than it is today.

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Lasagne-like dark `noodle` spotted in Milky Way

Washington D. C, Jan 22 (ANI): What if, there were noodles, lasagne sheets or hazelnuts or, at least, invisible structures shaped like them floating around in our galaxy? Yes, it is a possibility.

According to a new study, invisible structures shaped like noodles, lasagne sheets or hazelnuts could be floating around in our Galaxy radically challenging our understanding of gas conditions in the Milky Way.

First author Keith Bannister of CSIRO said that the structures appear to be 'lumps' in the thin gas that lies between the stars in our Galaxy, adding that they could radically change ideas about this interstellar gas, which is the Galaxy's star recycling depot, housing material from old stars that will be refashioned into new ones.