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lightfoot
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NASA budget shock: Climate studies? GTFO. We're making the Moon great again, says Trump

President Trump's administration has handed down a budget for 2019 to NASA – and it effectively kills off key projects in exchange for a vague promise to go back to the Moon. For the year, America's space agency has been awarded $19.9bn, around $500m more than the previous year, albeit with significant changes of focus. The …
Iain Thomson, 12 Feb 2018
Elon Musk
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What did we say about Tesla's self-driving tech? SpaceX Roadster skips Mars, steers to asteroids

Pic The final rocket burn of the SpaceX craft carrying Elon Musk's personal Tesla Roadster into the cosmos pushed the billionaire's flash jalopy much further than anticipated. It's now heading out toward the Solar System's asteroid belt rather than swinging close by Mars as planned. Yesterday, SpaceX launched its powerful Falcon …
Iain Thomson, 07 Feb 2018
Inside LISA Pathfinder
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LISA Pathfinder sniffed out gravitational signals down to micro-Hertz

In other space news today, the boffins in charge of the European Space Agency's LISA Pathfinder mission have wrapped up the final results for the space-based gravitational wave dry run. The Pathfinder carries a pair of 2 kg free-falling cubes, separated by 38 cm and linked with lasers.The masses move relative to each other in …
Mars
51

Can't wait to get to Mars on a SpaceX ship? It's a cold, dead rock – boffins

SpaceX today parked Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster in Earth's orbit, using a Falcon Heavy lifter, with a rocket strapped to the flash motor to take it on to Mars. The billionaire also wants to set up a base on the Red Planet, and use his rocketry technology to ferry brave folks over there to face certain death, er, glory as early …
Katyanna Quach, 07 Feb 2018
falcon heavy
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MY GOD, IT'S FULL OF CARS: SpaceX parks a Tesla in orbit (just don't mention the barge)

Video After years of setbacks, SpaceX today successfully launched its Falcon Heavy three-in-one rocket and delivered into orbit its cherry-red payload – Elon Musk's very own Tesla Roadster. After a morning of delays due to high winds, the mighty rocket lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39, in Florida, USA, at …
Iain Thomson, 06 Feb 2018
NASA Image satellite pre-launch
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NASA's zombie IMAGE satellite is powered up and working quite nicely

NASA has updated the status of its once-was-lost, now-is-found IMAGE satellite and revealed the bird's power supplies are operational. The space agency will therefore attempt to revive the mission – if it can find money to fund the effort. As The Register previously reported, IMAGE (the Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global …
77

Women beat men to jobs due to guys' bad social skills. Whoa – you mad, fellas? Maybe these eggheads have a point...

While the world worries about savvy computers taking people's jobs, it may want to focus more on how to retrain its men, who are evidently ill-equipped for work that's increasingly social. For a research paper titled "The 'End of Men' and Rise of Women in the High-Skilled Labor Market," presented by the US-based National …
Thomas Claburn, 06 Feb 2018
Mike Hughes
181

A Hughes failure: Flat Earther rocketeer can't get it up yet again

Video An American bloke, who reckons Earth is flat as a frisbee, is on a quest to send himself into space to verify his theory. And on Sunday, he failed to even launch a rocket to a few hundred feet. Limousine driver, self-taught rocket maker, and headline generator "Mad" Mike Hughes hoped to blast off his homemade rocket from …
Iain Thomson, 05 Feb 2018
Microlensing Quasar
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Exoplanets from another galaxy spotted – take that, Kepler fatigue!

The Kepler Space Telescope has found oodles of exoplants, but now astroboffins have spotted the first exoplanets outside our galaxy. A group of astroboffins from the University of Oklahoma has become the first to demonstrate exoplanet observations in another galaxy – one that's 3.8 billion light years away, or one-third of the …
ISS radio box falling towards earth
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Epic spacewalk, epic FAIL: Cosmonauts point new antenna in the wrong direction

A record-breaking spacewalk conducted over the weekend ended with an antenna pointed in the wrong direction on the International Space Station (ISS). The walk by Roscosmos' Alexander Misurkin (commander of Expedition 54) and flight engineer Anton Shkaplerov was scheduled to last 6.5 hours, but blew out to a Russian record of …
12

Supermassive black holes scoff just one star per year, say space weight watchers

Supermassive black holes in merger galaxies snack on one star every year, according to a paper published on Thursday. The Andromeda galaxy, also known as Messier 31 or M31, sits next door to the Milky Way only about 2.5 million light years away. It’s a giant spiral galaxy teeming with stars and astroboffins have spotted a pair …
Katyanna Quach, 02 Feb 2018
MIlky Way
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Astroboffins spot sneaky signs that the Milky Way devoured smaller galaxies

Astrophysicists have found evidence that the Milky Way has gobbled up neighbouring massive dwarf galaxies over its 13 billion year lifetime. A team of researchers using a spectroscope analysed the starlight from 28 red giant stars hovering on the outer halo of the Milky Way. They then worked out their chemical composition from …
Katyanna Quach, 01 Feb 2018
38

Dinosaurs gathered at NASA Goddard site for fatal feeding frenzy

NASA is mostly known for exploring space, but it can also uncover wonders closer to home. On a summer’s day in 2012, fossil expert Ray Stanford was dropping off his wife Sheila, who works at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, USA, when he stumbled across an odd feature stamped into exposed rock on a hillside …
Katyanna Quach, 01 Feb 2018
Apparent impact interceptor with mock ICBM
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Anti-missile missile misses again, US military mum on meaning of mess

Demonstrating again that anti-missile missiles work best under carefully controlled circumstances, a test of such a weapon fired from Hawaii has missed its target. The US$30 million test was fired from the Kauai Aegis Ashore site in Hawaii. It was supposed to see a SM-3 Block IIA anti-missile missile intercept a target …
Detail from NASA IMAGE satellite
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NASA finds satellite, realises it has lost the software and kit that talk to it

NASA has announced it will try to wake up the “zombie satellite” IMAGE, unexpectedly found working by an amateur sat-spotter. Magnetosphere scanner IMAGE went silent, and was presumed dead, back in 2005. Then this month, while looking for the US military's failed Zuma satellite, skywatcher Scott Tilley caught a signal from the …
The Lovell Telescope, credit Mike Peel; Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, University of Manchester
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UK's iconic Jodrell Bank Observatory nominated as World Heritage Site

Jodrell Bank Observatory has been nominated as the UK's entry for World Heritage status. If awarded, Jodrell Bank will join the UK's 31 existing World Heritage Sites, which include Kew Gardens, Giant's Causeway, and the Lake District, which was added to the list last year. Reg man goes time travelling at iconic observatory …
Richard Priday, 29 Jan 2018
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Zombie … in SPAAACE: Amateur gets chatty with 'dead' satellite

An amateur astronomer hunting the Zuma satellite that SpaceX may or may not have lost has instead turned up signals from a NASA bird thought dead since 2005. Zuma went missing after separation from its SpaceX Falcon 9 launcher earlier this month. Like many other amateur sky-watchers, Scott Tilley has since tried to locate the …
24

GOLD! Always believe in your role. You've got the power to know you're indestructible...

NASA’s Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) instrument is successfully heading into orbit – after the Ariane 5 rocket lifting it into space worryingly lost its radio link with Earth. The GOLD probe will investigate how space weather and Earth’s magnetic field affects terrestrial weather conditions. It’s the …
Katyanna Quach, 27 Jan 2018
Wide angle image makes the moon look much bigger than the earth
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Google yanks cash firehose from Lunar X Moonshot comp. The actual Moon shot one

Google has pulled its financial backing from the Lunar X wheeze to get a privately funded spacecraft to the Moon after finally conceding that none of the five entrants were likely to make it there. “We have concluded that no team will make a launch attempt to reach the Moon by the March 31st, 2018 deadline,” said Peter …
Gareth Corfield, 24 Jan 2018
Artist's impression of the TRAPPIST-1 system seen from one of the planets. Pic: ESO / M. Kornmesser
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PACK YOUR BAGS! Two Trappist-1 planets have watery oceans, most likely to be inhabitable

A team of scientists have identified two out of the seven planets in the Trappist-1 system as the most likely to be habitable, according to a new study. Since its discovery, announced earlier last year, the Trappist-1 system has been of great interest to astronomers – and anyone else sick of Earth, to be honest. A previous …
Katyanna Quach, 24 Jan 2018
Mars storm
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NASA rethinking InSight probe mission after dust storm predicted for Mars

It's highly likely that Mars is going to suffer one of its periodical planet-wide dust storms this year – and NASA is concerned the event could disrupt its operations on the Red Planet. When the American agency's Mariner 9 spacecraft became the first probe to orbit another world – specifically, Mars – in November 1971, …
Iain Thomson, 24 Jan 2018
Scott Tingle suits up
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2018's first spacewalk bugged by software

Apart from a slightly irritating software bug, it seems NASA's first spacewalk for 2018 went smoothly. The point of the spacewalk was to replace a component on Canadarm2, one of the International Space Station's robotic arms. The Latching End Effector (LEE) is the “hand” at the end of the arm, used to grapple and release cargo …
24

Mass limit proposed so boffins can tell when they've fingered a brown dwarf or a fat planet

The official definition of a planet should be updated to include an upper mass limit, so scientists can agree on whether a large newly found celestial body is either a huge planet – or a tiny failed star. That's according to Kevin Schlaufman, an assistant professor of astrophysics at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, US. …
Katyanna Quach, 24 Jan 2018
NASA DLR biofuel mission patch
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NASA is sniffing jet fuel over Germany

NASA has started sniffing jet fuel as part of joint experiment with the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt, DLR). The experiment sees DLR fly an Airbus A320 burning newfangled jet fuels. NASA follows along its Armstrong flying lab, a Douglas DC-8. Aviation enthusiasts among The Register’s …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jan 2018
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A high-energy neutrino, a powerful cosmic ray, and a gamma ray walk into a bar... Where you from, asks the bartender

A new model has traced the origins of high-energy neutrinos, cosmic rays, and gamma rays to powerful jets billowing around supermassive black holes. Known as cosmic messenger particles, these neutrinos and rays carry huge amounts of energy, travel insane distances across space, and can be detected when they reach Earth – yet …
Katyanna Quach, 23 Jan 2018
CAT solar panels photo SA Mathieson
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President Trump turns out the lights on solar panel imports into US

US President Donald Trump has signed an order to place a 30 per cent tariff on the import of parts used to build solar panels. The new charges, pitched on Monday by the White House as relief for domestic manufacturers, are instead being slammed by US solar industry groups as an effort to destroy the solar energy market in …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Jan 2018
shutdown
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US govt shutdown lobs spanner in SpaceX's Falcon Heavy launch

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy maiden launch, pencilled in for the end of this month, is set to be delayed due to the ongoing US government shutdown. Since Friday night, all federal agencies have suspended non-essential work as congressfolk bicker over budget cuts, increases, and allocations. The Senate today inched closer to passing a …
Iain Thomson, 22 Jan 2018
Tony Sale, one of the founders of the National Museum of Computing. Pic: TNMOC

Nominations open for comp restoration gong, the Tony Sale Award

A biennial award backed by the National Museum of Computing for "achievements in computer conservation or restoration" has opened its nominations. The Computer Conservation Society's Tony Sale Award, first given out in 2012, is looking "to recognise a singular achievement in the area of computer conservation and restoration" …
Richard Priday, 22 Jan 2018
Rocket Lab's Peter Beck with a model of Rutherford
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New Zealand joins the Space Race

New Zealand has joined the list of spacefaring nations, courtesy of a US-Kiwi startup called Rocket Lab. Founded in New Zealand by CEO/CTO Peter Beck, the company has spent 12 years developing a launch capability for cubesat-sized payloads up to 150 kg for not many millions of dollars. In May last year, the outfit …
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Anglo, French space agencies sitting in a tree, K I S S I N G

The British and French space agencies have agreed to team up on more missions together. In a week full of Anglo-French announcements, such as a proposed bridge across the channel and a holiday to Blighty for the Bayeux Tapestry, the UK Space Agency and the Centre national d'études spatiales inked the deal yesterday at …
Richard Priday, 19 Jan 2018
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Don't panic... but our fragile world is drifting away from the Sun

As the Sun ages and sheds mass, the gravitational pull it exerts on its planets weakens. That means that the orbits of those home worlds slowly expand over time. Now, scientists have calculated this shift, and published the figures in Nature Communications on Thursday. The Sun is continuously ditching material as its charged …
Katyanna Quach, 19 Jan 2018
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All aboard the Vomit Comet: Not the last train to Essex, but a modded 727 for weightless flight

Anyone who has grown up watching the antics of Apollo astronauts aboard Skylab or the acrobatics of Shuttle and ISS crews has likely dreamed of experiencing weightlessness. Ideally in a way that doesn't involve either a sickening drop in an elevator or alarming turbulence over the Atlantic. But for those lacking the budget to …
Richard Speed, 18 Jan 2018
Tiangong-1 illustration from CMSE
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China's first space station to – ahem – de-orbit in late March

Predictions are firming up for when China's Tiangong-1 spacecraft will make its final re-entry-crash-and-burn. The Chinese space station was launched in 2011 and had a two-year operational lifetime. Originally slated to make its return to Earth in 2013, its lifetime was extended to 2016. Loss of telemetry effectively ended …
Galaxy J1354

Black hole munched galactic leftovers, spewed stars, burped

The black hole at the centre of galaxy SDSS J1354+1327 sucked in gases, “burped” – and then repeated the display. As NASA explained in a statement: “The two-course meal for the black hole comes from a companion galaxy that collided with J1354 in the past. This collision produced a stream of stars and gas that links J1354 and …
Croome copyright National Trust Andrew Butler
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Worcestershire's airborne electronics warfare wonderland

Geek's Guide to Britain When you first see the view from Croome's church, it looks like an English utopia. The landscape, designed by Lancelot "Capability" Brown during the 1750s, features a lake pretending to be river, winding lazily through fields dotted by scenic trees. To the left is Croome Court, a grand Palladian country house built over the red …
SA Mathieson, 12 Jan 2018
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Ice cliffs found on Mars and NASA says they’re a tap for astronauts

Mars boffins have spotted lots of almost-pure water ice on Mars. Detailed in a Science paper titled ” Exposed subsurface ice sheets in the Martian mid-latitudes”, the find was made using the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera. The scientists who tend that instrument spotted …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Jan 2018

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