Articles about exploration

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NASA review: Forget about boots on Mars by 2030

A panel appointed to recommend a way ahead for the US space programme following major funding cuts has rejected the idea of ignoring the Moon and sending astronauts straight to Mars. Trimming its shortlist of plans from seven to four, the Augustine panel has also stated that serious human space exploration is not possible …
Lewis Page, 13 Aug 2009
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Orbital refuelling stations could rescue NASA Mars plans

US rocket makers have suggested that plans for interplanetary exploration - imperilled by a forecast lack of funds following recent economic problems and a new administration in Washington - could be saved by the use of orbital "propellant depots" or space fuelling stations. Aviation Week, reporting from an aerospace …
Lewis Page, 11 Aug 2009
The Register breaking news

NASA tests rocket-disaster escape rocket

NASA has announced a successful test of its "Max Launch Abort System" (MLAS), essentially a rocket ejector seat writ large and applied to an entire space capsule. The system is designed to let astronauts escape and parachute to safety in the event of a launcher stack crackup. The Max Launch Abort System tested at Wallops …
Lewis Page, 9 Jul 2009
The Register breaking news

Europe, Russia discuss 'orbital shipyard' plans

Space bigwigs in Russia and Europe are working on ambitious plans for an international space shipyard in orbit above the Earth, according to reports. The orbital shipyard would be used to assemble manned spacecraft capable of travelling to the Moon or Mars. NASA concept of a nuclear-powered Mars ship with centrifuge crew …
Lewis Page, 20 May 2009
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Doughnut balloon-chute spaceships to reach Mars, Neptune

NASA-funded R&D engineers are working on plans for future spaceships to enter orbit around Mars using a doughnut shaped, steerable balloon-chute to slow down by flying through the Red Planet's atmosphere. Global Aerospace concept of "lifting-towed-toroidal-ballute". Background: Tharsis Ridge, Mars. Nobody believed Zralthar …
Lewis Page, 17 Apr 2009
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Expedition to probe cavern lake 3km beneath Antarctic ice

The UK government has given the go-ahead for a team of British boffins to mount an expedition to a dark, cold lake buried in a cavern three kilometres beneath the ice sheet of Antarctica. The Natural Environment Research Council (Nerc) is funding university researchers and the British Antarctic Survey to explore icy Lake …
Lewis Page, 3 Mar 2009
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Boffins: Send robot lawn tractors to the Moon

Corporate and academic robotics boffins in the States say they have validated plans for creating a spaceship landing field on the Moon using small droid dump-trucks "the size of riding mowers". You might think that there's no great need for a prepared spaceship field on the Moon - after all, the ships will have to set down …
Lewis Page, 26 Feb 2009
The Register breaking news

New ISS piss-extractor drinks unit to go up on Discovery

Contrary to earlier reports, it now appears that troublesome equipment recently installed aboard the International Space Station (ISS) to reprocess astronaut urine into drinkable water is still not working. Worried NASA chiefs intend to rush replacement golden-beverage equipment into space on the next shuttle flight. The NASA …
Lewis Page, 10 Feb 2009
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NASA announces 'name the inflatable Moon tent' compo result

NASA has announced the results of a competition among American schoolchildren to name an inflatable habitat module intended for use as a lunar astronaut tent. The winning name is "Resolution", chosen by New Jersey nippers with Captain Cook's pre-USA exploration ship in mind. The prototype inflatable habitat module in the …
Lewis Page, 14 Jan 2009
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Lunar surveyor satellite ready for launch

NASA has announced completion of thermal vacuum testing on its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which will map landing sites on the Moon for America's planned new wave of manned space exploration. Launching next year, the LRO will orbit the Moon just 30 miles up, allowing it to scan the surface with great precision. The …
Lewis Page, 23 Dec 2008
The Register breaking news

NASA will give away old Shuttles for free

NASA has announced plans for disposal of the Space Shuttle fleet and spare main engines. The space agency intends to donate one orbiter to the Smithsonian museum, and give the others to "educational institutions, science museums, and other appropriate organizations". The proud new owners will need to stump up an estimated $ …
Lewis Page, 18 Dec 2008

NASA space tests 'interplanetary internet' protocol

NASA has announced successful space tests of its new purpose-designed interplanetary communications networking protocol, which it calls Disruption-Tolerant Networking (DTN). Famed TCP/IP pioneer Vint Cerf was instrumental in the space net's design. "This is the first step in creating a totally new space communications …
Lewis Page, 19 Nov 2008
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Mars lander has probably carked it, says NASA

The Phoenix robot lander, situated in the arctic dune seas of Mars, has ceased communicating and NASA does not expect to hear from it again. The onset of autumn in the chilly polar plains of the Red Planet has, as was expected, meant that the probe's solar panels can no longer supply sufficient power to keep it running. …
Lewis Page, 11 Nov 2008
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Forcefields will guard Mars ships from solar ion storms

A team of top boffins believe that they have cracked one of the main problems of interplanetary travel - that of surviving deadly solar radiation storms. The physicists say they have come up with an idea for a crafty forcefield which could stand off the protoplasm-punishing particle squalls of deep space. An image of the storm …
Lewis Page, 4 Nov 2008
The Register breaking news

NASA probe finds opals in Martian crevices

A NASA space probe orbiting Mars has discovered deposits of opals in the mighty Valles Marineris canyon system* east of Tharsis. Opals aren't valuable enough to justify interplanetary trade, but the discovery is significant as it suggests that liquid water existed on Mars a billion years more recently than had been thought. …
Lewis Page, 29 Oct 2008
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Plasma rocket space drive in key test milestone

NASA spinoff firm the Ad Astra Rocket Company has announced a key milestone in ground testing of its prototype plasma drive technology, Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR). The VASIMR first stage jet fires up, 22 Oct 2008 The electric rocket turns on. The VASIMR "helicon first stage" - which generates …
Lewis Page, 28 Oct 2008
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New NASA nuclear Mars rover hits budget, time problems

NASA's plans for a huge, nuclear powered laser-toting robot tank to succeed the present rovers on the surface of Mars have hit budget problems, according to reports. The Mars Science Laboratory mission is currently planned by the space agency to lift off late next year and reach the Red Planet in the autumn of 2010, there to …
Lewis Page, 7 Oct 2008
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NASA's robotic moon-dirt grubbing contest is go

August is almost here, and 'tis the season to be building moon-dirt digger droids. That's because the annual NASA lunar autoscoop contest is to be held in California this weekend, with 25 design teams competing for $750,000 in prizes. NASA, plainly no fans of calling a robot spade a robot spade, refer to the contest as the …
Lewis Page, 28 Jul 2008

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