Latest NASA News

  • Qubit Reliability Breakthrough Makes Commercial Quantum Computing Possible
    Qubit Reliability Breakthrough Makes Commercial Quantum Computing Possible 3 hours ago

    Physicists at the University of California Santa Barbara have developed an error-free array of qubits that could pave the way for commercial quantum computers. Quantum computing has been widely hailed as the next technological revolution, capable of increasing processing powers exponentially in relation to the current abilities of classical computers. The research, published today in the journal Nature, demonstrated a 99% level of qubit reliability, addressing one of the fundamental problems faced in the development of quantum computers for practical purposes. "We hope this will be seen as a foundational breakthrough, perhaps even be seen as the rallying cry for building a fault-tolerant quantum computer," Rami Barends, co-lead author of the study told IBTimes UK. More »

  • Satellite's Tour of Earth Begins in Ice
    Satellite's Tour of Earth Begins in Ice 5 hours ago

    As with any satellite, the European Space Agency's new Sentinel-1A satellite's tour of duty will eventually end in fire. One of the first snapshots beamed back from the new orbiter is a black-and-white view of icebergs scattered like cookie crumbs along Pine Island Bay in Antarctica. Sentinel-1A is the first of a fleet of planned satellites from the European Space Agency (ESA), according to the ESA website. More »

  • US Air Force's Mysterious X-37B Space Plane Passes 500 Days in Orbit
    US Air Force's Mysterious X-37B Space Plane Passes 500 Days in Orbit 5 hours ago

    An unmanned military space plane has achieved a major longevity milestone, zipping around Earth for 500 days on a clandestine mission for the United States government. More »

  • Congo Rainforest Faces Major Changes from Long-Term Drought
    Congo Rainforest Faces Major Changes from Long-Term Drought 7 hours ago

    Long-term drought that has caused a "large-scale" decline in the greenness of the Congo rainforest will eventually change the structure of the land, scientists have warned. Published in the journal Nature, the study is one of the most detailed observational reports on the long-term effect of drought on the Congo rainforest. Led by Liming Zhou, of the University of Albany, State University of New York, the researchers tracked the greenness of forest regions as an indicator of the forest's health. They believe that if the drying trend - which has taken place since 2000 – continues, then the structure and composition of the Congo will be changed. More »

  • NASA Targets Moons of Mars for Potential Robotic Mission 8 hours ago

    NASA's ever-growing footprint at Mars may extend out to one of the Red Planet's moons a decade or so from now. Scientists and engineers at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., are drawing up a low-cost mission concept that would send a robotic spacecraft to one of Mars' two tiny satellites, Phobos and Deimos. "We think we can do 'LADEE 2' for a few hundred million [dollars] and go to Phobos," Ames director Pete Worden said during a presentation in February at the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts symposium at Stanford University. "We've got some spare hardware hanging around here that we could make it even lower-cost," he said during a NASA budget news briefing on March 4. More »

  • Today in History 15 hours ago

    Today is Thursday, April 24, the 114th day of 2014. There are 251 days left in the year. More »

  • Buzz Aldrin Wants NASA Astronauts to Visit Asteroid in Deep Space
    Buzz Aldrin Wants NASA Astronauts to Visit Asteroid in Deep Space 21 hours ago

    While moonwalker Buzz Aldrin thinks that a mission sending humans to an asteroid is a good idea, the Apollo astronaut isn't so happy with NASA's current plan to use a robot to shrink-wrap a space rock and park it near the moon. The space agency's asteroid plan centers on launching a robotic mission that aims to capture an asteroid — or a smaller boulder from a space rock — and deliver it to an orbit around the moon where astronauts can visit and sample it sometime in the 2020s. Aldrin would rather see NASA launch astronauts on a mission to an asteroid still in deep space. Under Aldrin's model, NASA would send an astronaut crew to an asteroid using the space agency's Space Launch System rocket and Orion space capsule. More »

  • Scientists watch enormous Antarctic iceberg drift
    Scientists watch enormous Antarctic iceberg drift Wed, Apr 23, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists are watching an iceberg bigger than the island of Guam as it slowly moves away from an Antarctic glacier. More »

  • US astronauts step out on spacewalk for repairs
    US astronauts step out on spacewalk for repairs Wed, Apr 23, 2014

    Two US astronauts stepped out on a brief spacewalk Wednesday to install a backup computer at the International Space Station after one failed earlier this month. More »

  • Astronauts Laugh And Joke After Swift Repair Job
    Astronauts Laugh And Joke After Swift Repair Job Wed, Apr 23, 2014

    Two astronauts had time for a laugh and a joke after they completed essential repairs at the International Space Station (ISS) quicker than expected. More »

  • Astronaut Photo Reveals River's History
    Astronaut Photo Reveals River's History Wed, Apr 23, 2014

    Twisty, turny lakes near Little Rock, Ark., show where the mighty Arkansas River once traveled. These meander lakes, as they're called, are the subject of a new astronaut photograph. More »

  • Astronauts finish urgent repair job
    Astronauts finish urgent repair job Wed, Apr 23, 2014

    Spacewalking astronauts have replaced a dead computer outside the International Space Station and got their orbiting home back up to full strength. More »

  • Nasa Chief Charles Bolden: We Need to be 'Multi-Planet Species' For …
    Nasa Chief Charles Bolden: We Need to be 'Multi-Planet Species' For … Wed, Apr 23, 2014

    The administrator of Nasa has said a manned mission to Mars is paramount for the survival of our species, as the agency unveiled its plans to place humans on the Red Planet by 2030. Charles Bolden, head of the US space programme, said the mission was "feasibly, affordable and necessary" for the human race, even if the "challenge is huge". Bolden stated that the International Space Station will be used to explore different technologies in deep space, such as whether 3D printers can be used to carry out repairs. The Nasa chief also said the agency would determine whether plants can provide reliable food supplies. More »

  • Spacewalking astronauts complete urgent repair job
    Spacewalking astronauts complete urgent repair job Wed, Apr 23, 2014

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Spacewalking astronauts easily replaced a dead computer outside the International Space Station on Wednesday and got their orbiting home back up to full strength. More »

  • Spacewalking Astronauts Replace Dead Computer on Space Station
    Spacewalking Astronauts Replace Dead Computer on Space Station Wed, Apr 23, 2014

    A pair of NASA astronauts replaced a dead backup computer on the International Space Station during a short spacewalk Wednesday (April 23) to restore a critical computer system back to full strength. NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Steve Swanson made quick work of their repair during the spacewalk, removing the faulty station computer and installing a spare less than an hour after floating outside the orbiting laboratory at 9:56 a.m. EDT (1356 GMT). "It looks like a good day for you guys to take a walk in space," Mission Control radioed the astronauts as the spacewalk began. Mastracchio and Swanson replaced a computer known in NASA parlance as a Multiplexer-Demultiplexer, or MDM. More »

  • Nasa Launches 'Flying Saucer' to Help Mars Landings
    Nasa Launches 'Flying Saucer' to Help Mars Landings Wed, Apr 23, 2014

    Nasa is to carry out a test flight of a "flying saucer" designed to help the landing of heavy loads on Mars, New Scientist has reported. The disk-shaped spacecraft, named Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD), will be launched into the stratosphere from the Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility on Hawaiian island Kauai in June. The spacecraft is intended to help slow down vehicles after they enter the thin Martian atmosphere. Until recently, Nasa had used parachutes and air bags for most robotic landings on Mars, starting with the Viking mission in 1976. More »

  • Mars Missions Could Make Humanity a Multi-Planet Species, NASA Chief Says
    Mars Missions Could Make Humanity a Multi-Planet Species, NASA Chief Says Wed, Apr 23, 2014

    In order for humanity to survive into the distant future, we need to visit and learn how to survive on other worlds, according to NASA chief Charles Bolden. NASA is in the process of developing technologies that are expected to help humans get to Mars and beyond. Landing astronauts on Mars and even establishing a long-term human presence on the Red Planet is just one step toward learning how to live on a different world, Bolden said during the Humans 2 Mars Summit in Washington, D.C., Tuesday (April 22). Ideally, the first crewed mission to Mars will represent the culmination of many incremental steps — like NASA's ambitious plan to retrieve an asteroid and park it near the moon — taken to safely get humans to and from Mars, NASA officials have said. More »

  • Spacewalking astronauts tackle urgent repair job Wed, Apr 23, 2014

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Space station astronauts are taking a spacewalk to replace a dead computer and get their orbiting home back up to full strength. More »

  • US Astronauts Taking Spacewalk to Fix Space Station Today: Watch Live
    US Astronauts Taking Spacewalk to Fix Space Station Today: Watch Live Wed, Apr 23, 2014

    Two American astronauts will venture outside the International Space Station today to replace a dead computer that serves vital systems on the orbiting laboratory, and you can watch their spacewalk live online. NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Steve Swanson are due to float outside the space station at 9:20 a.m. EDT (1320 GMT) and spend nearly three hours on the computer swap. Mastracchio and Swanson plan to spend 2.5 hours replacing a backup computer known in NASA parlance as a Multiplexer-Demultiplexer, or MDM. The device is a backup computer for routing commands to systems supporting the space station's solar arrays, robotic arm rail car and other critical systems along the station's backbone-like main truss. More »

  • Proposed Houston Spaceport Lands Private Space Plane Partner
    Proposed Houston Spaceport Lands Private Space Plane Partner Wed, Apr 23, 2014

    HOUSTON — Houston has landed a partner in its bid to establish its own spaceport in the form of a private spaceflight company that may someday land its mini space shuttle at the facility. The Houston Airport System (HAS), which last year revealed plans to convert Ellington Field into "Houston Spaceport," signed a letter of intent with the Sierra Nevada Corp. to explore landing the company's Dream Chaser spacecraft at the proposed facility. The Dream Chaser is one of three commercial vehicles now vying to fly NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station. "For all the [space program] work that has been done in Houston, there is one thing that hasn't happened, and that is [a spacecraft] hasn't returned here," Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of Sierra Nevada's space systems division, said at a news conference on April 10 at Rice University Space Institute in Houston. More »

  • Asteroid Collisions 'Common': Scientists Record 26 Nuclear-Scale Explosions …
    Asteroid Collisions 'Common': Scientists Record 26 Nuclear-Scale Explosions … Wed, Apr 23, 2014

    The B612 Foundation, a US-based group of Nasa asteroid monitors who campaign on the issue of space protection, have revealed that 26 nuclear-scale explosions were caused by minor planets striking Earth between 2000 and 2013. The impacts were recorded by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treat Organisation (CTBTO), in which infrasound sensors capture clandestine bomb explosions. Dr Ed Lu, a former Nasa astronaut, warned that the asteroids were large enough to wipe out extensive areas on the planet, including entire cities, as the meteorites were not detected or tracked in advance by any Earth or space observatories. Presenting the organisation's findings at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Dr Lu said: "While most large asteroids with the potential to destroy an entire country of continent have been detected, less than 10,000 of the more than a million dangerous asteroids with the potential to destroy an entire major metropolitan area have been found by all existing space or terrestrially-operated observatories." More »

  • Laptop Bill Clinton Used to Email Outer Space Sold for $60K
    Laptop Bill Clinton Used to Email Outer Space Sold for $60K Tue, Apr 22, 2014

    Long before the first Instagram was sent from space, the first ever check-in from orbit, or even the first astronaut's tweet, John Glenn sent an email. By 1998, during the original Mercury astronaut's celebrated space shuttle flight, email was fairly common. Glenn sent the message to then-President Bill Clinton and the reply that it prompted was the very first email transmitted by a sitting U.S. president — it just so happened to be to outer space. But the computer that President Clinton used to send and receive the emails was saved by its owner and on April 16 sold at auction for $60,667. More »

  • Earth Day from Space: Satellite Snaps Far-Out Photo (Image)
    Earth Day from Space: Satellite Snaps Far-Out Photo (Image) Tue, Apr 22, 2014

    A U.S. satellite has captured the ultimate Earth Day view from space, showing the entire planet in a stunning group shot of humanity. More »

  • Florida is 'Ground Zero' for sea level rise
    Florida is 'Ground Zero' for sea level rise Tue, Apr 22, 2014

    Warm sunshine and sandy beaches make south Florida and its crown city, Miami, a haven for tourists, but the area is increasingly endangered by sea level rise, experts said Tuesday. More »

  • Powerful Asteroids Strike Earth with Surprising Frequency (Video)
    Powerful Asteroids Strike Earth with Surprising Frequency (Video) Tue, Apr 22, 2014

    Since the start of the 21st century, dozens of incoming asteroids have slammed into Earth, some of them packing far more energy than a city-destroying atomic bomb, a new animation illustrates. The visualization was released in honor of Earth Day by the B612 Foundation — an asteroid-hunting non-profit organization founded by former NASA astronauts — to highlight the alarming frequency of these extraterrestrial collisions. The video is based on new data from a network of sensors around the globe that is designed to detect nuclear detonations and is operated by the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization. Between 2000 and 2013, these instruments detected 26 explosions on the planet ranging in energy from 1 to 600 kilotons, all caused by asteroid impacts, B612 Foundation officials said. More »

  • Students Design Radiation Shield for NASA's Orion Spacecraft
    Students Design Radiation Shield for NASA's Orion Spacecraft Tue, Apr 22, 2014

    NASA is developing a new spacecraft to take mankind to deep space, and high-school students will have an important role in designing it. More »

  • Nasa: Kepler Discovers 'Upside-down' Planet Holds New Method for Studying …
    Nasa: Kepler Discovers 'Upside-down' Planet Holds New Method for Studying … Tue, Apr 22, 2014

    What was initially seen as an "upside-down" planet has revealed a new method for studying binary star systems. A student astronomer from the University of Washington has confirmed the first "self-lensing" binary star system, one in which the mass of the closer star can be measured by how powerfully it magnifies light from its more distant companion star. Ethan Kruse was looking for transits that others may have missed in data from the Kepler Space Telescope when he saw something in the binary star system KOI-3278 that stood out. They are about 43 million miles apart and the white dwarf, a cooling star believed to be in the final stage of life, is around 200,000 times larger than Earth. More »

  • Stunning Hubble Telescope View Reveals Deep View of Universe (Video, Image)
    Stunning Hubble Telescope View Reveals Deep View of Universe (Video, Image) Tue, Apr 22, 2014

    A new photo from NASA's Hubble space telescope captures a variety of celestial objects both near and far, providing a glimpse of many different stages of cosmic history all at once. The Hubble image, released Thursday (April 17), is a 14-hour exposure that shows objects about 1 billion times fainter than the naked eye can make out, researchers said. More »

  • Earth Day 2014: Events Around the World
    Earth Day 2014: Events Around the World Tue, Apr 22, 2014

    First celebrated in the United States in 1970, Earth Day went international in 1990 with events held in over 140 nations. More »

  • Red Planet Roadmap: DC Conference Eyes Manned Mars Missions
    Red Planet Roadmap: DC Conference Eyes Manned Mars Missions Tue, Apr 22, 2014

    Sending astronauts to the surface of Mars has been a longtime goal for NASA and other space exploration agencies. Nearly 500 scientists are descending upon Washington for Humans 2 Mars Summit 2014, a three-day conference beginning Tuesday (April 22) that aims to explore how to send humans to the Red Planet. You can watch the Humans 2 Mars summit live on Space.com, courtesy of conference organizers. Students from 1,200 schools across the United States have pledged to watch at least some of the conference sessions live, event organizers told Space.com. More »

  • Earth Day 2014: Tips on Becoming More Environmentally Friendly
    Earth Day 2014: Tips on Becoming More Environmentally Friendly Tue, Apr 22, 2014

    Earth Day 2014 marks the 44th anniversary of the annual event and will see over a billion people worldwide celebrating the day of action. "With smart investments in sustainable technology, forward-thinking public policy, and an educated and active public, we can transform our cities and forge a sustainable future," event organisers said. To mark Earth Day 2014, IBTimes UK looks at some of the ways people can save energy, become more efficient and environmentally friendly. Taking public transport, cycling or using a car pool for just two days out of the week for the commute to work can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 1,600 pounds per year. More »

  • Earth Day 2014: Nasa Launches Global Selfie Campaign to Create 'Mosaic Image' …
    Earth Day 2014: Nasa Launches Global Selfie Campaign to Create 'Mosaic Image' … Tue, Apr 22, 2014

    Nasa has invited the planet to take part in a celebration of this year's Earth Day with the agency's Global Selfie campaign. Held annually worldwide to support environmental protection, Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network. Gaylord Nelson, a United States senator, founded Earth Day as an environmental teach-in held on 22 April each year. An organisation led by Denis Hayes, an environmental activist and proponent of solar power, turned the day into an international celebration in 1990 by organising events in 141 countries. More »

  • Lyrids Meteor Shower 2014 Peaks Tonight: Where to Watch Shooting Stars Onli …
    Lyrids Meteor Shower 2014 Peaks Tonight: Where to Watch Shooting Stars Onli … Tue, Apr 22, 2014

    The annual Lyrids meteor shower is expected to reach a peak of approximately 15 to 20 meteors per hour on the night of 22 April and the morning of 23 April. The Lyrids meteor shower happens in mid-April of each year when Earth passes through the stream of debris from the comet. Watch Lyrid Meteor Shower 2014 Online The best time to view the Lyrid meteor shower at peak is between midnight and dawn, according to Nasa's astronomer Bill Cook. More »

  • US Air Force's Secretive X-37B Space Plane Nears Day 500 in Orbit
    US Air Force's Secretive X-37B Space Plane Nears Day 500 in Orbit Mon, Apr 21, 2014

    The U.S. Air Force's mysterious robotic X-37B space plane is sailing toward the 500-day mark in Earth orbit on a secret military mission. The X-37B space plane presently in orbit is carrying out the Orbital Test Vehicle 3 (OTV-3) mission, a classified spaceflight that marks the third long-duration flight for the unmanned Air Force spaceflight program. The miniature space shuttle launched on Dec. 11, 2012. The record-breaking X-37B mission now underway uses the first of the Air Force's two robotic space plane vehicles. More »

  • John Houbolt, NASA Engineer Who Fought for Moon Landing Method, Dies at 95
    John Houbolt, NASA Engineer Who Fought for Moon Landing Method, Dies at 95 Mon, Apr 21, 2014

    Were it not for John Houbolt, the United States might never have landed men on the moon. The engineer, who died on Tuesday (April 15) at the age of 95, successfully sold the country's space program leaders on an alternate flight plan, Lunar Orbit Rendezvous (LOR), which ultimately led to the six Apollo moon landings of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Houbolt's death was confirmed by a spokesman for NASA on Thursday. Before Houbolt began championing LOR as the way to go to the moon, NASA's rocket scientists, including Wernher von Braun, envisioned lunar missions of a type now more often associated with early science fiction. More »