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Hubble Begins Search Beyond Pluto For Kuiper Belt Target For NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft

This is an artist's rendering of the New Horizons spacecraft encountering a Kuiper Belt object — a city-sized icy relic left over from the birth of our solar system. The sun, more than 4.1 billion miles (6.7 billion kilometers) away, shines as a bright star embedded in the glow of the zodiacal dust cloud. Jupiter and Neptune are visible as orange and blue "stars" to the right of the sun. Credit: JHUAPL/SwRI

After careful consideration and analysis, the Hubble Space Telescope Time Allocation Committee has recommended using Hubble to search for an object the Pluto-bound NASA New Horizons mission could visit after its flyby of Pluto in July 2015. The planned search will involve targeting a small area of sky in search of a Kuiper Belt object (KBO) for the outbound spacecraft to visit. The Kuiper Belt is a vast debris field of icy bodies left over from the solar system’s formation 4.6 billion years ago. A KBO has never been seen up close because the belt is so far from the…

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MESSENGER Completes Its 3,000th Orbit of Mercury

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On April 20, MESSENGER completed its 3,000th orbit of Mercury and moved closer to the planet than any spacecraft has been before, dropping to an altitude of 199 kilometers (123.7 miles) above the planet’s surface. “We are cutting through Mercury’s magnetic field in a different…

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Kepler Space Telescope Discovers First Earth-Size Planet In The ‘Habitable Zone’ of Another Star

This artist's concept depicts Kepler-186f , the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a distant star in the habitable zone.
Image Credit: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

Using NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the “habitable zone” — the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that…

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SpaceX To Use Historic Apollo Launch Pad

The Saturn V rocket carrying the Apollo 11 space capsule at the Launch Complex 39A, which will now be leased out to SpaceX.

Kennedy Space Center’s historic Launch Complex 39A, the site from which numerous Apollo and space shuttle missions began, is beginning a new mission as a commercial launch site. NASA signed…

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Astronomy Sky Calendar – May 2014

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Sky Watch for May 2014 Mercury– is well positioned for viewing in late May this year, being as high as possible in the western sky after sunset, setting shortly after twilight…

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Total Eclipse of the Moon April 15th 2014

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The first of four consecutive total lunar eclipses takes place on the night of April 14–15, with excellent viewing prospects all across the U.S. and Canada. What to Look For…

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Series Of Lunar Eclipses Visible Across North America

Series Of Lunar Eclipses Visible Across North America

by: Dr. Tony Phillips via NASA For people in the United States, an extraordinary series of lunar eclipses is about to begin. The action starts on April 15th when the…

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The Anatomy Of The James Webb Space Telescope Mirrors

The Anatomy Of The James Webb Space Telescope Mirrors

by: Rob Gutro via Goddard Space Flight Center When you think of a mirror, there really isn’t that much needed to describe it, but when you look at a mirror…

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NASA-Ames Takes A New Look At 1976 Viking Mission Findings – “Has Mars Preserved Evidence of Ancient Life?”

NASA-Ames Takes A New Look At 1976 Viking Mission Findings – “Has Mars Preserved Evidence of Ancient Life?”

Almost 40 years ago, two NASA probes on the surface of Mars scooped the soil in search of signs of microbes. The results that came back from the twin Viking…

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Mercury 7 Astronaut M. Scott Carpenter Dies at 88

Mercury Astronaut M. Scott Carpenter smiles, in his pressure suit, prior to participating in a simulated mission run at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Credit: NASA.

One of the original “Mercury 7” astronauts, Scott Carpenter, has died. He was the sixth person to fly in space; the fourth American to fly in space and the second…

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Russia Plans Manned Lunar Base

Russia Plans Manned Lunar Base

The federal space agency Roscosmos has launched a feasibility study of a project to build a manned base on the Moon, Academician Lev Zelyony, director of the Russian Academy of…

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Comet Pan-Starrs – Visible In Northern Hemisphere In March

Comet PanSTARRS glows with a fanlike tail in this picture from Argentine astrophotographer Ignacio Diaz Bobillo.

Comet Pan-STARRS C/2011 L4, discovered by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope on Haleakala in June 2011, is expected to become visible to the naked eye in the Northern Hemisphere in March.…

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