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    The Psychological Challenges of Just Getting to Mars

    Though space may be the quintessential I.C.E. environment, Musk appears to be aiming to make trips to Mars—aspirationally scheduled to commence in 2024—as far away from I.C.E.-y as possible.Photograph by NASA Life outside Earth has its own Hobbesian description: isolated, confined, and extreme—or I.C.E. “Space is the quintessential ICE environment,” according to a new paper, […]

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    Mining in Space Could Lead to Conflicts on Earth

    Platinum-group metals in space may serve the same role as oil has on Earth, threatening to extend geopolitical struggles into astropolitical ones, something Trump is keen on preparing for. Yesterday he said he’s seriously weighing the idea of a “Space Force” military branch.Illustration by Maciej Frolow / Getty Images Space mining is no longer science […]

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    Why Cassini Is Ending Its Life with a Kamikaze Plunge

    This Friday, NASA’s Cassini probe will run out of fuel and take pictures as it plummets at 75,000 miles per hour through Saturn’s atmosphere. It won’t be crashing—the heat from friction will make Cassini immolate in the sky. Cassini has had a good run. Since arriving at Saturn in 2004, the probe has transmitted stunning […]

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    Can You Identify These Cities From Their Light Signatures?

    The light that a city emits is like its glowing fingerprint. From the orderly grid of Manhattan, to the sprawling, snaking streets of Milan, to the bright contrast of Kuwait’s ring-roads, each city leaves its own pattern of tiny glowing dots. See if you can ID these cities based on the way they shine.    […]

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    The Rituals That Ward Off Bad Luck Aren’t Arbitrary

    Launch Ritual: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has a tradition of eating peanuts during big, risky spacecraft events, such as Mars rover landings. Photograph by Kevin Baird / Flickr For the last two years of his baseball career, George Gmelch didn’t eat pancakes. Playing in the Detroit Tigers minor league system in the 1960s, two disappointing […]

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    This Used To Be the Future

    A look inside NASA’s Ames Research Center.

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    Can “New Horizons” Bring a Crowdsourced Message From Earth to Aliens?

    Now that New Horizons has completed its flyby of Pluto, the spacecraft is on a long journey to become the fifth manmade object to leave the solar system. It does so carrying some curious human artifacts: a Florida state quarter, an American flag, and one ounce of the ashes of Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto […]

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    A Visual History of Humanity’s Exploration of Pluto

    Before I could string full sentences together, I used to wander outside past my bedtime. I would push open the sliding glass door and immediately look up, searching for stars sprinkled beyond the silhouetted trees. At the time, I couldn’t even begin to comprehend what I was seeing. Instead, each beacon of light represented a […]

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    99 Problems, and a Wild Gecko Space Orgy Is Just One

    By the time of this launch of the space shuttle Discovery in 2009, NASA knew well the dangers of lightning to spacecraft. At the launch of Apollo 12, in 1969, they were in the dark.NASA On July 19, Russia launched a satellite designed to study the effects of microgravity on, among other living beings, geckos. […]

  • Istanbul

    Can You Identify These Cities From Their Light Signatures?

    The light that a city emits is like its glowing fingerprint. From the orderly grid of Manhattan, to the sprawling, snaking streets of Milan, to the bright contrast of Kuwait’s ring-roads, each city leaves its own pattern of tiny glowing dots. See if you can ID these cities based on the way they shine.   […]