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NASA robotic spacecraft ends mission with crash into the moon

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - A robotic U.S. spacecraft ended a pioneering mission to map dust and gases around the moon with a planned, kamikaze crash into the lunar surface early on Friday, NASA officials said. The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, or LADEE, had been flying at increasingly lower altitudes to study how dust is lifted off the lunar surface and what gases comprise the moon's so-called exosphere - the region of space surrounding the airless moon.

SpaceX cargo run to space station reset for Friday

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - Privately owned Space Exploration Technologies canceled its planned cargo run to the International Space Station on Monday after a helium leak was found in its rocket's first stage, NASA said. The launch of the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule had been slated for 4:58 p.m. EDT (2058 GMT). But an hour before liftoff, engineers reported that the rocket's first stage was leaking helium, prompting a postponement.

NASA says weird Mars lights are not a sign of life

A NASA robot has snapped pictures showing glints of light on the Martian horizon, which some UFO enthusiasts have seized on as a sign of alien life on the Red Planet. Not so, said the US space agency. More likely, the images of bright spots taken on April 2 and April 3 are a product of the sun's glare or cosmic rays, NASA said in a statement. In fact, similar glints of light are seen all the time in images taken by the Curiosity rover, a multibillion dollar unmanned vehicle equipped with cameras and drilling instruments that is exploring Mars.

Health risks of Mars mission would exceed NASA limits

Efforts to send humans to Mars would likely expose them to health risks beyond the limits of what NASA currently allows, an independent panel of medical experts said Wednesday. Therefore, any long-term or deep space missions -- which are still decades off -- need a special level of ethical scrutiny, said the report by the Institute of Medicine.

Asteroid to make close pass by Earth

An asteroid the size of a football field is about to make a close pass by Earth but is not expected to hit or cause any damage, NASA said Wednesday. Coined 2014 DX110, the asteroid will be part of a rare class of objects that comes nearer than the moon, and will shave by at around 2100 GMT, the space agency said. "As happens about 20 times a year with current detection capabilities, a known asteroid will safely pass Earth Wednesday closer than the distance from Earth to the moon," NASA said on its website.

NASA finds 715 planets outside solar system

Washington, Feb 27 (EFE).- The Kepler space telescope has discovered 715 planets outside our solar system, including four that are potentially habitable, NASA said. Kepler, launched in March 2009, is NASA's first mission to detect Earth-size planets with conditions to support life. The telescope, according to exoplanet exploration program scientist Douglas Hudgins, "has really been a game-changer for our understanding of the incredible diversity of planets and planetary systems in our galaxy."

Space suit leak happened before, NASA admits

A US-made space suit that leaked water into a helmet and threatened to drown a European astronaut had malfunctioned before, NASA admitted on Wednesday. The flaw appeared during a spacewalk a week prior to the July 16 outing by Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano and an American, but US space agency officials misdiagnosed it as a leaking drink bag. That means the incident, which investigators described as among the most serious in the history of the US space program, was preventable, NASA said in its final report on the investigation into what went wrong.

NASA scientists turn their technology and research to help manage California's drought

FRESNO, Calif. - NASA scientists have begun deploying satellites and other advanced technology to help California water officials assess the state's record drought and better manage it, officials said Tuesday. The California Department of Water Resources has partnered with NASA to use the space agency's satellite data and other airborne technology to better measure the snowpack, groundwater levels and predict storms.

NASA scientists turn their technology and research to help manage California's drought

FRESNO, Calif. - NASA scientists have begun deploying satellites and other advanced technology to help California water officials assess the state's record drought and better manage it, officials said Tuesday. The California Department of Water Resources has partnered with NASA to use the space agency's satellite data and other airborne technology to better measure the snowpack, groundwater levels and predict storms.

NASA bets on private companies to exploit moon's resources

NASA -- building on successful partnerships with private companies to resupply the International Space Station -- is now looking to private entrepreneurs to help exploit resources on the moon. In its latest initiative, unveiled in late January, the US space agency is proposing private companies take advantage of NASA's extensive know-how, its engineers and access to its installations to help design and build lunar robots.
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