Topic: NASA Ames Research Center

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  • Kepler-10b: NASA discovers smallest planet outside our solar system

    Kepler-10b: NASA discovers smallest planet outside our solar system

    The planet Kepler-10b, spotted by NASA's planet-hunting space telescope, is just 1.4 times larger than Earth.

  • What's new with Titan? Five intriguing findings about Saturn's moon

    What's new with Titan? Five intriguing findings about Saturn's moon

    Like many a robotic planetary mission, you've gotta love the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn – a joint effort between NASA and the European Space Agency. It launched in 1997 and for the past six years (yes, it took some time to get there), Cassini has been the gift that keeps on giving. Saturn's largest moon, Titan, continues to be one of Cassini's most intriguing targets. It's the only planetary satellite with a thick atmosphere – a hydrocarbon haze that makes a smoggy day in Los Angeles look crystal clear by comparison. And although it's a cold moon, with lakes of liquid methane, Titan has many of the compounds that on Earth were the building blocks for organic life. It's high on the list of "let's go back" destinations among astrobiologists. So far, Cassdini has performed 73 flybys of Titan, including eight this year. Here are some of this year's eye-popping discoveries associated with Cassini's observations of Titan.

  • Nine places on Earth that mimic Mars terrain

    Nine places on Earth that mimic Mars terrain

    Scientists say that Mars went through three ages, and the first age may have been habitable for life as we know it. Each stage on Mars can be found at nine different locations around the planet Earth today.

  • Arsenic microbe in Mono Lake may reshape hunt for extraterrestrial life

    Arsenic microbe in Mono Lake may reshape hunt for extraterrestrial life

    Scientists have found a microbe in Mono Lake, California, that uses arsenic as a fundamental building block, changing the definition of 'life as we know it' and the search for extraterrestrial life.

  • In Pictures Space Photos of the Day: Asteroids

    This image of Vesta released by NASA was captured by the Dawn spacecraft on July 9, 2011, and was taken from a distance of about 62,000 miles (100,000 kilometers) away from the protoplanet. Each pixel in the image corresponds to roughly 5.8 miles.

  • Gliese 581g: If there's life there, how will we know?

    Gliese 581g: If there's life there, how will we know?

    Gliese 581g could be scanned for radio emissions. And its atmosphere could be observed for signs of chemicals produced by manufacturing.

  • In Pictures Space photos of the day 09/28

    Space Shuttle Endeavour Astronaut Mae Jemison works in the Spacelab-J module, inside the space shuttle. Spacelab-J is a combined National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) and NASA. The objectives included life sciences, microgravity and technology research.

  • Packing light for Mars? Bring genetically modified algae

    Packing light for Mars? Bring genetically modified algae

    Bioengineered organisms could open up a lot of room in astronauts' suitcases. The more food and fuel travelers can produce once they arrive on Mars or the moon, the less they have to pack.

  • NASA considering rail gun launch system

    Cool Astronomy NASA considering rail gun launch system

    Rail guns, which use a magnetic field to accelerate a mass to high speeds, are being looked at by NASA as a potential space launch system.

  • In Pictures Space photos of the day 08/16

    At about 300 feet from the cargo bay of the space shuttle Challenger, Bruce McCandless II was farther out than anyone had ever been before. Guided by a Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), astronaut McCandless, pictured above, was floating free in space. McCandless and fellow NASA astronaut Robert Stewart were the first to experience such an 'untethered space walk' during Space Shuttle mission 41-B in 1984. The MMU works by shooting jets of nitrogen and has since been used to help deploy and retrieve satellites.