The US President, Obama, outlined his vision of space exploration and revealed his grand plan - he wants to send people to Mars in the next 20 years and safely return them to Earth.
"We have set a clear goal vital to the next chapter of America's story in space: sending humans to Mars by the 2030s and returning them safely to Earth, with the ultimate ambition to one day remain there for an extended time."
Obama said that to achieve this objective, there has to be sustained cooperation between the state and private innovators, cooperation that will begin in the following years. For all of this to become possible, the US government and NASA are working with commercial partners to build habitats in which astronauts will live.
One of the most mysterious American military aircraft has spent 500 days in the Earth's orbit on a mission about which we know almost nothing.
The US military launched the X-37B in May last year on its fourth mission. Although some details about the cargo are known, the mission of this spacecraft remains unknown. We don't know how long will it stay in space or where it will land.
Among many theories, some mention the X-37B could be a space bomber or a new type of probe that can destroy spy satellites.
The X-37 began as a NASA project in 1999, before being transferred to the U.S. Department of Defense in 2004. The first spaceplane's orbital mission was in 2010 when it spent 224 days in the orbit. Next spaceplane was launched in 2011 and it returned to Earth after 468 days. A third X-37 mission was launched in 2012 and the aircraft spent 675 days in the orbit.
In its 58 years of existence, NASA can boast with many achievements. They sent the first people to the Moon, rovers on Mars and many probes and spacecraft to explore the universe. Just this year, NASA found strong evidence of water plumes on Europa, Jupiter's moon, they sent OSIRIS-REx probe to study asteroid 101955 Bennu, we got a better perspective of Jupiter and Mars, they discovered K2-33b, a very young super-Neptune exoplanet, thanks to Kepler who also discovered 100 Earth-sized planets and NASA's Hubble Space Telescope had shattered the cosmic distance record by measuring the farthest galaxy ever seen in the universe. And this is just scratching the surface of NASA's this year's discoveries and accomplishments.
For decades, NASA is changing the way we see the universe. Their findings contributed to a better understanding of our planet and everything that surrounds it.
It all began back in 1958, just 11 days after NASA has been officially established. On this day, October 11th, 1958, NASA had launched its first spacecraft - Pioneer 1.
We've learned a lof about Mars in the past decades thanks to probes and rovers that are studying the closest planet to Earth. If everything goes as planned, Mars could become our second home someday. Elon Musk has ambitious plans in colonizing Mars, and he isn't the only one who wants to send people to the Red Planet. Just last week Dennis Muilenburg, the CEO of The Boeing Company, stated that he is convinced that the first humans to set foot on Mars will get there by a Boeing rocket.
Whoever sends the first people to Mars will set a huge milestone in the history of humankind. It will mark the first time a human being has set foot on another planet, and it could happen during our lifetime. Can you just imagine how exciting it must have been for people around the world sitting in front of TVs and watching the first Moon landing? We could experience the same, but this time the space exploration will get us much further.
If and when the first people reach Mars, it will also mark the first time a person walked on any other space body other than Earth since 1972 when Eugene Cernan was the last person to walk on the Moon.
We decided to take a look at some interesting facts about the place that could become our home someday.
During the last nearly 16 years, the International Space Station has been a home for many astronauts and cosmonauts. Currently, there are six people aboard the ISS and, like many before them, spend around nine and a half hours a day doing different research. If we exclude the time they spend sleeping, members of the crew have around four hours a day of free time during which they eat, but also entertain themselves.
To maximize the use of their free time, many find interesting ways of entertainment.
NASA has set a date for their next International Space Station crew launch - October 19th. The initial launch was planned for September 23rd, but because of technical difficulties with the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft it was postponed.
A statement from Roscosmos, the governmental body responsible for the space science program of Russia and general aerospace research, explains the cause of the delay and determines that the spacecraft is now ready for the launch:
Based on quality assurance tests of MTV Soyuz MS-02, the specialists of Rocket and Space Corporation Energiya determined that the control equipment was activated by the landing system cable, which was jammed during the test operations. After the cable malfunction had been fixed, engineers ran a full trial of the space ship.
Elon Musk has a plan to colonize Mars, but he isn't the only one who wants to get to the Red Planet. Speaking at a conference in Chicago, Dennis Muilenburg, the CEO of The Boeing Company, stated that he is convinced that the first humans to set foot on Mars will get there by a Boeing rocket.
The Boeing Company is involved in space exploration practically since the founding of NASA. They built the first stage of the Saturn V rocket, the three-stage liquid-fueled launch vehicle developed to support the Apollo program for human exploration of the Moon, and was later used to launch Skylab, the first American space station. Boeing also participated with other projects in the space program, and was the first contractor for the International Space Station program.
Google boss Sundar Pichai is on the stage right now talking about Google, its past and its future - teasing that the company is 'very excited' about moving towards an AI first world.
Where are we now? We're in a mobile-first world, but Google is wanting to change that up with artificial intelligence. Google has just unveiled the Google Assistant, which you can ask questions - it seems like a more powerful Google Now, and that's not a bad thing at all. Google Now is one of Google's best secret weapons.
On stage, Google Assistant was used with near instant replies and information - providing details on some plays at a local theater, taking in contextual information from the screen through an SMS message. The voice that Google Assistant uses is much more organic, feeling like an actual person replying versus a robotic human voice.
SpaceX CEO and Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk is dreaming big as usual: his newly unveiled long-term plan is to colonize Mars, among other planets.
The first phase: launch an upgraded, unpiloted Dragon spacecraft toward Mars in 2018, with the aim of obtaining flight experience, while developing advanced boosters, spacecraft, and subsystems necessary for what Musk calls his "Interplanetary Transport System".
A later phase: building a 400 foot tall rocket to send large crew capsules into low-Earth orbit. The capsules are to be fueled for a trip to Mars by the same rocket, which will also carry unpiloted propellant tankers. One of the principles behind the mission structure is to make the trips much more affordable: $200,000 per ticket versus the previous standing $10 billion.
The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA, launched into low Earth orbit in 1990 and to this day it stays a vital research tool for astronomy. Hubble is meritorious for some major discoveries and photographs that have shown us the beauties of the universe.
Today, NASA announced that Hubble has imaged what may be water vapor plumes erupting off the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa. It appears that the icy moon erupts with high altitude vapor plumes. Scientists estimate that the plumes rise about 200 kilometers before falling back onto Europa's surface.
The observation increases the possibility that missions to Europa may be able to sample Europa's ocean without having to drill through miles of ice.