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Full Funding Secured for James Webb Space Telescope

November 17, 2011
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Full Funding Secured for James Webb Space Telescope

Minutes ago, the House and Senate came to an agreement on the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) budget, which includes the full requested funding to ensure a 2018 launch for the James Webb Space Telescope. The vote was 70 to 30. Unofficially dubbed Hubble 2.0, the Webb faced elimination when the House...
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Science Center Exhibit Turns Hubble Data Into Art

September 26, 2011
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Science Center Exhibit Turns Hubble Data Into Art

Sunday night saw the opening of From the Distant Past, a new exhibit at the Maryland Science Center that translates data from the Hubble Space Telescope into an intense green laser show. The light is projected onto the steel facade of the science center, plainly visible for Inner Harbor passersby to see. German artist...
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Telescope Science Leads to Better Eyecare

July 29, 2011
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Telescope Science Leads to Better Eyecare

Almost a month ago, NASA finished polishing the mirrors of the James Webb Space Telescope, Hubble’s successor, down to an accuracy of one-millionth of an inch. The technology developed for testing the revolutionary mirrors has already spurred improvements in ocular health, from diagnosing problems and providing more accurate contact lenses to perfecting laser eye...
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Space Shuttle Endeavour Makes Final Launch Today

April 29, 2011
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Space Shuttle Endeavour Makes Final Launch Today

Update: Endeavour’s launch has been postponed for at least 48 hours due to “an issue with Auxiliary Power Unit 1 heaters.” NASA’s space shuttle Endeavour makes its final launch today at 3:47 p.m. Commander Mark Kelly and his crew bring with them the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, as well as spare parts needed at the...
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Vote for the Last Astronaut Wakeup Song

March 31, 2011
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Vote for the Last Astronaut Wakeup Song

On Nov. 13, 1981, the crew of space shuttle mission STS-2 awoke to the Muppets’ “Pigs in Space” comedy routine No. 1. On Nov. 18, 1995, it was “Do Wah Diddy Diddy”—”performed as a drill team chant cadence”—for the crew of mission STS-74. And now, for mission STS-134, space shuttle Endeavour’s final flight? It’s...
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Happy Birthday Spock, and Other Fun Things

March 25, 2011
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Happy Birthday Spock, and Other Fun Things

In honor of Leonard Nimoy’s 80th birthday tomorrow, a few nifty space things: First, PhotoRadar published a selection of photographs by Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency, who has taken hundreds of in-flight photos from the International Space Station. There are overhead views of volcanoes, flyovers of entire cities, sprawling shots...
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Discovery, Out

March 10, 2011
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Discovery, Out

Space shuttle Discovery returned to Earth mid-morning yesterday after completing its final trip to the International Space Station. The six-member crew spent 13 days and traveled more than 5 million miles to deliver crucial spare parts and Robonaut 2, the first humanoid robot in space. Since its first mission in 1984, Discovery has spent...
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Comet and Spacecraft Have Valentine’s Date

February 14, 2011
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Comet and Spacecraft Have Valentine’s Date

Don’t forget! NASA’s spacecraft Stardust NExT (New Exploration of Tempel) has a hot date with comet Tempel 1 tonight at 11:37 p.m. You can watch it live on NASA TV starting at 11:30 p.m., including commentary from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. In related, um, news, University of Chicago calls NExT a player...
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A Little Sun With Your Superbowl

February 4, 2011
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A Little Sun With Your Superbowl

NASA’s got a a thing for the sun today. Not only is today’s image of the day a gorgeous shot of early morning sunlight at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida—specifically, the view from Launch Pad 39A, where the shuttle Discovery is docked in preparation for its final mission, set for Feb. 24—but a...
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Sky-scanning Kepler Finds New Planet Possibilities

February 3, 2011
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Sky-scanning Kepler Finds New Planet Possibilities

Back in September 2010, astronomers at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the Carnegie Institute of Washington announced the discovery of Gliese 581g, a planet orbiting a star 20 light years away that, if confirmed, could be the first potentially habitable planet ever discovered. The findings were published in The Astrophysical Journal, and...
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Hubble Peers Deeper Into Space, Time

January 27, 2011
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Hubble Peers Deeper Into Space, Time

The Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a tiny galaxy 13.2 billion light years away, NASA announced in a press conference yesterday. This is likely the farthest—and, therefore, earliest—object ever observed in the universe. It existed about 480 million years after the big bang; the universe is now approximately 13.7 billion years old. The James...
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Happy Birthday, Pluto

January 21, 2011
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Happy Birthday, Pluto

Sunday marks the 71st 81st anniversary of the discovery of Pluto, located by late astronomer Clyde Tombaugh on Jan. 23, 1930. He found it by comparing a photographic plate taken that night with two others taken earlier in the month; the plate is now on display in the Exploring the Planets gallery at the...
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