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Writer Fuel: NASA’s Mini Rovers That Will Soon Map the Moon’s Surface

NASA Moon Rovers

NASA test drove the mini autonomous rovers that will soon fly to the moon and collectively map the lunar surface. The rovers are part of a technology demonstration called Cooperative Autonomous Distributed Robotic Exploration (CADRE), which is designed to show that a group of robotic spacecraft can work together without direct human control. NASA took … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Asteroid Bennu Contains Building Blocks of Life

his mosaic image of asteroid Bennu is composed of 12 PolyCam images collected on Dec. 2, 2018 by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft from a range of 15 miles (24 km). NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

Nearly four years after NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft collected a sample from an asteroid, scientists are finally revealing the intriguing composition of the space rock. Among them, the near-Earth asteroid, known as Bennu, contains a surprising reservoir of a mineral called magnesium phosphate. These bright-white particles sprinkled in a sea of Bennu’s dark rocks is a … Read more

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Writer Fuel: NASA’s Astroid-Slamming Mission Changed the Shape of Its Target

NASA DART Mission

Scientists have discovered that the target asteroid of NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) may have been reshaped by the impact. A new investigation into the collision’s aftermath revealed that the asteroid, which is the smaller component of a binary asteroid system, exhibits a loose “rubble-pile” composition. DART slammed into the moonlet Dimorphos, which orbits … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Is Voyager 1 Lost to Us Forever?

Voyager 1 probe with Jupiter in the background - NASA - Deposit Photos

Voyager 1, one of NASA’s longest-lived space missions, is suffering a communication malfunction, and the mission team is growing concerned that the far-flung spacecraft may not recover. Engineers are currently working to fix a computer error that is preventing the craft from transmitting data back to Earth, but software limitations and distance are making it … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Asteroid Bennu May Have Come From an Ocean World, Samples Suggest

his mosaic image of asteroid Bennu is composed of 12 PolyCam images collected on Dec. 2, 2018 by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft from a range of 15 miles (24 km). NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

Scientists are now inspecting snagged, bagged and tagged bits and pieces from asteroid Bennu, the cosmic mother lode delivered by NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification and Security — Regolith Explorer mission. Known in acronymic astro-speak as OSIRIS-REx, that seven-year-long voyage brought home the goods via a sample return canister that came to full stop … Read more

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Writer Fuel: NASA to Test Robotic Surgeon Aboard International Space Station

NASA robotic surgeon

Very soon, a robot surgeon may begin its practice in orbit — and though it won’t quite be a metallic, humanoid machine wearing a white coat and holding a scalpel, its mission is fascinating nonetheless. On Tuesday (Jan. 30), scientists sent a slew of innovative experiments to the International Space Station (ISS) via Northrop Grumman’s … Read more

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Writer Fuel: You Can Be Buried on the Moon. But Should You?

Humans and the Moon - deposit photos

When NASA attempted to return to the Moon for the first time in 50 years on January 8, more was at risk than just US$108 million worth of development and equipment. The agency earned the ire of the Native American Navajo people, who made a bid to stop the launch because of an unusual inclusion … Read more

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Writer Fuel: NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter Grounded for Good

NASA Ingenuity helicopter

After three years of soaring through the ultra-thin skies of Mars, NASA’s autonomous Ingenuity helicopter has finally been grounded for good. While power still flows through the 4-pound (1.8 kilograms) helicopter, recent images revealed that at least one of its rotor blades sustained irreparable damage after its last flight — Ingenuity’s 72nd flight over the … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Curiosity Rover Finds Star Trek Symbol on Mars

Star Trek symbol on Mars - NASA

Did someone leave a communicator badge lying on Mars? NASA’s long-running Curiosity rover mission just spotted a familiar shape to “Star Trek” fans: The iconic delta-shaped emblem that Starfleet officers typically wear on their uniforms. Unfortunately, it would be highly illogical to say that a Starfleet landing party walked near Curiosity’s roving grounds, as the … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Voyager 1 Stops Transmitting Data

Voyager 1 - Deposit Photos

NASA’s Voyager 1 probe is currently unable to transmit any scientific or systems data back to Earth. The 46-year-old spacecraft is capable of receiving commands, but a problem seems to have arisen with the probe’s computers. Voyager 1’s flight data system (FDS), which collects onboard engineering information and data from the spacecraft’s scientific instruments, is … Read more