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Posted on Thursday, September 15 - 2011

The new launcher will be the most powerful ever built, capable of taking humans to the Moon and Mars.More powerful than even the Saturn V rocket, the new launch system will be used in conjunction with the manned Orion capsule that is in development to deliver astronauts to their destination. The first launch is scheduled for 2017 andthere are plans to send humans to an asteroid as early as 2025.

The SLS will borrow many technologies developed for the recently retired space shuttle programme. These include the shuttle orbiter"s main engines. But whereas the reusable spaceplane had three such power units on its aft, the SLS main core stage in its full-up configurationwill have five.  

View: Full article |  Source: BBC News  

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Scientists find most Earth-like planet yet

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - European astronomers have spotted what they say is the most Earth-like planet yet outside our solar system, with balmy temperatures that could support water and, potentially, life. They have not directly seen the planet, orbiting a red dwarf star called Gliese 581. But measurements of the star suggest that a planet not much larger than the Earth is pulling on it, the researchers say in a letter to the editor of the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics. "This one is ...

Water detected on distant planet

Water has been detected for the first time in the atmosphere of a planet outside our Solar System. The planet, known as HD 209458b, is a Jupiter-like gas giant located 150 light-years from Earth in the constellation Pegasus. Other scientists reported in February they were unable to find evidence of water in this planet's atmosphere, as well as in another Jupiter-like planet. Details of the research are published in the Astrophysical Journal. Understanding the distribution of waterin ...

Oddball Planet Puzzles Astronomers

A team of amateur and professional astronomers has discovered a mammoth orb more than 13 times the mass of Jupiter that whips around its parent star in fewer than four days and is considered an "oddball" planet among its exoplanet relatives. The new exoplanet, dubbed XO-3b, was described here at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society. The discovery came out of the XO Project, a collaboration between amateur and professional astronomers. "Of the 200-plus exoplanets found so far, ...

Hubble spots "space jellyfish"

New photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope have revealed extraordinary images of planetary systems being formed. One such image shows a "cosmic jellyfish", a protoplanetary disc hit by particles from a nearby star."An oddarray of 30 newly released images from the Hubble Space Telescope reveal planetarysystems in the making. . The blobs and smudges, as astronomers described them, sit in the widely photographed Orion Nebula....

"Waterworld" discovered 40 light years away

The most likely extrasolar planet to support life yet found has been discovered 40 light years away. The planet is thought to be mostly composed of water, is 6 times the size of the Earth and is in orbit around a red dwarf star."Astronomers havediscovered a new "waterworld" 40 light years away,raising the chances of the existence of Earth-like planets. . Evidence suggests it has an atmosphere, and astronomers believe it to be m...

'Cave entrances' spotted on Mars

Scientists studying pictures from Nasa's Odyssey spacecraft have spotted what they think may be seven caves on the surface of Mars. The candidate caves are on the flanks of the Arsia Mons volcano and are of sufficient depth their floors mostly cannot be seen through the opening. Details were presented here at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, Texas. Temperature data from Mars Odyssey's Themis instrument support the idea. The authors say that thepossible disco...

Dazzling new images reveal the 'impossible' on the Sun

The restless bubbling and frothing of the Sun's chaotic surface is astonishing astronomers who have been treated to detailed new images from a Japanese space telescope called Hinode. The observatory will have as dramatic an impact on our understanding of the Sun as the Hubble Space Telescope has had on our view of the universe beyond, scientists told a NASA press conference in Washington, DC, US, on Wednesday."Everything we thought we knew about X-ray images of the Sun is now out of dat...

Probe reveals seas on Saturn moon

Nasa's Cassini probe has found evidence for seas, probably filled with liquid hydrocarbons, at the high northern latitudes of Saturn's moon Titan. The dark features, detected by Cassini's radar, are much bigger than any lakes already detected on Titan. The largest is some 100,000 sq km (39,000 sq miles) - greater in extent than North America's Lake Superior. It covers a greater fraction of Titan than the proportion of Earth covered by the Black Sea. The Black Sea is the E...

Astronomers claim galaxy record

Astronomers say they may have detected the light from some of the earliest stars to form in the Universe. They have pictures of what appear to be very faint galaxies that shone more than 13 billion years ago, a mere 500 million years after the Big Bang. The remarkable claim dramatically exceeds the current, broadly accepted record for the most distant detection. The Caltech-led team behind the work recognises there will be sceptics but says it believes its data is strong. It has publishe...

M-81 black hole bigger than thought

Astronomers have determined that the supermassive black hole at the center of the M87 galaxy is at least twice as large as previously thought, weighing 6.4 billion times the mass of our Sun it is the largest black hole ever measured."Using a new computermodel, astronomers have determined that the black hole in the center of the M87 galaxy is at least twice as big as previously thought.Weighing in at 6.4 billion times the S...


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