Tagged With rockets

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Late next year, NASA is hoping to launch its Space Launch System — a powerful next generation rocket capable of exerting 900 tonnes of thrust. NASA engineers have now completed construction of a stand sturdy enough to test its enormous fuel tank. It's an important milestone, and another step towards sending humans to Mars.

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Pandora is one of Saturn's many baby moons, far too runty to form a sphere under its own gravity. Instead, this 84km across space rock looks more like a fossilized glob of silly putty in closest image ever captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

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Going to the Moon is officially hip again, thanks in no small part to Google, which is offering $US20 million to the first private company that can land on our nearest neighbour, roll around a bit, and beam images back to Earth. The latest contender for that sweet sweet X-Prize money is Japan, which has just obtained a launch vehicle for the shiny metal cheese grater rover it plans to send to the Moon late next year.

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National Geographic's new TV miniseries Mars has a message for the people of Earth: Colonising the Red Planet is not a pipe dream. In fact, it's achievable within a generation. Unfortunately, in the first few episodes at least, that message smothers the show's ability to tell a good story. Mars is much more enjoyable when it's not trying to cram facts, figures and carefully scripted interviews down our throats.