Solar Storm Goes Easy On Earth — But More Are Sure To Come, NASA Says

The huge solar storm that NASA detected hurtling toward Earth hit our planet at 5:42 a.m. ET Thursday. So far, there have been no reports of major power or communications disruptions. But it’s not the last you’ll hear about solar storms; the sun’s activity won’t peak until 2013.

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Sun Sends Solar Flares Speeding Toward Earth; Will Hit Thursday [VIDEO]

The sun ejected two huge solar flares Tuesday, and NASA says that we here on Earth will likely be affected somewhat by the magnetic fields and ionized gas that are now shooting toward the planet. But the phenomena might also bring aurora light shows to residents of the northern United States

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Why Astronauts Crave Tabasco Sauce

Why do astronauts lose their sense of smell in space, and what’s this got to do with their preference for fiery condiments? No one is sure, but NASA food scientists have some plausible ideas.

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John Glenn On 50 Years Since His First Orbit

Monday marks the 50th anniversary of astronaut John Glenn’s orbiting of Earth. Glenn — who was one of NASA’s original Mercury Seven — was the first American to achieve the feat. He flew the mission in just under five hours, circling the globe three times in a capsule named Friendship 7. Glenn, who says he recalls the mission as if it were just last week, tells Audie Cornish he doesn’t want the US to lose sight of the future and America’s role in outer space.

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Shuttle Engineer Who Warned Of Challenger Dangers Dies

The rocket scientist who argued vigorously against the fatal launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger has died. Roger Boisjoly led a group of five Morton Thiokol engineers who tried to stop the launch in a series of conference calls with NASA the night before the tragedy. Boisjoly presented data showing cold launch-time temperatures could cause the joints on the shuttle’s booster rockets to fail catastrophically. He was also one of two whistleblowers who anonymously revealed the launch decision debate to NPR a few weeks after the launch.

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Engineer Who Warned Of Challenger Dangers Dies

The rocket scientist who argued vigorously against the fatal launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger has died. Roger Boisjoly led a group of five Morton Thiokol engineers who tried to stop the launch in a series of conference calls with NASA the night before the tragedy. Boisjoly presented data showing cold launch-time temperatures could cause the joints on the shuttle’s booster rockets to fail catastrophically. He was also one of two whistleblowers who anonymously revealed the launch decision debate to NPR a few weeks after the launch.

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The Next Frontier For Florida’s ‘Space Coast’

NASA ended the U.S. shuttle program in 2011, leaving roughly 9,000 workers at the Kennedy Space Center without jobs. Many in Cape Canaveral hope the private space industry will blossom, and lead the way back into space, and back to work.

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Year in Review: Science Stories of 2011

From the tsunami-damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant to the end of NASA”s shuttle program, a great deal of science stories made headlines this year. Science writers Mariette DiChristina, Matt Crenson, Steven Levy, and Paul Raeburn join Ira Flatow to discuss the year’s top stories in science.

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NASA Probes Set To Orbit The Moon Over New Year’s

Twin GRAIL spacecraft on a mission to study lunar gravity are nearing the end of their almost four month journey. The probes are expected to reach the moon on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. GRAIL’s principal investigator, Maria Zuber of MIT talks about the data they hope to collect.

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Kepler Telescope Narrows Hunt For Earth’s Twin

By tracking the blinking light of distant stars, NASA’s Kepler space telescope has identified the first Earth-sized exoplanets, and another which orbits its star in the “Goldilocks zone,” where liquid water–and possibly life–could exist. Principal investigator William Borucki talks about the newly discovered worlds.

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International Space Stations Gets 3 New Tenants

The Soyuz TMA-22 delivered NASA astronaut Dan Burbank and Russians Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin, who blasted off from Kazakhstan on Monday. The three newcomers were greeted with hugs and handshakes from American Michael Fossum, Russian Sergey Volkov and Japanese Satoshi Furukawa who have been at the station since June and are due to return to Earth next week.

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The Plutonium Problem: Who Pays For Space Fuel?

NASA has relied on a special kind of fuel, called plutonium-238, to power robotic space missions for five decades. that it sometimes seems easier to chart a course across the solar system than to navigate the budget process inside Washington, D.C.

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Predicting When Space Junk Will Come Home To Earth

This weekend, a defunct German satellite is scheduled to crash to Earth, just a month after a NASA satellite did the same. NASA orbital debris scientist Mark Matney and Phil Plait, author of the Bad Astronomy blog, discuss whether engineers on Earth have any say when–or where–objects fall.

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How Many Gills In A Cubic Dekameter?

It’s time to celebrate millimeters, kilograms, liters and hectares! it’s National Metric Week, and the U.S. stands almost alone in its lack of affection for the Système international d’unités. Serious repercussions have resulted; just ask NASA about their Mars Orbiter.

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Mars Rover Peers Into The Endeavour Crater

Opportunity, one of two rovers launched in 2003, has traversed thirteen miles in the three years it’s been on Mars. It’s now at the lip of a 14-mile-wide crater named Endeavour. Project leader Steve Squyres discusses the rover’s findings and what NASA hopes to learn.

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Flying Telescope Makes An Out-Of-This-World Find

A NASA telescope mounted inside a 747 is giving astronomers and physicists eagle-eyed glimpses of outer space. On a recent trip, scientists found a special molecule that gives new clues to the temperature of interstellar gas.

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