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Plutonium-238 would be helpful for future deep space missions: ORNL

Plutonium-238 would be helpful for future deep space missions: ORNL

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have successfully produced Plutonium-238, the isotope which American space agency NASA was running out to fuel its Mars rovers. The success of project to create Plutonium-238 is considered as a major milestone by chemists and space technology experts. ORNL team has produced 50 grams of plutonium-238 and it will be helpful in future deep space missions.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Produces 50 Grams of Plutonium-238

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Produces 50 Grams of Plutonium-238

A team of scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) today announced that they have been successful in producing 50 grams of Plutonium-238. The recently produced isotope is just the size of a golf-ball, said its makers.

The Department of Energy (DOE) said that it is for the first time that scientists have produced any Pu-238 since its Savannah River Plant is South Carolina ceased production in the late 1980s.

The ORNL has been working on this project since past few years using the finding provided by NASA via the Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Energy.

Dawn Spacecraft beams back First Images of Ceres from its Closest Orbit

Dawn Spacecraft beams back First Images of Ceres from its Closest Orbit

Dawn spacecraft has sent first images of Ceres from its lowest orbit, as per US space agency NASA. The photos beamed back by the probe in final orbit at the dwarf planet are providing close views of icy world’s cratered and fractured surface.

NASA said Dawn spacecraft, first probe to visit Ceres, captured closest pictures of the dwarf planet’s craters in a region, called Gerber Catena, on December 10. Primary camera of Dawn which is healthy started clicking photos on December 16, the space agency added.

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Finds Newborn Star

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Finds Newborn Star

NASA has located a newborn star when the Hubble Space Telescope took a photograph of the cosmic, double-bladed lightsaber. The center of the photograph is partially covered by a dark, Jedi-like cloak of dust. Twin jets were shot by the newborn star into the space, giving the proof of its birth. The twin jets are visible in the center of the image.

Full Moon to Add More Grace to Christmas

Full Moon to Add More Grace to Christmas

It will be the first time in decades when a full moon will light up the pre-dawn sky on Christmas, said NASA. The last time when a full moon was seen during Christmas was on December 25, 1977.

It has been told that the full moon will peak on Friday at 3:11 a.m. NASA, which called this event as a gift for holiday, revealed this news on its officials website.

This phenomenon is called the ‘Cold Moon’ in folklore, and the reason behind why it got this name is the occurrence of the ‘Cold Moon’ that appears at the beginning of the winter season in the northern hemisphere.

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NASA Uses Sony's PlayStation VR To Control Humanoids

NASA Uses Sony's PlayStation VR To Control Humanoids

Space robots are being trained by NASA with Virtual Reality (VR). The program involves the PlayStation VR of Sony being utilized to control a humanoid in the space environment. Under the Robonaut program, which is part of the Mighty Morphenaut project, decisions will be taken by the operator after the assessment of the robot’s surroundings. Subsequently, the robot will respond on the basis of the operator’s decision.

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High concentrations of silica on Mars found by Curiosity Rover

High concentrations of silica on Mars found by Curiosity Rover

American space agency NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has found higher than expected concentrations of silica, suggesting considerable water activity on the Red Planet.

The Curiosity rover has for some time been exploring the Bagnold Dune Field on the Red Planet’s lower Mount Sharp. While Sand Dunes are quite common on our Earth, it is the first time that a dune field has been found on Mars.

Full Moon to brighten night sky before Christmas Day 2015

Full Moon to brighten night sky before Christmas Day 2015

This year’s Christmas will be different from most others as a rare full Moon will brighten the night sky before the Sun rises on Christmas Day 2015.

As Santa and his reindeer will be busy in delivering gifts on Christmas Eve, the rare full Moon will be shining overnight. It is going to be the first full Moon on Christmas Day since the year of 1977.

According to astronomers with American space agency NASA, the Moon will reach its peak size, which is called perigee by scientists, at 5:11 a.m. central or 6:11 a.m. eastern time on Christmas Day.

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NASA releases Star Wars-themed images of ‘cosmic lightsaber’

NASA releases Star Wars-themed images of ‘cosmic lightsaber’

The National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) has released Star Wars-themed images of a huge ‘cosmic lightsaber’ that appears to be cutting through dark space.

The American space agency said it spotted the huge lightsaber in an area of space clouds where new stars are born. The images of a bright, space light resemble the weapons wielded in popular space film franchise Star Wars cutting through the darkness of space.

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Rise in Temperature of Lakes around World may Lead To Rapid Toxic Algae Outbreak

Rise in Temperature of Lakes around World may Lead To Rapid Toxic Algae Outbreak

New study has shown that lakes throughout the world are warming at a faster average rate than oceans and the atmosphere. Warming of lakes will trigger toxic algae bloom, warn researchers.

The study co-funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation suggested that increase in lake temperature is projected to increase alga blooms by almost 20%, and toxic algae bloom by 5%.

The warm lake water could also alter the balance of ecosystems and threaten the livelihood of people who depend on fish from the lakes.

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