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European Space Agency

  1. Sticky-Footed Spider Robot Could Help Out on Space Missions (And Also Haunt Our Dreams)

    Can he swing from a web? No he can't. He's a robot.

    If there's one thing we can agree about regarding space, it's that it doesn't have enough robots in it yet. Scientists at Simon Frasier University in Canada feel this way as well, so they're working on a bot that can climb walls vertically to aid human astronauts on space missions. Let's just hope it never achieves sentience and begins to resent us.

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  2. Fly over the Surface of Mars in 3D with the Most Complete Imagery to Date

    This is the closest we've ever gotten to actually looking down at the surface of Mars ourselves.

    We might have a rover driving around Mars, investigating the soil, and spawning parody Twitter accounts, but the European Space Agency's Mars Express Spacecraft is no slouch. It has made a full orbit of Mars almost 12,000 times, which has enabled it to map a significant portion of martian terrain, and now we can watch a really accurate 3D flyover.

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  3. The ESA’s Rosetta Is About To Complete Its’ Ten-Year Mission

    To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations... wait, no, wrong thing.

    The ESA's Rosetta spacecraft is boldly going where no man has gone before - into comet territory. After being placed in a space-coma for a whole decade, the Rosetta is finally scheduled to wake up and complete the task for which is was made - in just 100 days.

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  4. Astronauts Survive Crazy Spaceflight Training In A Cave

    The ESA has got to be trolling with this training.

    Six astronauts have survived an unorthodox new method of spaceflight training: marathon team spelunking! Spending almost a week underground, the training is designed to expose future astronauts to the isolation and danger awaiting them in outer space. I'm not sure if this makes me want to be an astronaut way more, or way less.

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  5. We Hardly Knew Ye: ESA’s Herschel Space Telescope Powering Down for Good

    Since it's launch in 2009, the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Telescope has treated us to some truly amazing images of space. All good things must come to an end, though, and the ESA's shiniest toy is just about out of time. Sometime in the next couple of weeks, the liquid helium tanks that provide coolant for the telescope's impressive instrumentation will run dry, marking the close of a good run for one of the most powerful instruments ever used to capture images of space.

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  6. Twinsies! Alpha Centauri A Has A Cool Outer Layer, Just Like Our Sun

    The Sun, it will surprise no one, is very, very hot. What is surprising -- and consistently baffling to researchers -- is that there are certain parts of the sun that are actually rather chilly. You know, in comparison to the rest of the Sun, which, as we've covered, is just exceedingly warm. The European Space Agency's (ESA) Herschel observatory may have made a stride or two towards understanding the strange phenomenon, though, as it has recorded the first evidence of a similar cool outer layer in a star that isn't the Sun. The same cool layer has been observed for the first time in Alpha Centauri A, a relatively nearby star noted for its similarities to our own Sun.

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  7. Russian Meteorite Explosion Was As Powerful As 30 Hiroshima Atomic Bombs

    Now that the dust has settled from last Friday's spectacular meteorite explosion over Russia, the facts are slowly coming in about just how big the explosion really was, and it's turning out to be a bigger blast than pretty much anyone initially suspected. According to an assessment released today by the European Space Agency (ESA), the meteorite that fell to Earth in Russia's Chelyabinsk region and injured nearly 1,000 people could have done much worse, as it exploded with the force of 30 atomic bombs. Keep reading for the full breakdown and another look at the unprecedented blast.

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  8. European Space Agency Planning Mission to Deflect Asteroids, Could Inspire Armageddon 2

    A proposed mission by the European Space Agency seeks to send a pair of spacecraft out to a nearby asteroid to test the effects of smashing one of the crafts into the asteroid at 6.25 km/second. The primary goal is to see how well a possible method of asteroid deflection would work, but it won't do anything as spectacular as actually blowing up the asteroid. I guess they're saving that honor for Bruce Willis.

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  9. Nice Knowing You: Dangerous Asteroid Apophis is Bigger, More Dangerous Than We Thought

    The asteroid Apophis, clearly named for the Stargate SG-1 villain, has been called a "doomsday asteroid," because in 2004 there was a study that said there was a 2.7% chance of Apophis hitting Earth when it flies past us in 2029. That study has since been disproved, but astronomers are keeping a close eye on Apophis anyhow, which is due for another pass in 2036. One telescope in Europe has captured new images of Apophis that reveal it's even larger than initially believed. That can't be good.

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  10. Good Practice: Astronauts Discover New Species Here on Earth

    A training seminar for astronauts from around the world ended up being more fruitful than anyone imagined earlier this year, as participants turned up an never-before-seen species of crustacean during their journey. The new species was discovered during the course of the European Space Agency's CAVES training program, which sends teams of astronauts into unusual environments to hone their skills in field geology, meteorology, and cataloging new species -- so you have to think that at least one of those objectives went down as a clear success this trip.

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