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  1. Real-Life Headline Alert: Russia Has Lost Control Of a Sex Satellite Filled With Geckos

    Don't go getting any bright ideas, astronauts.

    Last Saturday Russia's Institute of Medico-Biological Problems launched a Foton-M4 satellite filled with five geckos into orbit so that the people of earth would know how reptile booty is impacted by zero-gravity. Unfortunately, the cold-blooded casanovas had a different plan: due to a technical glitch (or possible mutiny) the orbiting orgy has gone rogue.

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  2. NASA Giving Citizens Free Reign Over “Retired” Spacecraft

    With great space power comes great space responsibilities.

    Yesterday NASA announced that for the first time ever the rights to a spacecraft have been signed over to a group of private citizens scientists. In the coming months, 35 year old satellite ISEE-3 will be re-contacted and, if possible, pulled out of its retirement orbit for non-agency missions.

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  3. European Satellite’s Fall from Orbit Was Harmless, Proving We Can Do Math

    We do so love being right.

    To the Internet's credit, no one seemed all that concerned about the European Space Agency's falling satellite over the weekend, despite Fox News running a headline that it might land in your backyard and telling you who to sue. It burned up harmlessly in the atmosphere as expected—the satellite, not Fox News. Sorry.

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  4. A Satellite Will Fall from Orbit over the Weekend, Please Don’t Overreact, Internet

    Yes, we're aware that asking the Internet not to overreact is like asking the satellite not to fall.

    The European Space Agency is expecting the Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer to fall out of orbit this weekend after hanging out up there since 2009. We are expecting people to freak out and worry that one ton of science is going to fall on their heads. Spoiler: it's not, and we've got the math to prove it.

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  5. New Pictures and Video of the Juno Satellite as It Flew by Earth on Its Way to Jupiter

    We sent a satellite to take pictures of interesting things in space and then took pictures of it.

    NASA's Juno mission used the Earth's gravity and orbit earlier this month to fling a solar powered satellite all the way out to Jupiter. While it's out there, it should be able to teach us some pretty great things about the solar system, but its Earth flyby was pretty cool to see all by itself.

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  6. Aw, Too Bad: North Korea’s Satellite is Probably Already Dead

    Well, that didn't last long. In what we have to assume is karmic payback for lying about unicorns, the satellite that North Korea launched into orbit last week is already dead, says a Harvard astronomer. North Korea is calling the launch a big victory for leader Kim Jong Un and their space program, but it seems like they haven't been as successful as they initially thought. Reports say that the object is tumbling and that so far, no signals have been detected coming from the washing machine-sized satellite -- which upon further review, may well turn out to actually just be a washing machine. Too bad, guys. Better luck next time.

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  7. You Can Now Interact With That Beautiful Map of the Earth at Night

    Last week we showed you a new series of NASA satellite photographs of the Earth at night. They were gorgeous, but what if you wanted to see what a specific place on Earth looked like at night? Now you can! It looks like Google went and overlaid the satellite images on top of their map service, and now it's searchable. Type in your address and see what your region of the world looks like at night.

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  8. There’s a New Island Forming in the Red Sea

    In late December, just before Christmas, a volcano in the Red Sea began shooting plumes of lava 60 feet into the air. The plumes of smoke and ash could be seen for miles in every direction; it was the birth of land. New imagery from NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite shows that the cooling lava has formed a new island is about 1,700 by 2,300 feet across and is expected to become a permanent resident. Welcome to the map, little island.

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  9. DARPA is Developing a Spy Satellite to Stream Real-Time Video, See Any Target

    As is the case with most projects coming out of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, this starts simple and quickly becomes complicated. Here's the simple part: Currently, military planners rely on drones to get real-time information about battlefields or areas of interest. Now things get complicated, as there aren't enough drones and they don't fly high enough to enter what DARPA calls "denied territories." In order to bridge that gap, DARPA makes it really complicated by researching the possibility of capturing video from space using spy satellites fitted with enormous flexible lenses some 60 feet across.

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  10. UARS Satellite to Re-Enter Atmosphere Today, Probably Won't Hit North America

    In their ongoing effort to keep the public informed about the 6.5 ton spacecraft falling to Earth today, NASA announced via their Twitter stream that the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) probably won't be touching down in North America. Earlier today it was reported that the spacecraft would miss North America entirely, though NASA is now saying that a change in orientation and unexpected deceleration means that it's still a possibility, albeit a slim one. Where the spacecraft will touch down is still an open question, though NASA is tracking the vehicle and providing frequent updates. In a series of recent tweets, the space agency dispelled some of the concerns about the falling satellite. First off, they reiterated that the odds of being struck by a piece of debris are one in several trillion. Second, NASA stated that any debris that lands is unlikely to be on fire, as objects entering the atmosphere generally stop heating 20 miles up and cool for the rest of their fall. In fact, by the time debris reaches the ground, they could be moving as slow as 30 mph. NASA also asks that if you do find a chunk of space debris that you leave it be, and contact local authorities. With those reassurances and useful science factoids now in place, we can all sit back and wait for the UARS to make its spectacular return to Earth -- expected late tonight or early tomorrow. Updated with new information from NASA at 11:00AM. (via @NASA, UARS tracking)

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