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NASA’s Perseverance rover has collected its first rock sample on Mars, marking an historic first step in a mission to return the sample to Earth later this decade.
Initially scientists couldn’t conclusively confirm whether the rover had gathered a sample due to poor sunlight conditions on the Red Planet. On read more

(quote) Elon Musk’s SpaceX lands Starship spacecraft in first full successful test flight The flight comes after NASA awarded SpaceX a $2.9 billion contract to develop Starship to land astronauts on the moon. Elon Musk’s SpaceX finally stuck the landing of one of its Starship spacecraft prototypes Wednesday, a key milestone in the test program and a dramatic statement coming just two weeks after NASA chose the vehicle to fly its astronauts to the surface of the moon. The Starship spacecraft, known as Serial Number 15 (SN15), lifted off from SpaceX’s launch site near the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas, firing its three Raptor engines to an altitude of about 6 miles. It then turned itself sideways in a “belly flop” maneuver and headed back to Earth before righting itself, reigniting its engines and touching down softly. “The Starship has landed,” John Insprucker, SpaceX principal integration engineer, said during the live broadcast. The flight was the fifth high-altitude test of a Starship prototype, and the first that ended without the rocket destroyed. Musk’s company is developing Starship to launch cargo and people on missions to the moon and Mars. The landing caps off a busy period for SpaceX that has seen the return of astronauts to Earth aboard a Crew Dragon and a milestone Starlink launch, not to mention Musk is hosting Saturday Night Live this week. Nailed it! Elon Musk’s SpaceX blasts its Starship SN15 rocket six miles into the sky before returning it safely to the pad – a month after the last prototype exploded after landing The Elon Musk-owned company launched SN15 around 6:24pm ET on Wednesday, following a day of delays and anticipation, from its testing facility in Boca Chica, Texas. SN15 ignited its three massive Raptor Engines that released out streams of white smoke from the base before fire blew out to shoot the rocket into the air. The prototype climbed through the sky until it reached six miles, hovered for a moment and then performed the infamous sideways flip, dubbed a ‘belly flop’ maneuver by Musk. ‘Starship landing nominal,’ Musk tweeted moments after his pride and joy made a safe and successful landing on the pad. The successful landing brings the billionaire one step closer to fulfilling his dream of sending the humans to Mars. 27 Apr 2021 – Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin challenges NASA over SpaceX moon lander deal

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NASA’s Perseverance rover just made breathable air on Mars
The Perseverance rover converted carbon dioxide into oxygen on Mars, marking the first time breathable air has been made on another planet, NASA announced Wednesday. A toaster-sized instrument called MOXIE – short for Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment – made the feat possible. read more

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China launches Chang’e-5 Moon sample return mission
A Long March 5 rocket launched China’s Chang’e-5 spacecraft Monday to kick off a 23-day mission to deliver the first lunar samples to Earth since the 1970s.

The mission aims to collect the youngest samples so far obtained from the moon and later land in Siziwang Banner, read more

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In other words, it’s fast enough to see waves of light traveling and the fluorescent decay of molecules.
The camera technology is called compressed ultrafast spectral photography (CUSP) and it’s very similar in some respects to previous fast cameras he has built, such as his phase-sensitive compressed ultrafast photography (pCUP) device, which has the ability read more

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Three new studies strongly support using inexpensive and widely available drugs to treat people who are seriously ill with COVID-19.
Some doctors have long used steroids to treat conditions related to COVID-19, namely sepsis and acute respiratory distress syndrome. The drugs are steroids, read more

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If you are a science nerd who is ever bored, NASA has a YouTube channel filled with videos that might tickle your fancy, and among them is a live feed from the International Space Station. Recently, the astronauts on the ISS were doing some routine maintenance on the station but as the camera rolled, a pinecone shaped metallic object moved past the space station before turning upward and shooting off into space.

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Photo courtesy NASA

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@sciencemagazine’s 2019 Breakthrough of the Year goes to the Event Horizon Telescope (@ehtelescope) global network of observatories for the first #realblackhole image. http://bit.ly/35zUtXz https://twitter.com/ehtelescope

Massive, ubiquitous, and in some cases as big as our Solar System, black holes hide in plain sight. The effect of their gravity on objects read more