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Satellites are used for a large number of purposes. Common types include military (spy) and civilian Earth observation satellites, communication satellites, navigation satellites, weather satellites, and research satellites.

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NASA Probe Sees Solar Wind Decline

The 33-year odyssey of NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft has reached a distant point at the edge of our solar system where there is no outward motion of solar wind. Now hurtling toward interstellar space some 17.4 billion...

Super-Earth Atmosphere

A team of astronomers, including two NASA Sagan Fellows, has made the first characterizations of a super-Earth's atmosphere, by using a ground-based telescope...

Kepler Discovers

NASA's Kepler spacecraft has discovered the first confirmed planetary system with more than one planet crossing in front of, or transiting, the same star...

Pulverized Planet

Tight double-star systems might not be the best places for life to spring up, according to a new study using data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope....

Dark Asteroids

NASA is set to launch a sensitive new infrared telescope to seek out sneaky things in the night sky -- among them, dark asteroids that could pose a threat to Earth....

NASA and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., have selected 24high schools to participate in a new science, technology, engineering, and math education program. The teams will design software to program small satellites aboard the International Space Station.

The Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, and Reorient Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES, are three volley ball-sized spherical satellites that fly inside the space station’s cabin to test advanced maneuvers for spacecraft, like formation flying and autonomous rendezvous and docking. Each contains its own power, propulsion, computing, and navigation equipment.

The selections are part of the Zero-Robotics investigation, which is run by MIT and designed to inspire future scientists and engineers. Students write their own algorithms to solve a problem important to future missions. This year’s pilot program, "HelioSpheres," allows selected high schools to compete against each other and helps students build critical engineering skills, such as problem solving, design thought process, operations training, and teamwork and presentation skills.

The competition was open to all accredited high schools in the United States and attracted 48 applications. The 24 high schools are from 19 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington.

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