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New Selfie App of NASA Lets You Click Selfies in Virtual Spacesuit

The VR app will be available for Oculus and Vive through the Spitzer mission website and will soon be available through the Oculus store, NASA said

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Wintertime ice growth in Arctic sea slows long-term decline: NASA. Flcikr
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NASA has rolled out a new app that allows you to take a picture of yourself in a virtual spacesuit, posing in front of gorgeous cosmic locations, like the Orion Nebula or the centre of the Milky Way galaxy.

Along with the “NASA Selfies” app, the US space agency also launched an exoplanet excursions virtual reality (VR) app that takes VR users on a guided tour of the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system.

These digital products were created to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the launch of the Spitzer space telescope, NASA said in a statement on Wednesday.

The simple interface of the Selfies app means you just snap a photo of yourself, pick your background, and share on social media.

The app, available for both iOS and Android devices, also provides information about the science behind the images, all of which are taken by Spitzer.

The exoplanet excursions virtual reality app introduces for VR users the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system.

TRAPPIST-1 is the only known exoplanet system to host seven roughly Earth-size planets.

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The app, available for both iOS and Android devices, also provides information about the science behind the images, all of which are taken by Spitzer. Pixabay

Spitzer played a major role in detecting these planets and providing information that has helped scientists learn about the planets’ likely compositions.

The TRAPPIST-1 system is too far away for telescopes to directly observe these planets, but this VR experience features artists’ impressions of what the planets might look like, NASA said.

These impressions are based on data from Spitzer and other telescopes that have studied the TRAPPIST-1 system.

Users of the app are navigated around five of the seven planets, surrounded by the blackness of space and the faint lights of distant stars.

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The VR app will be available for Oculus and Vive through the Spitzer mission website and will soon be available through the Oculus store, NASA said.

A 360-degree video is also be available on the Spitzer Youtube page that allows viewers to explore the virtual TRAPPIST-1 system on their desktop, smartphone or with a smartphone-based 360-viewer like Google Cardboard, it added.

Considered a cousin of the Hubble space telescope, the Spitzer space telescope was launched on August 25, 2003, to study the early universe in infrared light. (IANS)

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NASA Seeks US Partners to Develop Reusable Systems For Moon Mission

This process, known as in-situ resource utilization or ISRU, will make the third element also refuellable and reusable, it said

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NASA Seeks Partnership With US Industry to Develop First Gateway Element
NASA seeks US partners to develop reusable systems for Moon mission, Pixabay

NASA is set to work with American companies to design and develop new reusable systems, in a major step to land astronauts on the surface of the Moon.

NASA is planning to test new human-class landers on the Moon beginning in 2024, with the goal of sending crew to the surface in 2028, the US space agency said in a statement on Thursday.

Through upcoming multi-phased lunar exploration partnerships, NASA will ask American companies to study the best approach to landing astronauts on the Moon and start the development as quickly as possible with current and future anticipated technologies.

“Building on our model in low-Earth orbit, we’ll expand our partnerships with industry and other nations to explore the Moon and advance our missions to farther destinations such as Mars, with America leading the way,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

“When we send astronauts to the surface of the Moon in the next decade, it will be in a sustainable fashion.”

To develop lunar robotic landers, NASA in November collaborated with nine commercial American companies namely Astrobotic, Deep Space Systems, Firefly Aerospace, Intuitive Machines, Lockheed Martin, Mastern Space Systems, Moon Express, Draper and Orbit Beyond.

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The International Space Station, center, passes in front of the Moon in its Earth orbit as photographed from Salgotarjan, Hungary, July 5, 2018. (VOA)

These companies are eligible for competing for NASA’s contracts valued at $2.6 billion, according to the US-based space agency.

The agency plans to send humans to the Moon using a system of three separate elements that will provide transfer, landing, and safe return.

Using the Gateway to land astronauts on the Moon allows the first building blocks for fully reusable lunar landers. Initially NASA expects two of the lander elements to be reusable and refuelled by cargo ships carrying fuel from Earth to the Gateway.

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The agency is also working on technologies to make rocket propellants using water ice and regolith from the Moon. Once the ability to harness resources from the Moon for propellant becomes viable, NASA plans to refuel these elements with the Moon’s own resources.

This process, known as in-situ resource utilization or ISRU, will make the third element also refuellable and reusable, it said. (IANS)