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European Space Probe To Make Historic Landing On Comet Tomorrow: VIDEO

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The European Space Agency will (hopefully) make history tomorrow with the perilous, first-ever landing of a man made probe on a comet some 300 million miles from Earth.

In 2005, NASA made first contact with another comet when it slammed its Deep Impact craft into Tempel 1, ejecting material that scientists were able to study. Later that same year, the ESA launched its much more ambitious Rosetta spacecraft on a nearly 10-year trip to rendezvous with a dumbbell shaped comet, 67P/Churyumox-Gerasimenko. The unmanned craft made the news in August when it finally caught up with the comet, joining it in an irregular orbit.

But the real action will start early Wednesday morning when the main craft ejects a landing pod called Philae (pictured above) that will make an intricately plotted, 7-hour descent to the comet's rapidly spinning surface, which should end with touchdown at 11:00 AM EST. If all goes well, the pod will claw into the comet with drills that will keep in place for 3 days of intensive study of the celestial body before its batteries run out.

ESA will be streaming all the tense action from mission control if you want to follow it live as it happens...sorta. The comet is so far away that radio signals take 27 minutes to travel back to Earth. For a more dramatic take on the mission, you can check out Rosetta's very Hollywood-style "trailer," which rivals the outer space action (and pounding score) in Interstellar

You can watch it AFTER THE JUMP...

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A Balloon Took a Camera to Space to Create the Stunning Video for José González’ New Track: WATCH

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Most people are familiar with José González because of the famous 2005 SONY Bravia commercial shot in San Francisco with thousands of bouncing balls.

González has a new album forthcoming in February and the first track from it has hit the web along with a video produced by global collective Eyes in Space.

Writes the collective:

Seven billion people on Planet Earth, of which only 536 are lucky enough to have seen Space. Eyes In Space aspire to change this, taking every one on a personal journey to roam the cosmos. The collective’s maiden voyage allows everyone to wander space freely using immersive 360-film to create an endless, all-sensory experience. The galactic journey is accompanied by José González’ newest release. Eyes In Space is a global collective established to mesh artistic experiment with scientific innovation to open new worlds. Space is the collective’s first destination.

Check out the video and the gorgeous track, AFTER THE JUMP...

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One Killed In Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Test Flight Crash: VIDEO

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Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo rocket plane exploded and crashed during a test flight over California's Mojave Desert this afternoon, NBC News reports:

WhiteknighttwoThe explosion scattered debris across a two-mile swath of the desert floor outside Mojave, California, and came after the plane was released from its WhiteKnightTwo carrier airplane. SpaceShipTwo was testing its rocket engine in flight for the first time in more than nine months.

"During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of the vehicle," Virgin Galactic said in a statement. "The WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft landed safely. Our first concern is the status of the pilots."

Jesse Borne, an officer at the California Highway Patrol, told NBC News that there was one fatality and one major injury.

TechCrunch adds:

SpaceShipTwo was designed primarily for space tourism, meant to carry passengers high enough to experience near-weightlessness for roughly $200,000 per ticket. This was a test flight, however, so no passengers are believed to have been onboard.

Watch a ABC Los Angeles report on the developing story, AFTER THE JUMP...

[bottom photo via Twitter]

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Cessna Pilot Captures Stunning Footage of Antares Rocket Explosion: VIDEO

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Yesterday, we told you about the unmanned Antares rocket bound for the International Space Station (ISS) that exploded mere seconds after launch. Today, video has surfaced showing the explosion as seen from a Cessna plane flying not far from the launch site. The extraordinary video captures the rockets' brief ascent and fiery explosion that luckily left no one on the ground injured. Said amateur videographer Ed Sealing of his footage,

I took this video of the very unfortunate Orbital Sciences rocket explosion on my iPad Mini. Video was taken in our Cessna 177 Cardinal from an altitude of 3000ft. Sorry for the sound. I'll have a better one up once it's been edited out.

According to USA Today, NASA's investigation into the incident is ongoing:

"It is far too early to know the details of what happened," said Frank Culbertson, Orbital's executive vice president and general manager of its Advanced Programs Group.

"We will not fly until we understand the root cause," he said.

Culbertson said he believes the range-safety staff sent a destruct signal to the rocket after it encountered problems and before it hit the ground, but was not certain. Bill Wrobel, director of NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, said crews were letting the fire burn out.

Watch the incredible footage for yourself, AFTER THE JUMP... 

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Unmanned Rocket Bound For International Space Station Explodes: VIDEO

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In a stunning new video, an unmanned rocket headed for the International Space Station (ISS) exploded mere seconds after launching. USA Today reports:

The Antares rocket supplied by contractor Orbital Sciences blew up six seconds after liftoff, NASA said.

NASA and Orbital Sciences were gathering data to determine the cause of the failure of the Orbital CRS-3, the space agency said.

"There has been a vehicle anomaly," Orbital Sciences, the contractor supplying the rocket, said on its Twitter feed.

[…]

The Cygnus cargo ship was loaded with 5,000 pounds of gear for the six people living on the space station. It was the fourth Cygnus bound for the orbiting lab; the first flew just over a year ago. 

Among the cargo were more than a dozen student research projects, including an experiment from students at Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart in Houston to test the performance of pea shoot growth in space. 

NASA is paying the Virginia-based Orbital Sciences and the California-based SpaceX company to keep the space station stocked in the post-shuttle era. This is the first disaster in that effort.

No word yet on when a new mission will be planned to get the necessary cargo to ISS astronauts.

Watch the video, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Matthew McConaughey Fights To Save The World In New 'Interstellar' Trailer - VIDEO

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Christopher Nolan's highly anticipated space epic Interstellar, penned by brother Jonathan Nolan, has released a new trailer that delves deeper into its characters' quest to find a new home for humans as Earth's life comes to an end and our species faces extinction. 

Take a journey deep into space, AFTER THE JUMP...

The film boasts an all-star cast that includes Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Ellen Burstyn, John Lithgow, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Wes Bentley, Bill Irwin, Mackenzie Foy, Topher Grace and David Gyasi.

Space

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