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Nasa to focus on sending humans to Mars

Nasa is to focus on sending humans to Mars after announcing that contracts for transporting Americans to the International Space Station have been awarded to Boeing and SpaceX.

Nasa is to focus on sending humans to Mars. Credit: NASA

In a statement Nasa Administrator Charles Bolden said: "Turning over low-Earth orbit transportation to private industry also will allow Nasa to focus on an even more ambitious mission – sending humans to Mars."

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Nasa confirms billion-dollar contracts for Boeing and SpaceX

Nasa has announced that manned spacecraft will again launch from the United States after deals with Boeing and SpaceX.

The total potential contract value is $4.2 billion for Boeing and $2.6 billion for SpaceX, with the spacecraft launching from Kennedy Space Center.

It is hoped the new deal will see crews fly to the International Space Station "in just a few years...ending the nation’s sole reliance on Russia by 2017," Nasa Administrator Charles Bolden said.

NASA to announce 'return of manned spaceflights'

NASA is due to make a major announcement regarding the return of human spaceflight launches to the United States.

NASA has been unable to send people to space since the retirement of the space shuttle programme in 2011 and has relied on Russia to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station.

You can watch the announcement live here:

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NBC has reported that Boeing and SpaceX are expected to win a contract to start transporting astronauts.

Astronaut posts amazing timelapse videos from space

An American astronaut has shared videos capturing the breathtaking views of Earth from space.

International Space Station flight engineer Reid Wiseman has been posting timelapse videos taken from aboard the station.

Take a look yourself.

Observatory captures stunning images of star clusters

The La Silla Observatory in Chile has captured this dramatic image showing two intense star formations in the Milky Way galaxy.

The cluster of stars on the left of the image is known NGC 3603 and is located 20,000 light years away.

Two star formations in the Milky Way captured by the La Silla Observatory in Chile Credit: ESO/G. Beccari

The region of glowing gas clouds on the right of the image appears to be next to the cluster, but is in fact only 9,000 light years away.

The gas clouds have two distinctive curves, like the horns of a ram, caused by "stellar winds from the hot, young stars within the central regions of the nebula, which have blown the dust and gas outwards across a hundred light-years".

The region around the cosmic factory NGC 3603, located about 20,000 light-years away Credit: ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2

The European Southern Observatory, which is supported by 15 European countries, operates three large observing sites in Chile.

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'Supermoon' blazes over New York City skyline

'Supermoon' 14% bigger than average full moon

The moon is said to be 14% closer to earth making it appear larger than usual, according to NASA. The so-called "supermoon" was spotted across the UK overnight.

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