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By Marcia Dunn The Associated Press

NASA needs better handle on health hazards for Mars

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. NASA needs to get cracking if it wants to keep its astronauts alive and well on missions to Mars, according to an in-house report issued Thursday.

In an extensive audit, NASA’s inspector general office looked at the space agency’s overall effort to keep astronauts safe during lengthy space missions ‚Äî especially trips to Mars, currently targeted for the 2030s.

Astronomers: Faraway object being destroyed by real-life ‘Death Star,’ a white dwarf in Virgo

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. A white dwarf star in the Constellation Virgo turns out to be a “death star” worthy of “Star Wars.”

Astronomers announced Wednesday that they have discovered a rocky object coming apart in a death spiral around this distant star. They used NASA’s exoplanet-hunting Kepler spacecraft to make the discovery, then followed up with ground observations.

NASA says Mars appears to have flowing water; could there be life on the red planet?

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. Mars appears to have flowing rivulets of salty water, at least in the summer, scientists reported Monday in a finding that could have major implications for the possibility of life on the red planet.

“It suggests that it would be possible for there to be life today on Mars,” NASA’s science mission chief, John Grunsfeld, said at a news conference.

NASA astronaut hits halfway point of yearlong spaceflight; ‘Like being in confinement’

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. Space station astronaut Scott Kelly is halfway home.

Kelly marked the midway point of his yearlong space mission Tuesday. He’s sharing the voyage with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko. They arrived at the International Space Station in March and won’t return to Earth until next March.