Items tagged with NASA

For over 60 years, humans have been launching objects into space for varying purposes. Once a satellite becomes obsolete or no longer needed, it aimlessly orbits the Earth and can become a hazard for other space objects. Thus, it is a surprise that the International Space Station has not had a massive collision yet, but small impacts still happen from time to time. This now includes a recent space junk strike on the robotic arm of the ISS. There are over 23,000 pieces of space debris in space, the size of a softball or larger, that are tracked 24/7 to predict potential collisions. There is also a plethora of smaller objects, from "rock or dust particles to flecks of paint from satellites," that... Read more...
NASA's latest mission to Mars wowed audiences worldwide when the Perseverance rover "stuck" its landing back in mid-February. So far, Perseverance has performed all its scheduled tasks with aplomb. Still, a side mission involving that Ingenuity helicopter stowed aboard the rover is making news of its own this morning. NASA confirmed that Ingenuity successfully completed a hover test this morning, marking the first time a powered aircraft has taken flight on another planet. Ingenuity is a twin-rotor helicopter that weighs just 4 pounds and is roughly the size of a tissue box. The helicopter managed to hover in place approximately 10 feet above the Martian soil and stayed aloft for precisely 39.1... Read more...
From E.T to The Arrival, and UFO hunting TV shows galore, humans have always been fascinated with the possibility of finding life beyond the confines of Earth, be it real or fictional. In that endeavor, scientists are employing new technologies to try and detect signs of life on other planets, and it may happen sooner than you might think. According to one researcher, a new telescope attached to the Deep Space Network (DSN - NASA’s international array of giant radio antennas) could detect life signatures on other planets in as little as 60 hours, but more realistically within the next five to ten years. NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is the successor to the Hubble telescope... Read more...
For the first time ever, NASA has put a helicopter on the surface of Mars, the fourth planet from the Sun that is located more than 168 million miles from wherever you are reading this right now. NASA is planning for the helicopter, called Ingenuity, to take its first flight on Mars, during which it will hover several feet above ground for around half a minute. Why bother, you might be wondering? It is really about data collection, which could help with bigger projects in the future. NASA describes it as a technology demonstration in an effort to test a new capability, with limited scope (Ingenuity does not carry any science instruments). "NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is the first aircraft... Read more...
Perseverance Rover concept art They shoot, they score! NASA successfully landed the Perseverance rover in the Jezero crater on Mars at 3:56 pm EST. The rover has made it in one piece and can now begin its mission. The Perseverance rover was initially launched on July 30th, 2020, at 7:50 a.m. from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The spacecraft entered the Martian atmosphere at approximately 3:48pm today and began its “seven minutes of terror." The landing process is referred to as the “seven minutes of terror” due to the myriad of issues that can occur and because the mission operation center has no control of the vehicle during this time. NASA celebrating the successful... Read more...
Sometimes life is stranger than fiction. Some of the ashes of James Doohan, who played Montgomery "Scotty" Scott in the original Star Trek series, are reportedly aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The secret has been kept for twelve years and Doohan’s family has only now deemed it safe to reveal it. The ashes of Doohan were placed on the ISS by video game developer Richard Garriott. Garriott was a private astronaut who participated in a 12-day mission on the ISS in 2008. Doohan’s family sent Garriott part of Doohan’s ashes prior to his visit to the ISS. Garriott printed out three photographs of Doohan and laminated them with the ashes he had received. He managed to... Read more...
Halloween is now upon us as the spooky season comes to an end. To get into the spirit before October 31st, you will not need an Ouija board, just an AR capable device to summon ghosts and skeletons wherever you please. NASA has also joined the festivities by releasing a new sun image that looks suspiciously like a jack-o-lantern. Google is bringing spookiness to life with its new augmented reality features in Google Search. Using Google Search in app or browser on Android or iOS, users can use keywords in search such as “Halloween” or “Skeleton” to summon 3D augmented reality models of a ghost or skeleton. They will not always show up and are not in once place, so you... Read more...
In the United States at least, 4G LTE connectivity is pretty much ubiquitous, and unless you live out in the sticks, you should have access to some semblance of high-speed internet on your smartphone (or even in your car these days, many of which include hotspots). In addition, 5G networks around the country are being built out by AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile to eventually supplant 4G LTE. But when it comes to network equipment maker Nokia, which provides the hardware necessary to keep 4G LTE and 5G networks operational here on Earth, the company is setting its sights higher... much higher. In fact, it is looking to install its communications hardware on the moon, and it just received... Read more...
Today is a historic day for NASA and SpaceX. Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will return to Earth aboard the Crew Dragon Endeavor capsule. Here is how you can watch the Crew Dragon Endeavor splash down off the coast of Pensacola, Florida.  The Endeavor capsule undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) yesterday at 7:35 p.m. EDT. The capsule is scheduled splash down off the west coast of Florida today at 2:41 p.m. EDT. The entire event is currently being streamed on both NASA’s and SpaceX’s YouTube channels and NASA’s website. You can check out the stream below. The stream is currently live on both YouTube channels and experts are providing commentary and... Read more...
Today is a historic day for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Their current mission to Mars is underway. The spacecraft carrying the Perseverance rover and the Ingenuity helicopter was successfully launched this morning at 7:50am EDT. A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launched from Space Launch Complex 41 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch was overall a success. Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA's Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, stated, “We're in touch with the spacecraft, everything is nominal.” Perserverance is situated on the right in this photo. The spacecraft is headed to the Jezero Crater on Mars. It should hopefully land... Read more...
NASA has set a date for when its two astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, will return to Earth after their extended stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS). According to the NASA, the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule that they rode aboard to reach the ISS will undock around 8pm EST on August 1st. If all goes according to plan, the Crew Dragon will splash down in the Atlantic Ocean at 3pm EST on August 2nd. A successful landing will mark the completion of the Demo-2 mission, which commenced on May 30th when a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket put Behnken and Hurly into orbit. It marked the first time that SpaceX had sent a manned crew into space after years of performing unmanned... Read more...
The United States rejoined the space race this week as SpaceX successfully launched its Crew Dragon spacecraft with a pair of NASA astronauts aboard heading to the International Space Station (ISS). The successful launch marked the first time since the space shuttle fleet was retired that the US hasn't had to hitch a ride with another country to get astronauts into orbit. The Crew Dragon capsule is highly automated compared to the space capsules used during the Apollo era. And fortunately, fans of SpaceX that wonder what the control systems inside the Crew Dragon spacecraft are like can try their hand at the helm using a very cool SpaceX ISS Docking Simulator. The simulator requires no downloads... Read more...
After the first “window” for launch was scrubbed due to weather on Wednesday, SpaceX and NASA were today able to successfully launch the Demo-2 crewed mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Onboard the Crew Dragon capsule that lifted off from the historic Launch Complex 39 at Cape Canaveral via a Falcon 9 rocket are NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley. Today’s launch was once again threatened by clouds and bad weather, but SpaceX was able to “thread the needle”, so to speak, and pull off a picture-perfect launch. This is strictly a demonstration mission for the astronauts to test out the rigors of launch, vehicle life support, and various... Read more...
It has been several decades since the first rocket was launched into space, but most would agree that each rocket launch is still fascinating, awe-inspiring, and just plain fun to watch. Today’s launch is a particularly major milestone for the American space program. Here is how you can watch NASA and SpaceX’s historic astronaut launch. Both NASA and SpaceX will stream the launch on their respective YouTube channels. You can also find the livestreams on both of their websites. The stream began today at 12:15pm EST, but the launch will hopefully occur at 4:33pm. The stream right now features information about the astronauts as well as a stream of what is going on at the Kennedy Space... Read more...
There’s no question that former NASA engineer Mark Rober is a gift from the geek gods, and a person that no one should EVER cross. We’ve seen his science- and tech-filled hijinks against porch pirates on multiple occasions, and now he’s going after another class of pirates – only these thieves aren’t human. We’re talking about squirrels, of course, who are known for their aerial acrobatics, devious nature, and never-ending quest to ravage bird feeders for tasty seed. Although there are a number of bird feeders on the market that are designed to be squirrel-proof, nearly all of them are no match for a wily squirrel. Rober found... Read more...
It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly a decade since the Space Shuttle was officially retired, effectively putting an end to a 50-year-long streak in which the United States ferried its own astronauts into orbit around the Earth and Moon. Starting with the Mercury program, and then advancing through Gemini, Apollo, and finally the Space Shuttle, NASA was at the forefront of manned spaceflight. However, budgetary considerations and a redirection of resources for the future of NASA’s manned spaceflight program meant that U.S. astronauts had to hitch a ride to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard Russian rockets for the past 9 years. That all ends next month, however.... Read more...
Are you stuck in the house and absolutely going insane from dealing with family members, pets that are sick of you being at home instead of at work, and kids that at this point would rather be at school than at home? Well, the folks at NASA have quite a few "virtual" tours that you can partake in for a change of scenery during this COVID-19 pandemic. And as you might expect from NASA, these tours are out of this world. We have a roundup below of some great 3D and virtual experiences that you can experience courtesy of NASA to help break up the monotony of life that many are experiencing right now: Commercial Crew Program 360-Degree VR Tour Ever since the Space Shuttle was retired early in... Read more...
Infrared Astronomical Satellite, image via NASA Close encounters of a third kind may not be as exciting as they sound. It was recently reported that two American defunct satellites in low Earth orbit could potentially crash into each other this evening. If this crash occurs it could result in hundreds of pieces of debris that could interfere with the paths of other satellites. The NASA Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) and the United States Naval Research Lab’s Gravity Gradient Stabilization Experiment (GGSE-4) will fly by each other this evening. The two satellites will be between 43 feet to 285 feet around 6:39pm EST nearly 600 miles above Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Both satellites... Read more...
Image via SpaceX livestream  SpaceX lost a rocket today and they could not be happier. The company just successfully tested out its emergency escape system and its ability to keep astronauts safe. The test is an important step to take before NASA will allow SpaceX to carry astronauts into space. It is important to note that the test was unmanned. SpaceX launched the Crew Dragon capsule on a Falcon 9 rocket from the historic Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch window opened at 8am EST, but the launch itself was postponed due to weather conditions. The rocket was successfully launched at 10:30am EST. The Dragon Crew capsule... Read more...
Things haven't gone well for Boeing and its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft that might one day ferry American astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). Starliner was conducted one of the final key tests before it will be allowed to launch astronauts, and the test failed. This flight was uncrewed, so no humans were ever in danger. Reports indicate that the autonomous flight-control system misfired shortly after separating from its launch vehicle, placing Starliner into the wrong orbit. Starliner was set to deliver cargo to the ISS and then return safely to Earth. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said that when the spacecraft separated from the launch vehicle, it didn't initiate the burn... Read more...
With the Space Shuttle out of commission since 2011, the United States has needed to rely on Russia to send astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). However, NASA is looking for more homegrown solutions to puts astronauts into space, and has contracted with both Boeing and SpaceX to develop commercial crew vehicles that will dock with the ISS. Boeing today completed a successful next step in its efforts to complete the certification process of its CST-100 Starliner crew capsule. This morning at 7:15am local time in the New Mexico desert, the Starliner performed a pad abort test launch that saw it blast off to an altitude of roughly one mile, and then safely parachute back to Earth.... Read more...
The U.S. has been unable to send astronauts into orbit on its own since the space shuttle fleet was decommissioned 8 years ago. Rather than develop a new government program for putting Americans into space, NASA has been buying seats on Russian rockets. America is going to regain its ability to put men and women into space in part thanks to civilian companies like SpaceX, whose Crew Dragon capsule is almost ready for primetime. NASA developed the Commercial Crew Program and has been looking to private companies to take astronauts into space. It did the same thing with plans to get supplies to and from the ISS, and SpaceX has been a major part of that program. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and NASA... Read more...
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