Stories tagged nasa

Red River flooding: NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using EO-1 ALI data provided courtesy of the NASA EO-1 Team. Caption by Holli Riebeek.
Red River flooding: NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using EO-1 ALI data provided courtesy of the NASA EO-1 Team. Caption by Holli Riebeek.Courtesy NASA

This was the Earth Observatory Image of the Day today. It was captured by the Advanced Land Imager on the EO-1 satellite on March 28, 2009. The main channel of the river is slightly darker than the flooded land in these areas, an indication of how extensive the flooding is.

Mysterious material on the landing strut of the Phoenix Mars Lander
Mysterious material on the landing strut of the Phoenix Mars LanderCourtesy NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory-Caltech
In photographs taken by NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander there appear to be droplets of some kind of liquid. Is it water from just below the planet's surface? Some scientists suspect that this is exactly what you see in the photograph here. Although the temperature of the area where the photographs were taken never warmed above -15 degrees Fahrenheit during the spacecraft's mission, scientists think that salts called Perchlorates may have lowered the freezing point of the water, making liquid droplets possible at this temperature. Other scientists disagree, saying that the low-resolution photographs show clumps of frost or may have been formed by heat from the spacecraft's thrusters. This article explains more about the debate. What do you think?

Mar
13
2009

A view of the ISS from above: This full view of the International Space Station was photographed from the Space Shuttle Discovery during the STS-114 Return to Flight mission, following the undocking of the two spacecraft.
A view of the ISS from above: This full view of the International Space Station was photographed from the Space Shuttle Discovery during the STS-114 Return to Flight mission, following the undocking of the two spacecraft.Courtesy NASA
The three crew members of the International Space Station were forced to take cover inside a Soyuz escape vehicle for about 10 minutes yesterday when a 5 inch chunk of space junk came too close to the space station. The space junk was spotted (how do you spot something that small in space?) too late to move the space station to safety.

This is the sixth time that the crew of the ISS has had to take cover in the Soyuz escape vehicle due to nearby space debris. You may not think a 5 inch chunk of space junk would be all that big of a deal, but remember, that stuff is orbiting the Earth at crazy speeds - 17,500 miles and hour and faster. When something hits you traveling that fast it will do some significant damage.

If you are interested in the International Space Station, there are a ton of cool things on line about it, including live video and audio feeds.

Each week, CNN posts a collection of space images. This week, you can see the green comet Lulin, thousands of satellites orbiting Earth, and some photos from the Hubble Space Telescope.

NASA is now entertaining offers for its three space shuttles – Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour – that are scheduled to be retired in 2010. The estimated $42 million price tag includes $6 million in transportation costs to fly a shuttle to atop a 747 to the nearest major airport near the purchaser. Click here for more details. One of the three will likely be put on display at the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Where and how would you like to see the other two be repurposed?

Dec
07
2008

International Space Station: To see a really big version of this click on the word NASA (in red).
International Space Station: To see a really big version of this click on the word NASA (in red).Courtesy NASA

Two space vehicles joined Dec. 1998

The Russian-built Zarya module and the U.S.-built Node 1, also called Unity, were connected together ten years ago. Thus began one of the greatest international, technological, political, and engineering achievements in human history.

Ten years later, the station's mass has expanded to more than 627,000 pounds, and its interior volume is more than 25,000 cubic feet, comparable to the size of a five-bedroom house. Since Zarya's launch, there have been 29 additional construction flights to the station: 27 aboard the space shuttle and two additional Russian launches. NASA

Learn more about the space station's past and future

Future launch dates and additions
Computer rendering of future ISS assembly
International Space Station assembly sequence and componant descriptions
Latest news from NASA International Space Station webpage

Nov
19
2008

You may have read a couple weeks ago a NASA report stating that October 2008 was the warmest October ever on record. An enormous hot spot was observed over Siberia, an incredible 10 degrees warmer than normal, raising the global average.

However, the appearance of the words “hot” and “Siberia” in the same sentence made some people suspicious. A couple of bloggers took a closer look at the data, and they found that, for dozens of reporting stations in Siberia, the average October temperature was exactly the same as the average October temperature. That’s pretty much impossible. Clearly what happened is someone copied the numbers from the wrong column, leading to greatly inflated figures, which were then eagerly reported.

So, what can we learn from this little episode?

1) Even experts make mistakes. Though this particular expert, Dr. James Hansen, seems especially prone to making mistakes that support his views. That’s only human, I suppose, but it means we should pay attention to who is publishing a study, and whether they are pushing a particular point of view.

2) Weather is not climate. One sparrow does not make a spring, and one October does not make a global warming crisis. Especially when the October in question was not actually, you know, warm.

3) Read the fine print. Just like the item below, the headline told one story, but the pesky little facts told a very different one. (One of the most important things it tells us is that the folks in charge of monitoring the world’s climate don’t even bother to double-check their own data!)

Oct
23
2008

2 planets and a moon: We keep candy and waterslides on the one on the left, flags on the one in the bottom right, and astronauts on the one in the top right. Simple.
2 planets and a moon: We keep candy and waterslides on the one on the left, flags on the one in the bottom right, and astronauts on the one in the top right. Simple.Courtesy Bluedharma
Way-hey-haaaiit one second there! Why did I write that headline? That seems a little incendiary for a reasonable proposal from a national hero, JGordon. We had better think things out a little more before we write them down.

So, Buzz Aldrin is in the news. The science news, anyway. The 78-year-old former astronaut—the second man to set foot on the moon—is suggesting that the first manned mission to Mars should leave its astronauts on the planet for good. With all of the expense and effort that a Mars mission would take, he believes that even spending a year or a year and a half on the red planet wouldn’t be worth it. The astronauts, he says, should go with the intention of staying for the rest of their lives, like pioneers.

Eventually the first men and women on Mars could be joined by others, forming a colony of perhaps 30 scientists. After a few decades, when they reach 65 or so, they could retire on Mars, or perhaps get picked up by a ship and returned to earth.

What about that, Buzzketeers? Think about spending the rest of your life on Mars, with just a few people to keep you company (except for, you know, radio communication). Kind of a crazy idea, but kind of awesome, I think. Think about what that’d be like—the isolation, low gravity, greater exposure to cosmic rays (that’s bad)… but a whole new planet!

Would any of you guys be willing to go to Mars, if it meant you’d be leaving the earth forever?

Spacey artists: Alan Bean was the subject of an artistic photo taken on the moon in 1969. The former NASA astronaut now creates space art.
Spacey artists: Alan Bean was the subject of an artistic photo taken on the moon in 1969. The former NASA astronaut now creates space art.Courtesy NASA/Charles Conrad
Here's an interesting story about former NASA astronaut Alan Bean and his new calling as a space artist. If you really want to check out his artwork, go to his website here to see some very cool space art. In some of his works, Bean incorporates actual tools and artifacts from his moon trip. Bean was the lunar module pilot of Apollo 12 and also commanded a Skylab mission.

Scientific Frontline has a video celebrating 50 years of exploration by NASA which was created Oct. 1, 1958.