710 posts tagged with NASA.
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You can't get your ass to Mars

Every sensate being we’ve encountered in the universe so far—from dogs and humans and mice to turtles and spiders and seahorses—has evolved to suit the cosmic accident that is Earth. The notion that we could take these forms, most beautiful and most wonderful, and hurl them into space, and that this would, to use Petranek’s formulation, constitute “our best hope,” is either fantastically far-fetched or deeply depressing.
As Impey points out, for six decades we’ve had the capacity to blow ourselves to smithereens. One of these days, we may well do ourselves in; certainly we’re already killing off a whole lot of other species. But the problem with thinking of Mars as a fallback planet (besides the lack of oxygen and air pressure and food and liquid water) is that it overlooks the obvious. Wherever we go, we’ll take ourselves with us.
Project Exodus: Elizabeth Kolbert on Mars, Earth, exploration versus science and astronautical reach exceeding grasp. [previouslyish]
posted by byanyothername on May 28, 2015 - 106 comments

The Northwest Indian College Space Center

The joke was funny because this was just a tiny, two-year college, with no engineering program. Getting into space was the last thing on the minds of these students; they were just trying to escape poverty. Next thing they knew, NASA was calling them up.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on May 8, 2015 - 14 comments

Space, time, and microwave ovens

Previously on MetaFilter, we discussed a strange new form of propulsion that NASA was investigating. There are variants to the EM Drive, but the basic principle is the same: put lots of microwaves into the right shaped chamber, and thrust appears. Electricity to motion in free space? Much skepticism. But nearly a year and much more testing later - the story is getting weirder.
posted by Devonian on Apr 30, 2015 - 162 comments

We choose to go to the Mun because it is hard

After almost 4 years of development, Kerbal Space Program hit version 1.0. Today, Kerbal Space Program reached a major milestone, declaring the release of version 1.0 and the removal of the "Early Access" label. [more inside]
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit on Apr 27, 2015 - 121 comments

Taco nights, competitive board games, group viewings of Game of Thrones

Moving to Mars. "The volunteers perched in the lava fields of Mauna Loa on the HI-SEAS (Hawai'i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) mission are as close as Earthlings will get to Mars in the foreseeable future." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 20, 2015 - 12 comments

Ride along on a spacewalk

This is a video from a spacewalk outside the International Space Station, shot with a GoPro camera and its fucking gorgeous. Here's background on how it happened and what's going on in the video. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Apr 15, 2015 - 46 comments

Houston, turn that bass up

NASA Posts a Huge Library of Space Sounds, And You're Free To Use Them - Create Digital Music
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Apr 3, 2015 - 15 comments

Magnetic reconnection, how does it work?

NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission is set to lift off today, March 12, at 10:44 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket. (NASA TV launch coverage) [more inside]
posted by Rob Rockets on Mar 12, 2015 - 10 comments

"...the scientific study of the problems of flight..."

One hundred years ago today, on March 3, 1915, a Naval Appropriations Bill was passed through Congress and signed by president Woodrow Wilson. A small rider was attached to the bill and went through the process almost completely unnoticed. That rider legislated the formation of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. [more inside]
posted by backseatpilot on Mar 3, 2015 - 7 comments

Titan, awash in oceans of liquid methane and full of azotosomes?

"A press release from Cornell explains how the researchers used some creative chemical modeling to construct a hypothetical, methane-based cell that's stable in Titan's sub-zero oceans. They call their alien life form an "azotosome."" [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 1, 2015 - 24 comments

Mars One colonists better off eating frozen pizza than local veggies

A graduate student at MIT has published an analysis of the Mars One colony plans. Turns out that surviving off local crops is a bad idea. [pdf] Mars One is an ambitious and highly publicized plan to start a colony on Mars by launching groups of astronauts on a one-way trip to the red planet. The Mars One foundation claims that all of this is feasible with current technology: Falcon heavy launchers, Dragon capsules, inflatable structures, and life support systems similar to the International Space Station. Sydney Do, a Ph.D candidate in MIT's Strategic Engineering Research Group disagrees. His detailed and impressive analysis of the Mars One architecture reveals a few surprising and counter-intuitive results: the astronauts are better off eating food delivered from Earth, and the need for spare parts to sustain life support system ends up dominating the materials required to keep the colony going.
posted by amy27 on Feb 27, 2015 - 54 comments

so that's where the waste management cover went to

Secret stash of Moon artifacts found hidden in Neil Armstrong's closet. The artifacts have been sent to the National Air and Space Museum for research and preservation. The article shows pictures of each one and where it was used in the Lunar Module. Even more detail over at nasa.gov!
posted by moonmilk on Feb 8, 2015 - 70 comments

Asteroid 2004 BL86

Asteroid 2004 BL86 will safely pass about three times the distance to the moon on January 26. It will not be bright enough to view with an unaided eye; however, astronomy sites including Earthsky and Universe Today have instructions for amateur astronomers with suitable equipment. [more inside]
posted by tykky on Jan 21, 2015 - 10 comments

A fox guarding the hen house.

Ted Cruz, Senator from Texas, global warming denier, and (attempted) NASA funding slasher, has been appointed to chair the Senate subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness. In other words, he will be overseeing NASA. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Jan 12, 2015 - 112 comments

How to grow fresh air

Why you should water your house plants more often... Kamal Meattle describes how common houseplants can result in measurably cleaner indoor air. His work stems from earlier NASA research by Bill C. Wolverton who first investigated how to grow air in a space station before researching the indoor environmental impact of plants themselves. [more inside]
posted by St. Peepsburg on Jan 8, 2015 - 27 comments

NASA Exoplanet Travel Posters

3 awesome downloadable NASA designed Travel Posters for places we haven't been to yet NASA's Kepler telescope is still discovering new, distant exoplanets in our corner of the Milky Way, but oftentimes they're hard to visualize and easily forgotten about by some of us normal folk. Now, to get everyone dreaming about these potentially habitable worlds, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has drawn up a trio of beautiful posters by the "Exoplanet Travel Bureau." All three echo the WPA's iconic travel prints from the mid-1930s, with classic typefaces and swathes of flat, contrasting color.
posted by bobdow on Jan 8, 2015 - 23 comments

Where No Kerbal Has Gone Before

KSP History is an ongoing webseries which combines information and photos of historic events in human spaceflight with near-perfect recreations of those missions in Kerbal Space Program. The most recent entry recounts the first operational Space Shuttle launch. Highlights below the fold. [more inside]
posted by 256 on Jan 7, 2015 - 16 comments

Hubble Goes High-Definition

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has revisited one of its most iconic and popular images: the Eagle Nebula’s Pillars of Creation. A new, higher quality image of the structure as seen in visible light recreates the original image, while a high quality image as seen in infra-red light reveals different aspects of the structure and hints of new stars being born. [more inside]
posted by metaBugs on Jan 6, 2015 - 18 comments

"Returning to Earth, that was the challenging part"

Forty-five years ago, Buzz Aldrin became the second man to walk on the moon. It made him one of the most famous people in the world. And it has haunted the rest of his life.
posted by cozenedindigo on Dec 25, 2014 - 45 comments

We have joy, We have fun, We have X-rays in the Sun

The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), an X-ray telescope designed to observe deep space, has been used to capture images of X-rays streaming off the Sun for the first time. [more inside]
posted by Rob Rockets on Dec 23, 2014 - 11 comments

Looking out the window, returning to Earth

This is what it's like to plummet through the atmosphere from space.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 22, 2014 - 13 comments

NASA emails spanner to the ISS Space Station

"Astronauts on the International Space Station have used their 3-D printer to make a wrench from instructions sent up in an email. It is the first time hardware has been "emailed" to space. Nasa was responding to a request by ISS commander Barry Wilmore for a ratcheting socket wrench."
posted by marienbad on Dec 20, 2014 - 52 comments

Love before War

There's all this talk about a manned trip to Mars. But there's another planet to consider visiting before a trip to Mars - NASA is now studying how to send people to Venus.
posted by ShooBoo on Dec 17, 2014 - 48 comments

That Letter Will Go On Your Permanent Record

If you ever wrote a letter to Neil Armstrong it's probably now archived at Purdue University. The first man on the moon saved over 70,000 pieces of personal correspondence, and that probably includes that letter you wrote in late July 1969 when you were in the 2nd grade.
posted by COD on Dec 5, 2014 - 10 comments

Alright, let's light this candle and head back into space

NASA’s new Orion spacecraft will soon blast off on its maiden voyage into space. It’ll be a quick and unmanned flight to test the craft, particularly its innovative heat shield, which will protect Iron man, Captain Kirk, Slimey the Worm and a unnamed Tyrannosaurus Rex from the white hot temperatures as Orion returns to Earth. Watch the launch on NASA TV (Audio only stream) on Thursday, December 4th, at 7:05am EST (1205 GMT) i.e. tomorrow morning for most of the Western world. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 3, 2014 - 160 comments

The Phone Number 321-Liftoff Is Not For Sale

​​How I Got My Own Area Code: It took the combination of phone phreak and "space cadet" to find a relationship between the number 321 and the countdowns of Cape Canaveral. [more inside]
posted by danabanana on Nov 19, 2014 - 18 comments

the answer, my friend...

NASA Computer Model Provides a New Portrait of Carbon Dioxide
posted by flapjax at midnite on Nov 18, 2014 - 12 comments

Antares rocket explodes at the Wallops Flight Facility

An Antares rocket with the Orbital Sciences Corporation Cygnus CRS Orb-3 spacecraft bound for the International Space Station exploded today shortly after liftoff from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. [more inside]
posted by Rob Rockets on Oct 28, 2014 - 69 comments

Had NASA believed in merit

“I would give my life to fly in space. It’s hard for me to talk about it but I would. I would then, and I will now.” The terrible injustice of Jerrie Cobb, who deserved to be the first female astronaut, yet never made it to space at all.
posted by Johnny Wallflower on Oct 20, 2014 - 29 comments

NASA sounds

Here's a collection of NASA sounds from historic spaceflights and current missions.
posted by soundofsuburbia on Oct 17, 2014 - 11 comments

Our home is beautiful and amazing.

"Using footage from NASA's Johnson Space Center, filmmaker Fede Castro creates a captivating time-lapse video of Earth from space. In a little over four minutes, 'Nuestra Tierra—Our Earth' takes us around the world, sighting major cities and even catching the breathtaking aurora borealis." More from Fede Castro.
posted by cwest on Oct 11, 2014 - 8 comments

Lattes...in...spaaaaaace!

SPACE.com has reported that a prototype of the ISSpresso, an espresso machine heading to the International Space Station (ISS) next year, was recently displayed at the 65th International Astronautical Congress 2014. [more inside]
posted by Rob Rockets on Oct 3, 2014 - 10 comments

The Elon Musk Mars Interview

When Musk went to price the mission with US launch companies, he was told transport would cost $60-80 million. Reeling, he tried to buy a refurbished Russian intercontinental ballistic missile to do the job, but his dealer kept raising the price on him. Finally, he’d had enough. Instead of hunting around for a cheaper supplier, Musk founded his own rocket company. His friends thought he was crazy, and tried to intervene, but he would not be talked down. Musk identifies strongly as an engineer. That’s why he usually takes a title like chief technical officer at the companies he runs, in addition to chief executive officer. He had been reading stacks of books about rockets. He wanted to try building his own. The Elon Musk Mars Interview.
posted by Ghostride The Whip on Oct 1, 2014 - 100 comments

NASA orders up a couple of space taxis

It's official, Boeing's CST-100 and Space X's Dragon have been chosen to launch astronauts to the International Space Station by 2017, ending Russia's dominance as the sole provider of rides to the ISS, which they haven't been shy about using for leverage. Meanwhile, develop of the Space Launch System, designed for travel beyond low earth orbit, continues for its maiden launch in 2018. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Sep 16, 2014 - 41 comments

Flying through an aurora, like going through a giant neon sign

European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst captured this photograph from the International Space Station and tweeted "Words can't describe how it feels flying through an #aurora. I wouldn't even know where to begin..." Not many can share his experience, but photographer Paul Williams captured an aurora while on a flight from London to New York (stills on Flickr). NASA's Science News has an article on Flying Through a Geomagnetic Storm, with information on how auroras are formed, and a bit more on what it's like to fly through them, with an accompanying video (previously).
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 13, 2014 - 17 comments

"Bangkok is the bright city. The green lights outside the city? No idea"

While on ISS, astronaut Reid Wiseman captured and tweeted a picture that captured night time picture of the Gulf of Thailand, including a vast area of green lights, distinct from the white, yellow and orange lights of adjacent cities. Reid wrote "Bangkok is the bright city. The green lights outside the city? No idea… " but others did know: it was many fishing boats with green fishing light attractors. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 4, 2014 - 17 comments

John Glenn refused to fly until Katherine Johnson checked the math.

Katherine G. Johnson: NASA Mathematician (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Aug 30, 2014 - 16 comments

But can it core a apple?

On Thursday, NASA released the names and designs of three vehicles that could replace the space shuttle as means of sending our astronauts into space. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Aug 23, 2014 - 70 comments

“If I could come up with another absurd detail, I would”

Civilians in Abandoned McDonald’s Seize Control of Wandering Space Satellite (with NASA's silent blessing)
posted by Itaxpica on Aug 10, 2014 - 46 comments

Springtime on Saturn

Storm Chasing on Saturn with Cassini [viz. cf.] - "The sun is slowly rising over Saturn's north pole, exposing an immense six-sided hurricane. The storm, big enough to swallow four Earths, was first spotted by the Voyager missions in the early 1980s. [Cassini] will be passing directly over the north pole with its cameras pointing down later this month." (previously 1,2)
posted by kliuless on Aug 10, 2014 - 9 comments

Next: Lasersabers

Remember the floating training remote in Star Wars? Some people have done DIY versions of the remote that can levitate on your desktop. However, leave it to NASA to create the real thing and call it SPHERES: Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites: robotic bowling balls (OK, 18-sided polyhedron satellites) with autonomous propulsion, power, avionics, software, communications, and metrology subsystems, that fly freely in the ISS. First tested in 2006, they have been upgraded with Android smartphones, which makes them (for now) the less terrifying item in Google's growing robotic arsenal.
posted by elgilito on Aug 3, 2014 - 3 comments

NASA claims to have tested a "reactionless" space drive, and it works.

Early days, but if true => BIG change
posted by aleph on Aug 1, 2014 - 217 comments

Getting to the Moon was only half the job

On July 21th, 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin waited within paper thin walls on the surface of the Moon. Hours ago they had made history by being the first humans to land and walk on its surface. Now the only thing left to do was take off. All that entailed was performing the final test of the Lunar Module: launching from the lunar surface with no on-site support or possibility of fixes if something failed. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jul 21, 2014 - 67 comments

I'll see you on the pocked side of the moon.

NASA discovers hundreds of pits on the surface of the moon.
While the moon's surface is battered by millions of craters, it also has over 200 holes – steep-walled pits that in some cases might lead to caves that future astronauts could explore and use for shelter, according to new observations from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft. (Previously.)
[more inside]
posted by Atom Eyes on Jul 18, 2014 - 23 comments

Mapping the Moon

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, or LROC, is a system of three cameras mounted on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) that capture high resolution photos of the lunar surface . . . .The LROC team assembled 10,581 NAC [narrow angle camera] images, collected over 4 years, into a spectacular northern polar mosaic.
posted by insectosaurus on Jul 16, 2014 - 5 comments

A red cent on the red planet: the story of a semi-rare 1909 coin on Mars

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), aka the Curiosity Rover is something of a robotic geologist, so it makes sense to include the tools of the trade in some form, including a calibration target. For giving a sense of scale with smaller geologic features, pennies are often used for scale, as a common item with a standard dimension. But why is there a 1909 penny on the Rover? That's thanks to Kenneth Edgett, the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) principal investigator and an amateur coin collector who appreciates the history of the controversial 1909 V.D.B. Lincoln Cent.
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 14, 2014 - 19 comments

Space without the space

The solar system's solid surfaces stitched together. If you want some more detailed imagery, you can always browse around NASA's planetary photojournal archive.
posted by curious nu on Jul 2, 2014 - 17 comments

Is 100 the right number?

Astronaut Sally Ride and the Burden of Being The First. 'Tampons were packed with their strings connecting them, like a strip of sausages, so they wouldn’t float away. Engineers asked Ride, “Is 100 the right number?” She would be in space for a week. “That would not be the right number,” she told them. At every turn, her difference was made clear to her. When it was announced Ride had been named to a space flight mission, her shuttle commander, Bob Crippen, who became a lifelong friend and colleague, introduced her as “undoubtedly the prettiest member of the crew.” At another press event, a reporter asked Ride how she would react to a problem on the shuttle: “Do you weep?”'
posted by kmz on Jul 1, 2014 - 95 comments

The Other Net

The Energy Sciences Network is a private Department of Energy network operated by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, that links research institutions in the United States and the world. In 2011 researchers acheived 91+ Gbps disk-to-disk on their 100 gbps network. The Shadow Internet.
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 1, 2014 - 16 comments

'Whoa… big brain huh… cool!'"

Lovatt reasoned that if she could live with a dolphin around the clock, nurturing its interest in making human-like sounds, like a mother teaching a child to speak, they'd have more success. - stories from the NASA- funded project to teach Dolphins to talk using LSD (among other methods. )
posted by The Whelk on Jun 29, 2014 - 37 comments

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