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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 - 18 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

NASA Images Highlight U.S. Air Quality Improvement

It appears that we're doing a bit better... "After ten years in orbit, the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA's Aura satellite has been in orbit sufficiently long to show that people in major U.S. cities are breathing less nitrogen dioxide – a yellow-brown gas that can cause respiratory problems."
posted by HuronBob on Jun 27, 2014 - 20 comments

A day in the life of Everyday Astronaut

In November of 2013, I found myself the lone bidder of a Russian high altitude space suit on an auction website called RRauction. Since then, I’d been scheming how to best use the suit. I have been revisiting my childhood love for space and my obsession was growing stronger and stronger. It was only natural to use this suit to project the inner child in me, still dreaming about space. With that, I present to you: "A day in the life of Everyday Astronaut".

posted by Lexica on Jun 2, 2014 - 13 comments

NASA and Kerbals, sitting in a tree...

Minecraft in Space: NASA embraces the space simulator Kerbal Space Program with the Asteroid Redirect Mission patch.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on May 23, 2014 - 39 comments

The twilight of NASA

Use a trampoline. “The cancellation of the space shuttle may be the biggest blunder ever made by the United States,” Kraft said. “It’s fairly obvious that no one in the government thought through what they were about to bring about when they made that decision.”
posted by bitmage on May 19, 2014 - 85 comments

ISS Eviction notice

Russia wants to nix plans to use the ISS after 2020, prohibit the United States from visiting the space station after that date along with preventing the US from using Russia made rocket engines for military launches. NASA says it hasn't received any official word, as US Congress critters begin asking questions
posted by Brandon Blatcher on May 15, 2014 - 96 comments

The end appears to be inevitable.

Warm water is eating away at the bases of West Antarctic glaciers in an irreversible runaway process: West Antarctic Glacier Loss Appears Unstoppable [the damn paper (paywalled)] [more inside]
posted by Joe in Australia on May 12, 2014 - 101 comments

The Earth, Live.

After being delivered to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX resupply mission, the High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) platform was activated on April 30th, providing a live HD stream of Earth for anyone to view. [more inside]
posted by Static Vagabond on May 6, 2014 - 98 comments

I've always wanted to have a neighbor just like you

Won't you please, please won't you be my neighbor? NASA's Kepler Discovers First Earth-Size Planet In The 'Habitable Zone' of Another Star. Kepler-186f is a planet about ten percent bigger than Earth that orbits within the habitable zone of its star. The light there is dim and orange, and it only gets about a third of the sunshine we do, but that may be enough for life. If you go outside tonight, there might be someone 500 light years away looking back at you...
posted by Kevin Street on Apr 17, 2014 - 75 comments

One giant leap

Experience the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing: This project is an online interactive featuring the Eagle lunar landing. The presentation includes original Apollo 11 spaceflight video footage, communication audio, mission control room conversations, text transcripts, and telemetry data, all synchronized into an integrated audio-visual experience. [more inside]
posted by growabrain on Apr 13, 2014 - 20 comments

I Don't Want To Hide My Love

N.A.S.A. - Hide (feat. Aynzli Jones) [Tropkillaz Remix] [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 1, 2014 - 6 comments

Heigh Ho, to Europa we will go

NASA's 2015 budget request has been released (PDF, OMB Summary), with an interesting mission study : $15 million to look at a unmanned mission to Jupiter's moon Europa. Why Europa? It may have more water than Earth, sloshing around under a thick ice, which makes it a major contender for harboring life. Don't get too excited just yet though. The mission would't launch until around 2025 and would arrive in Jupiter's orbit in the early 2030s. That's a long way off, but a particular US Congressman really wants this mission to happen.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 6, 2014 - 69 comments

We Can See Clearly Now: ISS Window Observational Research Facility

"Like a human who just went through laser vision correction, the International Space Station (ISS) recently got a clearer view of our world. That improved view is opening up new vistas for students in American classrooms." A gorgeous photo of British Columbia's snow-capped mountains was the first view delivered via the Window Observational Research Facility at the U.S. Laboratory Science Window on the International Space Station. This video explanation of the window (part 2) is hosted by three-time shuttle veteran Mario Runco.
posted by jbickers on Mar 5, 2014 - 9 comments

Perseus Cluster's Sad Note

Supermassive black hole in the Perseus cluster sings only B-flat. [via science.nasa.gov] [more inside]
posted by simulacra on Mar 3, 2014 - 30 comments

That thing the sun does that makes it so hot

GLaDOS teaches fusion and fission for NASA. Ellen McLain lends her autotuned voice to IRrelevant Astronomy, a video series produced as part of the education & public outreach mandate of the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope. [via]
posted by figurant on Feb 27, 2014 - 6 comments

Flight, try setting SCE to AWESOME.

This dad puts us all to shame. All I ever got from my dad was a train set.
posted by pjern on Feb 21, 2014 - 26 comments

frugal engineering can boost your space program

Trip to Mars Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank
Just days after the launch of India’s Mangalyaan satellite, NASA sent off its own Mars mission, five years in the making, named Maven. Its cost: $671 million. The budget of India’s Mars mission, by contrast, was just three-quarters of the $100 million that Hollywood spent on last year’s space-based hit, “Gravity.” “The mission is a triumph of low-cost Indian engineering,” said Roddam Narasimha, an aerospace scientist and a professor at Bangalore’s Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research. “By excelling in getting so much out of so little, we are establishing ourselves as the most cost-effective center globewide for a variety of advanced technologies,” said Mr. Narasimha.
(NYTSL)
posted by infini on Feb 18, 2014 - 44 comments

Hello, is this thing on?

ISEE-3 seeks the creator. ICE/ISEE-3 to return to an Earth no longer capable of speaking to it.
posted by bitmage on Feb 7, 2014 - 52 comments

Distributed Data

Academics launch torrent site to share papers and datasets [more inside]
posted by eviemath on Feb 4, 2014 - 12 comments

To be a good astronaut, you need to be prepared for the worst.

"I was going through boxes of my grandparents old photographs and found some incredible pictures of a tragic shuttle launch from 1986. I scanned them and made an album. My grandmother actually passed peacefully last week, and was because of her passing that I found these. We were all going through boxes and boxes of photos to find pictures to display at her memorial. I just happened to get the box with the Challenger pictures at the bottom, which was kind of special for me because I am the biggest NASA fan in the family," said Mike Hindes. [more inside]
posted by Mike Mongo on Jan 19, 2014 - 50 comments

Monitoring the raindrops that keep falling on your head from space

The successor to the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), the NASA/JAXA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) spacecraft is preparing for launch at the Japanese Tanegashima Space Center. GPM will be the newest international Precipitation Measurement Mission and will be the core observatory of the GPM Constellation. The two sensors on-board GPM are the GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) and the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR). The GPM/DPR team has produced a fantastic anime about the DPR instrument. [more inside]
posted by Rob Rockets on Jan 8, 2014 - 6 comments

What "makes a man willing to sit up on top of an enormous Roman candle"?

In 1972, Tom Wolfe was assigned to do a piece for Rolling Stone on Apollo 17, NASA's last moon mission (Google book preview). That turned into a four-part series on the astronauts, written in a frantic three weeks. From there, he thought he could quickly expand the piece into a book (Gbp). But that book, on what makes an astronaut, ended up taking a much broader scope and more time. In 1979, The Right Stuff was published, and later was made into a well-regarded 3 hour movie. A few years later, Andrew Chaikin started on a similar path to Wolfe, more broadly documenting the US moon missions in his book, A Man on the Moon. The book was published in 1994, and HBO used it as the basis of a 12-part mini-series that they aired in 1998, titled From the Earth to the Moon. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 26, 2013 - 28 comments

...and then "some clown invented the printed circuit."

During the 1950's, Wernher von Braun served as technical adviser for three space-related television films produced by Disney: Man in Space, Man and the Moon and Mars and Beyond. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 24, 2013 - 40 comments

Jewel Box Sun, seeing the sun through different lights

"This video of the sun based on data from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, shows the wide range of wavelengths -- invisible to the naked eye -- that the telescope can view. SDO converts the wavelengths into an image humans can see, and the light is colorized into a rainbow of colors." And because it's NASA, you can download the video in various formats.
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 19, 2013 - 9 comments

Hope your holiday is [sunglasses] out of this world!

Like sending out Christmas cards but prefer something light on the Santas and Jesuses? The Hubble Telescope is here to help you out with a whole line of free-to-download-and-print holiday-themed greeting cards!
posted by phunniemee on Dec 18, 2013 - 7 comments

Dark side of the Moon

Watch from Space as the Moon Orbits Around the Earth [more inside]
posted by bluefly on Dec 11, 2013 - 27 comments

Bill Ingalls: 25 years of photography for NASA

If you've seen images of NASA, you've seen the work of Bill Ingalls, Project Manager and Senior Photographer for NASA Headquarters, who started out as an intern with NASA, and has worked now for the agency for 25 years. You can see a ton of images on the NASA HQ Photos account on Flickr (plus non-NASA photos on his personal Flickr account), and he even has a few short videos on Vimeo. You can read about NASA photographers, including Ingalls, and hear Bill talk about his work with NASA and photography in general in this 365 Days of Astronomy podcast (related: the super moon photo, and Neil deGrasse Tyson's response to the super moon hype).
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 9, 2013 - 3 comments

Bras in Space

Bras in Space: The Incredible True Story Behind Upcoming Film "Spacesuit"
When we think of the Apollo 11 moon landing, what do we think of? President Kennedy’s bold vision. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s heroism (unfortunately we rarely think about Command Module Pilot Michael Collins). Perhaps we even think of the incredible engineers, rocket scientists, astrophysicists and all the other geniuses at NASA who made it possible. Now we want you to think about your grandma’s bra.
[more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Oct 29, 2013 - 20 comments

Looking out the window while landing on the moon

Simultaneous video and selectively played audio of every Apollo lunar landing on one screen. (via Collect Space) [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Oct 22, 2013 - 8 comments

Explore the Exoplanets

Explore the Exoplanets courtesy of Nasa. ""Eyes on Exoplanets" provides a scientifically accurate, fully rendered 3D universe of the 900-plus "Exoplanet" discoveries." [via NASA/Kepler, via NASAPlanetQuest]. Kepler/Exoplanets previously on Mefi 1 2 3 4 and (from 2002) 5.
posted by marienbad on Oct 19, 2013 - 10 comments

Repairing a Saturn V rocket...during countdown on the launch pad

About this time, it came to my mind that during one of our training sessions we were told that one of the fully fueled prototype S11 rocket stages had been exploded out in the desert. The results showed that all buildings better be at least three miles from the launch lads - which they are. We were now within 25 feet of this 363ft tall bomb that sounded like it's giant fuse had been lit, and we were soon going to get much closer.
posted by Chrysostom on Oct 17, 2013 - 14 comments

Godspeed, Scott Carpenter

Scott Carpenter has died at 88. As the commander of Aurora 7 in 1962, Carpenter was the second Mercury astronaut to orbit the Earth. He is best known for having wished his friend John Glenn "Godspeed" as the latter launched into orbit. [more inside]
posted by zooropa on Oct 10, 2013 - 61 comments

myths of heaven

Joan Roosa, wife of Apollo 14 Lunar Module Pilot Stu Roosa, recalled "I was at a party one night in Houston. A woman standing behind me, who had no idea who I was, said 'I've slept with every astronaut who has been to the Moon.' ...I said 'Pardon me, but I don't think so'".
posted by four panels on Oct 4, 2013 - 53 comments

My God, it's full of stars

Chandra Sky Map - Joe DePasquale runs through the process of creating the map and some helpful tips for using the interactive tool.
posted by unliteral on Oct 2, 2013 - 8 comments

The Reusable Nuclear Shuttle: To the Moon, Again and Again

NASA's abandoned plan for a re-usable, nuclear powered moon shuttle. [more inside]
posted by Chrysostom on Sep 30, 2013 - 34 comments

My God, it's full of dots!

New Scientist magazine has posted a nifty interactive infographic that illustrates how many Earth-like planets might exist, based on observations from the Kepler Space Telescope. The orbital observatory has catalogued 151 exoplanets based on examination of 0.28% of the sky. [more inside]
posted by Gelatin on Sep 26, 2013 - 34 comments

The Long Goodbye

Elvis Voyager I has left the building solar system. (Previously, previouslier, previouslier still)
posted by Gelatin on Sep 12, 2013 - 56 comments

Suited for Space

The Smithsonian's National Air and Space museum is running an exhibit showing the ingenuity of design inherent in the spacesuits used by NASA astronauts. It includes some very cool x-ray photographs of the equipment by Mark Avino. [via]
posted by quin on Sep 4, 2013 - 16 comments

Project Needles: not a hipster knitting collective

It's 1963. You're in a cold war with Russia. You want to keep up communication capabilities globally. Communication satellites haven't come into their own. The ionosphere is fickle and jammable. What do you do? You fire 480 million tiny copper wires into space to create an artificial dipole antenna belt around the earth. You call it Project West Ford. It works. [more inside]
posted by cortex on Aug 27, 2013 - 26 comments

Hubble Ultra Deep Field 3-D Fly-Through

What would it look like to fly through the distant universe?
posted by curious nu on Aug 26, 2013 - 40 comments

Just another day at the office...

A few weeks ago, Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano (@astro_luca) almost drowned during a spacewalk when his helmet started uncontrollably filling with water, possibly from a leaky spacesuit cooling system. (See previous MeFi discussion on the incident.) A week later, his fellow ISS astronaut Chris Cassidy posted two videos online showing the actual spacesuit and using it to illustrate the problem. All future US and European spacewalks have been halted while the incident is being investigated, although the Russian ones are continuing, as they use different suits. Yesterday, Luca published a scary new entry on his in-orbit blog, where he not only gave all the horror-movie details, but also revealed that he nearly chose to depressurize his suit outside the ISS in order to survive.
posted by Asparagirl on Aug 21, 2013 - 49 comments

Curiosity's First Anniversary

Twelve Months in Two Minutes; Curiosity's First Year on Mars. Happy First Anniversary, Curiosity! [Previously]
posted by homunculus on Aug 6, 2013 - 25 comments

"What is feasible?" can be finally answered only by future historians

"The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet." Before we get into terraforming, what about the space between worlds? NASA has a website dedicated to discussions of space settlements (previously), many going back to the 1970s, as seen in the CoEvolution Book on space settlement and the NASA Ames/Stanford 1975 Summer Study. There is also concept art from the 1970s by Don Davis (prev: 1, 2, 3) and Rick Guidice. Escaping from that orbit, there's also a toroidal space colony as imagined in the 1982 book Walt Disney's EPCOT, and more recently, a ton of neat imagery on Bryan Versteeg's Spacehabs website. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 6, 2013 - 15 comments

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