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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

An Astronomical Acid Trip

Enjoy 200,000 images of Saturn, its rings and moons taken by NASA's Cassini over 8 years compressed into 4 minutes of video.
posted by gottabefunky on Jul 22, 2013 - 23 comments

Trouble on the International Space Station

“Imagine having a fishbowl on your head with a half a litre of water sticking to your face, ears and nose. Then imagine you can’t take the fishbowl off your head for a minimum of 20 minutes, feel the panic?”

ISS astronaut Luca Parmitano developed a water leak in his helmet shortly after beginning a spacewalk, but is fine now.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jul 16, 2013 - 64 comments

The Heliotail

Our Solar System Has a Tail Shaped Like a Four-Leaf Clover: New Findings from IBEX.
posted by homunculus on Jul 11, 2013 - 10 comments

Our Green Marble

NOAA and NASA visualize a green planet. The amazing maps of Earth's vegetation highlight areas where plant life is the densest and barest... (Space.com). They have an interactive map too! [more inside]
posted by bonehead on Jun 21, 2013 - 10 comments

Say Cheese!

"It’s not inconceivable that if you are on the right part of the Earth, and you stand outside and wave, that one or two of the photons of sunlight that reflect from you are going to make it out to Saturn and into Cassini’s telescope." NASA is taking a new version of Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot image, and they've invited everyone to Wave at Saturn!
posted by brundlefly on Jun 20, 2013 - 22 comments

Tell us what you think about human spaceflight

The Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB), on behalf of The National Academies, is seeking input papers on human spaceflight until July 9th, 2013. You can also read the current submissions. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jun 19, 2013 - 3 comments

The Long Swath

The Long Swath is a satellite image by NASA's Landsat Data Continuity Mission that captures, in a single continuous image, a strip of land 120 by 6,000 miles stretching from South Africa to Russia. The image can be explored in Gigapan, Google Earth, and fly-over videos and high resolution images.
posted by carter on May 19, 2013 - 7 comments

Exoplanet Hunter

"It was one of those things that was a gift to humanity... We’re all going to lose for sure." Kepler's career is over, but not before answering one of mankind's most profound questions.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on May 15, 2013 - 30 comments

the composer of the future meets the city of the future

In 1985, Houston was preparing for a party: 1986 marked the city's 150th birthday, the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Texas, and 25 years since the opening of NASA's Johnson Space Center, the hub around which the city's aerospace industry blossomed. In comes French synthesizer pioneer Jean Michel Jarre, the "composer of the future", known for his spectacular 1979 Bastille Day show that attracted a million people to Place de la Concorde, and for being the first Western musician to play China in 1981. With the Space Shuttle Challenger due to take off on mission STS-51-L in January, Jarre penned a piece for Mission Specialist and saxophonist Ron McNair to record in space. The nation watched as McNair and his crewmates prepared for their journey and waved goodbye, only to perish in a haunting and iconic explosion. As Houston mourned the loss of the seven crew, who called the city home during their preparation for spaceflight, Jarre wasn't sure if the upcoming festivities should be held, but was convinced by astronaut Bruce McCandless that the show must go on. On April 5, 1986, 1.5 million people gathered downtown to witness Rendez-vous Houston, a massive tribute to America's pioneering spirit that used the city as its backdrop. [more inside]
posted by avocet on May 14, 2013 - 19 comments

Pin the tail on the blue marble

NASA needs your help. Match the picture taken of a random location on Earth to the map, see how close you can get and "help NASA qualify their huge photo repository".
posted by MartinWisse on May 11, 2013 - 14 comments

NASA wants your haiku

Can't get attention for your poetry here on Earth? Well ... [more inside]
posted by anothermug on May 4, 2013 - 25 comments

"Ring it Out"

Last fall, the Canadian Space Agency asked students to design a simple science experiment that could be performed in space, using items already available aboard the International Space Station. Today, Commander Chris Hadfield conducted the winner for its designers: two tenth grade students, Kendra Lemke and Meredith Faulkner, in a live feed to their school in Fall River, Nova Scotia. And now, we finally have an answer to the age-old question, What Happens When You Wring Out A Washcloth In Space? [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 18, 2013 - 63 comments

Rocket! Launched from near where you (may) live! Man!

In August 2013 a Minotaur V rocket (Lunar!) is being launched from Wallops Flight Facility, to deliver a Lunar Orbiter. [more inside]
posted by joecacti on Apr 16, 2013 - 10 comments

Where is life?

There once were two planets, new to the galaxy and inexperienced in life. Like fraternal twins, they were born at the same time, and took roughly the same shape.
posted by lite on Apr 15, 2013 - 15 comments

belters expanse trajectory: working up the Epstein Drive

How NASA brought the monstrous F-1 "moon rocket" engine back to life - "The story of young engineers who resurrected an engine nearly twice their age." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 14, 2013 - 34 comments

A brilliant plan.

There is no way this could possibly go wrong.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch on Apr 6, 2013 - 135 comments

Fooood In Spaaaaaace

NASA's Space Food Hall of Fame
Today's space food has come a long way since the Mercury Program of the early 1960s. When John Glenn first tried apple sauce from a squeeze tube onboard his Friendship 7 spacecraft in 1962, who could have dreamed that later astronauts would be able to choose from such a wide variety of foods?
See also: Food in Space: Great Photos of Astronaut Meals, from the Early Space Voyages to Today, on io9. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 3, 2013 - 18 comments

Abort Guidance System? There's a manual for that!

20 cool covers from NASA manuals and press books [more inside]
posted by Thorzdad on Apr 3, 2013 - 26 comments

"Where is the moon?" "Right straight ahead of you, John."

Distractions in Space: Because astronauts also have problems with directions, coworkers, and poop.
posted by ardgedee on Apr 3, 2013 - 28 comments

To Boldly Design....

Artist/designer Shepard Fairey was commissioned the Center For The Advancement Of Science In Space to design a brand new patch for the International Space Station's ARK 1 (Advancing Researching Knowledge) mission. CASIS's Pat O'Neill unveiling the patch and the ARK 1 proposal.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 3, 2013 - 16 comments

First images from the LDCM

This week, the first images of Earth from the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) were released by NASA. The images show the meeting of the Great Plains with the Front Ranges of the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming and Colorado. [more inside]
posted by tocts on Mar 25, 2013 - 5 comments

Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace!

When the US Department of Energy halted Plutonium 238 production as far back as 1988, things looked grim for the future of space exploration. On Monday, March 18th, NASA's planetary science division head Jim Green announced that production has been restarted, and is currently in the test phases leading up to a restart at full scale.
posted by cthuljew on Mar 25, 2013 - 37 comments

NASA or MOMA? Play the Game!

Here are some pictures. Were they taken in space, or painted here on Earth?
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 22, 2013 - 29 comments

"We found so much."

As promised, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his team have recovered several Apollo F-1 rocket engines from the bottom of the ocean. [more inside]
posted by Chutzler on Mar 20, 2013 - 58 comments

sea & sky

seaQuest: what if we could learn to live on/underneath the oceans (or in orbit)? [previously(er)] [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 18, 2013 - 14 comments

Greetings from the Red Planet

NASA recently announced that the latest results from NASA's Curiosity Rover on Mars provide clear physical evidence that Mars once had all the conditions necessary to support life. Despite the skeptical reception given to recent news that the rover may also have found indirect evidence of organic compounds and active microbiological activity, other recent scientific results have gone even further. One Australian study from 2011 concluded, given what we know about Mars now, 3% of its total volume (as compared to 1% of Earth's) is likely habitable to known terrestrial lifeforms. And more recently, further analysis of the results of experiments performed by the 1976 Viking Lander mission suggests that we have likely detected active microbiological activity on Mars already, with one researcher going so far as to claim a 99% certainty that those earlier results detected life. (Previously).
posted by saulgoodman on Mar 15, 2013 - 78 comments

Comet PANSTARRS flyby

NASA's guide to observing a comet over the next few days
posted by maggieb on Mar 9, 2013 - 20 comments

"I never doubted that it was all going to work out."

A life well lived. On October 4, 1973, Josh Miele (4) was permanently blinded in an acid attack by his neighbor (pdf). 40 years later, Dr. Miele has worked for NASA on the Mars Rover project, he's helped develop "WearaBraille", a virtual Braille keyboard interface, and has a new project launching this month: the Descriptive Video Exchange (DVX), which will allow "sighted video viewers to seamlessly add audio description to DVDs as they watch." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 5, 2013 - 14 comments

Swimming with Spacemen

How astronauts train for spacewalks in NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory [more inside]
posted by get off of my cloud on Mar 4, 2013 - 5 comments

The moon! I can't reach it!

A moment of adorable: two year old Kayla can't reach the moon, but that doesn't lessen her interest in it. Kayla's dad shared the video on Reddit, where he got a lot of suggestions for books and items to appease her lunacy, and was invited to tour the NASA facilities in California.
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 25, 2013 - 45 comments

More beholden to magnetism than gravity

Fiery Looping Rain on the Sun (via badastronomy and NASA's SDO)
posted by IvoShandor on Feb 21, 2013 - 17 comments

Richat Structure: the Eye of the Sahara

First noticed by westerners in 1965, when the Gemini-4 spacecraft flew over northwest Africa (alternate source, with link to uncompressed TIF | in Earth photographs from Gemini III, IV, and V on Archive.org), the Richat Structure in the Sahara desert of west–central Mauritania resembles an impact crater or a circular target (or a possible Atlantis, or Plato's circular city, or maybe an open-pit mine), but is a naturally occurring 40-50 km (25-30 mi) geologic dome that has eroded over time. It's large enough that, when seen in person, the scale of the geography is hard to capture. But it is quite impressive when seen from space (mentioned previously)
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 12, 2013 - 7 comments

Anniversary of 2nd shuttle disaster

10 years ago today, the flagship of the Space Shuttle fleet, Columbia, broke apart upon its return to earth. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Feb 1, 2013 - 42 comments

Good morning

A NASA chronology of wakeup calls in space (PDF).
posted by avocet on Jan 26, 2013 - 8 comments

Parting Moon Shots from NASA's GRAIL mission

Three days prior to its planned impact on a lunar mountain, mission controllers activated the camera aboard one of NASA's GRAIL twins to take some final photos from lunar orbit. The result is some of the best footage of the moon's surface captured so far. [more inside]
posted by quin on Jan 25, 2013 - 36 comments

Strike One for Comet Apophis

Comet Apophis flew to within 9 million miles of the Earth yesterday. In 2029 it will come around again and get within 20,000 miles (closer than geosynchronous satellites). Then in 2036 it will approach again. At one time it was thought that it had a 3.5% chance flying through a specific keyhole of space in 2029, which would indicate that it would hit the Earth in 2036. But now the odds are calculated to be infinitesimal. Let's hope the astronomer assumptions are correct about that pesky Yarkovsky Effect. [more inside]
posted by eye of newt on Jan 10, 2013 - 32 comments

IT IS EXACTLY WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE

OMG! CATS! IN! SPACE!
posted by The Whelk on Jan 7, 2013 - 36 comments

Damn fine year for outer space achievements and photos

The year in space, according to NASA and the ESA, along with the best space photos of 2012.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 31, 2012 - 8 comments

Why the World Didn't End Yesterday

NASA explains Why the World Didn't End Yesterday [more inside]
posted by jammy on Dec 22, 2012 - 56 comments

Remind me to glue his helmet shut when we get back

Here is NASA's Z1 Prototype Spacesuit and Portable Life Support System featuring a rear-entry design (interviews with spacesuit engineers Cristina Achondo and Amy Ross). And yes, it looks a little familiar.
posted by elgilito on Dec 20, 2012 - 23 comments

Check out my space station crib

Astronaut, and Expedition 33 Commander, Sunita Williams gives a tour of the International Space Station.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 18, 2012 - 27 comments

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