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Space Shuttle Discovery arrives at its new home

The Space Shuttle Discovery, known for launching the Hubble telescope, as well as being the workhorse of the fleet, made a final flight today. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Apr 17, 2012 - 55 comments

Outta the way HAL, humans have work to do

Why Space Exploration Is a Job for Humans.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Apr 4, 2012 - 83 comments

Origin Story

The Evolution of the Moon: a cool, short video made with information from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
posted by quin on Apr 2, 2012 - 21 comments

To the ocean, Alice!

"NASA is one of the few institutions I know that can inspire five-year-olds. It sure inspired me, and with this endeavor, maybe we can inspire a few more youth to invent and explore." An undersea expendition funded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has discovered the spent rocket engines used to power Apollo 11.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 29, 2012 - 59 comments

Perpetual ocean

Beautiful HD video of whirlpools flowing around rocks, courtesy of NASA and neatorama.
posted by mediareport on Mar 25, 2012 - 10 comments

That German that sent Americans to the Moon

Remembering Wernher von Braun on his 100th Birthday.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 24, 2012 - 85 comments

Dissecting OV's 103, 104 and 105.

Orbiter Autopsies "What NASA will learn from dissecting Space Shuttles Atlantis, Discovery, and Endeavour" before they transition into retirement. (From the May 2012 issue of Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine.)
posted by zarq on Mar 23, 2012 - 13 comments

"One small fling for a bird, one quantum leap for birdkind."

"A space station is a serious place. We're doing serious research." Rovio and NASA further explore the classic avain-porcine rivalry (and microgravity) through a Space Act Agreement. Angry Birds: Space is launching today.
posted by obscurator on Mar 22, 2012 - 21 comments

Video of aurora from orbit

Auroras Underfoot is a short documentary about auroras by NASA, which uses high-definition images taken by International Space Station science officer Don Pettit of aurora from orbit. Pettit writes about the difficulties of taking photographs from orbit and other subjects on his blog.
posted by Kattullus on Mar 19, 2012 - 6 comments

You make my heart go to 12,000 RPM

"Nature is not always the best designer, at least when it comes to things that humans must build and maintain. So the newest artificial heart doesn’t imitate the cardiac muscle at all. Instead, it whirs like a little propeller, pushing blood through the body at a steady rate. After 500 million years of evolution accustoming the human body to blood moving through us in spurts, a pulse may not be necessary. That, in any case, is the point of view of the 50-odd calves, and no fewer than three human beings, who have gotten along just fine with their blood coursing through them as evenly as Freon through an air conditioner."
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 11, 2012 - 104 comments

"Any nation, at any time, has the capacity to create a hero."

Neil deGrasse Tyson gives testimony on March 7, 2012 before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation (Majority member page) (Minority member page) Eight minutes of speech followed by questioning and response. [more inside]
posted by lazaruslong on Mar 8, 2012 - 80 comments

Can we go Dad, can we?!

Making the Case for Human Missions to Asteroids
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 7, 2012 - 26 comments

Taller than a HiRISE

Just a photo of a half-mile tall Martian dust devil, snapped by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Mar 7, 2012 - 13 comments

1,000 new worlds

NASA has announced that the latest Kepler data dump contains 1,091 extrasolar planet candidates, with 196 Earth-sized planets among them. The data shows "a clear trend toward smaller planets at longer orbital periods is evident with each new catalog release. This suggests that Earth-size planets in the habitable zone are forthcoming if, indeed, such planets are abundant." Total Kepler candidates as of February 27, 2012: 2,321. [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Mar 1, 2012 - 44 comments

ISS Owner's Manual

The International Space Station is a complex place, with loads of gear packed into its 916 cubic meters of pressurized volume. SpaceRef has an assortment of detailed technical documents describing everything from basic operations to emergency procedures. For a general overview, see the excellent NASA ISS Reference Guide (pdf).
posted by bitmage on Feb 29, 2012 - 12 comments

"That View Is Tremendous"

Fifty years ago today, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth. In an recent interview, he lamented the decline of the manned US space program: "It's unseemly to me that here we are, supposedly the world's greatest space-faring nation, and we don't even have a way to get back and forth to our own International Space Station." [more inside]
posted by dsfan on Feb 20, 2012 - 80 comments

We're DEFINITELY Not In Kansas Anymore, Toto

A brief video of a tornado on the surface of the sun posted by NPR, as seen by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (links to various sizes and qualities of downloads here). The tornado is larger than Earth itself and has gusts up to 300,000 miles per hour.
posted by briank on Feb 17, 2012 - 52 comments

Goddamn that's beautiful

The Blue Marble is a famous photograph of Earth, taken by the crew of Apollo 17 on December 7th 1972, as they traveled to the moon. On January 23th, 2012, the Suomi NPP satellite snapped a similar, high definition photo, called Blue Marble 2012. By sure to check out the other side of the Marble, how the photos were taken and a PDF that describes the NPP project.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Feb 3, 2012 - 22 comments

Happy Birthday Oppy

Having now traversed 34 kilometres (21 miles) across the surface of Mars and exceeding it's 90-day mission to explore Mars by 2,830 days, NASA's Opportunity rover turned 8 years old today. So what's the feisty martian robot been up to lately? It's now exploring the rim of the 14-mile-wide Endeavor crater, discovering "slam-dunk" evidence that water once flowed through underground fractures, and is being strategically positioned at a 15-degree angle for a long winter suntan.
posted by joinks on Jan 24, 2012 - 29 comments

The tiniest star system

Astronomers using data from NASA's Kepler mission have discovered the three smallest planets yet detected orbiting a star beyond our sun. The planets orbit a single star, called KOI-961, and are 0.78, 0.73 and 0.57 times the radius of Earth. The smallest is about the size of Mars.
posted by IvoShandor on Jan 11, 2012 - 29 comments

OpenCode

Today, NASA goes open source with its code, joining endeavours such as SpaceHack [previously], WorldWind and (for more worldly coders) Github, GoogleCode, and the venerable SourceForge.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Jan 8, 2012 - 11 comments

HOLY SH*T MAN WALKS ON F**KING MOON

At one point, Stafford recognized a landmark crater, Censorinus A. He was momentarily distracted by the dramatic shadows and giant boulders surrounding the crater. “I’ve got Censorinus A right here,” he said out loud to the world, “bigger than shit!” A shocked reporter listening to the transmission in mission control turned to astronaut Jack Schmitt. “What did Colonel Stafford just say?” Thinking quickly, Schmitt covered for his colleague and replied “He said, ‘Oh, there’s Censorinus… bigger than Schmitt!’”

How not to swear on the moon, and other fun facts from Vintage Space.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Jan 6, 2012 - 21 comments

"We Stopped Dreaming"

King of the Cosmos (A Profile of Neil deGrasse Tyson) by Carl Zimmer. (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 3, 2012 - 20 comments

The universe, Carl Sagan, a golden record, chance and love

Click the photo at the top of the linked page to view The Voyagers, a rumination on the universe, love, a golden record and two small space probes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 26, 2011 - 4 comments

The only thing it lacks is John Lithgow

There's Hard Rock, Soft Rock, Punk Rock, Folk Rock, Progressive Rock, Alt Rock, Art Rock, Acid Rock, Indie Rock, Grunge Rock, Schoolhouse Rock, 30 Rock, and now there's Third Rock, an internet radio station "powered by NASA", yes, NASA. (Think of it as 'New Music' with commercials for something you already like)
posted by oneswellfoop on Dec 16, 2011 - 20 comments

SPACE FIRE!

Fire tests on the International Space Station are showing some really neat results, including that fire can burn in microgravity at lower temperatures and with less oxygen. Video included at the link. [more inside]
posted by odinsdream on Dec 1, 2011 - 23 comments

SciGuy Eric Berger

One of my favorite blogs happens to be local to me. Eric Berger, the Houston Chronicle's "SciGuy" usually reports on the weather. But he also posts entertaining and serious stuff as well. [more inside]
posted by PapaLobo on Nov 22, 2011 - 3 comments

Frequent travel may be required

NASA is hiring new astronaut candidates. Positions are open for all qualified U.S. citizens. [more inside]
posted by twoleftfeet on Nov 15, 2011 - 122 comments

NASA's new ride

NASA is designing a spiffy new rocket, the Space Launch System, which will lob people and cargo to the moon, an asteroid and eventually Mars. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Oct 20, 2011 - 92 comments

VLA no more

Rename the VLA (Very Large Array)! The famous desert radio telescope, made of a bunch of independently movable giant satellite dishes, has just finished a ten-year upgrade and they're holding a contest to pick a new name in celebration. Deadline December 1. (via Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy, which mentions another naming contest, for schoolkids in the US to pick a name for the GRAIL satellites)
posted by LobsterMitten on Oct 18, 2011 - 70 comments

Amaizing Field of Dreams

7 HUGE "corn mazes" celebrating 50 years of human spaceflight [infographic/poster].
posted by Mike Mongo on Oct 8, 2011 - 8 comments

♫ For purple mountain majesties / [Several miles] Above the fruited [Chinese] plain! ♫

Tiangong 1, [the] latest demonstration of Beijing's otherworldly ambitions comes in a year when the US has wound down its space shuttle fleet and its partners have said the International Space Station (previously) should be buried at sea in 2020. Perhaps in its honor, [s]trains of the famed American patriotic tune (America the Beautiful) rang out following the launch of the Tiang Gong-1 experimental space station module late Thursday night. [more inside]
posted by obscurator on Sep 30, 2011 - 27 comments

Watch Your Head!

Some time late tonight or early tomorrow morning, NASA's UARS (a satellite deployed in 1991 to study the ozone layer) will fall to the Earth. The odds of it hitting you are about 1 in 20 trillion, but the odds of it hitting somebody somewhere is about 1 in 3,200. The Planetary Society Blog has a nice writeup as well. Follow along yourself with NASA or the Center for Orbital Reentry Debris Studies. [more inside]
posted by kmz on Sep 23, 2011 - 74 comments

RIP, Bert Winthrop, Space Artist

NASA artist Herbert "Bert" Winthrop, has died at 95. [more inside]
posted by Ideefixe on Sep 18, 2011 - 9 comments

What humans are doing in space these days

Hey, remember the ISS, that space station the Space Shuttle helped build before the shuttle was retired? Turns out humans might have to vacate that nifty space station for a bit. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Aug 30, 2011 - 93 comments

The Dream Of Flight

Breathtaking first-person-view wingsuit flights in the Swiss Alps and around Europe. Jetman (with a turbine-powered strap-on wing) flies the Grand Canyon. Meanwhile, NASA continues work on the Puffin: an electric VTOL "personal air vehicle". [more inside]
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Aug 17, 2011 - 17 comments

A hungry heart to regulate their breathing

In July 1969, just two days prior to the launch of Apollo 11, six intrepid aquanauts climbed into a submarine built in the mountains of Switzerland, slipped beneath the waves near Palm Beach, Florida, and switched off their motors. Thirty-one days later, they surfaced about 300 miles from Halifax, Nova Scotia, having drifted 1444 miles in the Grumman/Piccard research submersible PX-15 Ben Franklin. [more inside]
posted by sonascope on Aug 14, 2011 - 31 comments

Building Blocks Of DNA Come From Space

NASA Proves Building Blocks Of DNA Come From Space. "NASA researchers studying meteorites have found that they contain several of the components needed to make DNA on Earth. The discovery provides support for the idea that the building blocks for DNA were likely created in space, and carried to Earth on objects, like meteorites, that crashed into the planet’s surface. According to the theory, the ready-made DNA parts could have then assembled under Earth’s early conditions to create the first DNA."
posted by homunculus on Aug 9, 2011 - 44 comments

No one hears you scream but these mythological figurines

NASA's Juno spacecraft launched this morning and is en route to Jupiter (launch video). Equipped with microwave, ultraviolet, infrared, and visible light detectors Juno will investigate the origins, atmosphere, and magnetosphere of the Solar System's largest planets over one year beginning with its arrival in 2016. Using its awesome solar-powered technology Juno will show Jupiter's magnetic field in detail never before seen. We probably won't hear much from Juno again until 2013, when it makes a fly-by of Earth. You can follow Juno on Twitter, so if it types out its scream, someone will hear it. Also screaming traveling aboard Juno are three very special LEGO mini-figurines.
posted by IvoShandor on Aug 5, 2011 - 35 comments

The Mix Tape of the Gods: made to be played at 16-2/3 revolutions per second, now traveling 300 million miles per year

August and September 2011 mark 34 years in the journeys of Voyager 1 and 2. The two scientific probes, progeny of the Mariner program, were sent out to survey this solar system and beyond. Voyager 2 completed the Grand Tour in 2009 (excluding Pluto), and Voyager 1 is getting closer to interstellar space (previously). Both scientific probes were sent out in with a time capsule from 1977, golden records secured in plain view on the outside of the Voyager Spacecraft. These greetings from earth (alt links: Coral Cache, Archive.org) were recorded in the form of 116 images, a collection of sounds of this planet, greetings in 55 languages (YT), 27 songs from around the world, and brain waves of Ann Druyan, then recently engaged to Carl Sagan. For all that work, the "Mix Tape of the Gods" almost didn't get sent into space because of some last-minute writing in the run-outs. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 5, 2011 - 26 comments

Water water everywhere

NASA May Have Discovered Flowing Water on Mars Dark, finger-like features appear and extend down some Martian slopes during late spring through summer, fade in winter, and return during the next spring. Repeated observations have tracked the seasonal changes in these recurring features on several steep slopes in the middle latitudes of Mars' southern hemisphere.
posted by modernnomad on Aug 4, 2011 - 65 comments

Awwwwww!

Jupiter has lots. Mars has some, too, as does Neptune. Turns out Earth's got a trojan asteroid of its own. Meet 2010 TK7, the blue planet's new baby brother.
posted by Sys Rq on Jul 29, 2011 - 51 comments

We Could've Had The Moon

Tim Kreider writes a little essay comparing the Moon and Afghanistan.
posted by The Whelk on Jul 23, 2011 - 50 comments

All space shuttle missions, in 8 minutes.

All space shuttle missions, in 8 minutes. (SLYT)
posted by Zarkonnen on Jul 22, 2011 - 13 comments

Lift and separate

Initially the conventional wisdom was that spacesuits “would be like rockets: adamantine, metallic, armored and smooth.” But in practice, rigid spacesuits repeatedly failed under testing. So when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon they were protected from the vacuum of space by flexible spacesuits crafted from twenty-one layers of fabric, “each with a distinct yet interrelated function, custom-sewn for them by seamstresses whose usual work was fashioning bras and girdles” for the Playtex Corporation. The Spirit of the Spacesuit , Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo [more inside]
posted by Herodios on Jul 21, 2011 - 25 comments

Time to update your moon charts for the solar system.

Pluto may have been downsized in 2006, but it's still living large, moon wise: A fourth moon has been discovered orbiting the dwarf planet.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jul 20, 2011 - 82 comments

Dawn orbits Vesta

Dawn spacecraft now orbits asteroid Vesta - After almost 4 years of space travel, the Dawn spacecraft successfully entered orbit around Vesta, an Arizona sized rock. Dawn tweets, takes pictures, and there is a Vesta Fiesta party to celebrate. After hanging out at Vesta for a year, Dawn will head off to visit the Ceres asteroid next, a three year trip. Amazing achievement of engineering, innovation and accuracy.
posted by Argyle on Jul 17, 2011 - 42 comments

The grooviest frontier.

Space: 1975!
posted by loquacious on Jul 16, 2011 - 43 comments

Where we won't go anymore.

VR Panorama of the Space Shuttle Discovery's flight deck
posted by bitmage on Jul 12, 2011 - 34 comments

It's SOHOt

On July 5th the SOlar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) captured video of a comet, known as a sungrazer, in route to collide with our star. SOHO is equipped with an occluding coronograph that blocks direct sunlight and reveals the corona, but also prevents direct study of the terminal impact of sungrazers. But on July 6th, with the help of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), astronomers were able to observe the comet (slyt) streaking in front of the surface of the sun for the first time in history. It likely disintegrated before impact due to extreme heat and radiation.
posted by troll on Jul 8, 2011 - 18 comments

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