On the eve of the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the Annual John H. Glenn Lecture took place at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Tickets were in high demand for the event, which featured the Apollo 11 astronauts - among others - discussing the past, present, and future of manned spaceflight. [more inside]
A new photograph from the Hubble shows the largest stellar nursery in our galactic region. Click on the picture for a larger image.
Kraken Mare lake on Saturn's largest moon Titan was finally located and photographed. It's the first photo of a lake of liquid on another planetary body.
NASA's MESSENGER team (previously: 1, 2, 3), with help from the U.S. Geological Survey, released yesterday the first global map of the planet Mercury. [more inside]
Scientists at NASA will announce the first findings from the Kepler mission next month. The results have caught scientists off-guard but they aren't giving any hints as to what mission co-investigator David Latham "was not prescient enough to anticipate". [more inside]
The best space shuttle launch video you will see today. As compiled and edited by NASA's SE&I imagery team at Johnson Space Center.
At least three million tons of fishlike creatures could theoretically live and breathe on Europa, according to Professor Richard Greenberg of the University of Arizona in Tucson. Greenberg recently presented his findings to the Division for Planetary Sciences, American Astronomical Society (PDF, Google quick view). Greenberg has written about potential life on Europa before, but his recent calculations suggest that the concentrations of oxygen would be great enough to support not only microorganisms, but also more complex animal-like organisms which have greater oxygen demands. [more inside]
In 2010, Obama will have a miserable year, NATO may lose in Afghanistan, the UK gets a regime change, China needs to chill, India's factories will overtake its farms, Europe risks becoming an irrelevant museum, the stimulus will need an exit strategy, the G20 will see a challenge from the "G2", African football will unite Korea, conflict over natural resources will grow, Sarkozy will be unloved and unrivalled, the kids will come together to solve the world's problems (because their elders are unable), technology will grow ever more ubiquitous, we'll all charge our phones via USB, MBAs will be uncool, the Space Shuttle will be put to rest, and Somalia will be the worst country in the world. And so the Tens begin.
The Economist: The World in 2010. [more inside]
The Economist: The World in 2010. [more inside]
NASA's Fluxtimator helps calculate the meteor shower activity in your area. There will be one of the biggest meteor shower events of our lifetime, the Leonid Meteor shower of 2009. Start time: this Monday November 16, 2009 at 11:00pm EST. End Time: Tuesday, November 17, 2009 at 4:00am EST (best 2am to 4 am EST). An Atomic Age song in mp3 to celebrate: What Is A Shooting Star. [more inside]
"Terraforming would be to create an uncontained planetary biosphere emulating all the functions of the biosphere of the Earth" M.J. Fogg
NASA scientists claim to have found significant amounts of water, after successfully bombing the moon last month. This may have implications on possible Terraforming efforts as well as NASA's goal to understand the nature and distribution of habitable environments in the Universe. What might it look like?
Where am I now? Travelin' 1.18km/s(2646mph). 70,289km from the Moon. 19 hrs! RU Excited? I am! #lcross
On October 9th, NASA spacecraft will run into the moon, and on purpose. The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) and its rocket's Centaur upper stage will impact the moon, with the goal of sending some of the (possibly present) ice above the lunar surface. Once out of the eternal shade of the moon's south pole, sunlight will break the ice up into H+ and OH- molecules, which can be detected by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The initial impact site was the crater Cabeus A, but the target was later changed to Cabeus (proper), selected for highest hydrogen concentrations with the greatest level of certainty, and for the high-contrast back drop to detect ejecta and vapor measurements. NASA has provided guides for amateur observations of the impact, a facebook group, and a Twitter feed so you don't miss the moment.
Soyuz rocket rolls to launch pad. A fine photoset of an otherwise routine Russian rocket rollout. I can tell that photographer Bill Ingalls loves rockets. His favs.
José Hernández was a migrant worker when he first started to dream about becoming an astronaut. He is the first astronaut to Twitter in Spanish from space on shuttle mission STS-128. NASA wasn't happy about the controversy he caused when he advocated for the legalization of undocumented immigrants. He is not the first Hispanic-American to fly on the space shuttle. Hernández is a national hero in Mexico and has been invited to dine with President Calderon.
Cassini Reveals New Ring Quirks, Shadows During Saturn Equinox. "It's like putting on 3-D glasses and seeing the third dimension for the first time," said Bob Pappalardo, Cassini project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "This is among the most important events Cassini has shown us." Latest press images.
Last Tuesday, The Augstine Commission - an independent council created earlier this year to study NASA's human spaceflight objectives - released their findings. While many are responding to the report's grim findings on NASA's budget woes, former aerospace engineer Rand Simberg has a criticism of his own: "If our attitude toward the space frontier is that we must strive to never, ever lose anyone, it will remain closed. If our ancestors who opened the west, or who came from Europe, had such an attitude, we would still be over there, and there would have been no California space industry to get us to the moon forty years ago. It has never been 'safe' to open a frontier, and this frontier is the harshest one that we've ever faced."
Earlier today, NASA released the first photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope since it was refurbished last May - and the results are absolutely stunning.
1,512 high-resolution images of Mars from the viewpoint of an airplane passenger. Previous photos: 1 2 3
In the next few weeks, NASA will present President Obama with options for the near-term future of human spaceflight. A manned flight to Mars is one possibility. But if we do send astronauts to Mars, do we really need to bring them home again?
Orbital skydives to follow inflatable heatshield success? "NASA has announced a successful live test of a prototype inflatable heat shield for re-entry to a planet's atmosphere. The blow-up shield could have important implications for future missions to Mars - and also, perhaps, for the nascent field of orbital spacesuit skydiving."
In 2004, the Stardust mission passed through the tail of comet 81P/Wild (aka Wild 2); in 2006, that captured comet dust was returned to Earth. Now, researchers have found glycine, one of the amino acids in proteins, in that cometary material. [more inside]
Neil Armstrong was a test pilot before he was an astronaut. He had his pilot's license before he had his driver's license. But even he had some trouble getting used to that darned Lunar Excursion Module (LEM). [more inside]
Astronaut Michael Collins – "I really believe that if the political leaders of the world could see their planet from a distance of 100,000 miles their outlook could be fundamentally changed. That all-important border would be invisible, that noisy argument silenced. The tiny globe would continue to turn, serenely ignoring its subdivisions, presenting a unified façade that would cry out for unified understanding, for homogeneous treatment. The earth must become as it appears: blue and white, not capitalist or Communist; blue and white, not rich or poor; blue and white, not envious or envied."
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has returned its first images of the Apollo moon landing sites. The spacecraft’s onboard camera photographed Lunar Module descent stages at five of the six Apollo sites—11, 14, 15, 16, and 17. The Apollo 12 site will be photographed in coming weeks. [more inside]
We Chose the Moon: The JFK Library and Museum has just launched this interactive web experience using archival audio, video, photos, and recorded transmissions to re-create, in real time, the July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
Ultra-High Bypass (UHB) or "propfan" jet engines received attention in the late eighties as an economical and greener alternative to currrent GTF and ATF jet technologies. Adoption was partially prevented by industry fears that the external propellers would being seen as a step backwards. Evidently, General Electric and NASA are reinvesting in the technology.
The most complete terrain map of the Earth's surface has been published. It covers 99% of the planet using ASTER satellite imagery. You can download the map and some cool images from NASA's page.
Space Shuttle launch aborts. Approximately six minutes of on-pad post-ignition pre-liftoff aborts in a single YouTube link.
Inspired by its 10th anniversary, the Earth Observatory has pulled together a special series of NASA satellite images documenting how the world has changed. From these images, Wired Science has made 5 videos, presenting convenient time-lapse views of the world changing (mainly) because of human actions. Watch the urbanization of Dubai, specifically the growth of Palm Jumeirah. See the Aral Sea dry up - once the fourth largest lake, down to 10 percent of its original size (marked by the thin black line in the video) by 2007. View the clearing the Amazon, as observed from above the state of Rondônia in western Brazil. Behold the return of Mesopotamia's Wetlands, now in the process of being restored from near total destruction under the regime of Saddam Hussein. Witness the impact of drought on Southern Utah's Lake Powell, where water level dropped from 20 million to 8 million acre-feet from 2000 to 2005.
Back in 2002, 4 interns pulled off an unusual heist: they stole a quarter tonne of moon rocks under NASA's nose, which reads like a surreal pulp. [via jwz] [more inside]
There has been a lot of speculation lately about NASA's future plans for manned spaceflight, especially in light of the Obama government's review of Project Constellation, the Apollo-esque Orion capsule, and the effectiveness (or not) of the Ares rockets. More about this here, here, and here. [more inside]
At the mostly abandoned Moffett Field in an abandoned McDonald's, digital archeologists attempt to restore, recover and archive abandoned high resolution imagery and data from previous manned Moon missions, using an abandoned Ampex 2" tape drive found in a chicken coop - the last working machine in the world, restored by the last man alive capable of rebuilding the heads. This is likely only part of their weird story.
Nasa is using friction stir welding to build its new space craft. No blowtorch, no solder, no sparks, no smoke, no ozone and no radiation. Instead, it uses friction to heat materials and then "stir" them together at a molecular level.
Once dubbed the Picture of the Century, the first Earthrise, photographed in 1966 by NASA's Lunar Orbiter 1, presented "a stunning juxtaposition of planet and moon that no earthling had ever seen before." After initially inspiring awe, the original image was almost destroyed. In the mad rush of the space race, the pictures and data from early missions were warehoused and forgotten. Many at NASA believed that the original high-resolution images, stored on fragile tapes that could only be read by obsolete equipment, would be nearly impossible to retrieve, but one woman was determined to see them restored. Via.
NASA Interim Problem Report 119V-0080: The bat that went up with the Space Shuttle Discovery.
Tonight NASA is scheduled to launch the Kepler Mission (named after planetary legislator Johannes Kepler) with the goal of finding Earth size planets in orbit around stars in the Cygnus-Lyra region of the sky. Over the next 3 and a half years it will maintain a nearly unblinking gaze on the approximately 100 thousand stars in the region. NASA expects it to find about 50 Earth size planets, as well as hundreds that are larger. You can watch the launch live on NASA TV. [more inside]
via whedonesque.com: Vote for the name of node 3 of the ISS. Apparently Joss needs our help. "After Serenity made it to space last year, NASA want to know what to name part of the space station, and Serenity is on the list." [more inside]
"They ran into each other. Nothing has the right of way up there. We don't have an air traffic controller in space. There is no universal way of knowing what's coming in your direction." An unprecedented collision of two orbiting satellites yesterday highlights the increasing threat of space junk.
Science & technology funding has an enormous long term impact on the economy, a fact that has not escaped China. Yet, Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have proposed cutting all National Science Foundation and Department of Energy Office of Science funding from the Senate American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, along with almost all other proposed funding of the sciences and technological development, as a part of a $77.9B reduction effort. Why? Well, you'll notice that Nebraska & Maine don't contribute much to science & technology in the United States, nor win many grants, and hence no bacon for Nelson and Collins. [more inside]
"Money" is a completely AWESOME music video of a track by N.A.S.A. (North America South America), a DJ collective featuring Squeak E. Clean and DJ Zegon plus many famous guest artists, including, on this track alone, David Byrne, Chuck D, Ras Congo, Seu Jorge, & Z-Trip. (Other tracks by N.A.S.A. feature the likes of Tom Waits, M.I.A., Gift of Gab and Kool Keith.) The video features the artwork of Shepard Fairey, who has been discussed previously here. The video was directed by Paul Griswold and Syd Garon (who also did this great video for DJ Qbert and this one for Dan the Automator, which features some nice Gilliamesque touches.)
A British tabloid claims that NASA will today announce the probable presence of life on Mars. Planetary and atmospheric scientists from NASA's Mars program will address a press conference at 2PM EST, apparently about concentrated methane
plumesthat bloom and dissipate [pdf]. There was a false alarm about a similar briefing a few months ago; is this the real deal?
Spacesuits ll LunarRover ll NavigationComputer ll LunarModule ll SaturnV First aired on Discovery channel as part of Space Week, Moon Machines tells the story of the over 400,000 engineers and technicians that made it possible for us to go to the moon. Lots of gorgeous Nasa archival footage throughout.