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Psst, Venus. What's up with those holes in your atmosphere?

Venus Express, ESA's first spacecraft to the planet, has been having a good ol' time skimming the surface at an altitude of 81 miles , finding rainbows and investigating those holes in the planet's atmosphere.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Sep 12, 2014 - 15 comments

Rendezvous with a comet

Today at approximately 08:45am GMT, the Rosetta spacecraft entered orbit of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko after a 10 year journey. Now in orbit 100km above the surface, Rosetta is already sending back amazing images of a rocky, rough rubber duck shaped comet. [more inside]
posted by nubs on Aug 6, 2014 - 52 comments

Tax dollars hard at work around Saturn

Ten years ago, the Cassini–Huygens spacecraft became the first to orbit the planet Saturn. After dropping off Huygens on the moon Titan, Cassini proceeded to spend its time exploring the Saturn system, watching the birth of a new moon, photographing water vents on Enceladus, discovering methane lakes on Titan, spotting hurricanes on Saturn, confirming aspects of general relativity and all sorts of other stuff. Enjoy these stunning photographs, explore the timeline of its exploration and marvel at the complex orbital mechanics that keep Cassini flying in Saturn's system with a tiny fuel supply.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jul 1, 2014 - 32 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

China reaches for the Moon

This Saturday, the Jade Rabbit will meet with Chang’e when China attempts its first landing of an unmanned spacecraft on the Moon. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 13, 2013 - 66 comments

The USS You

ShapeWright Ship will take your name (or really any string of text) and generate a 3D model of a spaceship based on it.
posted by brundlefly on Oct 31, 2013 - 45 comments

Terran Trade Authority - Spacecraft 2000-2100AD

Terran Trade Authority - Spacecraft 2000-2100AD
posted by Artw on Jul 11, 2013 - 51 comments

Watching the world go by from orbit

Serene and hypnotizing video of a Russian Progress spacecraft docking with the International Space Station.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on May 10, 2013 - 16 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

Landing on Titan, now in full color!

It's been just over eight years since the Hugyens space probe separated from the Cassini spacecraft and drifted down to the surface Saturn's moon Titan. Along the way it provided video and sounds of its descent.

Now a 3D visualization of its landing, based on data from the spacecraft itself, has been created.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jan 15, 2013 - 14 comments

Rendezvous with Neptune

In case you felt that your week was missing an interview of Carl Sagan by Sidney Poitier during the 1989 Voyager Neptune encounter, you're welcome. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Oct 30, 2012 - 10 comments

Camoflage and Cognitive Dissonance.

A bunch of fighter aircraft, real and imagined, with alternate paintschemes.
posted by not_that_epiphanius on Oct 27, 2012 - 19 comments

Launching and catching Dragons

SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday morning, after a slightly problematic launch on Sunday. Following on the successful test flight in May, this mission marks the first official supply run to the ISS by a private company. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Oct 10, 2012 - 98 comments

How To Steal The Space Shuttle: A Step-By-Step Guide

How To Steal The Space Shuttle: A Step-By-Step Guide
posted by Egg Shen on Oct 5, 2012 - 33 comments

A long way from home

35 years ago today, Voyager 1 transmitted three images which NASA processed into a single frame of Earth and its moon. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Sep 18, 2012 - 49 comments

The Mythbuster Sings Aloud

"If I pee, or break this shit, just go with it." MeFi's own asavage plays and sings The Long Winters' "The Commander Thinks Aloud" at W00tstock SF. (SLYT)
posted by Mister Moofoo on Feb 2, 2012 - 14 comments

Space fail?

Yesterday, Russia's first interplanetary mission in 15 years launched sucessfully from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. It ran into serious problems almost immediately. In jeopardy are a sample return mission from the Martian satellite Phobos, The Planetary Society's Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment (LIFE), and China's Yinghuo-1 Mars orbiter.
posted by IvoShandor on Nov 9, 2011 - 40 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

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

Turns out we ARE hosting an intergalactic kegger down here

The twin Voyager probes launched by NASA in 1977 have discovered something new in the heliosheath at the edge of the solar system: it's frothy out there. Video. Press Release. Via. Voyager: Previously.
posted by zarq on Jun 13, 2011 - 33 comments

3...2...1...

Remember those crazy Danes? Turns out they've had some problems. But they're trying again today! Cecil, meanwhile, is uncharacteristically uninformed. (Previously)
posted by rikschell on Jun 3, 2011 - 28 comments

Close Encounters of the Comet Kind

Earlier today a comet passed just 435 miles from a spacecraft. The NASA spacecraft EPOXI took some amazing pictures of the event. Scientists are still working to determine if there was any damage to the spacecraft as the comet passed by.
posted by morganannie on Nov 4, 2010 - 56 comments

This thing went to space.

The 2010 Brooklyn Space Program. Here is Luke Geissbuhler's homemade spacecraft. It is made of awesome.
posted by CunningLinguist on Sep 29, 2010 - 24 comments

Before the heliosheath

Emily Lakdawalla has published the first 42 of 99 Voyager Mission Status Bulletins (thanks to space fan Tom Faber). Before the days of the internet, updates on space missions were distributed via newsletter. From 1977-1990 NASA published these Voyager newsletters to update scientists and enthusiasts. Both Voyager I and Voyager II are still out there, hurtling toward the stars. Voyager I and II weekly status updates from 1995-present are currently available online. Lakdawalla will be publishing the rest of the bulletins after she indexes them.
posted by IvoShandor on Sep 15, 2010 - 15 comments

Space geeks rejoice!

Up above the world so high, what's that spacecraft in the sky? [more inside]
posted by Salvor Hardin on Sep 3, 2010 - 10 comments

"The planet . . . was scarcely any larger than a house!"

The Planetary Society's Emily Lakdawalla has prepared a scale image of every asteroid and comet ever visited by a spacecraft. [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Jul 21, 2010 - 15 comments

The Lunar Orbiter's Kodak moment

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]
posted by prinado on Jul 17, 2009 - 38 comments

What's Blue, Yellow, and Hot?

Messenger has just made another flyover of Mercury, revealing hidden features. Watch the animation to see the blue volcanoes.
posted by Xurando on Oct 29, 2008 - 24 comments

The Pioneer Effect

NASA is baffled by unexplained discrepancies in the velocities of some of its spacecraft. Dubbed the Pioneer Effect, it has been observed before but has now been discovered in more probes. Many theories have been put forward, many disproved, and some are wondering if our understanding of gravity is correct. [more inside]
posted by blue shadows on Mar 22, 2008 - 50 comments

Space: 1989

Some photo galleries (and youtube video) of Buran, the USSR's space shuttle program (previously) from the 1980's, long since abandoned. Bonus: A comparison between Buran and the US space shuttle. Double Bonus: More on Buran from russianspaceweb.com, which is awesome. Combo breaker: An official page with NASA's take on Buran, (and their photos), frozen in time a decade ago.
posted by dersins on Sep 13, 2007 - 25 comments

Dear Earth: Send More Chuck Berry

The Golden Record: Hear what the aliens will hear.
30 years ago today, a collection of images and sound recordings engraved on a record was launched toward the stars. The playlist covers an amazing collection of music, and has been called the Mix Tape of the Gods.
posted by Hadroed on Sep 5, 2007 - 78 comments

Amazons in space?

Amazon founder test-launches spacecraft. Want to get a job at Blue Origin? For some reason, he didn't use the relatively nearby and somewhat innacurately-named Spaceport America...
posted by eparchos on Jan 4, 2007 - 36 comments

Road trip to venus!

Road trip to venus!

The Venus Express was launched on Nov. 9th, 2005 from Baikonur, the historic spaceport in Kazakhstan. It is the first Venus probe sent by the ESA , and you can follow it's progress on the six month journey to the planet.

Exploration of Venus begin in 1962 with Mariner 2, the first space probe to fly by another planet and other flights, including the Russian Venera 7, which was the first probe to land on another planet. The Soviets took quite an interest in Venus and dominated the exploration of the planet through the '70s and '80s. A lot of the images recorded by those early craft have been reprocessed with modern technology.

In the early '90s the Magellan spacecraft spent several years mapping the surface of Venus, providing us many, many, many images and 3D maps of the planet.

As for Venus Express, it's goal is to spend two years making detailed studys of the planet's clouds and atmosphere.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Nov 13, 2005 - 19 comments

avast ye maties! set sail for the milky way, yarr!

Cosmos 1 is officially lost! However, fellow solar sailors, it's not too late to buy a t-shirt. I, however, can't help but focus my attention on this educational BBC News article; I believe I'm having some sort of pavlovian response to that last diagram, but thankfully it seems I'm not the first solar sailing pervert out there.
posted by analogue on Jun 29, 2005 - 15 comments

Cosoms 1

In just over two hours, Cosmos 1, the world's first experimental "solar sail" spacecraft will launch, and reportedly will be visible "from nearly everywhere on its surface at one time or another".
posted by theonetruebix on Jun 21, 2005 - 19 comments

One small st.... yeah yeah

Move over X-Prize - in order to win the next big space prize($50 million) one will have to build a spacecraft capable of taking a crew of no fewer than five people to an altitude of 400 kilometers and complete two orbits of the Earth at that altitude. Then they have to repeat that accomplishment within 60 days.
posted by sourbrew on Nov 8, 2004 - 15 comments

Virtual wild blue yonder

Pull up! Pull up! Several detailed Quicktime VR tours of aircraft and spacecraft cockpits, from the National Air & Space Museum. [QTVR plugin required, natch.]
posted by stonerose on Feb 6, 2004 - 6 comments

Stairway to Heaven

An Elevator to the Stars. The paper of record claims this isn't science fiction, but do we really believe that in ten years we'll be able to build a 60,000 mile long cable capable of supporting 13 ton cargo loads? Would you trust this to take you into asynchronous orbit? (Or maybe you just want to make like Joe Kittinger and jump out at 100,000 feet.)
posted by alms on Sep 23, 2003 - 24 comments

Galileo Dies.

NASA's Official 'Galileo Dies' Page. Galileo is set to crash into Jupiter on Sunday. Responsible for many great images and tons of information, Galileo served well. Find a complete history of the Galileo mission here. Also, don't forget to watch the End of Mission webcast this Sunday at approx. 2 PM EST here.
posted by Ufez Jones on Sep 16, 2003 - 7 comments

Multi Genre Star Ship Comparison

Multi Genre Star Ship Comparison? "This site is intended to allow science fiction fans to get an impression of the true scale of their favorite science fiction spacecraft by being able to campare ships accross genres, as well as being able to compare them with contemporary objects with which they are probably familiar." Someone has spare time...
posted by Spoon on Apr 10, 2003 - 25 comments

Swan song for a great explorer.

Swan song for a great explorer. Tomorow, the Galileo explorer will make a flyby of Jovian moon Amalthea ending pehaps the geatest unmanned mission in NASA history. Galileo telemetry may not survive the flyby having already receieved much more radiation than it was designed for. Even if it does survive, this will be its final orbit scheduled to crash into Jupiter in September of next year. In spite of antenna difficulties, the spacecraft returned many beautiful images of Jupiter's moons, along with coverage of the Shoemaker-Levy collision and the first atmospheric probe to decend into Jupiter's weather.
posted by KirkJobSluder on Nov 3, 2002 - 9 comments

There's something out there

There's something out there
Target Body: J002E3 Spacecraft (UNCONFIRMED)
Observer Location: Los Angeles, CA
Coordinates: 118°14'27.6''W, 34°03'15.1''N

Since September 5th, the Minor Planet Mailing List (MPML) has been abuzz with speculation about an unidentified 16th- magnitude object. During the next 10 days the object will be moving rapidly across Aries and then Taurus, passing between the Pleiades and Hyades star clusters.
posted by riley370 on Sep 13, 2002 - 29 comments

Since 1965, the Pioneer 6 space probe has quietly maintained its orbit around the sun between Earth and Venus. This week, in commemoration of the anniversary of its launch, NASA will attempt to re-establish contact with the oldest surviving spacecraft.
posted by jjg on Dec 4, 2000 - 1 comment

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