Posts tagged "nasa"



NASA Johnson Style

reblog it when you see it.


Astronauts over the years taking self-portraits.

(via sagansense)


I’m on the surface and as I take man’s last steps from the surface, back home, for some time to come, but we believe not too long into the future. I’d like to just list what I believe history will record, that America’s challenge of today has forged man’s destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus- Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17.

- Astronaut Gene Cernan’s last words as he took mankind’s final steps on the Moon in 1972

(via sagansense)






I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Curiosity found something “earthshaking” on Mars, but NASA won’t say just yet what it is because they want to make sure their data is correct because this is potentially an unbelievably important find for humanity, and in conclusion, this is a pretty cool time to be alive.

I’m quite curious about this, but I do fear I’m going to get tired quick of waiting to hear the official news.

No word on exactly how long it will take before we learn more, but Grotzinger told NPR that it will likely take “several weeks” before he and his team are ready to go public. Until then, feel free to take to the comments with your best (or worst) guesses.” [x]

For more information check out the articles from POPSCI here and Huffington Post here.



Mars Mystery: Has Curiosity Rover Made Big Discovery?

Image: NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity used its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) to snap a set of 55 high-resolution images on Oct. 31, 2012. Researchers stitched the pictures together to create this full-color self-portrait.
CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems

This story was updated at 2:25 p.m. Eastern time.
NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has apparently made a discovery “for the history books,” but we’ll have to wait a few weeks to learn what the new Red Planet find may be, media reports suggest.

The discovery was made by Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars instrument, NPR reported today (Nov. 20). SAM is the rover’s onboard chemistry lab, and it’s capable of identifying organic compounds — the carbon-containing building blocks of life as we know it.

SAM apparently spotted something interesting in a soil sample Curiosity’s huge robotic arm delivered to the instrument recently.

“This data is gonna be one for the history books,” Curiosity chief scientist John Grotzinger, of Caltech in Pasadena, told NPR. “It’s looking really good.”

The rover team won’t be ready to announce just what SAM found for several weeks, NPR reported, as scientists want to check and double-check the results. Indeed, Grotzinger confirmed to that the news will come out at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union, which takes place Dec. 3-7 in San Francisco.

The $2.5 billion Curiosity rover landed inside Mars’ huge Gale Crater on Aug. 5, kicking off a two-year mission to determine if Mars has ever been capable of supporting microbial life.

The car-size robot carries 10 different instruments to aid in its quest, but SAM is the rover’s heart, taking up more than half of its science payload by weight.

In addition to analyzing soil samples, SAM also takes the measure of Red Planet air. Many scientists are keen to see if Curiosity detects any methane, which is produced by many lifeforms here on Earth. A SAM analysis of Curiosity’s first few sniffs found no definitive trace of the gas in the Martian atmosphere, but the rover will keep looking.

Curiosity began driving again Friday (Nov. 16) after spending six weeks testing its soil-scooping gear at a site called “Rocknest.” The rover will soon try out its rock-boring drill for the first time on the Red Planet, scientists have said.


The Future Deep-Space Suit

“For astronauts to explore deep space, suits must be sleeker, smarter, and far more maneuverable. Many of the materials that could make this happen are in labs right now. —Elbert Chu

Custom Fit

Rather than gas pressurization, future suits may use shape-memory alloys, such as a weave of Nitinol wire made by Boston-based Midé Technology, to apply steady mechanical counterpressure. The alloy would be treated with heat to tightly fit astronauts after they don their suits, but also conform to movement.

Augmented Vision

Astronauts today peer through plastic; future visors could be made of a clear ceramic called ALON, which is thinner than bulletproof glass and three times as strong. A heads-up display by Lumus Optical, used by F-16 pilots, could migrate to space helmets as a full-color display that guides light to the eyes with optical prisms.

Foam Buffers

Concave areas of the body might require another shape-memory material to regulate the suit’s counterpressure. Syracuse Biomaterials Institute has developed the basis for this technology: carbon nanofibers that produce heat when activated by electricity, which could cause foam to expand to a preset shape.

Cooling System

Current suits circulate water through 300 feet of tubing to draw away body heat. Purdue University engineers created a tech­nology that could insulate the tubes and also produce power: glass fibers (in the future, polymers) coated with thermoelectric nanocrystals that absorb heat and discharge electricity.

Protective Shell

One wrong squeeze from mechanical counter­pressure could injure vital organs. A rigid, fully pressurized shell would provide protection without restricting an astronaut’s movement. To minimize bulk and keep the contact points between hard and soft materials comfortable, each shell would be 3-D-printed to fit its user.

Self-Healing Gloves

So far, the best defense against a torn suit or glove is to fortify it with stronger layers. Engineers at ILC Dover investigated a better approach: Integrate self-healing materials, such as polymers embedded with microencapsulated chemicals. When the capsules rupture, the chemicals foam and heal the torn suit.

Extreme Insulation

Silica aerogels, consisting of about 95 percent air, could insulate against severe temperature swings. By coating a silica nanoskeleton with a flexible polymer, a team at the University of Akron made aerogels durable and flexible enough for space. Embedded hydrogen could also block dangerous levels of radiation.

Artificial Gravity

Prolonged exposure to low gravity causes bone loss and muscle atrophy, which astronauts fend off by exercising 2.5 hours each day. Devices developed at Draper Laboratory could build fitness into space suits. Gyroscopes attached to the arms and legs could provide resistance similar to the force of gravity on Earth.

Adhesive Strength

A dry adhesive created at the University of Massachusetts, strategically placed on space suits, could help astronauts hold fast to surfaces and tools. Its weave of carbon fiber and Kevlar mimics the skin and tendon structure of gecko feet, giving it unprecedented strength—yet it easily peels away from surfaces.

Extra Power

The batteries that power life-support systems must be repeatedly charged. Zinc-oxide nano­wires being developed at Michigan Technological University can convert movement into electricity. Embedding such piezoelectric wires into the fabric over knees and elbows could provide valuable redundancy in space.

Full Article: The Deep-Space Suits; Astronauts can only travel so far in existing space suits. What will it take to see the universe?

(via sagansense)

(via scinerds)

Bill Nye Needs You to Help Save Planetary Exploration (by planetarysociety)

1000 SpaceX employees watch Falcon 9 and Dragon launch, at Hawthorne, CA HQ

(via scienceing)