Archive for the ‘NASA’ Category

Rocket Racer Named NASA Administrator

April 20, 2018

Rocket Racer Named NASA Administrator

The U.S. Senate voted 50-49 to confirm Republican Congressman Jim Bridenstine (OK-1) as NASA Administrator. Mr. Bridestine, unlike the first 12 space agency leaders, is not a scientist or aerospace engineer, though he flew an E-2C Hawkeye turboprop in Latin America as part of the War on Drugs. Mr. Bridenstine’s more recent aerospace experience was as Executive Director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, where he managed to put the museum in the hole by using its resources to fund a Rocket Racing League exhibition at the Tulsa Air Show in 2010. One of the owners of the Rocket Racing League was Jim Bridenstine, a classic case of self-dealing.

Annual budget of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum: $1 million. Annual budget of NASA: $18.5 billion. Houston, we have a problem.

More:

“How Trump’s NASA Nominee Used a Nonprofit He Ran to Benefit Himself,” Nick Schwellenbach and Adam Zagorin, Daily Beast

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Top photo: D J Shin – My Toy Museum via Wikimedia. 

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The World at Night

February 23, 2018

NASA has released a new map of the earth at night. The clickable, zoomable version is here.

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Tom Petty, 1950 — 2017

October 4, 2017

“Free Fallin,'” written by Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, 1989. Video directed by Julien Temple.

More:

“Tom Petty, a Mainstay of Rock With the Heartbreakers, Dies at 66,” Jon Pareles, New York Times

“An Appreciation of Tom Petty: Rock’s Superstar Everyman,” Chris Willman, Variety

“Free Falling with Tom Petty,” Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker

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New Earth-Like Planets Discovered

February 23, 2017

Seven new Earth-sized planets have been discovered orbiting a (relatively) nearby star. The star, called Trappist-1, is much smaller than our sun, and is classified as an ultra-cool dwarf.

To this stunning announcement we only add this observation:  Ultra-Cool Dwarf would be a great name for a rock band.

The newly discovered exoplanets very likely have liquid water, meaning they may host alien life forms not yet in the Trump Administration.

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NASA Wants Better Astronaut Diapers

January 19, 2017

NASA Wants Better Astronaut Diapers

NASA scientists are good at … well rocket science, but t here’s one problem that has them stumped: how to handle space suit poop. The agency issued the Space Poop Challenge late last year, and is currently judging the entries. The winner will get $30,000.

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NASA’s Bouncy Castle in Space Stays Flat

May 27, 2016

Bouncy Castle in Space!

Last month NASA sent an inflatable room — the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module or BEAM — into space via SpaceX as a home improvement for the International Space Station’s Tranquility Module. Like many home improvement projects, all did not go according to plan, and yesterday the big balloon didn’t inflate worth a damn. Perhaps a Rubbermaid garden shed will do? Home Depot is open until 10 tonight.

More:

“The ISS’s New Space Module Fails Its First Inflation Attempt,” Emma Grey Ellis, Wired

“ISS controllers defer BEAM module expansion,” Pete Harding, NASASpaceFlight.com

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Image (“BEAM deployed – artist concept”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Congress Versus Mars!

February 11, 2016

Congress Versus Mars!

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology thinks NASA’s Journey to Mars initiative is lost in Space. “This is a misguided mission without a mission, without a launch date and without ties to exploration goals. It’s just a time-wasting distraction,” said committee chair Rep. Lamar Smith (R, TX-21) in hearings last week.

More:

“Congressional committee says NASA’s Mars mission is in critical need of a plan,” Loren Grush, The Verge

“Congress Scolds NASA, Underscoring How Far We Are From Mars,” Dianna Wray, Houston Press

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2014: The Moon

January 1, 2014

Moon phases of 2014.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center explains it all here.

Related:

Moonrise, moonset and moonphase finder.

“Sneak-Peek: Top 5 Sky Events of 2014,” Andrew Fazekas, StarStruck

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Moonwalk

July 21, 2013

Moonwalk

This weekend is the 44th anniversary of the first Moonwalk. The one by Neil Armstrong, not Michael Jackson. The future is not what is used to be.

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Pie in the Sky

July 8, 2013

Pie in the Sky

Astronaut Peggy Whitson‘s first NASA mission was a six-month stay on the International Space Station in 2002.  During that mission, a supply shuttle docked with special cargo from her husband: A pecan pie and a bottle of hot sauce.

More:

“That Time an Astronaut Got a Pie Sent to the International Space Station,” Megan Garber, The Atlantic

“Why Astronauts Crave Tabasco Sauce,” Joe Palca, NPR

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Image  by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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