Archive for the ‘NASA’ Category

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

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length

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NASA Explores New Car Smell

November 26, 2012

NASA Explores New Car Smell

Attention space travelers: That new space capsule may smell good, but that aroma isn’t good for you. NASA’s Goddard Laboratory is on the case:

“For some people, the best part about buying a new car is its factory-fresh new car smell, a distinctive aroma created when the chemicals and residual solvents used to manufacture dashboards, car seats, carpeting and other vehicle appointments that outgas and fill the cabin. While the scent may be alluring to some, many researchers believe exposure to these gases isn’t particularly healthy — so unhealthy, in fact, that some recommend that drivers keep their new cars ventilated while driving.

Outgassed solvents, epoxies, lubricants, and other materials aren’t especially wholesome for contamination-sensitive telescope mirrors, thermal-control units, high-voltage electronic boxes, cryogenic instruments, detectors and solar arrays, either. As a result, NASA engineers are always looking for new techniques to prevent these gases from adhering to instrument and spacecraft surfaces and potentially shortening their lives.

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Ice Cream Delivery in Space!

October 11, 2012

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has successfully delivered it’s cargo of Blue Bell Ice Cream Sundae Cups to the orbiting International Space Station. This is the first of a dozen missions on SpaceX’s $1.6 billion contract with NASA. See the quantum leap you get with a private space launch company? No more freeze-dried astronaut ice cream.

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