Posts Tagged ‘NASA’

The Moon Is Awash In Water

October 29, 2020

The Moon Is Awash In Water

Two new studies indocate that there are “cold traps” on the moon full of water. NASA spied on Luna from a high-flying jet named SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) and found the unique signature of water all over the place on sunlit portions of the moon. A secord study finds that frozen water could be hiding in lunar shadows on 15,444 square miles of the moon’s real estate. Astronauts are probably planning lakeside chateaus as you read this.

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Space Toilet: A Giant Flush for Womankind

October 5, 2020

Space Toilet: A Giant Flush for Womankind

Friday night, while you were watching Donald Trump’s helicopter touch down at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, an Antares rocket lifted off from Wallops Island carrying a $23 million titanium toilet to the International Space Station. The new low-gravity space potty, known as the Universal Waste Management System (UWMS), sports a smaller footprint and improved efficiency, and is equally adapted to the needs of male and female astronauts. As NASA astronauts say, “you go, girl!”

More:

“Finally, a Space Toilet for Ladies,” Amanda Arnold, The Cut

“NASA’s new $30M space toilet is smaller, better smelling and more female-friendly,” CBC Radio

“State-of-the-art space toilet successfully launched into space,” Mark Kaufman, Mashable

“Antares rocket launches new astronaut toilet and more to space station for NASA,” Chelsea Gohd, Space.com

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

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NASA: Up in Space, But Nothing to Wear

March 28, 2019

NASA: Up in Space, But Nothing to Wear

NASA’s much-publicized all-female spacewalk has been cancelled due to a wardrobe malfunction. The U.S. space agency has only one spacesuit in size “Medium.” Houston, we have a gender-specific problem.

More:

“NASA: All-Women Space Walk Is ‘Inevitable,’ but Sorry, Not the Right Spacesuits This Time,” George Dvorsky, Gizmodo

“First All-Female Spacewalk Canceled Because NASA Doesn’t Have Two Suits That Fit,” Jacey Fortin and Karen Zraick, New York Times

“Not enough spacesuits in women’s sizes?! Twitter reacts to NASA canceling all-female spacewalk,” Jennifer Sangalang, USA Today

“NASA has an awkward history with the whole women-in-space thing,” Gillian Brockell, Washington Post

“In NASA’s spacesuit saga, women see their own stories,” Jena McGregor, New York Times

“If space is the future, that future needs to include everyone,” Mary Robinette Kowal, Washington Post

Update:

“NASA Says It Hopes to Accommodate Smaller Sizes in a New Space Suit Planned for the 2020s,” Emily Moon, Pacific Standard

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

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NASA’s Rocket Racer Names New US Astronauts

August 6, 2018

NASA's Rocket Racer Names New US Astronauts

NASA Administrator and former rocket racer Jim Bridenstine, the first non-scientist to head the U.S. space agency, has introduced the first U.S. astronauts since Evel Knievel the Space Shuttle crews retired. These space voyagers won’t be traveling aboard NASA rockets, but will ascend through the firmament atop commercial missiles provided by SpaceX and Boeing.

Another way to think about this: The Trump Administration is providing potential human sacrifices to corporate America and paying them for it.

When Administrator Bridenstine was a Republican Congressman from Oklahoma, he led GOP efforts to commercialize space and prioritize human space stunts missions over scientific discovery. As Executive Director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, Mr. Bridenstine put the museum in the hole by using its resources to fund a Rocket Racing League exhibition. One of the owners of the Rocket Racing League was Jim Bridenstine. Commercializing space, indeed.

God help our new astronauts.

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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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Flying Over Mars

April 13, 2018

Jan Fröjdman used real images of Mars taken by the HiRISE camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to create this rendering of a Red Planet flyover.

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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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Water. Not Just For Earthlings Anymore.

February 9, 2018

Water. Not Just For Earthlings Anymore.

With the help of HiRISE, a powerful camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, scientists have found vast quantities subsurface ice reserves that astronauts could mine for drinking, growing crops, or converting into hydrogen for fuel.

“The deposits begin at depths as shallow as one meter and extend upwards of 100 meters into the planet. The researchers don’t estimate the quantity of ice present, but they do note that the amount of ice near the surface is likely more extensive than the few locations where it’s exposed. And what’s more, the ice looks pretty damn pure.”

— “Scientists Discover Clean Water Ice Just Below Mars’ Surface,” Robbie Gonzalez, Wired

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

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NASA Prepares for Flying Taxis

December 6, 2017

NASA Prepares for Flying Taxis

Uber is joining NASA in developing software to manage air taxi control software. The ride sharing firm is working to develop a fleet of battery-powered flying cabs and hopes to test them in several cities in the next two years, with full implementation in time for the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

What could possibly go wrong?

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Lunar

September 20, 2017

“Lunar,” A short film by Christian Stangl using archival photos and audio from NASA. Soundtrack by Wolfgang Stangl.
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