Posts Tagged ‘space’

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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Jade Rabbit on the Dark Side of the Moon

January 3, 2019

Jade Rabbit on the Dark Side of the Moon

The landing and rover phases of China’s Chang’e-4 unmanned spacecraft have landed on the dark side of the moon, in a crater named for a Hungarian-American JPL director. The Queqiao radio relay satellite orbiting above the moon enables the space robots on the moon’s far side to communicate with mission control in China. The mission’s rover, exploring the surface of the moon’s far side, is called Yutu-2, “Jade Rabbit.”

In Chinese myth, Chang’e is the Moon Goddess, and the Jade Rabbit (Yu Tu) is her pet. The China National Space Administration plans to land non-mythical personalities – astronauts – on the Moon by 2020, and set up a moon base in 2030.

More:

“Chang’e-4: China space mission lands on Moon’s far side,” BBC News

“Chang’e 4 landing: China probe makes historic touchdown on far side of the moon,” Kate Lyons, The Guardian

“‘New Chapter’ in Space Exploration as China Reaches Far Side of the Moon,” Steven Lee Myers and Zoe Mou, New York Times

“China’s lunar probe sends first photo of dark side of the moon after historic soft landing,” Catherine Wong, South China Morning Post

“China just made history by landing on the far side of the Moon,” Echo Huang, Quartz

“China lunar probe sheds light on the ‘dark’ side of the moon,” Ken Moritsugu, Associated Press

“China just landed on the far side of the moon: What comes next?” Michael Greshko, National Geographic

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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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Martian Water

July 26, 2018

Martian Water

There’s a 12-mile-wide lake of liquid water a mile beneath the southern ice cap of Mars. The discovery was made using the Marsis radar instrument on board the European Space Agency’s Mars Express, which has been orbiting the red planet for 15 years. Thirsty astronauts shouldn’t expect instant refreshment, though. The lake is filled with salt water.

More:

“Mars: huge underground lake raises prospects of life on planet, astronomers say,” Ian Sample, The Guardian

“A 12-mile-wide body of water lies beneath a Mars ice cap,” Carolyn Y. Johnson, Washington Post

“Scientists detect giant underground aquifer on Mars, raising hope of life on the planet,” Loren Grush, The Verge

“Liquid water ‘lake’ revealed on Mars,” Mary Halton, BBC News

“Deep within Mars, Liquid Water Offers Hope for Life,” Lee Billings, Scientific American

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Don’t Talk to Space Aliens!

June 20, 2018

Physicist Michio Kaku agrees with Stephen Hawking: Don’t talk to space aliens. A short video from Big Think.

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Million-Mile-High Club

May 1, 2018

“Space Sex is Serious Business,” produced for fivethirtyeight.com.

Research and Narration: Maggie Koerth-Baker; Writer and Producer: Christine Laskowski;  Design and Animation: Tom McCarten.

More:

“Space Sex Is Serious Business,” Maggie Koerth-Baker, FiveThirtyEight

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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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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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SpaceX to Launch World’s Most Powerful Rocket

February 6, 2018

Elon Musk’s SpaceX corporation is scheduled to launch its Falcon Heavy rocket today. The 200 foot tall, 1500 ton space vehicle will be powered entirely by loud electric guitars, if the SpaceX video (above) is any guide.

More:

“Can Elon Musk disrupt deep space with the world’s most powerful rocket?” Tim Fernholz, Quartz

Updates:

“SpaceX successfully launches the world’s most powerful rocket, in a spectacle that sends a Tesla on its way to Mars,” Christian Davenport, Washington Post

“The middle booster of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket failed to land on its drone ship,” Loren Grush, The Verge

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Home Sweet Supercluster

October 30, 2017

Superclusters, the biggest structures in the Universe, are regions of space densely packed with galaxies.  A team based in Hawaii redrew the boundaries of the cosmic map and redefined Earth’s home supercluster. They named it Laniakea, Hawaiian for “immeasurable heaven.”

More:

“Earth’s new address: ‘Solar System, Milky Way, Laniakea,'” Elizabeth Gibney, Nature

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