Posts Tagged ‘space’

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

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

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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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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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Voyager Space Probe Survives From the Age of Disco

September 14, 2017

Voyager Space Probe Survives From the Age of Disco

The NASA Voyager space probes were launched in 1977, the Age of Disco. They’ve been staying alive for 40 years, and are now 13 billion miles from Earth, traveling through deep interstellar space. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is celebrating the anniversary with free commemorative posters.

See the  Voyager film, The Farthest, on PBS.

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