"It's OK for astronauts to cry, right?" asked Mike Massimino, one of seven NASA astronauts who flew the space shuttle Atlantis on a daring mission to rescue the Hubble Space Telescope in 2009. The New York City native made his jest during a special preview screening of early footage from the upcoming Hubble 3-D IMAX film on Thursday, and all the reporters laughed. No one doubted his sincerity in describing his surge of emotion upon watching himself and his fellow spacewalkers floating on the big screen.
Spaceflight continues to represent one of the more extreme and hazardous undertakings for humans, even if it's just about getting off the ground. But the men and women of NASA's astronaut corps say that the U.S. space agency can improve on the odds that faced the doomed shuttle crews of Challenger and Columbia.
Glove designers walked away with a total of $400,000 in prize money at NASA's second Astronaut Glove Challenge yesterday. The U.S. space agency awarded the money because the private glove designs beat the in-house version, and NASA may incorporate the designs into the Constellation spacesuit intended for next-gen astronauts returning to the moon.
The moon may be a harsh mistress, but lately she has been giving up her secrets. Scientists have spotted a deep hole in the lunar surface that goes at least 260 feet down and is believed to open into an underground tunnel more than 1,200 feet wide.
The discovery is powerful evidence for long, winding tunnels carved by lava beneath the lunar surface. Such tunnels, whose existence has long been hypothesized, could provide shelter for future astronauts or colonists against the harsh radiation and surface temperatures on the moon.
What does it take to prep humans for a trip to an asteroid or a martian moon? Starvation? Isolation? Recycling feces for food? NASA's newest astronauts begin a grueling training regimen this fall to find out
Astronauts test a prototype of a six-legged lunar buggy at Moses Lake in Washington.
Three test pilots. Two flight surgeons. One molecular biologist. A flight controller, a Pentagon staffer and a CIA intelligence officer. These are the nine people chosen by NASA to be America's next astronauts. Late this summer they reported to Houston along with two Japanese pilots, a Japanese doctor, a Canadian pilot and a Canadian physicist who will train alongside NASA's class of 2009. Call them the lucky 14.
Selected from more than 3,500 applicants, NASA's new astronaut candidates arrive at a pivotal moment in the history of human space exploration. The agency's bold ambition is to rocket humans beyond the International Space Station for the first time in more than 40 years. The question is when.
The movies make space flight seem easy. A simple flip of the joystick or twist of the knob and any asteroid or space creature is done for. Sadly, the reality of space flight involves the constant monitoring of, and fiddling with, a near-endless set of dials, switches and buttons. In fact, so much of modern space craft are packed with gear and doodads that even astronauts have trouble keeping everything straight.
To anyone who's ever pondered what urine looks like in space -- c'mon, don't be shy -- we say: wonder no more, because photos of the phenomenon have finally hit the internet.
Last Wednesday, a number of skygazers were lucky to sight a mysterious flare in the night sky, that, as it now turns out, was a 150-pound cocktail of astronaut urine and waste water released from the shuttle Discovery.
China's future astronauts can't have bad breath, cavities, or scars if they hope to join the next wave of Chinese space exploration. Hospitals have begun the first of three rounds of tests to weed out candidates who fail to meet the rigorous standards.
With the monotone bleeps of Sputnik still ringing in a rattled nation's ears, President Eisenhower committed America to a program of manned space flight, a program culminating in the Apollo 11 mission and its legendary moon landing.
Whether you believe the astronauts went in peace for all mankind, or as part of a nationalistic competition driven by Cold War paranoia, there's no escaping the profound impact the moon landing had on the human psyche. The moon landing showed the whole world how technology can shift the bounds of the possible, and Popular Science was there the whole way.
The 79-year-old astronaut says: Enough about the moon; let's go to Mars
By Douglas WrightPosted 07.20.2009 at 10:55 am 0 Comments
Preparing for an Apollo 11 Countdown Test
It's been 40 years since Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin landed the Apollo 11 lunar module in the Sea of Tranquility. Aldrin, now 79 years old, recalls that fateful day with clarity. Alarms were sounding inside the space capsule during their speedy descent, and even down to the last seconds, the astronauts were uncertain whether they would need to abort the landing. Millions of Earthlings watched on television as the Eagle touched down.
Much has changed over four decades, and despite the success of the International Space Station, enhanced shuttle technology, robotic rovers, and satellites which bring us back daily analytical data from our solar system, the visionary optimism that once propelled the space race and captured the world's collective imagination has waned. Ironically, with the loss of this optimism, the very notion of manned space travel beyond our moon seems to have become antiquated itself.