With NASA’s space shuttle program in full wind-down, it seems like there are a lot of “lasts” in America’s storied, three-decade Space Transportation System. Space shuttle Discovery successfully touched down at Kennedy Space Center in Florida just before noon today, marking the end of STS-133 and Discovery’s final mission, the 39th and last flight for the busiest spacecraft in NASA’s shuttle fleet.
The Space Shuttle Atlantis is off to deliver a fresh crew, as well as about 30,000 pounds of equipment, to the International Space Station today as part of an 11-day mission that will also involve three space-walks. The mission will warehouse equipment too big for Russian, Japanese or European crafts to carry in what will be last launch of the year, with six slated for 2010 before the Shuttle is officially scrapped. Catch a live feed of the launch below.
Google Earth in its current form went live in June 2005. In addition to allowing users to fly to their childhood homes, zoom in on potential vacation spots, and explore under the sea and atop the world's highest peaks, the virtual mapping software has proven instrumental in a number of scientific discoveries -- several in 2009 alone. Here's a look back at some of the highlights.
Any guesses on future Google Earth discoveries? Will Google Earth be an ever-more-important scientific tool in the future? Post in the comments.
There's no denying that Google Earth has changed the way we view our planet's landscape. With a click of your mouse, you can "fly" around your own neighborhood, zooming in from space to street level. Curious about volcanoes? Dart over to the east coast of the Big Island of Hawaii and at times you can actually see the steam where lava enters the ocean. You can even explore the whitewater rapids on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.
But it was Google Earth's "Ocean" layer that recently caused quite a stir among 3D geeks.
Atlantis launched on time, but not without difficulty
By Gregory MonePosted 02.08.2008 at 3:06 pm 0 Comments
Despite predictions of bad weather, the shuttle Atlantis did launch yesterday—and it was nearly a flawless affair. Some two minutes after yesterday's liftoff, at least three pieces of foam or other debris fell off the shuttle, and now the crew is preparing to inspect the outside of the ship for signs of damage, especially the wings and nose.
The shuttle, which was delayed for two months, will reach the International Space Station tomorrow and deliver the $2 billion Columbus laboratory, a major step towards the eventual completion of the massive rig.
After repeated delays blamed on technical issues, today's shuttle launch may be stalled for a decidedly low-tech reason
By Gregory MonePosted 02.07.2008 at 12:24 pm 1 Comment
This morning, NASA astronauts due to take off on STS-122 suited up and made their way to Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, where the shuttle Atlantis is ready to go. Liftoff is set for 2:45 EST today, but there's only a ten-minute window during which the ship can launch—otherwise it wouldn't effectively rendezvous with the International Space Station.