Paper finds that some of the space agency's employees have been abusing company cards
By Gregory MonePosted 05.06.2008 at 9:50 am 4 Comments
NASA has been catching some extra criticism in the past few days after The Houston Chronicle—Johnson Space Center's hometown paper—ran an expose on credit card abuses at the agency.
The paper reportedly reviewed 451,000 transactions, and among plenty of apparently legitimate purchases, found that NASA employees had also bought iPods, video games and jewelry. The first two you might be able to slide past accounting, if you were, say, an astronaut doing isolation chamber testing, and needed a few gadgets and games to pass the time.
A concept Moon-mobile is rugged, roofless and a breeze to parallel park
By Gregory MonePosted 02.29.2008 at 11:26 am 0 Comments
Engineers at Johnson Space Center in Houston this week released a design for a rugged lunar vehicle that astronauts could one day drive around the Moon. The truck has six wheels, no doors or roof, all-wheel drive, and it would be ideal for parallel parking.
By Gregory MonePosted 10.09.2007 at 1:08 pm 0 Comments
The alien microbes are supposed to be discovered when spacecraft return to Earth, not before they've left, right? Not according to a new study of several NASA clean rooms—the supposedly sterile environments in which engineers assemble and test the components of various spacecraft before launch.
By sampling the air and surfaces in clean rooms at the Jet Propulsion Lab, Johnson Space Center and Kennedy Space Flight Center, scientists uncovered nearly 100 types of bacteria. And about 45% of them are believed to be novel. The study should help scientists improve the clean room environment, which will in turn reduce the risk of interplanetary spacecraft dropping our organisms on far-off worlds.—Gregory Mone
By Jonathan CoultonPosted 02.16.2007 at 1:45 pm 5 Comments
Of course you hope it never happens, but if you're going to escape from an exploding rocket just in time, you might as well have a good time doing it. NASA is looking at a few different options for how to get astronauts out of future spacecraft in an emergency, from roller coasters to slippery tubes, and most of them seem like pretty enjoyable rides.
The whole time I read this article in the magazine I was thinking space shuttle - boring! But I totally forgot about Project Constellation, the post-shuttle program to create a fleet of next-generation space craft for all sorts of crazy space missions. I spoke with Kelly Humphries at the Johnson Space Center about NASA's plans for the "Emergency Egress System," and he gave me the lowdown on some of the other features of the Constellation program. I was particularly jazzed about his description of the new and improved moon mission strategy. Believe me, when you actually live on the moon it's easy to get a little jaded about this stuff. But multiple space modules docking in Earth's orbit and then blasting out to the moon? Now I'm all excited about space again. Go space!
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By Charles Q. ChoiPosted 04.16.2003 at 5:20 pm 0 Comments
In the May 2003 issue, POPULAR SCIENCE showcased several of the groups vying for the X Prize, a $10 million award that will go to the first privately financed team that manages to launch a manned spacecraft to an altitude of 62.5 miles, then repeat the feat within two weeks. X Prize founder Peter Diamandis doesn't expect all of the 24 contenders to produce a finished craft, much less succeed. Their engineering approaches range widely, from runway takeoffs to balloon launches. Here are the plans of a few of the teams that received little or no mention in the original article.