Japan's Kaguya lunar surveyor craft has sent back fresh HD clips as its orbit slowly degrades, bringing it closer than ever to the surface. In two days it will crash-land, bringing its mission to an end, but until then, it's keeping the ultra-crisp, almost surreal lunar footage coming.
Martian Irrigation Canals
As bizarre as it may seem now, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries it was commonly believed that there were artificial canals on Mars. The rumor started in 1877 when Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli observed long, linear features on Martian surface through his telescope. He named the features "canali," which translates to "channels" or "canals" in Italian. Schiaparelli did not intend for the term to be interpreted as "artificial" canals; he actually meant simply "narrow waterways." But the coined phrase took on a life of its own, and some people even believed that Martian intelligent life had constructed a canal system to bring water from the polar regions to its cities.
Like most visitors to Hawaii, David Wettergreen spent his two-week trip there in the sand. But instead of sunbathing, he was busy putting Scarab, his robotic moon rover, through rigorous test drives in the lunar-like volcanic ash-filled crater at Mauna Kea.
NASA Administrator Michael Griffin is not playing nice with the Obama transition team, according to a post by Robert Block of the Orlando Sentinel. He reports that Griffin is resisting efforts by former NASA associate administrator Lori Garver, who heads Obama's space transition team, to "look under the hood" of the space program.
When lunar astronauts flick on their televisions after a long day of prospecting, they’ll have a trashcan-size nuclear reactor to thank for their nightly dose of prime time. NASA, looking past the already daunting task of simply getting humans to the moon by 2020, recently started considering proposals for ways to power lunar habitats. Batteries and fuel cells provide only short-term solutions. Solar power would be limited where a single night lasts as long as 354 hours. So space-agency officials have started making plans to go nuclear.
When the Apollo astronauts drove around on the moon, they had to settle for a little buggy. But if you want to tour the Sea of Tranquility in the family SUV or a Ferrari, well, you're looking at more than a few weekends under the hood.
Why hasn't mankind landed on the Moon again after our exploration in the '60s and '70s?
By PopSci StaffPosted 08.06.2008 at 1:43 pm 23 Comments
In today's featured reader question, DiGMEH from Montreal wonders "Why not send someone again [to the Moon] now? Technology is better and they have more experience and money for it..."
It's an interesting question. Is it a matter of priorities, of money, of something else?
Submit your science and technology questions to email@example.com.
The FYI experts take on that age-old question of moon and man
By Amy GeppertPosted 07.11.2008 at 12:33 pm 19 Comments
Snug in Earth’s orbit, Hubble is free from the background glare that earthly telescopes must fight to see the stars. This allows its supersensitive camera to take better photos of galaxies farther away—and thus much dimmer—than any optical telescope on the ground can. But despite being closer to the moon than any other telescope, there’s no way the scope could snap a photo of that one small step man took 40 years ago.
It's official—the company that brokered the first tourist flights to the International Space Station is now a major world player in manned spaceflight
By Michael BelfiorePosted 06.11.2008 at 1:04 pm 1 Comment
Space Adventures, the broker of the first tourist flights to space celebrated its ten-year anniversary today here at the Explorer's Club in New York with the announcement that it had scored a deal with the Russian Federal Space Agency, or RKA, to buy an entire flight to the International Space Station.
A new form of LIDAR could give scientists precise maps of the surface of distant moons and planets
By Gregory MonePosted 05.19.2008 at 12:06 pm 1 Comment
Laser radar systems now being developed at Rochester Institute of Technology and MIT's famed Lincoln Lab could eventually generate ultra-detailed, three-dimensional maps of planets, comets, asteroids and moons. The scientists are developing a LIDAR (light detection and ranging) technology that operates both in the optical and ultraviolet, and could deliver detailed information about atmospheric composition, plus air temperature and pressure, wind speed, and precise topological features of a planet or planetary body.