There's only one it's-the-future-why-don't-we-have-x trope that rivals the flying car, and that's the space elevator. (First proposed in 1895, it might even predate it.) The idea of a giant tower that can carry us from Earth to outer space is legend, and it probably will be for a long time.
"The smartphone in your pocket has more computing power than the spacecraft that took the Apollo 11 astronauts to the moon," says anyone trying to impress anyone else with the massive scaling of computing power over the last few decades. Perhaps taking a clue from this cocktail party trivia, NASA is now developing spacecraft powered by commercial smartphones.
The Mars rover Curiosity’s first roll was more than a cause for celebration — it will help pinpoint where the rover set down, and emblazon the name of its maker into the Martian soil. Curiosity’s wheels have holes arranged in the Morse code pattern for “JPL.”
In the wake of Curiosity’s landing on Mars, a return to regular science missions in Earth orbit may seem a bit pedestrian. But tomorrow morning just after 4 a.m. EDT, an Atlas V rocket is launching from Cape Canaveral carrying a unique mission aimed at doing some pretty critical science much closer to home. The twin Radiation Belt Storm Probes are bound straight for the Van Allen radiation belts that ring Earth, mysterious and hazardous regions of nearby space that we’ve known about for decades without truly understanding them.
With Neil deGrasse Tyson, visiting a simulated asteroid under the sea
By Alex PasternackPosted 08.23.2012 at 10:20 am 5 Comments
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The possibility that Earth will be hit by an asteroid in our lifetime isn't huge. But here's the thing: the threat is so potentially catastrophic that even a small chance of impact – and the utterly apocalyptic waves that could subsequently erase entire coastlines – makes an asteroid one of those things that someone should probably be thinking about.
Two weeks after being expertly parked in Mars's Gale Crater by NASA's sky crane apparatus, Mars rover Curiosity has made its first test-drive. It wasn't a particularly long journey; it moved just 10 feet from its landing site--a half-hour trip--so to re-park itself in an area where the rover has visually confirmed there are no obstacles.
This week's images span quite a range. For one, we've got a distant galaxy drifting away from other heavenly bodies. But on the other end of that, we look at technology that can reconstruct a beard down to the hair. It also includes this amazing photo of an air force base, two retired space shuttles meeting face-to-face, and more. Click the gallery to see them all.
Space exploration doesn't always go smoothly. For instance, the triumph of Apollo 11 was followed by the failed mission and near-disaster of Apollo 13. Prior to launching Alan Shepard into space in 1961, NASA blew countless space rockets to pieces on the launchpad. Russia still crashes its spaceships periodically. And lest last week's euphoria over the Mars rover Curiosity landing have you thinking NASA's got this spaceflight thing down to a pure science, please see the video below. Late last week, NASA's experimental unmanned Morpheus lander failed spectacularly during vehicle tests. Really spectacularly. With fire and explosions and whatnot.
Mars rover Curiosity has landed. You know this because you have an Internet connection and because the hair-raising landing--though conducted in the middle of the night on a Sunday/Monday--was a huge media spectacle, and justifiably so.