A gigantic laser experiment intended to study the nature of gravity and an x-ray telescope designed to look at black holes are being swept into the dustbin of history, too big and too expensive to survive the federal budget ax. NASA is skipping out on LISA, the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, and the International X-Ray Observatory.
Sunspots aren’t static, and NASA has the amazing video footage to prove it. Captured in February, this clip taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory shows how sunspots surface, change, and grow over time as the forces of both convection and the Sun’s powerful magnetic field act upon them.
When parachutes and airbags won’t do the trick, you’ve got to land like a hovercraft, lowering precious cargo from a flying crane.
Check out this amazing new animation of NASA’s new Mars rover, the car-sized Mars Science Laboratory, on its harrowing journey to the red planet.
A mystery is unfolding out there in the cosmos, and NASA’s Swift, Hubble Space Telescope, and Chandra X-Ray Observatory are teaming up to solve the case. But while researchers have pieced together some of the pieces of the puzzle over the last week, the huge, high-energy blast continues to brighten and fade, making it the brightest, longest-lasting such burst of energy researchers have ever seen.
Nearly a decade ago, NASA built an Earth-monitoring satellite that could have observed global warming in action. Then the agency stashed it in a warehouse in Maryland, where it remains to this day.
By Bill DonahuePosted 04.06.2011 at 12:28 pm 50 Comments
It all began so hopefully. Al Gore proposed the satellite in 1998, at the National Innovation Summit at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Gazing skyward from the podium, the vice president described a spacecraft that would travel a full million miles from Earth to a gravity-neutral spot known as the L1 Lagrangian point, where it would remain fixed in place, facing the sunlit half of our planet. It would stream back to NASA video of our spherical home, and the footage would be broadcast continuously over the Web.
In the last century, Russia and the United States engaged competitively in both a space race and a nuclear technology race. In this century, it appears the two are considering collaborating in turning the fruits of those Cold War showdowns into workable technology that could expand spaceflight operations beyond Earth orbit. On April 15, Russia and NASA (and a handful of other “nuclear club” countries) will convene to talk about building a next-gen, nuclear powered spaceship.
Messenger, meet Mercury. The first image ever obtained from a spacecraft in orbit around Mercury was snapped in the wee morning hours yesterday and returned to Earth in short order. Consider this shot the first trickle in a flood of data that's about to begin pouring in from the innermost planet in our solar system.
For some, retirement means moving to Florida. For others, it means winding down one's professional life and settling into a hobby. And for still others, it means having your forward reaction control system completely removed and thoroughly cleaned of all oxidizer chemicals and toxic fuels. So it is for the retired space shuttle Discovery, which is currently being broken down, cleaned, and reassembled for future display.
It seems we're saying goodbye to a lot of spacecraft these days. The shuttle Discovery, of course, completed its final mission earlier this month. And then WISE, after completing it's roughly one-year survey of the sky, snapped its final image last month. Now, NASA bids farewell to its Stardust spacecraft which, after more than a decade of service, has tailed its last comet.
With just two shuttle mission left on the schedule, NASA’s next-gen crew vehicle had a big coming out party today as Lockheed Martin unveiled the first Orion spacecraft as well as a sprawling $35 million training center near Denver, Colo. Both the spacecraft and the astronauts that will eventually fly on it will undergo extensive testing here as the program ratchets up for operational deployment within just five years.