The Deep Impact probe, part of NASA's EPOXI mission, has successfully returned never-before-seen images of the comet Hartley 2 as it flew near Earth this morning, only the fifth comet nucleus ever visited by a spacecraft.
Less than half an hour after the probe reached its closest distance from the comet, about 435 miles away, a series of images completed the 23-million-mile trip from EPOXI’s spacecraft to computer screens in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
NASA officials scrubbed today's scheduled launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery, citing persistent rain in the area in and around Kennedy Space Center that cut the chances of favorable atmospheric conditions down to just 20 percent. The launch is now slated for tomorrow at 3:04 p.m. EDT.
NASA engineers are still working to figure out exactly what caused a brief, one-time irregular power drop to one of the main engine controllers on the shuttle Discovery. But even if they fix the glitch the thrice-delayed mission faces an 80 percent chance of being delayed by weather tomorrow, Kathy Winters – NASA's appropriately named shuttle weather officer – says.
An electrical issue affecting a main engine computer controller has prompted NASA mission managers to postpone the launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery's final mission to Thursday at 3:29 p.m. EDT, further delaying a launch that has been pushed back twice already.
Today marks the 10th anniversary of human habitation at the International Space Station, meaning that as of this week, humans have been living in space for more than two decades. That's a pretty impressive statement when you think about it.
The ISS has been continuously lived in since Nov. 2, 2000, when Expedition 1 commander Bill Shepherd and flight engineers Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko became the first residents. Since then, 200 explorers have visited, 15 nations have contributed modules and hardware, and more than 600 experiments have been conducted, according to NASA.
The brave little rover has been stuck in the sand for a year and a half, spinning her wheels and wiggling her robot arm futilely. As she's kicked up sand, though, she has uncovered deeper layers of Martian soil, and analysis of the difference between the surface and what lies beneath shows evidence of water.
Let's face it, sometime within the next century or so, overpopulation, the exhaustion of natural resources, an alien invasion -- or perhaps the optimistic spirit of adventure -- will force us to leave Earth in search of a new habitat. Earlier this week, NASA and DARPA announced a preliminary "Hundred-Year Starship" program for sending pioneers on permanent missions to Mars. To many, relocation from Earth sounds like a glorified exile, but some retro-futuristic eye candy from the Popular Sciencearchives will surely change their minds.