NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program has selected 30 proposals for future space technologies for funding, including schemes for orbital spaceflight refueling stations, electrostatic force fields to shield future astronauts from radiation, and various schemes for propulsion, long-term space habitation, and even 3-D printable spacecraft.
In what appears to be seriously big news from a team of NASA-funded researchers, scientists have found evidence that some building blocks of DNA--including two of the four nucleobases that make up our genetic code--found in meteorites were created in space, lending credence to the idea that life is not homegrown but was seeded here by asteroids, meteorites, or comets sometime in Earth’s early lifetime.
All week we’ve heard rumblings from NASA that big Mars science news would drop today, and sure enough that news is big: NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has quite possibly found liquid water flowing on the surface of Mars. Not water that flowed millennia ago, or water that once flowed but is now permanently ice. This water appears to be liquid to this day, at least part of the time. That is, during the warmest months on Mars this salty brine thaws and flows like liquid across the surface of the planet.
You probably didn’t wake up this morning wondering what happens to the antiprotons that must be created by the collision of cosmic rays with the upper atmosphere. But if you are one of the few who loses sleep over the fact that these antiprotons should be somewhere out there but have yet to be directly detected, we are happy to report that you can rest easy: Astrophysicists have finally found them trapped in an antiproton belt around the Earth.
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 08.03.2011 at 5:39 pm 0 Comments
Of the 25 to 30 research assistants accepted at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory each year, some are stationed at the Charlottesville, Virginia, headquarters, some at the 27-antenna Very Large Array in Socorro, New Mexico, and some at the 361-foot Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in Green Bank, West Virginia. For those at the GBT, the internship comes with an unusual requirement: no cellphones.
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 08.03.2011 at 4:23 pm 0 Comments
From the Explorer I satellite in 1958 to the new Mars Science Laboratory rover set to blast off at the end of the year, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has built the country's most ambitious robotic space vessels. And every summer, about 280 undergraduates arrive there to participate in one of 16 internship programs for engineering or science students.
The ongoing drought in Texas has turned up new debris from the 2003 Columbia shuttle disaster that killed seven NASA astronauts when the shuttle disintegrated upon re-entry over Texas and Louisiana. The spherical tank was found in an exposed part of Lake Nacogdoches about 160 miles northeast of Houston where it came to rest after the disaster eight years ago.
In what is sure to be one of the most--if not the most--expensive crashes ever, Russia’s space agency said today that when the International Space Station has completed its life cycle in 2020, it will be crashed into the ocean.
Combing through the night sky and looking for possible planetary nebulae is tough, tedious work. NASA actually works with several amateur astronomy groups to examine the findings from its Kepler space observatory, so sometimes, the big discoveries are made by amateurs--including this one, the newest known planetary nebula, named Kronberger 61.
NASA's space shuttle program may be over, but a new kind of space shuttling is just getting started. Even better, the new, private era of space missions seems to be moving along even faster than expected, as SpaceX and NASA have tentatively agreed to combine the two remaining test missions into one.