Private spaceflight concern SpaceX has been teasing the public for more than a week with rumblings of a big announcement today. Indeed, that announcement is big: about 22 stories big. SpaceX founder Elon Musk today unveiled the company’s next big thing, the Falcon Heavy rocket, a massive launch vehicle with a cargo capacity of 117,000 pounds.
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.
Since 2009 the European Space Agency's Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) has been mapping the Earth's gravitational field, and today the agency released its most detailed model of the geoid to date.
Most glues become brittle and lost their stickiness when moisture is removed, but a new peptide-based adhesive developed at Kansas State University does the exact opposite, becoming stickier in drier environments. While that may not mean much for those living in a swamp, this unique property could make adhering objects in outer space a whole lot easier.
Finding advanced alien races in other parts of the galaxy isn't so hard, according to Duncan Forgan of the University of Edinburgh and Martin Elvis at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Rather than look for direct evidence of cloud cities anchored to far-off rocks, we simply need to ask ourselves what our civilization might look like in the future, then look for signs of that. Specifically, we need to look at other planetary systems' asteroid belts for signs of mining.
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.
Mars is one seriously cold rock, so where better in the world to test a new spacesuit design then the permafrost of Antarctica? NASA researchers recently took the NDX-1 spacesuit prototype, designed at the University of North Dakota by Argentine aerospace engineer Pablo de Leon, for an Antarctic test drive where the suit was exposed to 47 mile per hour winds and frigid polar temperatures.