NASA has just announced it will postpone the 39th and final launch of space shuttle Discovery until November 30 at the earliest, after a hydrogen gas leak stalled this afternoon's scheduled liftoff.
Meanwhile, Robonaut, who was supposed to start his career as the first humanoid robot in space this week, remains shut in his custom SLEEPR crate while the shuttle sorts out its problems.
Perhaps its sentimentality that's making Discovery stall its 39th and final mission. Scheduled to launch at 3:04 p.m. today after four days of delays for reasons ranging from helium and nitrogen leaks to voltage irregularities to stormy weather, the shuttle began leaking hydrogen fuel this morning midway through the fueling process.
When hypothesizing about life that may exist elsewhere in the universe, the tendency is to visualize something far different from life here on earth. But here in our galactic neighborhood, a team of MIT researchers argues, life it just as likely related to us. Following that line of thought, the team is developing a prototype alien DNA decoder that it hopes to send to Mars aboard a NASA-ESA mission slated for launch in 2018.
Global Positioning Systems work famously here on the home planet because we control all of the moving parts; put some satellites in the sky, equip a device with the proper hardware to communicate with them, and you can locate yourself just about anywhere. But how would we locate ourselves in deep space? For that kind of spatial location, a team of Italian researchers have devised a way to calculate one’s position in space using pulsars as interstellar navigation beacons.
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.
This week, the origin and continued preservation of five of our favorite standard units of measure
By Sam KeanPosted 11.03.2010 at 11:59 am 7 Comments
This week, Sam Kean takes a look at some ridiculously precise standards -- the meter, the second, and other international standard units -- and the role that elements have played in defining, redefining, and re-redefining them over the ages.
Most of the seven base metric units were pretty consistent from the beginning. Scientists agreed on what each unit meant and were confident that people in different countries meant the same thing. The big exception to this consistency was the candela—the unit for the luminosity of light.
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.
After a two-day delay and a good deal of much-deserved sentiment, the Space Shuttle Discovery – NASA’s oldest active shuttle – is at the launch pad and go for launch for its final mission, with liftoff slated for 3:52 p.m. EST tomorrow. Technicians are spending the day making the final inspections of the external liquid oxygen feedlines, and onboard ground communications will be activated this afternoon. It will be Discovery’s 39th flight in 26 years.
This new Spiderman-style suit may not win astronauts a spot in the fashion hall of fame, but it could help keep their bones intact during long spaceflights. Described in a new paper, prototype tests of the Gravity Loading Countermeasure Skinsuit, being developed by a research team at MIT's Man-Vehicle Laboratory, show that the suit simulates the effects of gravity on the human body, which could solve one of the biggest obstacles to future human space travel.