Tag Archives | NASA

The Billionaires’ Space Club Is About Ego, Not Exploration

Apollo 8 Reentry (photo via NASA)

Apollo 8 Reentry (photo via NASA)

via Slate:

It’s an old trick. Multimillionaires regularly try to spin acts of crass ego gratification as selfless philanthropy, no matter how obviously self-serving. They jump out of balloons at the edge of the atmosphere, take submarines to the bottom of the ocean, or shoot endangered animals on safari, all in the name of science and exploration. The more recent trend is billionaires making fleets of rocket ships for private space exploration. What makes this one different is that the public actually seems to buy the farce. Space buffs everywhere are acting as if everyone in the world will somehow be enriched when Lady Gaga is finally able to sip pink Cristal in zero gravity. Call it the trickle-down theory of space exploration: Somehow, building a luxury-liner suborbital rocket ship for the amusement of the ultrarich, ultrafamous, and ultrabored will be a great victory for all of humanity.

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NASA Rover Finds Active and Ancient Organic Chemistry on Mars

The first definitive detection of Martian organic chemicals in material on the surface of Mars came from analysis by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover of sample powder from this mudstone target, "Cumberland." Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The first definitive detection of Martian organic chemicals in material on the surface of Mars came from analysis by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover of sample powder from this mudstone target, “Cumberland.” Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

via Nasa from December 16:

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has measured a tenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the atmosphere around it and detected other organic molecules in a rock-powder sample collected by the robotic laboratory’s drill.

“This temporary increase in methane — sharply up and then back down — tells us there must be some relatively localized source,” said Sushil Atreya of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, a member of the Curiosity rover science team. “There are many possible sources, biological or non-biological, such as interaction of water and rock.”

Researchers used Curiosity’s onboard Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) laboratory a dozen times in a 20-month period to sniff methane in the atmosphere.

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Get FREE Time on NASA’s D-Wave Quantum Computer

d-wave_exterior

This is your challenge disinfonauts: Unleash the quantum mind!

via H+ Magazine:

Recently the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) announced that they were accepting proposals for computer time on the D-Wave system at the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab located at NASA Ames Research Center. Details are as follows, and you can find out more (and download the RFP) at USRA’s website at http://www.usra.edu/quantum/rfp/. We encourage researchers to take advantage of this opportunity.

The Universities Space Research Association (USRA) is pleased to invite proposals for Cycle 1 of the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory Research Opportunity, which will allocate computer time for research projects to be run on the D-Wave System at NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) for the time period November 2014 through September 2015.

The total allocated computer time for the Cycle 1 research opportunity represents approximately 20% of the total available runtime during the period. Successful projects will be allowed to remotely access the quantum computer, and to run a number of jobs up to a maximum allocated runtime usage.

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Conspiracy Theorists Claim Rosetta Mission Comet is Really an Alien Object

Well that didn’t take long! Just hours after all the European Space Agency (ESA) successfully landed it’s Philae probe on comet 67P, theories are spreading around the internet suggesting that it’s not a comet at all and the ESA and NASA are conspiring to cover up its true alien identity. Via the Guardian:

On Wednesday afternoon, the European Space Agency made galactic history when their Rosetta Mission successful landed its Philae probe on a speeding comet, the first time such an extraordinary feat has been achieved.

As with everything from the moon landing to the death of Elvis, an alternative version of “what really happened” as the Philae probe landed on comet 67P did not take long to emerge.

Comet 67P on 19 September 2014 NavCam mosaic

According to an email published on the website UFOSightingsDaily.com – which does a regular trade in alien sightings – this mission is part of a European Space Agency and Nasa cover-up to disguise the comet’s true alien nature.

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Asteroids-1 Humans-0: Asteroid Mining Tech Among Casualties of Antares Rocket Explosion

Planetary Resources' Arkyd 3 technology-demonstration spacecraft, which was destroyed when Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket exploded on Oct. 28, 2014. Credit: Planetary Resources

Planetary Resources’ Arkyd 3 technology-demonstration spacecraft, which was destroyed when Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket exploded on Oct. 28, 2014.
Credit: Planetary Resources

via Space.com:

The rocket explosion that destroyed a cargo vessel bound for the International Space Station Tuesday (Oct. 28) also took out an asteroid-mining company’s first spacecraft.

Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares rocket exploded in a huge fireball just seconds after launching from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia Tuesday evening. The crash caused no injuries but destroyed Orbital’s unmanned Cygnus capsule, which was toting 5,000 lbs. (2,268 kilograms) of food, supplies and other gear to the International Space Station for NASA.

Among Cygnus’ cargo was the Arkyd 3 satellite, a tiny technology demonstrator built by asteroid-mining firm Planetary Resources. [Orbital Sciences’ Antares Rocket Explosion in Pictures]

The plan was to deploy Arkyd 3 (also known as A3), which measured just 12 by 4 by 4 inches (30 by 10 by 10 centimeters), from the space station into free-flying low-Earth orbit, where it would test out avionics, control and other systems for future asteroid-prospecting spacecraft.

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NASA Contemplates Deep Sleep Option for Mars Mission

During interplanetary transit, the crew would receive low-level electrical impulses to key muscle groups to prevent muscular atrophy. ©SPACEWORKS

During interplanetary transit, the crew would receive low-level electrical impulses to key muscle groups to prevent muscular atrophy. ©SPACEWORKS

via Discovery News:

A NASA-backed study explores an innovative way to dramatically cut the cost of a human expedition to Mars — put the crew in stasis.

The deep sleep, called torpor, would reduce astronauts’ metabolic functions with existing medical procedures. Torpor also can occur naturally in cases of hypothermia.

“Therapeutic torpor has been around in theory since the 1980s and really since 2003 has been a staple for critical care trauma patients in hospitals,” aerospace engineer Mark Schaffer, with SpaceWorks Enterprises in Atlanta, said at the International Astronomical Congress in Toronto this week. “Protocols exist in most major medical centers for inducing therapeutic hypothermia on patients to essentially keep them alive until they can get the kind of treatment that they need.”

Coupled with intravenous feeding, a crew could be put in hibernation for the transit time to Mars, which under the best-case scenario would take 180 days one-way.

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Hubble Helps Find Smallest Known Galaxy Containing a Supermassive Black Hole

 

Artist's View of M60-UCD1 Black Hole Image Credit: NASA, ESA, STScI-PRC14-41a

Artist’s View of M60-UCD1 Black Hole
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, STScI-PRC14-41a

How awesome is this?!

via Nasa.gov:

Astronomers using data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and ground observation have found an unlikely object in an improbable place — a monster black hole lurking inside one of the tiniest galaxies ever known.

The black hole is five times the mass of the one at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. It is inside one of the densest galaxies known to date — the M60-UCD1 dwarf galaxy that crams 140 million stars within a diameter of about 300 light-years, which is only 1/500th of our galaxy’s diameter.

If you lived inside this dwarf galaxy, the night sky would dazzle with at least 1 million stars visible to the naked eye. Our nighttime sky as seen from Earth’s surface shows 4,000 stars.

The finding implies there are many other compact galaxies in the universe that contain supermassive black holes.

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NASA Will Find Extraterrestrial Life Within the Next 20 Years

On Monday, a panel of NASA scientists gathered to talk about their search for extraterrestrial life. They claim that they will find evidence within the next 20 years–and that’s a conservative estimate.

via The Week:

NASA outlined its plan to search for alien life and said it would launch the Transiting Exoplanet Surveying Satellite in 2017. The agency predicts that as many as 100 million worlds in the Milky Way galaxy may be home to alien life.

“Just imagine the moment when we find potential signatures of life,” Matt Mountain, director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, said at the announcement. “Imagine the moment when the world wakes up and the human race realizes that its long loneliness in time and space may be over — the possibility we’re no longer alone in the universe.”

NASA astronomer Kevin Hand seconded Mountain’s opinion, saying that within the next 20 years, “we will find out we are not alone in the universe,” suggesting that extraterrestrial life may exist on Jupiter’s moon Europa.

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NASA’s Flying Saucer Falls Out of the Sky

Flying SaucerNASA’s Low Density Supersonic Decelerator vehicle was test-driven for the first time on Saturday. The new technology will be used to help spacecraft and possibly even astronauts experience a softer landing when they finally get to Mars (how they deal with hostile extraterrestrials will be left up to them).

LOS ANGELES (AP) — NASA has tested new technology designed to bring spacecraft — and one day even astronauts — safely down to Mars, with the agency declaring the experiment a qualified success even though a giant parachute got tangled on the way down.

Saturday’s $150 million experiment is the first of three involving the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator vehicle. Tests are being conducted at high altitude on Earth to mimic descent through the thin atmosphere of the Red Planet.

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