Tag Archives | NASA

NASA Wants $100 Million To Catch An Asteroid

2007wd5And just what do you think they’ll do with the damn thing if they actually catch it? From Aviation Week:

NASA’s fiscal 2014 budget request will include $100 million for a new mission to find a small asteroid, capture it with a robotic spacecraft and bring it into range of human explorers somewhere in the vicinity of the Moon.

Suggested last year by the Keck Institute for Space Studies at the California Institute of Technology, the idea has attracted favor at NASA and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. President Obama’s goal of sending astronauts to a near-Earth asteroid by 2025 can’t be done with foreseeable civil-space spending, the thinking goes. But by moving an asteroid to cislunar space — a high lunar orbit or the second Earth-Moon Lagrangian Point (EML2), above the Moon’s far side — it is conceivable that technically the deadline could be met.

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NASA’s Strangest UFO Anomalies Caught On Film

From LunaCognita, a handy overview of extraterrestrial strangeness:
This compilation includes many of my favorite NASA UFO encounters/sightings that I have archived over the years. All of these examples (with the exception of the second-to-last one) were captured on film by NASA astronauts or Russian Cosmonauts over the past half-century - showing many amazing examples from different eras - Gemini, Apollo, Apollo/Soyuz Test Project, Skylab, STS, the ISS, plus a couple Russian-source additions from their unmanned Zond and Mir Space Station programs as well thrown in to round things out.
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Can We Stop The Next Meteor Strike?

Given the history of planetary destruction from meteor strikes in the past, trying to stop them from impacting our now vastly more populated planet seems like a good idea, but one wonders if it’s realistic. NASA is working on it, regardless, reports The Christian Science Monitor:

This month’s meteor detonation above the Russian city of Chelyabinsk and Earth’s close shave with asteroid 2012 DA14 have kick-started conversations on lessons learned and what steps can be taken to prevent space rock impacts in the future.

One positive action item was actually in place prior to the dual asteroid events of Feb. 15: a new Memorandum of Agreement between the Air, Space, and Cyberspace Operations Directorate of the Air Force Space Command and NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

That document, which was signed on Jan. 18 of this year, spells out specifics for the public release of meteor data from sources such as high-flying, hush-hush U.S.

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NASA Planning Mission To Search For Life On Jupiter’s Moon Europa

Mars gets the attention, but apparently a moon in the far reaches of our solar system is the spot with the greatest chance of harboring extraterrestrial beings. Via the Sydney Morning Herald:

US astronomers looking for life in the solar system believe that Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter, which has an ocean, is much more promising than desert-covered Mars, which is currently the focus of the US government’s attention.

“Europa is the most likely place in our solar system beyond Earth to possess …. life,” said Robert Pappalardo, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). “Europa is the most promising in terms of habitability because of its relatively thin ice shelf and an ocean … And we know there are oxidants on the surface of Europa.”

The JPL and the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland developed a new exploration project named Clipper with a total coast of two billion US dollars minus the launch.

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Why Aren’t You Working On An Asteroid Shield?

An excellent and timely question, asked by Emi Kolawole at the Washington Post:
Seriously, why aren’t all of America’s best and brightest working feverishly to keep us from being struck by an asteroid that could wipe a city (or more) from the face of the Earth? A cure for cancer, balancing the nation’s federal budget, and eliminating world hunger would all be rendered moot if an asteroid pulverized the planet. Granted, as the Post’s Brian Vastag reports, neither a city-destroying nor Earth-ending space rock is on anywhere near an immediate collision course with the planet — for now. (Seriously, don’t panic.) But the anticipated near-miss of asteroid 2012 DA14 by 17,000 miles on Feb. 15 should inspire every innovator to want to figure out how to make Earth asteroid-proof, right? Now, of course, there are a number of people working on how to keep Earth safe from asteroids and other potentially Earth-threatening debris. There are so many, in fact, that there is an internationalPlanetary Defense Conference in Flagstaff, Ariz., in April. And, as NASA Spokesman David Agle wrote...
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NASA’s Curiosity Rover Finds Unexplained Shiny Object On Mars

A mineral deposit? Crystal formation? Abandoned alien ray gun? Universe Today writes:

The Curiosity Mars rover has imaged a small metallic-looking protuberance which projects a shadow on the rock below. The image was taken with the right Mastcam on Curiosity on Sol 173 — January 30, 2013 here on Earth — and was pointed out to us by Elisabetta Bonora, an image editing enthusiast from Italy.

The protuberance seems different than the rock on which it sits – it could be composed of material more resistant to erosion than the rest and similar material could be within the rock, or it could be something that is “grown” on the rock. It looks fairly smooth, and is not covered by dust as is the case for metal surfaces that tend to clean easily.

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Did NASA Delete Possible UFO Evidence From Its Archives?

Is NASA covering its tracks in regards to images that could reveal what is truly out there? Or simply reorganizing its archives of photos of space trash? io9 writes:

UFOlogists are freaking out today over the removal of several photos from a NASA archive. These photos [see right] have been used by various UFO groups to support their belief that aliens have been visiting Earth and governments are covering it up. NASA identifies these as images of “space debris.”

Believers say the removal of the photos is tantamount to admitting that NASA is trying to cover up extraterrestrial visitors. More likely is that they were removed after the space agency realized that they were fueling alien conspiracy theories.

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NASA’s 100 Year Starship Project

Picture: Andrew Z. Colvin

From BBC.com:

Is a Pentagon plan for a spaceship travel outside our solar system a crackpot idea, or a visionary blueprint for reaching the stars?

The Pentagon’s premiere research agency has chosen a former astronaut to lead a foundation that is designed to take humanity to the stars.

When Jack Sarfatti was 13 years old, he began receiving phone calls from a strange metallic voice that told him he would someday become part of an elite group of scientists exploring uncharted territory. Those calls, which he believes may have come from a computer on a spacecraft, proved a seminal influence on his life and led him to pursue a career that combined mainstream physics with an enduring interest in UFOs and the far-out reaches of science.

For those who might dismiss Sarfatti as a crank, he is quick to point out that he is not interested in debating the reality of little green men, but rather whether the existence of UFOs might prove that the technology required for interstellar travel is possible.

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