Tag Archives | Space Exploration

NASA’s Travel Posters for Their “Exoplanet Travel Series”

via PlanetQuest:

Via NASA NASA/JPL-Caltech

Via NASA/JPL-Caltech

Relax on Kepler-16b – Where your shadow always has company

December 15, 2014

Like Luke Skywalker’s planet “Tatooine” in Star Wars, Kepler-16b orbits a pair of stars. Depicted here as a terrestrial planet, Kepler-16b might also be a gas giant like Saturn. Prospects for life on this unusual world aren’t good, as it has a temperature similar to that of dry ice. But the discovery indicates that the movie’s iconic double-sunset is anything but science fiction.

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Ted Cruz, Longtime Foe Of NASA And Science, Will Oversee NASA And Science In New Congress

Via The Huffington Post:

Following the ratification of Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) as chair of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committtee last week, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was named chair of the Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness, where he will oversee NASA and science programs.

Appointed Jan. 8, Cruz is expected to be confirmed to the new role by the end of the month as one of many changes to the new Republican-controlled Congress. But the Republican senator’s words and actions during his time in office have painted him to be a far cry from an advocate for the sciences, leaving many concerned about the future of space and science funding.

Cruz’s infamous hours-long speech in September 2013 led to a 16-day government shutdown barring 97 percent of NASA employees from appearing for work. Interns to the agency were temporarily displaced when the NASA-provided housing was closed during the shutdown, and many have said the agency suffered lasting damage due to the freeze.

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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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Nanotechnology to outer space: ten top tech innovations of 2014

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

By David Green, Monash University

Don’t be mesmerised by cool apps and flashy new gizmos – the top technology inventions of the year are ones that will have a lasting effect.

Most are advances in fields that are already changing us. Some will have immediate impact; others are portents of transformations that may take decades to complete. In this vein, and in no particular order, here are what I consider to be ten of the best technological innovations from 2014.

1. DNA nanobots injected into cockroaches

Nanotechnology is a growing research field that manipulates materials on a molecular scale. One prospect is to transform medicine by injecting nanobots into the body where they perform functions such as treating disease.

Researchers injected DNA into cockroaches. Tom Spinker/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

In February, an Israeli team described devices they made from DNA and injected into cockroaches.… Read the rest

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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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Hawking: We’ll Colonize The Moon Within 50 Years, Mars By 2100

320px-Physicist_Stephen_Hawking_in_Zero_Gravity_NASAStephen Hawking joined in a two-and-a-half-hour live broadcast from the International Space Station and Mission Control in Houston on March 16th, telling viewers that our future is in space and that we’ll have colonized the Moon within 50 years and Mars by 2100. It’s a message he’s been preaching for some time and with thousands of people clamoring to join the one-way mission to Mars planned for 2025, it seems his message has resonance…

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USA Heading Back To The Moon

320px-Apollo15LunarRoverAssuming you believe that the United States actually put men and machines on the moon before (yes, there are still plenty of naysaying conspiracy theorists who think it was a grand hoax), then this is a case of going back to the moon. If not, then it could be the first time. Exciting! From the Telegraph:

America is preparing to land a robot on the moon for the first time in four decades.

Nasa is looking for private partners to participate in the project that will see a new generation of rovers wandering across the moon’s surface.

The American space agency has set up a programme called Catalyst to exploit commercial opportunities offered by the moon.

It believes that eventually there will be a market for commercial cargo trips to the lunar surface.
“As Nasa pursues an ambitious plan for humans to explore an asteroid and Mars, US industry will create opportunities for Nasa to advance new technologies on the moon,” said Greg Williams, Nasa’s deputy associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

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Mysterious Rock Suddenly Appears In Front Of NASA Rover On Mars

There may be a perfectly reasonable explanation, but I certainly would not want to be left alone on Mars after dark. Via the Daily Mail:

A mysterious Martian rock that appeared in front of the Opportunity rover within days has left scientists scratching their heads. The rover, which landed on Mars in 2004, hasn’t moved in over a month as it waits for better weather on the red planet.

But a photo taken on Sol 3540 (January 8th, or the 3,540th Martian solar day since the Opportunity rover landed) shows a rock that wasn’t visible in previous photos taken on Sol 3536.

The discovery was revealed by Mars Exploration Rover lead scientist Steve Squyres in a keynote at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory last night.

rock

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Mars One Mission Selection Will Be A Reality TV Show

mars oneEver wish that reality TV stars could be hurtled off to Mars with no possibility of ever coming back? They've made a show out of it. Via the Telegraph:
Mars One hopes to announce a Big Brother-style reality show to help choose which of the 1,058 candidates for the one-way trip to Mars in 2025 will be among the 40 who make the final selection, with viewers voting on who should colonise the Red Planet. Paul Römer, co-creator and the first producer of The Big Donor Show and the Big Brother, is an ambassador for the project. CEO Bas Lansdorp has said: "We're in advanced negotiations with a major studio for an overall deal for film and television properties." 1,058 candidates survived the round one application process, which has weeded out more than 200,000 people since April last year. Organisers said they ruled out anyone "not taking the mission seriously". The shortlisted candidates come from 107 countries.
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Chinese Moon Landing

Rendering of the Chang'e 3 lander and rover, credited to the Beijing Institute of Spacecraft System Engineering

Rendering of the Chang’e 3 lander and rover, credited to the Beijing Institute of Spacecraft System Engineering

Calling all moon landing conspiracy theorists: did China really just make the first landing on the Moon in four decades? Or ever? AP reports on China’s lunar beachhead:

China on Saturday successfully carried out the world’s first soft landing of a space probe on the moon in nearly four decades, state media said, the next stage in an ambitious space program that aims to eventually put a Chinese astronaut on the moon.

The unmanned Chang’e 3 lander, named after a mythical Chinese goddess of the moon, touched down on Earth’s nearest neighbor following a 12-minute landing process.

The probe carried a six-wheeled moon rover called “Yutu,” or “Jade Rabbit,” the goddess’ pet. After landing Saturday evening on a fairly flat, Earth-facing part of the moon, the rover was slated to separate from the Chang’e eight hours later and embark on a three-month scientific exploration.

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