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Posts Tagged "nasa"

Food Matters

Astronaut nutrition: staying healthy for a year in space

NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg, Expedition 36 flight engineer, gets some nutrients aboard the International Space Station. Photo courtesy of NASA.

When NASA astronaut Scott Kelly leaves the earth for his International Space Station mission in 2015, he won’t walk the aisles of a grocery store for a year.  To ensure he and other long-term astronauts stay healthy, NASA must make certain they have the proper food in tow. I caught up with NASA nutritionist Scott [...]

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Guest Blog

Next Generation: We Want a Spaceship, Not a Freight Truck

space shuttle Atlantis on launch pad evening of July 7

CAPE CANAVERAL — I took this picture last night, and I don’t like it very much. Let’s set aside discussions of artistic merit and admit that it’s a pretty dreary view of the last functioning space shuttle perched on its launch pad. Especially when NASA promised a glorious sunset. I’m a 20-something science journalist now [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Have we got Solar System Habitability Backwards?

(NASA)

Enceladus, Europa, Ganymede, Titan, Triton, Pluto, Eris…they may all have, or have had, large oceans of liquid water trapped beneath a frozen crust. That poses some interesting questions. I’ve written before on these pages (and elsewhere) about the wealth of evidence for internal bodies of liquid water in our solar system. Since the Pioneer, and [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Titan Loses its Speckles

A 3-D view of a region of Kraken Mare showing the sharp turns in a 'river' (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI)

Some of the most stunning images of Saturn’s moon Titan are made using a synthetic aperture radar to penetrate the thick atmosphere to see the frigid surface. But radar images are prone to what’s called ‘speckle noise’. This is the granular texture that covers the radar maps, and it’s caused by the physical roughness of [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Jupiter’s Moons Ascending

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Some natural phenomena need few words to explain why they’re fascinating. Eclipses, transits, and phases in astronomy tend to fall into that category. Here’s a stunning sequence of images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3 showing the triple conjunction and transit of the large Jovian moons Europa, Callisto, and Io over [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Dawn Approaches Ceres

Dawn's latest, and best, images of Ceres (NASA)

NASA’s Dawn mission, having performed remarkably at the asteroid Vesta, is homing in on Ceres. The spacecraft’s ion engines will bring it to a capture orbit around this 590 mile diameter dwarf planet on March 6th, 2015 – at a distance some 2.5 times further from the Sun than the Earth. Now at a separation [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Will We Find Extraterrestrial Life In 2015?

ESO

Probably not, but just possibly yes. One of the reasons that the search for life elsewhere in the universe is so exciting is that it would take only one chance discovery, one lucky break, for all the walls to come tumbling down. But where is that revolution going to come from? Perhaps the best news [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Mars, Ancient Water, Deep Hydrogen, and Life

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Two billion year-old water pockets and a revised deep hydrogen content are good news for Earth’s vast subsurface biosphere, and could offer clues to life on Mars and much further beyond. Excitement over the Curiosity rover’s recently reported detection of a ‘spike’ in localized atmospheric methane – persisting over a couple of months – is [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Alien Yet Familiar: Following Curiosity Across Mars

(Mastcam image, Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

822 Martian days after landing, NASA’s Curiosity rover, carrying the Mars Science Laboratory, continues on its extraordinary journey across landscapes that are both utterly alien, and remarkably familiar. Here’s a small update. On November 18th 2014 the rover was in the center of this region (within the Pahrump Hills), continuing across the base area of [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Failure Is Always An Option

One of the lucky ones...Saturn V launch (NASA)

Do not try this at home. A Russian Proton-M launch goes wrong – and it can happen to anyone (wait for the shock wave). A rocket is a controlled bomb. The fully fueled Saturn V ‘moon rocket’ held an explosive force of about half a kiloton of TNT, enough to do some serious damage if [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Interview: The New Moon

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Think you know about the Moon? I did, but then I started reading ‘The New Moon: Water, Exploration, and Future Habitation‘ (Cambridge University Press, 2014) and realized that my knowledge amounted to a teensy scrap of lunar dust. For the past few years my colleague Prof. Arlin Crotts has been assembling an astonishingly detailed look [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Two New Arrivals Send Back Pictures Of Mars

Images of Mars in 3 ultraviolet bands(Courtesy Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics /University of Colorado and NASA)

The skies of Mars just got a little more crowded. On September 21st, 2014 NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) fired its engines for some 33 minutes in order to swing into a safe orbit. And a few days later, early on Sept 24th, India’s Space Research Organization (ISRO) made history by joining [...]

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Observations

After Enduring a Martian Marathon, NASA’s Opportunity Rover Faces an Uncertain Future

The path of NASA's Opportunity rover during its marathon journey on Mars

It’s been a long time coming, but this week NASA’s Mars Opportunity rover completed the first-ever Martian marathon. After landing on the Red Planet in January 2004 on a mission originally planned to only last 90 days, Opportunity has instead endured for more than a decade, and has taken eleven years and two months to [...]

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Observations

Dawn Spacecraft Arrives at Ceres, Becomes First to Orbit a Dwarf Planet

The dwarf planet Ceres in crescent phase as seen by NASA's Dawn spacecraft

Shortly after 7:30 am Eastern time this morning, a seven-year space voyage at last reached its final destination: NASA’s Dawn mission entered orbit around Ceres, a small, icy world orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter. Confirmation of Dawn’s arrival came about an hour later, via the spacecraft’s radio signal to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory [...]

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Observations

The Shifting Politics of NASA’s Astronaut Program

Senators Ted Cruz and Bill Nelson laugh during a subcommittee meeting

Ever since President George W. Bush’s decision to retire the space shuttles in the aftermath 2003’s Columbia disaster, NASA’s human spaceflight program has been adrift. Bush told NASA to go back to the Moon. Obama canceled most of those plans, directing the agency instead to a nearby asteroid—a proposal that has proved very controversial among [...]

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Observations

Planet Hunters Bet Big on a Small Telescope to See Alien Earths

A view of Alpha Centauri hanging over the horizon of Saturn

In 1990, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft briefly looked back from its journey out of the solar system, capturing a view of the faraway Earth. Carl Sagan called it the “pale blue dot.” From more than 6 billion kilometers away, beyond the orbit of Pluto, it seemed remarkable that our planet was even visible. But the [...]

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Observations

Science Far from Center Stage in Obama’s State of the Union

Pres. Obama delivers his State of the Union

President Barack Obama’s sixth State of the Union address, his first before a Republican-led legislature, was studded this evening with references to science and technology amidst talk of middle class tax cuts, thawing U.S. relations with Cuba, economic empowerment and closing the pay gap between men and women. The speech included mentions of climate change, [...]

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Observations

Orion Capsule Finishes “By-the-Book” Test Flight in the Pacific Ocean

Orion splashes down in the Pacific Ocean December 5, 2014.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.—After four and a half hours of flying around Earth, the new Orion capsule made a triumphant splashdown in the Pacific Ocean to end its debut mission. The spacecraft, designed to eventually carry people out into the solar system to asteroids, the moon and Mars, made this trial run unmanned, and appeared to [...]

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Observations

Elmo Talks with Scientific American about Tomorrow’s Orion Crew Capsule Launch [Video]

elmo clara

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.—The press site here at Kennedy Space Center is buzzing with media, top NASA brass, and at least one celebrity of the furry sort: Elmo. Through a partnership between NASA and Sesame Street, the cuddly red muppet is here to celebrate Thursday’s launch of the Orion crew capsule, which will make its debut [...]

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Observations

What Interstellar Gets Wrong about Interstellar Travel

A starship travels through a cosmic wormhole

Christopher Nolan’s new film, Interstellar, is a near-future tale of astronauts departing a dying Earth to travel to Saturn, then through a wormhole to another galaxy, all in search of somewhere else humanity could call home. It’s a gorgeous, ambitious work, with outstanding performances from a star-studded cast augmented by high-fidelity visual effects and a [...]

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Observations

Live Chat at Noon Today on Dreams of Other Worlds and NASA’s Next Mars Mission

Robotic exploration of space is fascinating, complex and quite important to our understanding of the universe. To learn more about how scientists and engineers overcome challenges of robotic space exploration for successful data collection, join us for a live chat today (Tuesday, October 29) at noon EDT with Chris Impey, astronomer and author of Dreams of [...]

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Observations

Why It Is Impossible to Pinpoint the 1,000th Exoplanet

Credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

The list of known exoplanets is growing so long, so fast, that it is becoming difficult to properly appreciate the new discoveries. For those of us who grew up when our solar system accounted for the only nine worlds known in the entire universe, how are we to grasp the fact that astronomers now discover [...]

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Plugged In

Smog shuts down Harbin, China, as seen from space.

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NASA’s Aqua satellite captured an image of smog that paralyzed the northeastern Chinese city of 10 million.

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Plugged In

China enveloped in smog, as seen from space. Again.

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Heavy smog that paralyzed eastern China is visible from space in this satellite image from NASA.

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Plugged In

A New Light in the Sky – “Kuwait on the Prairie”

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There’s a new light in the night sky – and it’s North Dakota. Over the past 2 years, North Dakota has doubled its oil production to become the #2 producing state in the nation.  And with this oil has come a glut of natural gas – so much gas that the more than 150 oil [...]

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Plugged In

Hello, Pale Blue Dot

Greetings, and welcome to Day 4 of Plugged In! On behalf of myself, Melissa, Scott, and Robynne, welcome to this shiny new blog of ours. There are so many things to discuss, but to get started, I want explain to you what this blog means to me and what I hope to get out of [...]

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Symbiartic

Before Manned Spaceflight There Was “Chimpanned” Spaceflight

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On January 31, 1961, a brave 3-year-old chimpanzee was strapped into a capsule inside the Mercury Redstone rocket and launched 160 miles above the earth. For 16 minutes, he orbited at a speed of 5857 mph before crashing down into the Atlantic Ocean, a little dehydrated, but otherwise unharmed. This furry astronaut, dubbed HAM (for [...]

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Symbiartic

SciArt on the Scene in Nov/Dec. 2013

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Ahhh, fall. Time to look for more indoor activities. And aren’t you lucky? Here’s a list of sciart exhibits that will warm your heart while you warm your toes. EXHIBITS: NORTHEAST REGION CLIMATE CHANGE IN OUR WORLD: Photographs by Gary Braasch October 16, 2013 – July 6, 2014 Museum of Science 1 Science Park Boston, [...]

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Symbiartic

Dress So Chic You Can See It From Space

SlowFactory_mini

Since Bora Zivkovic first asked me to moderate a session back at ScienceOnline 2009, I’ve been hoping to instill the importance of imagery into the wider science communication conversation. And it’s been working, in fits and starts. One of the most enthusiastic advocates for bringing sciart into scicomm is thankfully also the Executive Director of ScienceOnline, [...]

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Symbiartic

Commander Hadfield Shows Us What Science Communication Could Be. Visually.

c_hadfield_mini

Science communication has seldom had a better champion than Canadian astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield who just returned to Earth last night. Astronauts tweeting and talking from space is not a new phenomena, and though interesting scientific experiments abound way up on the ISS, they weren’t what caught the public’s imagination this go round. It was [...]

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Symbiartic

What Did You Miss?

Last month, we posted a wide variety of science-art here at Symbiartic. We thought it’d be nice to post an overview in case you missed or wanted to revisit any. Enjoy!

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Symbiartic

SciArt of the Day: Feeling Small?

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If you live in the upper latitudes and noticed an awesome aurora last week, behold the cause. Just a few days before the aurora, on August 31st, the sun threw a major tantrum and ejected a large amount of matter into space (sun places thumb to nose and wiggles fingers delivering an emphatic “thbtbtbtbtthtbtbtbtht! So [...]

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Symbiartic

SciArt of the Day: On the Brink

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This week, the space probe Voyager 1 turned 35. In the years since its launch, it completed its mission to document Saturn and Jupiter and has continued on to the brink of our solar system. Now, it is poised to reach farther than any man-made object to date, exiting the solar system and entering the [...]

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Symbiartic

Hey, how’d they get those men on Mars?

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When Curiosity landed three weeks ago today, many news stories were quick to point out it is the biggest rover to date. They said it’s car-sized. But what does that mean – are we talking a Hummer or a Mini? And how did its predecessors measure up? While snooping around NASA’s Mars mission sites, I [...]

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Symbiartic

See Where Our Curiosity Gets Us?

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I’m so excited I might burst. The first images from Curiosity’s cameras rained down to Earth in the middle of last night, after a 14 minute journey from the red planet. Here they are, in all their glory. Larger, color images will be available next week. Let the imagination soar!! Other neat tidbits from Curiosity: [...]

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Symbiartic

Sally Ride – Portrait by Christopher Paluso

SallyRide-CPaluso220

This striking portrait of Sally Ride, 1st American woman in space was painted by portrait artist Christopher Paluso for Ride’s 2009 induction into the San Diego Air and Space Museum’s International Hall of Fame. She was the 1st American woman, 1st lesbian in space and at the time, the youngest person in space at the [...]

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