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Posts Tagged "NASA"

Brainwaves

Why Life Does Not Really Exist

native bee

I have been fascinated with living things since childhood. Growing up in northern California, I spent a lot of time playing outdoors among plants and animals. Some of my friends and I would sneak up on bees as they pollinated flowers and trap them in Ziploc bags so we could get a close look at [...]

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But Seriously...

Space: The Private Frontier

Brian at SpaceX

Following up on the SpaceX launch videos I posted yesterday, I wanted to repost this video I made a couple years ago for Time.com. In 2010, I visited the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, CA. This was my second visit to their one-stop rocket factory, thanks to an old friend who works for the company. But [...]

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But Seriously...

20 Questions with the Space Station

SECU Daily Planet

I’ve been a freelancer for over 20 years. It’s not quite accurate to say there aren’t benefits. There are; they just don’t include health care and employer-matched IRAs. The benefits are such things as not having to use an alarm clock or wear pants everyday, if you don’t feel like it. You can.  But you don’t [...]

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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

New Horizons Mission Catches Pluto And Charon Waltzing

Pluto and Charon in their orbits, taken July 2014 (Credit: NASA / JHUAPL / SwRI)

After a ten year journey, NASA’s New Horizons mission is still 420 million kilometers from the Pluto system – but that’s close enough to begin to see the orbital dance of an icy world and its major moon. This far out from the Sun it’s easier for planetary objects to hold onto satellites, so even [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Summer Shorts: A Record 25 Miles On Mars

A recent traverse map of Opportunity's adventures so far (yellow line) (Credit: L. Crumpler, NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/NMMNHS)

It’s summer in the northern hemisphere of a small, damp, planet orbiting a middle-aged star in a spiral galaxy of matter enjoying a brief heyday before colliding with another galaxy in some 4 billion orbits of the same small, damp, planet. Time for some brief stories. In any other circumstances it would be hard to [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Space: A New Hope or an Old Dream?

(Credit: NASA)

The release of a long-awaited National Academy of Sciences report on the state and future of the US space program has triggered wide-reaching commentary on what it means to be space-faring. For hundreds of billions of dollars spent over the next 20 years, the report suggests, NASA could get humans (reasonably safely) to Mars. Along [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Watch the Earth From Space, Live!

ISS from STS118 Shuttle (NASA)

Live streaming video by Ustream It doesn’t get much better than this (well, of course being in space might be better, albeit colder). The above is streaming video, live from the International Space Station and the High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment that was lofted to orbit by a SpaceX Dragon craft just days ago. [...]

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Life, Unbounded

So You Want To Be An Exozookeeper?

Kepler's tally of exoplanets (Credit: NASA Ames/SETI/J Rowe)

                  This week has seen the release of the latest set of ‘confirmed’ exoplanets from NASA’s Kepler mission. In total, 715 worlds have been added to the list of what are thought to be genuine Kepler planet detections (previously standing at 246). If you’re confused because you’ve [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Mystery of Mars ‘Doughnut’ Rock Solved

(Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ).

About a month ago an intriguing pair of images from NASA’s Opportunity rover on Mars showed a curious rock that had seemingly appeared our of nowhere during the course of 12 days. This small, brightly hued rock clearly had a fresh surface, suggesting that it was either broken off from somewhere or previously buried. So [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Water Erupts Across the Solar System

Europa erupts (Credit: NASA/ESA/K. Retherford/SWRI)

Reading the scientific headlines recently one would be forgiven for thinking that we’re experiencing a bout of interplanetary gastrointestinal distress. First, Saturn’s diminutive moon Enceladus continues to spew what we think are giant sprays of salty water from gnarled creases in its southern icy surface – captured in glorious imagery by the Cassini spacecraft over [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Cosmic Solitude, Exoplanets, and Books

Credit: NASA

Earlier this week I had the very great pleasure of catching up with Lee Billings, the author of Five Billion Years of Solitude, a beautifully written and provocative new book about the quest to find other Earths, other life in the universe. If you haven’t read it, you should. The Strand Bookstore in New York [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Extraordinary Footage From Starship Juno

Earth seen from the Juno mission (NASA, Oct 2013)

A starship comes tearing through the solar system, its sensors capturing a brief glimpse of the inner planets. A small blue-green world spins while its tiny dark moon gyrates around it. And then all is gone. Left behind for eternity as this interstellar voyager speeds on to the gaping void that is the rest of [...]

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Life, Unbounded

4 Billion Years of Martian History in 2 Minutes

Mars rendering, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

In honor of a slew of new results coming from NASA’s Curiosity rover, here’s a two-minute simulation of our current best-bet for how the martian environment has evolved over the past 4 billion years. From temperate and wet to frigid desert. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab.

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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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Observations

Global Water Shortages Grow Worse but Nations Have Few Answers

Image credit: José Manuel Suárez/Flickr

As we have been hearing, global water shortages are poised to exacerbate regional conflict and hobble economic growth. Yet the problem is growing worse, and is threatening to deal devastating blows to health, according to top water officials from the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) who spoke before a [...]

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Observations

Cassini Spacecraft Takes 1 Last Look at Home Today

Photo credit: CICLOPS, JPL, ESA, NASA

For a quarter-hour today, some of us on Earth can look up and know that almost a billion miles away, above the sky, a set of robotic eyes is looking right back. The Cassini spacecraft will be passing into Saturn’s shadow at that time, slewing its cameras to catch the planet’s majestic rings backlit by [...]

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Observations

Next Mars Rover Will Seek Out Signs of Past Life

Artists concept of rover

NASA officials have revealed their vision for what comes after the wildly successful Curiosity rover on Mars. Think of it as Curiosity Plus. Using Curiosity’s design as a starting point, Mars 2020 (as it’s currently known) will be another rover digging around the surface of the red planet. But, this time, rather than just looking [...]

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Observations

NASA Adds a New Space Telescope to Its Fleet of Solar Satellites

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Despite being the closest star to Earth, the sun still has its secrets. What drives the powerful eruptions of gas known as coronal mass ejections? How does the sun regulate Earth’s climate? Why are the upper layers of the sun’s atmosphere hotter than those next to the surface? Last week’s successful launch of the IRIS [...]

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Observations

Voyager 1 Returns Surprising Data about an Unexplored Region of Deep Space

Voyager 1

About the Voyager 1 spacecraft, this much is clear: the NASA probe has traveled farther than any other. Voyager 1 is now more than 18.5 billion kilometers from the sun—almost 125 times the distance between Earth and the sun. The spacecraft, one of two Voyagers launched by NASA in 1977, is truly in unexplored territory—so [...]

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Observations

Explore Mars for Yourself with this Billion-Pixel Image from the Curiosity Rover

Gigapan image of Mars from MSL rover

During Barack Obama’s first inauguration as president in 2009, photographer David Bergman snapped hundreds of photos to build a stunning mosaic of the event, comprising more than one billion pixels in total. Users of the clickable, zoomable Gigapan platform (where the inauguration mosaic has attracted more than 15 million views) dove into the image to [...]

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Observations

New Astronauts Face Limited Opportunities for Spaceflight [Video]

NASA announced on Monday its 2013 class of astronaut candidates, but the current state of the agency’s human spaceflight program makes it hard to get excited about what lies ahead for these remarkable individuals. To mark the announcement, NASA hosted a Google Hangout on Air with several administrators and former astronauts.   After sifting through [...]

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Observations

NASA’s Kepler Mission Endangered by Hardware Failure

NASA

The prolific planet-hunting spacecraft that has already discovered some of the most intriguing exoplanets known has abruptly lost the capacity to carry out its mission, NASA officials announced May 15. NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, which launched in 2009, relies on an array of flywheels, or reaction-wheel assemblies, to stabilize the pointing of its telescope toward a [...]

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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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PsiVid

Bill Nye’s Open Letter to Barack Obama

Bill Nye (Wikipedia)

I read a post at Nature yesterday about the severe cutbacks the Planetary Sciences Division at NASA (headed by Jim Green) has had to make recently due to reduced funding. This hardly seems acceptable to me, and certainly not to Bill Nye, CEO at The Planetary Society. So he wrote a letter to Barack Obama, [...]

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PsiVid

NASA’s MAVEN Mission, as told by LeVar Burton

MAVEN-Logo

I am having quite the space-filled weekend! Today, we just had a hangout with astronaut Chris Hadfield and now I’m packing up to head to Cape Canaveral to watch an ATLAS V rocket send the next Mars Orbiter, MAVEN, to space! The launch is slated to happen Monday, November 18 at 1:28 pm EST. While [...]

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PsiVid

MAVEN Orbiter Preparation at NASA Considered “Emergency Exception”–Work Continues Despite Government Shutdown

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With only 3% of NASA employees currently at work during the government shutdown, the status of continuing work for the upcoming MAVEN orbiter launching to Mars to analyze the Martian atmosphere mid-November has been uncertain. Luckily it seems they’ve been quite industrious this past month in preparation: The MAVEN spacecraft is shown in this time-lapse [...]

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PsiVid

Curiosity Catches Sight of Mars’ Moon Passing the Other

This video depicts NASA’s Curiosity rover observing Mars’ two moons, then shows one moon passing in front of the other. Phobos and Deimos, the moons of Mars, are thought to be asteroids captured in Mars’ gravitational field. Some facts to help us interpret what we are seeing here: Phobos’ diameter is 22.2 km and Deimos’ [...]

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PsiVid

Twelve Months of Curiosity on Mars in Two Minutes

Curiosity's First Year On Mars

Mars Curiosity Rover has captured our attention from the time it launched in November 2011 to the time it landed on August 5, 2012 in a very dramatic landing to now. It has been on the red planet for almost 12 months. What has it done so far? Take a look: Even with Curiosity there, [...]

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PsiVid

Hyper Earth: NASA Satellite Visualizations Create Stunning Video

Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 1.36.01 PM

Numerous satellites in orbit around Earth are collecting data constantly of many different facets of the forces of air and water we all live around and in. The video “Hyper Earth: the New World in 4k UHD, has put together some of the most stunning animations and visualizations that have been created from the NASA [...]

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PsiVid

NASA Astronomer Explains Supermoon

I hope most of you were able to get out and see the largest moon of the year, the so-called “Supermoon”, last night/this morning where the moon happens to be full and at perigee. It is not the super-est of Supermoons, as the perigee distance could be even closer, as it was in 2011 and [...]

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PsiVid

Top 10 (+1) Commander Chris Hadfield Videos from the ISS!

Colonel Chris Hadfield is a Canadian astronaut, a former mission specialist on STS-74 who also performed multiple EVAs on STS-100, and, for a few hours longer, the well-loved commander of the International Space Station mission 35. He has been a great inspiration for space travel via every type of social media (with the assistance of [...]

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PsiVid

Remembering Challenger Astronaut Ronald McNair

On January 28, 1986, NASA Challenger mission STS-51-L ended in tragedy when the shuttle exploded 73 seconds after takeoff. The image of the explosion shortly after liftoff is burned into the memory of many of us, so revisiting the “major malfunction” may not be necessary, but is here for those who’d like to witness it [...]

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PsiVid

ISS Startrails Video

Beautiful. Stunning. Hypnotic. Only a few of the words to describe this video posted by Christoph Malin, an outdoor journalist and cinematographer. And watch, at about 1:42 you’ll see Comet “Lovejoy” rising. From beneath the video: “This Video was achived (sic) by “stacking” image sequences provided by NASA from the Crew at International Space Station. [...]

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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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Symbiartic

Curiosity’s Storybook Wishes For Mars

Curiosity's storybook wishes for Mars

The Martian rovers Opportunity and Spirit have represented optimism, hope, and even cuteness to millions of people dreaming about discoveries on the red planet. How appropriate then, that the newest rover, Curiosity, should carry a sundial with sentiments and illustrations worthy of classic children’s literature. Curiosity blasted off aboard an Atlas 5 rocket on November [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

The Best Animal Stories of 2013

Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby

By Jason G. Goldman and Matt Soniak It should come as no surprise that we humans can be a bit confused when it comes to our relationship with other animals. We live in a society that is at once captivated by the National Zoo’s panda-cam and repulsed by the story of killer whale capture told [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Sunday Photoblogging: Curious about Curiosity

Last weekend, NASA successfully launched the Mars Science Laboratory – called Curiosity, which is currently well on its way towards the red planet. Back in May, I went to an Open House at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena. What a refreshing sight it was to see so many people – couples, families, grandparents and [...]

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