Tag Archives: NASA

Astronauts Stick A GoPro In A Water Bubble

Because science!

The Apollo Program’s Wasted Potential

Not much infuriates me more than limitless scientific, technological, and humanitarian potential squandered at the hands of an apathetic public. It was this sort of apathy in the American people that led the United States government to shut down the Apollo program after it was just barely getting the training wheels off. Had we continued to explore Luna throughout the 1970s with the same gusto as the Apollo G-H missions, there is absolutely no telling where we, as a nation and as a species, could’ve been by now.

What if Johnson had got it wrong? What if, somehow, Americans cared more about space exploration and so sought to wring from their $24-billion Apollo investment everything they could?

We are only just now making the small, cautious steps back into the Universe beyond our atmosphere–mostly thanks to the retirement of the ill-advised Shuttle program and ironic “re-ignition” of Apollo-era technology. If the program had continued on the track as originally proposed, we may have already been living in the Tomorrowland vision of the future instead of dreaming about it while riding Space Mountain.

David Portree has a great article at WIRED about that alternative history and where we could’ve been by the dawn of the digital age.

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I kinda want to go to the Rice Hotel in Houston and register under the name Max Peck.

I kinda want to go to the Rice Hotel in Houston and register under the name Max Peck.

Still a Better Love Story than Twilight

Source: Still a Better Love Story than Twilight

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NASA Johnson Style (Gangnam Style Parody)

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How NASA Might Build Its Very First Warp Drive

It’s simple, really….

(via IO9)

Let me describe what I heard today

The Queen Mary’s 55Hz main horn blast

A deafening 288,000lbf of thrust from two F/A-18s and the SCA

and a thunderous roar from a crowd of thousands gathered to watch.

All right folks, here’s my two cents on the whole political wing-ding.

During his presidency, Bush expanded NASA’s budget and proposed a manned moon mission by 2016, among other goals for the space agency.

During his presidency, Obama effectively killed the manned space program at NASA.

During his candidacy, Romney hasn’t said a damned word about NASA.

There’s no particular political motivation here. I’m not saying “vote this guy” or whatnot. I’m just pointing out something that I think is interesting. If I’m inaccurate, please correct me, but do so by citing your sources. The intent is to inspire educated discussion and learn something.


The Curiosity Rover Landing

It’s called “seven minutes of terror” for a reason.

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2012 Transit of Venus

Sequence of images of 171 angstrom ultraviolet transit composited together to show path of Venus. [NASA]

In case you missed it Tuesday, the 2012 transit of Venus across the sun was one of the very rare astronomical events we “regular folk” can watch and appreciate with little scientific instrumentation.  Like eclipses, transits are one of the few “sciency things” that garner public attention and appreciation any more.  Tuesday’s transit, lasting about 6 hours, was the last time Earthlings will get to see our “sister planet” until December 2117.  Fortunately, our technology has improved a little bit since the last pair of transits, and we have been afforded multiple opportunities to watch the actual event.  I was watching the live webcast from the NOAA Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.

Events like this always strike me with a real sense of scale and I am imbued with renewed reverence for the Universe itself and for modern science’s efforts to understand it.  Venus is nearly the same size as our own planet, yet it looks so small against the burning disc of the sun.  There are sunspots that look like tiny flecks on Sol’s surface which are, in reality, large enough to swallow our world whole.  Even solar prominences–massive plumes of plasma arcing across the solar surface–that could swallow Jupiter (a planet with a diameter 11 times that of our Earth’s) with little effort.

I think the Warners said it best when they stated that it’s “a great big Universe, and we’re not.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center released a stunning time-lapse video of the transit that’s available on YouTube and free download from their website.  The footage was shot from the Solar Dynamics Observatory and shows the transit in various wavelengths with varying levels of detail.  From Goddard Multimedia:

The videos and images displayed here are constructed from several wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light and a portion of the visible spectrum. The red colored sun is the 304 angstrom ultraviolet, the golden colored sun is 171 angstrom, the magenta sun is 1700 angstrom, and the orange sun is filtered visible light. 304 and 171 show the atmosphere of the sun, which does not appear in the visible part of the spectrum.