Posts tagged NASA

Video: NASA test firing of their new 3D printed rocket.

NASA was able to reduce the number of components in this rocket’s injector from 163, down to just two, by using a printing technology called “selective laser melting”.

Video: NASA’s ‘flying saucer’ tested in the upper atmosphere.

NASA is testing a “flying saucer” designed to land on Mars and deliver large payloads to the Red Planet, and the agency has released a spectacular video of a high-altitude test conducted over Hawaii this past June. In it, the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) is brought up 180,000 feet high into earth’s atmosphere, a place where conditions are similar to those on Mars. After confirming that the vehicle could fly in these conditions, NASA then tried to slow the craft down with two new technologies — a funky, donut-shaped “Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator” and a massive supersonic parachute.

#SpaceVine timelapse, #Italy #lightning and a speechless @NASA astronaut.

Payload announced for NASA’s Mars 2020 rover

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NASA has announced the seven instruments which were chosen out of a pool of 58 proposals to be included on NASA’s next Mars rover.

Lunar transit, captured from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.
On July 26, 2014, the moon crossed between NASA’s SDO and the sun, a phenomenon called a lunar transit. This happens approximately twice a year, causing a partial solar eclipse that can only be seen from SDO’s point of view. Images of the eclipse show a crisp lunar horizon, because the moon has no atmosphere that would distort light.

By blending different SDO wavelengths, we can get an enhanced image of the sun. The left image was taken in 304 wavelength, the middle in 171 wavelength, and the right shows the blended result.

Lunar transit, captured from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

On July 26, 2014, the moon crossed between NASA’s SDO and the sun, a phenomenon called a lunar transit. This happens approximately twice a year, causing a partial solar eclipse that can only be seen from SDO’s point of view. Images of the eclipse show a crisp lunar horizon, because the moon has no atmosphere that would distort light.

By blending different SDO wavelengths, we can get an enhanced image of the sun. The left image was taken in 304 wavelength, the middle in 171 wavelength, and the right shows the blended result.

Photo: Apollo 17 landing site, from space.
At the Apollo 17 site, the tracks laid down by the lunar rover are clearly visible, along with the last foot trails left on the moon. The image also shows where the astronauts placed some of the scientific instruments that provided the first insight into the moon’s environment and interior.
The image was taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter during a low orbit of the Moon at nearly 13 miles (21 kilometers) above the surface.
Larger image here.

Photo: Apollo 17 landing site, from space.

At the Apollo 17 site, the tracks laid down by the lunar rover are clearly visible, along with the last foot trails left on the moon. The image also shows where the astronauts placed some of the scientific instruments that provided the first insight into the moon’s environment and interior.

The image was taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter during a low orbit of the Moon at nearly 13 miles (21 kilometers) above the surface.

Larger image here.

This is the sunshield on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope.
This test unit was unfurled to full-size for the first time last week and “worked perfectly”, according to NASA.

The Sunshield is about the length of a tennis court, and will be folded up like an umbrella around the Webb telescope’s mirrors and instruments during launch. Once it reaches its orbit, the Webb telescope will receive a command from Earth to unfold, and separate the Sunshield’s five layers into their precisely stacked arrangement with its kite-like shape.
The Sunshield test unit was stacked and expanded at a cleanroom in the Northrop Grumman facility in Redondo Beach, California.
The Sunshield separates the observatory into a warm sun-facing side and a cold side where the sunshine is blocked from interfering with the sensitive infrared instruments. The infrared instruments need to be kept very cold (under 50 K or -370 degrees F) to operate.   The Sunshield protects these sensitive instruments with an effective sun protection factor or SPF of 1,000,000 (suntan lotion generally has an SPF of 8-50).

In addition to providing a cold environment, the Sunshield provides a thermally stable environment. This stability is essential to maintaining proper alignment of the primary mirror segments as the telescope changes its orientation to the sun.

This is the sunshield on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope.

This test unit was unfurled to full-size for the first time last week and “worked perfectly”, according to NASA.

The Sunshield is about the length of a tennis court, and will be folded up like an umbrella around the Webb telescope’s mirrors and instruments during launch. Once it reaches its orbit, the Webb telescope will receive a command from Earth to unfold, and separate the Sunshield’s five layers into their precisely stacked arrangement with its kite-like shape.

The Sunshield test unit was stacked and expanded at a cleanroom in the Northrop Grumman facility in Redondo Beach, California.

The Sunshield separates the observatory into a warm sun-facing side and a cold side where the sunshine is blocked from interfering with the sensitive infrared instruments. The infrared instruments need to be kept very cold (under 50 K or -370 degrees F) to operate.   The Sunshield protects these sensitive instruments with an effective sun protection factor or SPF of 1,000,000 (suntan lotion generally has an SPF of 8-50).

In addition to providing a cold environment, the Sunshield provides a thermally stable environment. This stability is essential to maintaining proper alignment of the primary mirror segments as the telescope changes its orientation to the sun.

NASA: Lunar pits could one day shelter astronauts.

While the moon’s surface is battered by millions of craters, it also has over 200 holes – steep-walled pits that in some cases might lead to caves that future astronauts could explore and use for shelter, according to new observations from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft.

The pits range in size from about 5 meters (~5 yards) across to more than 900 meters (~984 yards) in diameter, and three of them were first identified using images from the Japanese Kaguya spacecraft. Hundreds more were found using a new computer algorithm that automatically scanned thousands of high-resolution images of the lunar surface from LRO’s Narrow Angle Camera (NAC).

"Pits would be useful in a support role for human activity on the lunar surface," said Robert Wagner of Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona. "A habitat placed in a pit — ideally several dozen meters back under an overhang — would provide a very safe location for astronauts: no radiation, no micrometeorites, possibly very little dust, and no wild day-night temperature swings." 

Could Jupiter’s moon Europa hold answers about life in the universe?

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Compiled from NASA’s Galileo spacecraft data, this colorized surface image of Europa shows the blue-white terrains which indicate relatively pure water ice. Scientists are very interested in these features because they may offer a way to investigate the habitability of the moon’s interior ocean.

NASA is now calling for proposals about science instruments that could be carried aboard a future mission to Jupiter’s moon, Europa, which would also seek answers to the question “are we alone in the universe?”