Posts tagged nasa

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?

image

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?”


Caribbean Sea Viewed From the International Space Station.






From the Earth-orbiting International Space Station, flying some 225 nautical miles above the Caribbean Sea in the early morning hours of July 15, NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman photographed this north-looking panorama that includes parts of Cuba, the Bahamas and Florida, and even runs into several other areas in the southeastern U.S. The long stretch of lights to the left of center frame gives the shape of Miami.
More space stories at 8 Bit Future.
Caribbean Sea Viewed From the International Space Station.

From the Earth-orbiting International Space Station, flying some 225 nautical miles above the Caribbean Sea in the early morning hours of July 15, NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman photographed this north-looking panorama that includes parts of Cuba, the Bahamas and Florida, and even runs into several other areas in the southeastern U.S. The long stretch of lights to the left of center frame gives the shape of Miami.

Photo: Antares rocket and “super moon”.
Three of these perigee Moons will be seen this season, when the Moon and Earth are at their closest point in orbit, making it appear larger and brighter than normal. Look for others in August and September.
Meanwhile the Antares rocket pictured here successfully launched and is on its way to docking with the International Space Station on July 16.
Full sized photo from NASA.

Photo: Antares rocket and “super moon”.

Three of these perigee Moons will be seen this season, when the Moon and Earth are at their closest point in orbit, making it appear larger and brighter than normal. Look for others in August and September.

Meanwhile the Antares rocket pictured here successfully launched and is on its way to docking with the International Space Station on July 16.

Full sized photo from NASA.

Photo: Stars from the ISS.
This is a composite of a series of images photographed from a mounted camera on the Earth-orbiting International Space Station, from approximately 240 miles above Earth. Space station hardware in the foreground includes the Mini-Research Module (MRM1, center) and a Russian Progress vehicle docked to the Pirs Docking Compartment (right). Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit relayed some information about photographic techniques used to achieve the images: “My star trail images are made by taking a time exposure of about 10 to 15 minutes. However, with modern digital cameras, 30 seconds is about the longest exposure possible, due to electronic detector noise effectively snowing out the image. To achieve the longer exposures I do what many amateur astronomers do. I take multiple 30-second exposures, then ‘stack’ them using imaging software, thus producing the longer exposure.” A total of 47 images photographed by the astronaut-monitored stationary camera were combined to create this composite.

Photo: Stars from the ISS.

This is a composite of a series of images photographed from a mounted camera on the Earth-orbiting International Space Station, from approximately 240 miles above Earth. Space station hardware in the foreground includes the Mini-Research Module (MRM1, center) and a Russian Progress vehicle docked to the Pirs Docking Compartment (right). Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit relayed some information about photographic techniques used to achieve the images: “My star trail images are made by taking a time exposure of about 10 to 15 minutes. However, with modern digital cameras, 30 seconds is about the longest exposure possible, due to electronic detector noise effectively snowing out the image. To achieve the longer exposures I do what many amateur astronomers do. I take multiple 30-second exposures, then ‘stack’ them using imaging software, thus producing the longer exposure.” A total of 47 images photographed by the astronaut-monitored stationary camera were combined to create this composite.

ISS transiting in front of the Sun.

ISS transiting in front of the Sun.

Photo: America’s Next Rocket
NASA’s Space Launch System, or SLS, will be the most powerful rocket in history. The flexible, evolvable design of this advanced, heavy-lift launch vehicle will meet a variety of crew and cargo mission needs.
In addition to carrying the Orion spacecraft, SLS will transfer important cargo, equipment and science experiments to deep space, providing the nation with a safe, affordable and sustainable means to expand our reach in the solar system. It will allow astronauts aboard Orion to explore multiple deep-space destinations including an asteroid and ultimately Mars.
The first configuration of the SLS launch vehicle will have a 70-metric-ton (77-ton) lift capacity and carry an uncrewed Orion spacecraft beyond low-Earth orbit to test the performance of the integrated system. As the SLS is evolved, it will be the most powerful rocket ever built and provide an unprecedented lift capability of 130 metric tons (143 tons) to enable missions even farther into our solar system.

Photo: America’s Next Rocket

NASA’s Space Launch System, or SLS, will be the most powerful rocket in history. The flexible, evolvable design of this advanced, heavy-lift launch vehicle will meet a variety of crew and cargo mission needs.

In addition to carrying the Orion spacecraft, SLS will transfer important cargo, equipment and science experiments to deep space, providing the nation with a safe, affordable and sustainable means to expand our reach in the solar system. It will allow astronauts aboard Orion to explore multiple deep-space destinations including an asteroid and ultimately Mars.

The first configuration of the SLS launch vehicle will have a 70-metric-ton (77-ton) lift capacity and carry an uncrewed Orion spacecraft beyond low-Earth orbit to test the performance of the integrated system. As the SLS is evolved, it will be the most powerful rocket ever built and provide an unprecedented lift capability of 130 metric tons (143 tons) to enable missions even farther into our solar system.

Video: NASA rover roams the underside of frozen lakes.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is working on a rover that can be inserted under an ice sheet, before using its buoyancy to enable it to be driven untethered underwater, using the underside of the ice for traction.

One day such a system could be used on the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa, but for now it’s being tested in Alaska, measuring salt content and temperature of the water there.

Mars Curiosity Rover Marks First Martian Year.
NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover will complete a Martian year — 687 Earth days — on June 24, having accomplished the mission’s main goal of determining whether Mars once offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.
One of Curiosity’s first major findings after landing on the Red Planet in August 2012 was an ancient riverbed at its landing site. Nearby, at an area known as Yellowknife Bay, the mission met its main goal of determining whether the Martian Gale Crater ever was habitable for simple life forms. The answer, a historic “yes,” came from two mudstone slabs that the rover sampled with its drill. Analysis of these samples revealed the site was once a lakebed with mild water, the essential elemental ingredients for life, and a type of chemical energy source used by some microbes on Earth. If Mars had living organisms, this would have been a good home for them. 

Mars Curiosity Rover Marks First Martian Year.

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover will complete a Martian year — 687 Earth days — on June 24, having accomplished the mission’s main goal of determining whether Mars once offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.

One of Curiosity’s first major findings after landing on the Red Planet in August 2012 was an ancient riverbed at its landing site. Nearby, at an area known as Yellowknife Bay, the mission met its main goal of determining whether the Martian Gale Crater ever was habitable for simple life forms. The answer, a historic “yes,” came from two mudstone slabs that the rover sampled with its drill. Analysis of these samples revealed the site was once a lakebed with mild water, the essential elemental ingredients for life, and a type of chemical energy source used by some microbes on Earth. If Mars had living organisms, this would have been a good home for them.