Posts tagged space

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." 

Earth, from the ISS.
Photo by Alexander Gerst: ”As a special type of Earth observation, sun glint pictures reveal an amazing amount of detail.”
More space stories at 8 Bit Future.

Earth, from the ISS.

Photo by Alexander Gerst: ”As a special type of Earth observation, sun glint pictures reveal an amazing amount of detail.”

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.

Perigee moon rising over Lower Manhattan.
Photo by Debashis Pradhan - full sized photo.

Perigee moon rising over Lower Manhattan.

Photo by Debashis Pradhan - full sized photo.

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.

This is a concept drawing of a ‘World View’ space capsule, which could be taking paying passengers to a 100,000 foot altitude for several hour trips, starting in as little as four years.
The capsule is hoisted by a giant balloon, and carries six passengers and two crew.
More space stories at 8 Bit Future.

This is a concept drawing of a ‘World View’ space capsule, which could be taking paying passengers to a 100,000 foot altitude for several hour trips, starting in as little as four years.

The capsule is hoisted by a giant balloon, and carries six passengers and two crew.

Prototype Robot With Smartphone to Test 3-D Mapping, Navigation Inside Space Station
The next launch to the International Space Station will carry this prototype free-flying space robot equipped with a smartphone, known as Smart SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient Experimental Satellites).
NASA has been testing SPHERES on the space station since 2011. This summer, astronauts will upgrade these existing space robots to use Google’s “Project Tango” smartphone, which features a custom 3-D sensor and multiple cameras. NASA will then use the Smart SPHERES to test free-flying 3-D mapping and navigation inside the space station. NASA is developing the Smart SPHERES to perform work on the space station that requires mobile sensing, such as environmental surveys to monitor levels of radiation, lighting and air quality. They also will be used to monitor inventory and conduct experiments. The development and testing of Smart SPHERES is funded by the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

More space stories on 8 Bit Future
More tech stories on 8 Bit Future

Prototype Robot With Smartphone to Test 3-D Mapping, Navigation Inside Space Station

The next launch to the International Space Station will carry this prototype free-flying space robot equipped with a smartphone, known as Smart SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient Experimental Satellites).

NASA has been testing SPHERES on the space station since 2011. This summer, astronauts will upgrade these existing space robots to use Google’s “Project Tango” smartphone, which features a custom 3-D sensor and multiple cameras. NASA will then use the Smart SPHERES to test free-flying 3-D mapping and navigation inside the space station. NASA is developing the Smart SPHERES to perform work on the space station that requires mobile sensing, such as environmental surveys to monitor levels of radiation, lighting and air quality. They also will be used to monitor inventory and conduct experiments. The development and testing of Smart SPHERES is funded by the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

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.