Tag: NASA



Mars rover Curiosity landing: be ready!

 NASA announced news activities for Mars landing which started on August 2. The series of news briefings from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, will give you all the information you need on the upcoming landing of NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars. The landing is scheduled for August 5. Goals and objectives (from Wikipedia): Cruise stage configuration of MSLThe MSL mission has four scientific goals: Determine the landing site’s habitability including the role of water, the study of the climate and the geology of Mars. It is also useful preparation for a future manned mission to Mars. To contribute to these goals, MSL has six main scientific objectives: 1.Determine the mineralogical composition of the Martian surface and near-surface geological materials. 2.Attempt to detect chemical building blocks of life (biosignatures). 3.Interpret the processes that have formed and modified rocks and soils. 4.Assess long-timescale (i.e., 4-billion-year) Martian atmospheric evolution processes. 5.Determine present state, distribution, and cycling of water and carbon dioxide. 6.Characterize the broad spectrum of surface radiation, including galactic radiation, cosmic radiation, solar proton events and secondary neutrons. As part of its exploration, it also measured the radiation exposure in the interior of the spacecraft as it traveled to Mars, and it is continuing…



Amelia Earhart, Sally Ride inspired generations of women

Sally Ride joined NASA in 1978 and became the first American woman to enter into low Earth orbit in 1983. She died Monday after a 17- month battle with pancreatic cancer. Ride, along with Amelia Earhart and many others, are pioneers who inspired generations of women. And this what Ruth Spencer’s article on The Guardian is about. The author writes: Female pioneers like Earhart and Ride have a powerful hold on our imaginations. They’re icons of courage and perseverance. They’re role models for young people, especially women. Earhart and Ride are part of a tradition of women who discovered parts of the world that no man (or woman) had gone before, including Alison Hargreaves, who climbed Everest without oxygen (and several other mountains while heavily pregnant); Helen Thayer, who lived for a year with a wolf pack in the Arctic Circle; and Nellie Bly, who took a record-breaking trip around the world 72 days and wrote a ground breaking exposé in which she faked insanity to study a mental institution from the inside. If many women did great things, Spencer underlines: ‘As they say, history was written by a man, and the accomplishments of many women are often looked over.‘……



On board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Universe Today knows how to catch my attention: Latest from Mars: Massive Polar Ice Cliffs, Northern Dunes, Gullied Craters. The HiRISE scientists monitor these regions to help in understand the climatic record stored in the ice sheet itself. Several gorgeous images are in this week’s update from the HiRISE camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. This lovely image shows the cliffs at the edges of huge ice sheet at the North Pole of Mars. These cliffs are about 800 meters (2,600 feet) high, and the ice sheet is several kilometers thick at its center. This is a great spot to look for ice avalanches that HiRISE has captured previously. The HiRISE team said that the slopes of these cliffs are almost vertical, plus dense networks of cracks cover the icy cliff faces making it easier for material to break free. The team regularly monitors sites like this to check for new blocks that have fallen. You can look for yourself to see if any avalanches have occurred since the last image was taken of this area, almost exactly one Martian year ago. Go to the HiRISE website to see all the amazing images from Mars! Below: Light-Toned and Possible Hydrated…



The 2012 Transit of Venus

I was in orbit around Earth and I could observe the 2012 transit of Venus. The planet Venus appeared as a small, dark disk moving across the face of the Sun, and the transit won’t be repeated until the year… 2117. The transit of Venus is an old story, as described on the NASA website: There is some evidence that the ancient Babylonians saw and recorded on a tablet something about Venus and the Sun in the 16th Century B.C., but the record is not clear. It is fair to say though that Galileo Galilee with his telescope, in 1610, was the first human to actually see Venus as more than just a bright point of light in the sky. Johannes Kepler, meanwhile, was shaking up the world with his meticulous use of astronomical data assembled by Tycho Brahe. He predicted that Venus would pass in front of the Sun on December 6, 1631, but unfortunately the transit was not visible from Europe at all. The first recorded sighting of this transit was by British cleric, Jeremiah Horrocks, and his friend William Crabtree, on December 4, 1639—only because Horrocks had mathematically predicted it, using better data than Kepler did. I…



Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has launched!

Yesterday I have seen something amazing whike orbit Earth: Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon spacecraft to orbit in an exciting start to the mission that will make SpaceX the first commercial company in history to attempt to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station. I have seen the SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and if you don’t know yet what SpaceX is about, here is the press release: At a press conference held after the launch, SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk began, “I would like to start off by saying what a tremendous honor it has been to work with NASA. And to acknowledge the fact that we could not have started SpaceX, nor could we have reached this point without the help of NASA… It’s really been an honor to work with such great people.” The vehicle’s first stage performed nominally before separating from the second stage. The second stage successfully delivered the Dragon spacecraft into its intended orbit. This marks the third consecutive successful Falcon 9 launch and the fifth straight launch success for SpaceX. “We obviously have to go through a number of steps to berth with the Space…









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