It might be too late, but here's an excellent way to get up to speed with being a space shuttle pilot.
NASA's recent report on shuttle safety found that the chance of making it through first 25 flights (#25 being Challenger's last flight) was only 6%, and the chance of 88 safe flights between the Challenger and Columbia disasters was just 7%. If the study is accurate, then Challenger and Columbia weren't freak accidents--the flights before them were freak successes.
A star-gazer has come a little bit closer to the final frontier - after spending 18 months photographing the night sky.With just an ordinary digital camera, Alex Cherney turned thousands of snaps into an incredible time-lapse video of the cosmos.Using long exposures to allow more light in, these breath-taking pictures from the southern tip of Australia demonstrate how he captured the dramatic way the sky changes at night.
In August 2012, the Nasa rover Curiosity is scheduled to touch down on the surface of Mars. The size of a Mini Cooper, it's four times as heavy as predecessors Spirit and Opportunity, and comes with a large robot arm, a laser that can vaporise rocks at seven metres, a percussive drill and a weather station. Oh, and 4.8kg of plutonium-238.
The Elektro-L is similar to their GOES satellites. "It's a geostationary weather satellite orbiting above the equator at approximately 54 degrees east," says Robert, "the US has two similar operational geostationary satellites over the east and west coasts, EUMETSAT has one over Europe and one over the Indian Ocean, Japan has one over the far western Pacific." The difference between them is that Elektro-L uses three bands in reflected light - red and two near infrared bands - while NASA's GOES doesn't have the near-infrared.
Wonderful photos of the prep and launch of Discovery, the last of NASA's shuttle missions. You did good, you big white pigs.
It's usually impossible to predict science headlines for the year ahead: Small labs could come out of nowhere with amazing discoveries, long-expected findings might fail to materialize, and "settled science" may be thrown into turmoil. But one field--maybe more than any other--gives us strong hints on what to expect. Thanks to heavy legislation, complicated engineering, and astronomical distances travelled, we can see into the future of space exploration with some confidence.
February 20th, marked the 49th anniversary of Astronaut John Glenn's historic 1962 flight aboard the NASA spacecraft Friendship 7 -- when he became the first American (and third human being) to orbit the Earth. After being postponed ten times, the launch finally boosted Glenn into space, where he made three successful orbits at 17,400 miles per hour, returning safely home to a national celebration. Decades later, in 1998, Glenn ventured into space one more time, at age 77 aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery, to study the effects of space flight on the elderly. Below are images gathered from NASA's early Mercury Project, which lead up to Glenn's famous journey. [28 photos]
Tallest, deepest, hottest, weirdest: Our solar system is a place of extremes. In a new book, The 50 Most Extreme Places in Our Solar System, authors David Baker and Todd Ratcliff take readers on a sightseeing tour of gas giants, icy moons, and the heat-blasted inner planets. Here we present a sampling of our favorite extraordinary locales.
For NASA fans, the images captured by the agency's missions -- Hubble, Chandra, STEREO, SOHO, and so many more -- are mind-boggling. But in some respects, those photographs, X-ray pictures and the rest can hardly hold a proverbial candle to the evocative, trippy, black light poster-esque artist renderings NASA employs to illustrate its current and future projects.