sic itur ad astra

some of us are looking towards the stars

30 notes &

Starting with the Sojourner rover, launched in 1996, NASA has sent four robotic rovers to the Red Planet. On November 26, 2011, NASA launched Curiosity, its most technologically advanced rover ever. At a glance, it’s easy to see the size evolution between NASA’s youngest and oldest rover, but how else have they evolved? This chart uses common terrestrial concepts to explore the evolution of NASA’s four other-wordly machines.

Starting with the Sojourner rover, launched in 1996, NASA has sent four robotic rovers to the Red Planet. On November 26, 2011, NASA launched Curiosity, its most technologically advanced rover ever. At a glance, it’s easy to see the size evolution between NASA’s youngest and oldest rover, but how else have they evolved? This chart uses common terrestrial concepts to explore the evolution of NASA’s four other-wordly machines.

Filed under mars nasa probe rover sojourner curiosity

13 notes &

On a July night this summer, a 5,200-pound balloon gondola hangs from a crane and moves toward the open doors of a building at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Md. The telescopes and instruments carried by the gondola, which are part of NASA’s Balloon Observation Platform for Planetary Science (BOPPS), are calibrated by taking a long look at the stars and other objects in the sky.
This photo was created from 100 separate 30-second-exposure photos, composited together to make the star trail that “spins” around Polaris, the North Star.
BOPPS is a high-altitude, stratospheric balloon mission, which will spend up to 24 hours aloft to study a number of objects in our solar system, including an Oort cloud comet. Two comets that may be visible during the flight include Pan STARRS and Siding Spring, which will pass very close to Mars on Oct. 19. The mission may also survey a potential array of other targets including asteroids Ceres and Vesta, Earth’s moon, and Neptune and Uranus. BOPPS is scheduled to launch on Sept. 25 from the NASA Columbia Scientific Balloon Research Facility in Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

On a July night this summer, a 5,200-pound balloon gondola hangs from a crane and moves toward the open doors of a building at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Md. The telescopes and instruments carried by the gondola, which are part of NASA’s Balloon Observation Platform for Planetary Science (BOPPS), are calibrated by taking a long look at the stars and other objects in the sky.

This photo was created from 100 separate 30-second-exposure photos, composited together to make the star trail that “spins” around Polaris, the North Star.

BOPPS is a high-altitude, stratospheric balloon mission, which will spend up to 24 hours aloft to study a number of objects in our solar system, including an Oort cloud comet. Two comets that may be visible during the flight include Pan STARRS and Siding Spring, which will pass very close to Mars on Oct. 19. The mission may also survey a potential array of other targets including asteroids Ceres and Vesta, Earth’s moon, and Neptune and Uranus. BOPPS is scheduled to launch on Sept. 25 from the NASA Columbia Scientific Balloon Research Facility in Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

Filed under nasa bopps balloon probe stratosphere ceres vesta moon

29 notes &

The Soyuz TMA-14M rocket is launched with Expedition 41 Soyuz Commander Alexander Samokutyaev of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) Flight Engineer Elena Serova of Roscosmos, and Flight Engineer Barry Wilmore of NASA, Friday, Sept. 26, 2014 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Samokutyaev, Serova, and Wilmore will spend the next five and a half months aboard the International Space Station. Serova will become the fourth Russian woman to fly in space and the first Russian woman to live and work on the station.

The Soyuz TMA-14M rocket is launched with Expedition 41 Soyuz Commander Alexander Samokutyaev of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) Flight Engineer Elena Serova of Roscosmos, and Flight Engineer Barry Wilmore of NASA, Friday, Sept. 26, 2014 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Samokutyaev, Serova, and Wilmore will spend the next five and a half months aboard the International Space Station. Serova will become the fourth Russian woman to fly in space and the first Russian woman to live and work on the station.

Filed under iss international space station space launch experdition 41 Baikonur Samokutyaev nasa Serova Wilmore woman russian Soyuz American

51 notes &

The Cassini spacecraft captures a rare family photo of three of Saturn’s moons that couldn’t be more different from each other! As the largest of the three, Tethys (image center) is round and has a variety of terrains across its surface. Meanwhile, Hyperion (to the upper-left of Tethys) is the “wild one” with a chaotic spin and Prometheus (lower-left) is a tiny moon that busies itself sculpting the F ring.
To learn more about the surface of Tethys (660 miles, or 1,062 kilometers across), see  PIA17164. More on the chaotic spin of Hyperion (168 miles, or 270 kilometers across) can be found at  PIA07683. And discover more about the role of Prometheus (53 miles, or 86 kilometers across) in shaping the F ring in  PIA12786.
This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 1 degree above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on July 14, 2014.
The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.2 million miles (1.9 million kilometers) from Tethys and at a Sun-Tethys-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 22 degrees. Image scale is 7 miles (11 kilometers) per pixel.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

The Cassini spacecraft captures a rare family photo of three of Saturn’s moons that couldn’t be more different from each other! As the largest of the three, Tethys (image center) is round and has a variety of terrains across its surface. Meanwhile, Hyperion (to the upper-left of Tethys) is the “wild one” with a chaotic spin and Prometheus (lower-left) is a tiny moon that busies itself sculpting the F ring.

To learn more about the surface of Tethys (660 miles, or 1,062 kilometers across), see PIA17164. More on the chaotic spin of Hyperion (168 miles, or 270 kilometers across) can be found at PIA07683. And discover more about the role of Prometheus (53 miles, or 86 kilometers across) in shaping the F ring in PIA12786.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 1 degree above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on July 14, 2014.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.2 million miles (1.9 million kilometers) from Tethys and at a Sun-Tethys-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 22 degrees. Image scale is 7 miles (11 kilometers) per pixel.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

Filed under cassini saturn moon tethys hyperion Prometheus probe space deep space

97 notes &

Kids today labor under the stereotype that they are preoccupied with video and online gaming, mired in digital routines to the exclusion of real-world exploration and imagination. A recent study by Kid Bunch and Touchstone Research, Inc. however, shows that today’s youngsters still dream of exploring the great beyond and learning about space exploration – both at school, and through fun and educational digital apps. An infographic prepared by Kid Bunch, juxtaposing the views of 7 – 10 year olds with those of their parents, indicates that most kids think there could be aliens in space, a third of parents believe that Mars will be colonized during their child’s lifetime, and a majority of families agree that the Apollo 11 mission that first brought mankind to the moon really happened. The study reveals that only a quarter of kids feel they’ve learned a lot about space exploration in school. Realizing the importance of science in their kids’ lives and the potential for “stealth learning”—using technology to engage and involve kids while they learn , 80% of parents agreed that there needs to be more quality educational material for kids on mobile devices. Coinciding with this need, the study found that 2/3 of kids and parents would download a mobile app that combined digital gaming with learning about space science and the Apollo 11 mission. While 90% of kids believe STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Math) learning subjects to be very important for children today, learning-while-gaming apps just might be the middle ground that kids and parents are looking for.

Kids today labor under the stereotype that they are preoccupied with video and online gaming, mired in digital routines to the exclusion of real-world exploration and imagination. A recent study by Kid Bunch and Touchstone Research, Inc. however, shows that today’s youngsters still dream of exploring the great beyond and learning about space exploration – both at school, and through fun and educational digital apps.


An infographic prepared by Kid Bunch, juxtaposing the views of 7 – 10 year olds with those of their parents, indicates that most kids think there could be aliens in space, a third of parents believe that Mars will be colonized during their child’s lifetime, and a majority of families agree that the Apollo 11 mission that first brought mankind to the moon really happened.


The study reveals that only a quarter of kids feel they’ve learned a lot about space exploration in school. Realizing the importance of science in their kids’ lives and the potential for “stealth learning”—using technology to engage and involve kids while they learn , 80% of parents agreed that there needs to be more quality educational material for kids on mobile devices.


Coinciding with this need, the study found that 2/3 of kids and parents would download a mobile app that combined digital gaming with learning about space science and the Apollo 11 mission. While 90% of kids believe STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Math) learning subjects to be very important for children today, learning-while-gaming apps just might be the middle ground that kids and parents are looking for.

Filed under kids apollo space nasa infographic study stem apollo 11

153 notes &

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman captured this image of Florida to Louisiana just before dawn, taken from the International Space Station, and posted it to social media on Friday, Sept. 12. Wiseman, Commander Max Suraev and Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst began their first full workweek Monday as a three-person crew aboard the space station, while the three additional flight engineers who will round out the Expedition 41 crew spent the day training for next week’s launch to the orbiting complex.

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman captured this image of Florida to Louisiana just before dawn, taken from the International Space Station, and posted it to social media on Friday, Sept. 12. Wiseman, Commander Max Suraev and Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst began their first full workweek Monday as a three-person crew aboard the space station, while the three additional flight engineers who will round out the Expedition 41 crew spent the day training for next week’s launch to the orbiting complex.

Filed under wiseman nasa iss internationa space station suraev gerst space florida louisiana

35 notes &

A thin sliver of Mimas is illuminated, the long shadows showing off its many craters, indicators of the moon’s violent history.
The most famous evidence of a collision on Mimas (246 miles, or 396 kilometers across) is the crater Herschel that gives Mimas its Death Star-like appearance. See PIA12568 for more on Herschel.
This view looks toward the anti-Saturn hemisphere of Mimas. North on Mimas is up and rotated 40 degrees to the right. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on May 20, 2013.
The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 100,000 miles (200,000 kilometers) from Mimas and at a Sun-Mimas-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 130 degrees. Image scale is 4,000 feet (1 kilometer) per pixel.

A thin sliver of Mimas is illuminated, the long shadows showing off its many craters, indicators of the moon’s violent history.

The most famous evidence of a collision on Mimas (246 miles, or 396 kilometers across) is the crater Herschel that gives Mimas its Death Star-like appearance. See PIA12568 for more on Herschel.

This view looks toward the anti-Saturn hemisphere of Mimas. North on Mimas is up and rotated 40 degrees to the right. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on May 20, 2013.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 100,000 miles (200,000 kilometers) from Mimas and at a Sun-Mimas-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 130 degrees. Image scale is 4,000 feet (1 kilometer) per pixel.

Filed under mimas moon probe nasa space herschel death star Cassini-Huygens Cassini saturn