sic itur ad astra

some of us are looking towards the stars

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Maxim celebrated World Space Week at the beginning of October with an infographic celebrating some fun, impressive, and bizarre facts about space and space exploration.  Maxim provided the facts, and we went to town with a fun page of illustrations including Leonardo DiCaprio in a space suit and cats and dogs getting sucked into a black hole.  Check out our initial concept sketch below.

Maxim celebrated World Space Week at the beginning of October with an infographic celebrating some fun, impressive, and bizarre facts about space and space exploration.  Maxim provided the facts, and we went to town with a fun page of illustrations including Leonardo DiCaprio in a space suit and cats and dogs getting sucked into a black hole.  Check out our initial concept sketch below.

Filed under inforgraphic space nasa iss comedy fun

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The pale rocks in the foreground of this fisheye image from NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover include the “Bonanza King” target under consideration to become the fourth rock drilled by the Mars Science Laboratory mission.  No previous mission has collected sample material from the interior of rocks on Mars. Curiosity delivers the drilled rock powder into analytical laboratory instruments inside the rover.
Curiosity’s front Hazard Avoidance Camera (Hazcam), which has a very wide-angle lens, recorded this view on Aug. 14, 2014, during the 719th Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s work on Mars.  The view faces southward, looking down a ramp at the northeastern end of sandy-floored “Hidden Valley.” Wheel tracks show where Curiosity drove into the valley, and back out again, earlier in August 2014.  The largest of the individual flat rocks in the foreground are a few inches (several centimeters) across.  For scale, the rover’s left front wheel, visible at left, is 20 inches (0.5 meter) in diameter.

The pale rocks in the foreground of this fisheye image from NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover include the “Bonanza King” target under consideration to become the fourth rock drilled by the Mars Science Laboratory mission.  No previous mission has collected sample material from the interior of rocks on Mars. Curiosity delivers the drilled rock powder into analytical laboratory instruments inside the rover.

Curiosity’s front Hazard Avoidance Camera (Hazcam), which has a very wide-angle lens, recorded this view on Aug. 14, 2014, during the 719th Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s work on Mars.  The view faces southward, looking down a ramp at the northeastern end of sandy-floored “Hidden Valley.” Wheel tracks show where Curiosity drove into the valley, and back out again, earlier in August 2014.  The largest of the individual flat rocks in the foreground are a few inches (several centimeters) across.  For scale, the rover’s left front wheel, visible at left, is 20 inches (0.5 meter) in diameter.

Filed under mars nasa probe curiosity space hazvam Bonanza King msl

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The center section of the “pathfinder” (test) backplane of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope arrived at the Goddard Space Flight Center in July 2014, to be part of a simulation of putting together vital parts of the telescope. In this photograph, the backplane is hoisted into place in the assembly stand in NASA Goddard’s giant cleanroom, where over the next several months engineers and scientists will install two spare primary mirror segments and a spare secondary mirror. By installing the mirrors on the replica, technicians are able to practice this delicate procedure for when the actual flight backplane arrives. Installation of the mirrors on the backplane requires precision, so practice is important.

The center section of the “pathfinder” (test) backplane of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope arrived at the Goddard Space Flight Center in July 2014, to be part of a simulation of putting together vital parts of the telescope. In this photograph, the backplane is hoisted into place in the assembly stand in NASA Goddard’s giant cleanroom, where over the next several months engineers and scientists will install two spare primary mirror segments and a spare secondary mirror. By installing the mirrors on the replica, technicians are able to practice this delicate procedure for when the actual flight backplane arrives. Installation of the mirrors on the backplane requires precision, so practice is important.

Filed under james webb space telescope nasa space clean room test testing Goddard Space Flight Center

28 notes &

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman, Expedition 40 flight engineer, installs Capillary Channel Flow (CCF) experiment hardware in the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) located in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station. CCF is a versatile experiment for studying a critical variety of inertial-capillary dominated flows key to spacecraft systems that cannot be studied on the ground.
Capillary flow is the natural wicking of fluid between narrow channels in the opposite direction of gravity. Tree roots are one example of a capillary system, drawing water up from the soil. By increasing understanding of capillary flow in the absence of gravity, the Capillary Channel Flow (CCF) experiment helps scientists find new ways to move liquids in space. Capillary systems do not require pumps or moving parts, which reduces their cost, weight and complexity.

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman, Expedition 40 flight engineer, installs Capillary Channel Flow (CCF) experiment hardware in the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) located in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station. CCF is a versatile experiment for studying a critical variety of inertial-capillary dominated flows key to spacecraft systems that cannot be studied on the ground.

Capillary flow is the natural wicking of fluid between narrow channels in the opposite direction of gravity. Tree roots are one example of a capillary system, drawing water up from the soil. By increasing understanding of capillary flow in the absence of gravity, the Capillary Channel Flow (CCF) experiment helps scientists find new ways to move liquids in space. Capillary systems do not require pumps or moving parts, which reduces their cost, weight and complexity.

Filed under nasa space iss international space station ccf experiment msg

69 notes &

A perigree full moon or “supermoon” is seen, Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014, in Washington. A supermoon occurs when the moon’s orbit is closest (perigee) to Earth at the same time it is full.

A perigree full moon or “supermoon” is seen, Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014, in Washington. A supermoon occurs when the moon’s orbit is closest (perigee) to Earth at the same time it is full.

Filed under nasa supermoon perigee

27 notes &

Divers retrieve the test vehicle for NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator off the coast of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. On June 28, 2014, the vehicle was lifted to near-space with the help of a balloon and rocket in order to test new Mars landing technologies. The divers, from the U.S. Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, retrieved the vehicle hours after the successful test.
NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate funds the LDSD mission, a cooperative effort led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. NASA’s Technology Demonstration Mission program manages LDSD at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia, coordinated support with the Pacific Missile Range Facility, provided the core electrical systems for the test vehicle, and coordinated the balloon and recovery services for the LDSD test.

Divers retrieve the test vehicle for NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator off the coast of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. On June 28, 2014, the vehicle was lifted to near-space with the help of a balloon and rocket in order to test new Mars landing technologies. The divers, from the U.S. Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, retrieved the vehicle hours after the successful test.

NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate funds the LDSD mission, a cooperative effort led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. NASA’s Technology Demonstration Mission program manages LDSD at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia, coordinated support with the Pacific Missile Range Facility, provided the core electrical systems for the test vehicle, and coordinated the balloon and recovery services for the LDSD test.

Filed under nasa space probe lsds test recovery

41 notes &

Close up detail focusing on a smooth region on the ‘base’ of the ‘body’ section of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The image was taken by Rosetta’s Onboard Scientific Imaging System (OSIRIS) on August 6, 2014. The image clearly shows a range of features, including boulders, craters and steep cliffs. The image was taken from a distance of 80 miles (130 kilometers) and the image resolution is 8 feet (2.4 meters) per pixel.
The three U.S. instruments aboard the spacecraft are the Microwave Instrument for Rosetta Orbiter (MIRO), an ultraviolet spectrometer called Alice, and the Ion and Electron Sensor (IES). They are part of a suite of 11 science instruments aboard the Rosetta orbiter.
MIRO is designed to provide data on how gas and dust leave the surface of the nucleus to form the coma and tail that gives comets their intrinsic beauty. Studying the surface temperature and evolution of the coma and tail provides information on how the comet evolves as it approaches and leaves the vicinity of the sun.
Alice will analyze gases in the comet’s coma, which is the bright envelope of gas around the nucleus of the comet developed as a comet approaches the sun. Alice also will measure the rate at which the comet produces water, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. These measurements will provide valuable information about the surface composition of the nucleus.
NASA also provided part of the electronics package for the Double Focusing Mass Spectrometer, which is part of the Swiss-built Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis (ROSINA) instrument. ROSINA will be the first instrument in space with sufficient resolution to be able to distinguish between molecular nitrogen and carbon monoxide, two molecules with approximately the same mass. Clear identification of nitrogen will help scientists understand conditions at the time the solar system was formed.
U.S. scientists are partnering on several non-U.S. instruments and are involved in seven of the mission’s 21 instrument collaborations. NASA’s Deep Space Network is supporting ESA’s Ground Station Network for spacecraft tracking and navigation.
Launched in March 2004, Rosetta was reactivated in January 2014 after a record 957 days in hibernation. Composed of an orbiter and lander, Rosetta’s objectives upon arrival at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August are to study the celestial object up close in unprecedented detail, prepare for landing a probe on the comet’s nucleus in November, and track its changes as it sweeps past the sun.
Comets are time capsules containing primitive material left over from the epoch when the sun and its planets formed. Rosetta’s lander will obtain the first images taken from a comet’s surface and will provide the first analysis of a comet’s composition by drilling into the surface. Rosetta also will be the first spacecraft to witness at close proximity how a comet changes as it is subjected to the increasing intensity of the sun’s radiation. Observations will help scientists learn more about the origin and evolution of our solar system and the role comets may have played in seeding Earth with water, and perhaps even life.
For more information on the U.S. instruments aboard Rosetta, visit: http://rosetta.jpl.nasa.gov

Close up detail focusing on a smooth region on the ‘base’ of the ‘body’ section of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The image was taken by Rosetta’s Onboard Scientific Imaging System (OSIRIS) on August 6, 2014. The image clearly shows a range of features, including boulders, craters and steep cliffs. The image was taken from a distance of 80 miles (130 kilometers) and the image resolution is 8 feet (2.4 meters) per pixel.

The three U.S. instruments aboard the spacecraft are the Microwave Instrument for Rosetta Orbiter (MIRO), an ultraviolet spectrometer called Alice, and the Ion and Electron Sensor (IES). They are part of a suite of 11 science instruments aboard the Rosetta orbiter.

MIRO is designed to provide data on how gas and dust leave the surface of the nucleus to form the coma and tail that gives comets their intrinsic beauty. Studying the surface temperature and evolution of the coma and tail provides information on how the comet evolves as it approaches and leaves the vicinity of the sun.

Alice will analyze gases in the comet’s coma, which is the bright envelope of gas around the nucleus of the comet developed as a comet approaches the sun. Alice also will measure the rate at which the comet produces water, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. These measurements will provide valuable information about the surface composition of the nucleus.

NASA also provided part of the electronics package for the Double Focusing Mass Spectrometer, which is part of the Swiss-built Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis (ROSINA) instrument. ROSINA will be the first instrument in space with sufficient resolution to be able to distinguish between molecular nitrogen and carbon monoxide, two molecules with approximately the same mass. Clear identification of nitrogen will help scientists understand conditions at the time the solar system was formed.

U.S. scientists are partnering on several non-U.S. instruments and are involved in seven of the mission’s 21 instrument collaborations. NASA’s Deep Space Network is supporting ESA’s Ground Station Network for spacecraft tracking and navigation.

Launched in March 2004, Rosetta was reactivated in January 2014 after a record 957 days in hibernation. Composed of an orbiter and lander, Rosetta’s objectives upon arrival at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August are to study the celestial object up close in unprecedented detail, prepare for landing a probe on the comet’s nucleus in November, and track its changes as it sweeps past the sun.

Comets are time capsules containing primitive material left over from the epoch when the sun and its planets formed. Rosetta’s lander will obtain the first images taken from a comet’s surface and will provide the first analysis of a comet’s composition by drilling into the surface. Rosetta also will be the first spacecraft to witness at close proximity how a comet changes as it is subjected to the increasing intensity of the sun’s radiation. Observations will help scientists learn more about the origin and evolution of our solar system and the role comets may have played in seeding Earth with water, and perhaps even life.

For more information on the U.S. instruments aboard Rosetta, visit: http://rosetta.jpl.nasa.gov

Filed under rosetta commet space OSIRIS MIRO IES nasa probe esa comet coma alice Churyumov-Gerasimenko