The space agency announced Tuesday that human exploration remains in NASA’s future plans, and the new transportation platform will be based on design originally planned for the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle. The decision came shortly after a visitor arrived from deep space: the space agency’s “all sky” cameras captured a man-size comet fragment as it swept over Georgia. It was the brightest meteoroid seen in the last three years.
At 5:56 p.m. EDT on May 31, the crew of STS-134, the Space Shuttle Endeavour, will wake up to a song about them. NASA’s Original Song Contest recently closed its voting period and two songs emerged as clear winners, "Sunrise Number 1" by Jorge Otero and the band Stormy Mondays and "Dreams You Give" by Brian Plunkett.
Rice Univ. will send an experiment to the International Space Station (ISS) later this year. If all goes perfectly, it will be precisely the same when it returns two years later. Memory chips made of silicon oxide will go aloft aboard a Russian Progress cargo ship in August for a lengthy stay at the ISS to see if radiation affects their nanoscale circuits.
A new analysis of data from NASA's Galileo spacecraft has revealed that beneath the surface of Jupiter's volcanic moon Io is an "ocean" of molten or partially molten magma.
Scientists in the close-knit Mars research community will get one last chance to make their case this week when they gather before the "judges"—the team running the $2.5 billion mission that will soon suggest a landing site to NASA. The result will determine where Curiosity will touch down after launching in November.
On the day NASA marked the 50th anniversary of the first American in space, the agency picked the three finalists for a 2016 mission. The projects, which are ambitious enough to include a trip to a Saturn moon, will compete for the $425 million mission budget.
After 52 years of conceiving, testing and waiting, one of Stanford's and NASA's longest-running projects comes to a close with a greater understanding of the universe, and a better mastery of global positioning systems. The Gravity Probe B satellites carried four ultra-precise gyroscopes able to detect some of the smallest fluctuations in gravitational force.
Like a travel sticker-covered suitcase, the orange fuel tank that will help propel the space shuttle Endeavour to orbit is already battle-tested. Completed by Lockheed Martin in 2001, the tank was grounded for retrofitting after the Columbia accident, then spent another eight months undergoing a patchwork of repairs after Hurricane Katrina ripped open its storage building.
The launch team began loading more than a half-million gallons of fuel into Endeavour at dawn, moments after royal wedding vows were exchanged across the ocean between Prince William and Kate Middleton in London. The historic launch will be this afternoon’s center of attention as both Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, wife of Endeavour’s commander, Mark Kelly, and Pres. Barack Obama and his family will be in attendance.
A team of scientists led by Cristina Chiappini of the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam in Germany recently found high levels of metal in a 12-billion-year-old cluster of stars — a chemical signature that suggests earlier generations, perhaps even the first stars, were massive and rotated much faster than their present-day counterparts.
New evidence from the discovery of a huge underground reservoir of dry ice, or frozen carbon dioxide, at the south pole of Mars, suggests to Southwest Research Institute scientists that the red planet’s climate 600,000 was probably a lot like the American Dust Bowl of the 1930s — but a lot worse.
NASA has released a trove of data from its sky-mapping mission, allowing scientists and anyone with access to the Internet to peruse millions of galaxies, stars, asteroids and other hard-to-see objects. Many of the targets in the celestial catalog released online this week have been previously observed, but there are significant new discoveries.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on Tuesday announced the facilities where four shuttle orbiters will be displayed permanently at the conclusion of the Space Shuttle Program. The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida are among the recipients of the retired spacecraft.
Using a cosmic gravitational lens, astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have discovered a distant galaxy whose stars were born unexpectedly early in cosmic history. So early, in fact, that its stars were born just 200 million years after the Big Bang. The discovery may help explain, in a roundabout way, the deficit of radiation that has caused the Universe to be transparent to ultraviolet light.
More than a week after the Swift satellite’s Burst Alert Telescope found the source of the first in a series of powerful x-ray blasts arriving from the Draco constellation, high-energy radiation continues to emanate from the distant explosion. The blast, which is now being watched by Hubble and Chandra X-ray Observatory as well as Swift, is lasting so long researchers think a massive black hole is involved.
In February, NASA held a press conference to announce the 1,235 planet candidates found by the Kepler project team using space observatory launched in 2009. Team member Jason Rowe has won a lot of fans by using plotting software to visualize the discoveries in a single image, illustrating the way Kepler uses periodic brightness fluctuations in stars to find exoplanets.
Messenger first moved into close orbit around the speedy inner planet about two weeks ago. By the end of this week, NASA will have received more than 15,000 pictures from the $446 million spacecraft, giving us a comprehensive view of a heavily-cratered world that may hold ice at its south pole.
With the click of a mouse, Sandy Freund Kasper sent a command to NASA's comet-hunting Stardust space probe to burn all its fuel, starting a sequence that would shut the spacecraft down after successfully completely two major missions in its career.
“Mars 3D” won’t be arriving in theaters anytime soon. The NASA rover Curiosity, scheduled to leave for the red planet later this year, will voyage without a pair of proposed 3-D zoom-cameras that filmmaker James Cameron had championed. Despite the absence of 3-D capability, the Mastcam currently installed is expected to fulfill the mission’s science goals.
The discovery of a pattern of X-ray "stripes" in the remains of an exploded star may provide the first direct evidence that a cosmic event can accelerate particles to energies a hundred times higher than achieved by the most powerful particle accelerator on Earth.
The aeronautics company unveiled a cavernous test facility at its Waterton Canyon site south of Denver on Monday and showed off a test version of the Orion spacecraft, a design which was initially meant to return humans to the moon but may wind up being an escape vehicle for the International Space Station or taking astronauts beyond Earth orbit.
The March 11, magnitude 9.0 earthquake in Japan may have shortened the length of each Earth day and shifted its axis. But don't worry—you won't notice the difference.
A NASA researcher caused a stir over the weekend with claims that gaps and stringy fibers in space rocks are fossils of alien life. Shortly after the new published work by Richard Hoover went viral, top scientists immediately found problems with his claims, saying that the holes found in three meteorites was not evidence of bacteria.
A NASA technology originally developed for plant growth experiments on space shuttle missions has successfully reduced the painful side effects resulting from chemotherapy and radiation treatment in bone marrow and stem cell transplant patients.
A second version of the secretive X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle is scheduled to rocket to space this afternoon from Cape Canaveral. Current forecasts predict a 70 percent chance that bad weather may delay the flight. The unmanned craft resembles the space shuttle, but is much smaller. The Air Force won't say what the shuttle is to be used for, but they do confirm that it operates completely autonomously.