Articles about nasa

Voyager mission logo

Voyager antenna operator: 'I was the first human to see images from Neptune'

When Richard Stephenson drives to work, there's a chance that later that day he'll become the first human to see new details of Mars, a moon of Saturn, or the far reaches of the solar system. Again. Stephenson's seen plenty of such firsts because his job as an Operations Supervisor at the Canberra Deep Space Tracking Complex …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Aug 2017
Solar storm - Shutterstock

Ten spacecraft – from Venus Express to Voyager 2 – all tracked same solar flare

On October 14th, 2014, the Sun decided it was time for a coronal mass ejection, the irregular hiccups that see it belch out astounding quantities of magnetised plasma. And after careful analysis, we've now fingerprinted the plasma's passing using no fewer than ten spacecraft. The event and subsequent analysis are detailed in a …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Aug 2017

NASA delivers CREAM-y load to ISS to improve cosmic ray detection

Hitching a ride on SpaceX's 12th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station is NASA's latest tech for studying the origins of cosmic rays, the high-energy particles that bombard Earth from deep space. Victor Hess, an Austrian physicist, is credited with discovering cosmic rays during a balloon flight in …
Andrew Silver, 15 Aug 2017
China's robot space truck Tianzhou-1 lifts off

NASA short-lists six candidates for future missions

NASA has published a shortlist of six missions its considering for launch from the year 2022. All are part of the space agency's “Explorers Program”, which aims to do heliophysics and astrophysics on modest budgets. The program runs “Medium-Class” missions with a budget cap of US$250m and “Missions of Opportunity” that get …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Aug 2017
NASA artist’s concept of Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69. Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Alex Parker

Space Duck 2.0 is New Horizons' next destination

The New Horizons probe's next destination, Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69, looks a bit like a duck. That's NASA's best guess after the amazing effort to fly a plane through the space rock's shadow in early July 2017, plus observations from earthly telescopes in Argentina. After examining the results of those observations, NASA …

Are you a clean freak? Are you a keen geek? Do you think space is neat?

Here’s a job title you can dazzle people with at boring dinner parties: Planetary Protection Officer. NASA is looking for someone to prevent germs from being exchanged between Earth and the Moons, comets, asteroids, and planets in our Solar System during space missions. “Planetary protection is concerned with the avoidance of …
NASA image solar wave modes

Sun's core in a real spin, but you wouldn't know just by looking at it

Our Sun's core is rotating four times faster than its surface. That's the conclusion boffins have reached after peering at data from the joint NASA-ESA SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) mission, first launched in 1995 and still turning in the science. What SOHO found is something solar scientists have been trying to …
2012 TC4 - NASA impression

Scary news: Asteroid may pass Earth by just 6,880km in October

NASA's preparing another round asteroid defence tests, thanks to the October fly-by of a rock that may come within a cosmic whisker of the Earth. Update: The figures below were later revised by scientists. See our followup story, here. The original article continues below. Asteroid 2012 TC4 is said rock, and is between ten …
NASA RS-25 with controller

NASA lights humongous rocket that goes nowhere ... until 2019

Vid If you have a hankering to watch eight minutes of billowing clouds of rocket exhaust, NASA's posted the video of the latest test of its RS-25 engine. The RS-25 is, as NASA-watchers know, the power-plant the agency is developing to shove its planned Space Launch System skywards. Yesterday's test was the third time NASA's run …
Saturn

Cassini captures pieces of Saturn’s rings

The soon-to-die Cassini probe has captured tiny fragments of Saturn’s rings. Cassini’s was launched in 1997, made it to Saturn in 2004 and has been there ever since. But the probe is running out of fuel and will be crashed into the gas giant in September 2017, in order to avoid possible contamination of potentially-life-bearing …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jul 2017
NASA Houston mission control

Apollo center fundraiser: That's one small check from man, one giant leap for our peace of mind

An online fundraising campaign is asking for $250,000 to cover the costs of preserving and maintaining a historic control room used for NASA's Apollo missions. A Kickstarter drive launched by Space Center Houston is hoping to drum up the quarter of a million bucks by August 19. It is part of a larger $5m restoration effort to …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Jul 2017
NASA image - Van Allen Belts

NASA whistles up electron noise from the Van Allen belt

NASA boffins in charge of the agency's Van Allen Belt mission have recorded audio-frequency noise made by energetic electrons emitting what's known as “whistler waves”. NASA Goddard says the waves shape the near-Earth space environment and also characterise different types of plasma, making them worthy of our curiosity. So …
Jupiter red spot

Juno beams back first closeups of Jupiter's unsightly red acne

NASA has released the first closeup images of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, the massive storm system that has been swirling on its surface for over 180 years. On July 10, the Juno space probe swooped within 5,600 miles (9,010 kilometers) of Jupiter’s surface, directly over the storm system. Now the pictures are back and the space …
Iain Thomson, 13 Jul 2017
SOFIA's planned mission to look at Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69

NASA flies plane through Earthly shadow of Kuiper Belt object

NASA has flown a plane through shadow of Kuiper Belt object 6.6bn kilometres from Earth. The object is 2014 MU69, a maybe-40km-across more than 1.5bn km past Pluto that is the New Horizons mission's next port of call after its encounter with Pluto. Humanity has precisely zero close-up experience of such objects and we've only …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Jul 2017
asteroid

NASA: Bring on the asteroid, so we can chuck a fridge at it

NASA has okayed one of its save-the-world-from-asteroids proposals to move to the preliminary design phase, on the way to a hoped-for launch early in the 2020s. If it goes ahead, the DART – Double Asteroid Redirection Test – will start with what the space agency describes as “a non-threatening small asteroid”. That way, …

Shock: NASA denies secret child sex slave cannibal colony on Mars

NASA has not enslaved a colony of children on Mars nor is it using them for vile orgies on the Red Planet nor feasting on them to harvest their precious bone marrow, officials have told The Register. We had our doubts, too. Asking the US space agency's spokespeople to confirm or deny the existence of a murderous conspiracy in …
Iain Thomson, 30 Jun 2017
asteroid

Did you know? Today is International Asteroid Day! Wouldn't it be amazing if one were to...

Space scientists and enthusiasts are today celebrating International Asteroid Day – with events in 190 countries and a 24-hour telethon with boffins from NASA, ESA, and JAXA plus assorted celebrities. The date, Friday, June 30, is no accident. It was picked to commemorate the largest meteorite explosion ever recorded in human …
Iain Thomson, 30 Jun 2017
Testing traction control at JPL

NASA tells Curiosity: Quit showing off, no 'wheelies' please

After 18 months of testing, NASA's pushed a patch to the Mars Curiosity Rover – to extend its wheels' life, and eliminate over-exuberant climbs causing “wheelies”. Written by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Jeff Biesiadecki and Olivier Toupet, the software update went live earlier this month, having been uploaded to the …

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