April 15, 2013
DERRICK PITTS, chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute, is a star in his own right, with regular TV and radio gigs and the occasional guest spot with Stephen Colbert or Craig Ferguson. He has also trained for suborbital space flight and is one of NASA's "solar-system ambassadors. " But what he really loves is turning people on to the stars in the night sky. He'll do that in a big way April 26 - the official Astronomy Night for the upcoming Philadelphia Science Fesitval. On Astronomy Night, Pitts and other astronomers will invite Earthlings in Philly to gaze through telescopes around town into the great beyond.
April 7, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The next giant leap in space exploration may be a short hop on a small space rock. This week, President Obama will request $105 million in NASA's 2014 budget for a mission that would capture a small asteroid, tug it near the moon, and later send astronauts to study it and grab samples. The asteroid-capturing robot could launch as soon as 2017, with astronauts flying to meet it near the moon by 2021, according to a NASA briefing presented to Congressrecently. The president's request includes $78 million for NASA to develop technologies for the project and $27 million for beefing up the agency's asteroid-detection work.
March 21, 2013 |
When an unexpected visitor comes crashing into Earth with the force of 20 atomic bombs, Congress sits up and notices. And then schedules a meeting. The House of Representatives heard testimony Tuesday about the meteor that surprised the world Feb. 15 when it lit up the Russian sky with the light of a thousand suns. Neither the head of NASA nor the commander of the Air Force Space Command had comforting words for the congressmen. Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.) asked what NASA director Charles F. Bolden Jr. what the space agency could do if, with only three weeks notice, a large asteroid was heading on a collision course with our planet.
February 20, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The International Space Station regained contact with NASA controllers in Houston after nearly three hours of accidental quiet, the space agency says. Officials say the six crew members and station are fine and had no problem during the brief outage. NASA spokesman Josh Byerly said something went wrong about 9:45 a.m. Eastern time Tuesday during a computer software update on the station. The outpost abruptly lost all communication, voice, and command from Houston. Communication was restored less than three hours later, Byerly said "We've got our command and control back," he said.
February 2, 2013 |
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Schoolchildren joined NASA managers and relatives of the lost crew of space shuttle Columbia on Friday to mark the 10th anniversary of the tragedy and remember the seven astronauts who died. More than 300 people gathered at Kennedy Space Center for the outdoor ceremony, just a few miles from where Columbia was supposed to land on Feb. 1, 2003, after a 16-day science mission. It instead burst apart in the sky over Texas, 16 minutes from home. Representing the families of the Columbia seven, the widow of commander Rick Husband told the audience that the accident was so unexpected and the shock so intense, "that even tears were not freely able to fall.
January 18, 2013
Dyer Brainerd Holmes, 91, director of manned space flight for NASA when Americans were making early forays into space in the early 1960s, has died. His death Jan. 11 in Memphis was of complications from pneumonia, his stepson, Pierce Ledbetter, said. Mr. Holmes joined NASA as director of manned space flight in October 1961, according to the NASA History Office. He resigned in June 1963. During his time at NASA, John Glenn became the first U.S. astronaut in orbit, on Feb. 20, 1962, on Mercury-Atlas 6. Scott Carpenter followed by riding Mercury-Atlas 7 into space May 24 the same year.
January 17, 2013 |
NASA today released satellite images documenting the off-the-charts pollution that has blanketed Beijing with thick smog. The abysmal air quality in the Chinese capital has led the government to order factories to reduce emissions and issue warnings to residents to stay inside. The pictures from NASA's Terra satellite, taken January 14, show the choking haze enveloping most of northeast China. The wave of pollution peaked Saturday. Expected to last through Tuesday, it was the severest smog since the government began releasing figures on PM2.5 particles, among the worst pollutants, early last year in response to a public outcry.
December 6, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - NASA, the agency that epitomized the Right Stuff, looks lost in space and doesn't have a clear sense of where it is going, an independent panel of science and engineering experts said in a stinging report Wednesday. The report by a panel of the National Academy of Sciences doesn't blame NASA; it faults the president, Congress, and the nation for not giving better direction. It also said NASA was doing little to further a White House goal of sending astronauts to an asteroid.
September 28, 2012 |
PASADENA, Calif. - The landing site of the Mars rover Curiosity was once covered with fast-moving and possibly waist-high water that could have possibly supported life, NASA scientists announced Thursday. While planetary scientists have often speculated that the now-desiccated surface of Mars was once wet, Curiosity cameras provided the first proof that flowing water was present on a least one part of Mars for "thousands or millions of years. " The early finding led Mars Science Laboratory mission top scientist John Grotzinger to conclude that Curiosity had already found a potentially "habitable" site - a central goal of the mission - well before heading to its primary destination.
August 7, 2012 |
PASADENA, Calif. - The robotic explorer Curiosity's daring plunge through the pink skies of Mars was more than perfect. It landed with spectacular style, a NASA scientist said, describing the first images of its mechanical gymnastics. Hours after NASA learned the rover had arrived on target, engineers and scientists got the first glimpses of the intricate maneuvers it made to hit the Martian soil safely. "It's a spectacular image," NASA research scientist Luther Beegle said, as NASA planned to release a fresh black-and-white picture.