December 29, 2011 |
LOS ANGELES - The New Year's countdown to the moon has begun. NASA said Wednesday that its twin spacecraft were on course to arrive back-to-back at the moon after a 31/2-month journey. "We're on our way there," said project manager David Lehman of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the $496 million mission. The Grail probes - short for Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory - won't land on the lunar surface. Instead, they were poised to slip into orbit to study the uneven lunar gravity field.
November 23, 2011 |
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - As big as a car and as well-equipped as a laboratory, NASA's newest Mars rover blows away its predecessors in size and skill. Nicknamed Curiosity and scheduled for launch Saturday, the rover has a 7-foot arm tipped with a jackhammer and a laser to break through the Martian red rock. What really makes it stand out: It can analyze rocks and soil with unprecedented accuracy. "This is a Mars scientist's dream machine," said NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Ashwin Vasavada, the deputy project scientist.
November 16, 2011 |
WASHINGTON - Looking for a job? NASA is hiring astronauts. You can even apply online at a giant government jobs website (). There's only one hitch: NASA doesn't have its own spaceship anymore and is sending fewer fliers into orbit right now. "The experience is well worth the wait," promised Janet Kavandi, NASA flight crew operations director, as the agency started a public search Tuesday for new astronauts. There will be flights, but not many, with the shuttle fleet retired.
September 25, 2011 |
WASHINGTON - It's as big as a bus and weighs 6 tons, but officials probably will never be able to pinpoint exactly where a massive NASA satellite plummeted to Earth. NASA space junk scientists believe that all - or nearly all - of the parts of their 20-year-old dead satellite safely plunged into the Pacific Ocean, likely missing land. But if their estimates are off, by only five minutes or so, fiery pieces could have fallen on parts of northwestern North America. No injuries or damage have been reported on land, which NASA officials said was a good indication the satellite went into the ocean.
September 15, 2011 |
WASHINGTON - To soar far away from Earth and even on to Mars, NASA has dreamed up the world's most powerful rocket, a behemoth that borrows from the workhorse liquid-fuel rockets that sent Apollo missions into space four decades ago. But with a price tag that some estimate at $35 billion, it might not fly with Congress. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and several members of Congress announced the Obama administration's much-delayed general plans Wednesday for its rocket design, called the Space Launch System.
September 2, 2011 |
A CRACKED cosmonaut helmet, footsteps in the moon dust, a mysterious flash of light outside a spaceship window - these are some of the images the Weinstein Co. has released from "Apollo 18," a documentary-style sci-fi thriller opening today that the studio is marketing as a movie culled from "found footage" from a U.S. space mission. "In 1972, the United States sent two astronauts on a secret mission to the moon," the trailer says. "Despite decades of denial by NASA and the Department of Defense, classified footage of the mission was leaked to the media.
August 25, 2011 |
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - A Russian space-station supply ship failed to reach orbit Wednesday and crashed with a thunderous boom into Siberia, rattling NASA and others in this new era without any shuttles to bail out the orbiting outpost. The launch failure came barely a month after NASA's final shuttle flight. While the International Space Station has more than enough supplies, the rocket accident threatens to delay the launch of the next station crew just a month away. The upper stage of the Soyuz rocket that failed is similar to the ones used to launch astronauts.
July 31, 2011
The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History By Ben Mezrich Doubleday. 308 pp. $26.95 Reviewed by Ben Tarnoff In the summer of 2002, three young NASA employees stole a quarter-pound of moon rocks and tried selling them online to a Belgian collector. He alerted the FBI, and together they orchestrated the sting that led to the robbers' arrest. The rocks were returned - lunar samples from the Apollo missions, valued in the vicinity of $20 million - and the ringleader, 25-year-old Thad Roberts, went to prison for eight years.
July 8, 2011 |
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Rain in the forecast threatened to delay the last space shuttle launch, set for Friday morning, and a lightning strike near the pad briefly caused a flurry of concern at NASA before engineers concluded that the spaceship was OK. The lightning bolt hit a water tower about 500 feet from Atlantis' launchpad at midday Thursday, the space agency said. Technicians hurried out to check for electrical problems, but a review board ruled out any damage. Over the years, lightning has struck on or near the launchpad occasionally, delaying a few launches but causing no damage.
July 8, 2011
With Atlantis scheduled Friday to begin the last shuttle mission, weather permitting, it's OK to be somewhat concerned about the future of manned spaceflight. About as much as by rocket fuel, space exploration has always been powered by the romantic notion of humans reaching other planets. But the forever pragmatic President Obama has shown little sign of getting starry-eyed about reaching the heavens. Obama had little choice, given the recession, but to jettison President George W. Bush's plan to send an American back to the moon.