Category Archives: NASA

NASA Emphasizes Importance of Earth Science Given Concerns About Budget Cuts

WASHINGTON — NASA used a briefing about the agency’s next Earth science mission to also emphasize the importance of that research in general, given concerns the next administration may seek to slash funding for it.

A Nov. 10 briefing at NASA Headquarters about the upcoming launch of the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System  (CYGNSS) mission featured an introduction by Thomas Zurbuchen, the new associate administrator for science, who talked not about the mission itself but about NASA’s Earth science work in general. Continue reading NASA Emphasizes Importance of Earth Science Given Concerns About Budget Cuts

Odds Favor Successful SpaceX Mars Mission

Before NASA decided to help SpaceX on its journey to Mars, details of which company chief Elon Musk plans to unveil on Tuesday, the U.S. space agency reviewed the plan for SpaceX’s first mission, slated to launch in 2018, and decided it has a reasonably good chance of success.

For NASA, a successful mission means that SpaceX’s Mars vehicle, called Red Dragon, flies through the Martian atmosphere with its thrusters firing in the direction of travel, a technology known as supersonic retrograde propulsion. The feather in the cap would be a propulsive landing on the Martian surface. Continue reading Odds Favor Successful SpaceX Mars Mission

NASA’s Bold Asteroid Sampling Mission Launches

The US space agency’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Thursday (Sept. 8) at 7:05 p.m. EDT (2305 GMT), riding a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket into an evening sky suffused with golden light.

“Liftoff for OSIRIS-Rex, its seven-year mission to boldly go to the asteroid Bennu and back,” NASA spokesman Mike Curie said during a live launch broadcast in an apparent nod to “Star Trek,” which celebrated its 50th anniversary on Thursday. Continue reading NASA’s Bold Asteroid Sampling Mission Launches

NASA Regains Contact With ‘Dead’ Solar Mission

NASA has finally re-established contact with a sun-watching probe that was thought to be lost in space after it abruptly went silent in 2014.

A signal from the long-lost spacecraft, called STEREO-B, was detected Sunday evening (Aug. 21) by NASA’s Deep Space Network, a collection of space tracking stations that follows the agency’s space missions across the solar system and beyond. NASA scientists had kept vigil for STEREO-B, making monthly searches for the probe until it phoned home Sunday at 6:57 p.m. EDT (2257 GMT). Continue reading NASA Regains Contact With ‘Dead’ Solar Mission

How to Form Io’s Mountains? Just Squeeze!

Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io is full of mysteries, including how its mountains were formed. They have puzzled scientists for decades because they look nothing like mountains on Earth.

At home, we see mountains grow in ranges that can stretch across thousands of miles. But on Io, the more than 100 cataloged mountains mostly grow in isolation. What mysterious tectonic forces are at play here? Continue reading How to Form Io’s Mountains? Just Squeeze!

NASA invests $67 million into solar electric propulsion for deep space exploration

NASA has selected Aerojet Rocketdyne for a $67 million contract to develop an advanced Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) system for future deep-space missions.

In a press release, NASA stated that the propulsion system could be used on robotic missions to an asteroid and in other missions related to their Journey to Mars program. Continue reading NASA invests $67 million into solar electric propulsion for deep space exploration

NASA’s Next Great Space Telescope: The Quest Begins

The hunt is on! NASA has begun a quest to select its next big instrument to study the cosmos.

Observatories such as the Hubble Space Telescope have revolutionized humanity’s view of the cosmos. And upcoming projects, such as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the WFIRST-AFTA mission — which the agency aims to launch in 2018 and the mid-2020s, respectively — promise to make big discoveries of their own. Continue reading NASA’s Next Great Space Telescope: The Quest Begins