April 8, 2014
soupsoup:

Researchers on April 7 said that they have produced the most accurate measurement to date of how fast the universe was flying apart when it was 3 billion years old. At the rate of 68 km/s, the universe was growing at a rate of 1% every 44 million years at the time, which is actually slower than expected.

soupsoup:

Researchers on April 7 said that they have produced the most accurate measurement to date of how fast the universe was flying apart when it was 3 billion years old. At the rate of 68 km/s, the universe was growing at a rate of 1% every 44 million years at the time, which is actually slower than expected.

April 2, 2014
What Will Mars Do To Our Minds?

When human space travel made its transition from pipe dream to reality, one of the unknowns humans contended with concerned not just the physics of space, but the psychology of it. How would the human mind react to the final frontier? Would microgravity, combined with the isolation of a spaceship, cause a kind of claustrophobia? Would propulsion outside of Earth’s bounds, in the end, cause astronauts to experience a psychic break? Was there such thing, as science fiction writers had long feared, as “space madness”?
Space, fortunately, does not drive us crazy. But that doesn’t mean we’ve stopped caring about the effects its new environments will have on our psychology. The new version of the old “space madness” question is how time away from our home planet will affect us—in the long term. What could life on Mars do to that that other cosmic mystery: the human emotional state? 
NASA is hoping to find out. This week, in partnership with the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the agency launched the latest version of its Mars simulation experiment, the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation mission. On Hawaii’s Big Island, 8,200 feet above sea level, conditions are as Martian as they can be on Earth: Mauna Loa’s volcanic soil is quite similar to the volcanic regolith that can be found on Mars. HI-SEAS in general aims to replicate, as closely as is possible on Earth, what life would be like on Mars—and its latest iteration will put human emotions to the test.  
Read more. [Image: NASA/HI-SEAS]

What Will Mars Do To Our Minds?

When human space travel made its transition from pipe dream to reality, one of the unknowns humans contended with concerned not just the physics of space, but the psychology of it. How would the human mind react to the final frontier? Would microgravity, combined with the isolation of a spaceship, cause a kind of claustrophobia? Would propulsion outside of Earth’s bounds, in the end, cause astronauts to experience a psychic break? Was there such thing, as science fiction writers had long feared, as “space madness”?

Space, fortunately, does not drive us crazy. But that doesn’t mean we’ve stopped caring about the effects its new environments will have on our psychology. The new version of the old “space madness” question is how time away from our home planet will affect us—in the long term. What could life on Mars do to that that other cosmic mystery: the human emotional state? 

NASA is hoping to find out. This week, in partnership with the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the agency launched the latest version of its Mars simulation experiment, the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation mission. On Hawaii’s Big Island, 8,200 feet above sea level, conditions are as Martian as they can be on Earth: Mauna Loa’s volcanic soil is quite similar to the volcanic regolith that can be found on Mars. HI-SEAS in general aims to replicate, as closely as is possible on Earth, what life would be like on Mars—and its latest iteration will put human emotions to the test. 

Read more. [Image: NASA/HI-SEAS]

March 6, 2014
The NASA Rover That Hovers Like a Helicopter (and Could Land on Mars)

Yesterday, a NASA test vehicle lifted off from the ground in Florida, flew freely through the air, and landed about 650 feet away. It landed, crucially, in the same position it launched—upright—and that makes it look kind of like a science fiction film.
Read more. [Image: NASA]

The NASA Rover That Hovers Like a Helicopter (and Could Land on Mars)

Yesterday, a NASA test vehicle lifted off from the ground in Florida, flew freely through the air, and landed about 650 feet away. It landed, crucially, in the same position it launched—upright—and that makes it look kind of like a science fiction film.

Read more. [Image: NASA]

February 14, 2014
What It Looks Like When One Satellite Sees Another

A rare snapshot of a satellite still in orbit.
Read more. [Image: NASA]

What It Looks Like When One Satellite Sees Another

A rare snapshot of a satellite still in orbit.

Read more. [Image: NASA]

February 13, 2014
newsweek:

(via Photo Of Sochi From Space)

newsweek:

(via Photo Of Sochi From Space)

3:12pm
  
Filed under: Reblogs Sochi Space Timelapse 
February 3, 2014
An Early Draft of Carl Sagan’s Famous Pale Blue Dot Quote

A peek into the evolution of a beloved passage.
Read more. [Image: NASA]

An Early Draft of Carl Sagan’s Famous Pale Blue Dot Quote

A peek into the evolution of a beloved passage.

Read more. [Image: NASA]

February 3, 2014

Soon, the Coldest Place in the Known Universe Will Be on … the International Space Station

Space, on top of everything else, is cold. Really cold. The cosmic background temperature—the temperature of the cosmic background radiation thought to be left over from the Big Bang—is 3 Kelvin, or -455 degrees Fahrenheit. Yet there’s variation within that. Solar winds can reach millions of degrees Fahrenheit. And then there’s the Boomerang Nebula, the cloud of gas puffed out by a dying star in the constellation Centaurus. The Boomerang Nebula clocks in at a slightly-more-frigid-than-average -458 degrees Fahrenheit, making it, officially, the coldest spot in the known universe.

But that’s about to change. Soon, it seems, the coldest spot in the known universe will be … the International Space Station. 

Yep. Meet the Cold Atom Lab, the “atomic refrigerator” NASA has planned for launch in 2016—a device that will, it’s hoped, allow the agency to study quantum mechanics in a controlled environment. “We’re going to explore temperatures far below anything found naturally,” JPL’s Rob Thompson told ScienceatNASA.

Read more.

January 31, 2014

Felix Baumgartner’s Disorienting and Amazing Fall from Space

On a Saturday in October 2012, the Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner stepped off a helium balloon and plummeted—with his parachute—to Earth. He simultaneously broke the world records for highest manned balloon flight, highest parachute jump, and fastest free fall velocity.

I remember the jump well. For the hour before Baumgartner leapt—and the minutes he was in the air—my Twitter and Facebook friends were captivated. Afternoon plans were canceled as we watched the live feed, enthralled.

As enthralling as the live feed was, it’s nothing compared to the video above. It turns out Baumgartner was wearing GoPro cameras on his jump, and they captured the entire fall… in astonishing detail… from a first-person view.

It is insane.

Read more.

January 30, 2014

How to Pack a Telescope (for a Trip to Space)

In October of 2018, the James Webb telescope will launch into space, where it will travel beyond the moon to peer, as NASA puts it, into “the beginning of time.” The Webb, all in all, is roughly the size of a tennis court. And it is, as space telescopes generally are, packed with tools and instruments that will allow it simultaneously to orbit the sun and to seek (NASA again) “the unobserved formation of the first galaxies.”

But you can’t very well launch a telescope with all its assorted gadgetry—mirrors, solar arrays, gyroscopes—into space as-is. Instead, you have to pack it all up, strategically. And then deploy its tools once the object has made its forceful departure from Earth.

Read more.

January 29, 2014
Earth Resumes Surveillance of Mercury

After a two-month hiatus, the Messenger spacecraft has resumed sending home images of the sun’s closest companion.
Read more. [Image: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington]

Earth Resumes Surveillance of Mercury

After a two-month hiatus, the Messenger spacecraft has resumed sending home images of the sun’s closest companion.

Read more. [Image: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington]

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