This is Detailed Secondary Objective 469, aka the In-flight Radiation Dose Distribution experiment, aka a human skull that was flown on three space shuttle missions and used to measure radiation in space. So, what do you do if you're a bored astronaut and you have this creepy thing floating around?
Engineers and staff from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, including plenty of the folks responsible for landing the Curiosity rover safely on Mars, took to Reddit to answer any and all questions about the Mars Science Laboratory mission. Well, they tried to answer — the session exploded and right now has over 7,000 comments. Here, we've collected 10 questions and answers we felt stand out from the bunch. The questions from Redditors and answers from the team at JPL are presented unedited.
Think updating your iPhone takes forever? Try updating the Curiosity Mars rover from 350 million miles away. That's exactly what NASA did over the course of four days last week, and it all went down without a single boo-boo.
If you're part of the NASA Curiosity rover team, what could be more awesome than successfully landing on Mars? Actually, nothing. But a music video paying homage to your efforts as the revitalization of NASA cool is a close second.
The Earth is surrounded by a donut-shaped zone of energetic charged particles called the Van Allen radiation belt. Depending on who you ask, this region is either Earth's magnetic field trapping particles from the solar wind, or a secret government project intended to protect us from aliens. NASA's sending up some armored tentacle probes to learn more.
If you've had you fill of Olympics and want something a little more celestial to do this weekend, NASA suggests that you head outside and check out one of the most spectacular meteor showers in years.
Curiosity trumped the impossible using an experimental mishmash of technology, but one of NASA's innovative test beds — which performed admirably in previous tethered flights — experienced a spectacular failure today. Morpheus doesn't look like its going to walk away from this one.
It's been a big week for NASA, but just because Curiosity is (incredibly) now safe on the surface of Mars doesn't mean that the agency gets to take a break. Instead, it's looking ahead. Far, far ahead, by funding 28 advanced technology concepts ranging from submarines for Europa to robots for the Moon.
Sol 1 marks the first day of operations for NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars. To usher in the start of its 98-week mission, Curiosity was kind enough to send along the first color photo of the Martian landscape around it since landing.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory couldn't have hoped for a more perfect Mars landing for Curiosity. The complex descent went off without a hitch, and not only did Curiosity start sending postcards from Mars immediately, but the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter had a surprise for the world, too.