Astronaut health is a huge concern, as studies have shown muscle and bone mass are at risk on longer missions; that's just what we know about, too. The problem is how to fit out a space station or future moon base with medical equipment compact and safe enough to do the job. Now, thanks to researchers in Canada, there is a compact magnetic resonance imagining (MRI) machine that could one day head to space to help astronauts.
Here's why we love NASA around here. The agency tends to hire those overachieving types that aren't just happy to command an International Space Station; they also complete the first triathlon in space while they're at it.
It turns out the Earth can speak — in the form of chirps and whistles caused by radio waves audible to the human ear, and emitted by the Earth's magnetosphere. It's called a "chorus," or "dawn chorus."
Moon rocks are really rare things, and pretty much all of the samples collected by lunar missions are in the hands of the world's governments. But there is another source, and it has coughed up this big lunar rock which will hit the auction block in New York next month.
Warp drive, a staple of science-fiction, has just been deemed "plausible and worth further investigation" by the smart and apparently not crazy people over at NASA. And by way of further investigation, they've gone and started trying to create warp bubbles in the lab.
Even rightly so, too often the Apollo program dominates the narrative of early lunar exploration. The Soviet Union ran its own lunar program in the 1960s and '70s, and it was so successful early on that it looked like the Moon would be Soviet territory. The first ever man-made object to land on its surface in 1959 was the Soviet-launched Luna 2. The first image of the lunar far side came during a flyby by Luna 3 the same year. In 1966, Luna 9 transmitted the first pictures from the surface of the Moon, and Luna 10 would enter into its orbit. In 1968, a handful of turtles and other simple organisms even made the first circumlunar voyage aboard Zond 5. But Apollo 8 swept the rug out from the Soviet's feet; three astronauts going into orbit in December of that year all but assured the world that the political victory of landing on the Moon would go to the Americans. So the Soviets reshaped their lunar program, choosing to focus on inexpensive robotic mission that put science goals at the core.
If you love space, and you love getting behind the scenes access then, the AsteroidMappers project is perfect for you. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory's spacecraft Dawn recently finished its orbit of the asteroid Vesta, and has delivered so much data that citizen scientists are being asked to help analyze what has been found.
By the looks of this video, Monday night would not have been a very jovial night to spend on Jupiter. Two amateur astronomers spotted a bright white flash for a few seconds just inside Jupiter's eastern limb, which was probably a fireball a hundred miles in diameter caused by an asteroid or comet impacting Jupiter's atmosphere. Ka-POW!
To move spacecraft from the Vehicle Assembly Building out to the launch pads at Kennedy Space Center, NASA has a pair of huge Crawler-Transporters. These 5.5 million pound tracked hauled 12 million pounds worth of space shuttle and launch pad around, but to handle the new Space Launch System, they'll be getting an upgrade.
35 years ago, the Voyager 1 spacecraft was launched from Earth and ventured out into the galaxy. It's the farthest man-made object from home, at over 11 billion miles from us. Voyager's mission is to just keep on heading out into the final frontier (at least until it's picked up and brought back in time for Star Trek: The Motion Picture in the mid-2270s), and it's currently in the process of exiting our solar system and entering intergalactic space. On its way out of the solar system, Voyager 1 passed Jupiter and Saturn, sending back spectacular high resolution pictures of the gas giants and their moons. In the gallery below, we've chosen some of our favorite pictures from Voyager's tour, along with a few snapshots of the spacecraft itself before it left Earth.