With the shuttle fleet due to retire and the Constellation program — which was going to give NASA an option in deploying personnel to orbit and beyond — entirely scrapped, all eyes have been on what NASA will work on next. The agency has the answer.
During his time on the International Space Station, astronaut Don Pettit captured what few of us terrestrials will ever get to see with our own eyes: the Earth from orbit. It's a breathtaking sight, and Pettit was good enough to turn his snaps into a gorgeous time-lapse.
Who knew spaceflight felt like 5 milliamps of electricity behind your ears? Apparently, that's all it takes to trick the brain into simulating similar sensorimotor disturbances that an astronaut would experience during, say, reentry.
So, how small does this make you feel? NASA announced that its Kepler spacecraft has "discovered the first confirmed planetary system with more than one planet." That means pretty much one thing: there's still a lot of space we just can't see.
A major part of scouring the galaxy for alien lifeforms is listening for planets that our like ours, and signals like the ones we produce — radio waves, for instance. Astronomer Seth Shostak thinks we'd have a better chance if we started looking for more advanced life.
Out in what's known as the Virgo A galaxy is a black hole that's six billion times larger than our sun. That makes it a pretty good target for astronomers, who used the Chandra X-ray telescope and the Very Large Array to check the black hole out.
What would it be like to be hanging on to a rocket booster after it was ejected from the space shuttle, falling back to Earth? Wonder no more! NASA was kind enough to attach a camera to one of them as it did just that.
No, not that kind of space ghost. Say hello to the IRAS 05437+2502 nebula, which I'm just going to call Ira for the rest of this post. It doesn't just look spooky, either — we have no idea what's making it glow like this.
Just the other day we showed you one idea to clear the Earth's orbit of junk: giant balloons. Now, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency is backing a proposal to build orbital vehicles that would scoop up debris in space using giant nets.
Robonaut 2, which will be the world's first robotic astronaut to work alongside its human counterparts up in orbit, is getting ready for its historic journey over at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Just how does a 330-pound robot prepare, you wonder?