4

NASA May Soon Announce More Manned Missions To The Moon

fb share tweet share

NASA had a big win with the Mars Curiosity rover, putting space exploration back in the minds of the general public in a way it hadn’t been in a long time. And while Curiosity continues to send back amazing images and data from the Red Planet, the American space agency may have something even bigger up their sleeve. Experts on NASA are claiming that the organization will soon be announcing further manned missions to the moon.

As reported by Space.com, these missions would be part of a multi-stage plan to further advance the exploration of our solar system. Space policy expert John Logsdon, professor emeritus at George Washington University, told Space.com that these plans have been in the works for a while, and may have already been approved by the Obama administration, but NASA was holding off until after the election to make the official announcement, since they weren’t sure which presidential candidate they’d be working with for the next four years. Logsdon explains: “NASA has been evolving its thinking, and its latest charts have inserted a new element of cislunar/lunar gateway/Earth-moon L2 sort of stuff into the plan.”

0

Re-Enter The Dragon: SpaceX’s Craft Returns From ISS Supply Run

fb share tweet share

When you have more money than some small governments, you can make amazing things happen. Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX, has given the space program that independent kick in the ass it needed to make it more exciting to the masses again, since contest-based reality television costs less to keep people interested. Speaking of things we can send into space…I digress.

Sunday marked the monumental return of the Dragon cargo ship, back from the first of 12 deliveries to be made to the International Space Station, under a $1.6 billion contract signed with NASA. It was launched three weeks ago out of Cape Canaveral, and though it had engine problems that ruined the chances of getting a prototype communications satellite into orbit, the actual cargo drop-off and re-supplying went smoothly. The ship was holding clothing, food, and other everyday items needed for those aboard the space station. Yes, ice cream was needed, and was brought.

0

Space Shuttle Endeavor’s Beautiful Time-Lapsed Final Voyage

fb share tweet share

And you think traffic is bad where you live. Consider having to drive behind the retired Space Shuttle Endeavor as it dashed through Los Angeles streets at the dizzying pace of a turtle with two broken legs. And that’s when it was actually moving. But for something as historic as this, the complaints were relatively minimal.

1

Stunning Retro Drawings Of The Space Shuttles

fb share tweet share

The Space Shuttle Endeavour completed its final journey last week, one that didn’t include breaking the bonds of Earth’s gravity and soaring through outer space. Not even a little. Piggybacking on a jumbo jet, the vessel landed in Los Angeles, where it will find a new home at the California Science Center. Many view this as a closing chapter in the saga of NASA’s shuttle program.

Where once shuttle launches were big events—my elementary school paused class so the entire student body could gather together to watch the Challenger launch in 1986)—recent years have seem them barely register as newsworthy events. That wasn’t always the case. Just the idea of space travel used to inspire wonder and awe in the general populace, and capture the attention of the nation. All you need to do to remember this is take a look at this collection of concept art from earlier days of space exploration.

0

NASA Unveils New Plan To Send Astronauts Beyond The Moon, But Will The White House Bite?

fb share tweet share

When NASA lays out a plan for human spaceflight, it usually revolves around a presidential mandate that outlines the course of the agency within a president’s time in office. It’s not really the best arrangement, but if the president happens to stick around for two terms, then it hopefully provides a nice, eight-year cushion to keep the course steady for NASA. When President Obama unveiled his plan for the space agency, it predictably wiped the slate clean (for the most part) of President Bush’s underfunded plan, while simultaneously laying out an extremely long-term plan that would in all likelihood be changed as soon as he leaves office. Now it looks like NASA is no longer content to be left in the lurch with the plans of politicians and has put forth its own plan to the president for the future of human spaceflight. It’s a bold mission to build a space station on the far side of the moon, but can it get past the White House?

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the new plan calls for using parts of the current International Space Station to be re-purposed and moved to the L2 Earth-Moon Lagrange Point, where it would be used as a small outpost to increase training effectiveness for deep-space missions while providing a support base for future Mars and Lunar missions. In addition to being a stepping stone for deep-space exploration, the L2 base would also allow for robotic sample-return missions on the moon to be studied aboard the space station by human investigators. The L2 point is over 277,000 miles from Earth, so this would not only make the station the most distant that man has ever built, but it would put humans further away from Earth than at any point during the Apollo missions. That task will be monumental when it comes to the safety of the astronauts, who won’t have the relatively quick and easy trip home that they would from the ISS’s current orbit, but the possible benefits to future deep-space exploration would be immense.

2

Curiosity Captures A Martian Solar Eclipse

fb share tweet share

In the latest “Holy crap, look at this awesome picture Curiosity took” news, the rover has managed to capture a solar eclipse on Mars. It’s not quite as impressive as one of ours, but it’s still a pretty awesome for being what it is, a picture of an eclipse on an alien world.