Search results for: "orion"

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Stunning Images Of A Meteor Over California

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A few nights ago the California sky lit up in a fiery burst as a meteor shot over the Golden State. Some reports say the meteor burned as bright as a full moon, and it reportedly also resulted in a sonic boom, a rare occurrence.

The video below was gleaned from a local newscast, and shows footage of the meteor taken above a high school girl’s soccer game. In reality this video is a collection of photographs take in rapid succession then put together like a fancy pants flip book. For all practical purposes, though, this functions as a film of the event.

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

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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.

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Here’s Your New Wallpaper: The Winners For 2012 Astronomy Photographer Of The Year

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For four years now, London’s Royal Museums Greenwich has invited astronomy-minded shutterbugs to share their very best photographs of the night sky and the universe beyond it. Teaming with “Sky at Night” magazine, they recognize excellence in various different categories, including “Earth and Space,” “Our Solar System,” “Deep Space,” and “Young Astronomy Photographer.” Now they’ve revealed the winners and runners up, and there are some flat-out stunning images on display.

Here are some of our favorites, including descriptions of what the image shows. There are plenty more, and different sizes of these, over at the official website.

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NASA’s Space Launch System: One Year Later

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One year ago today, hot on the heels of retiring the space shuttle program, NASA announced its next step in spaceflight that would supposedly take us beyond low earth orbit, the Space Launch System. While the public’s reaction to the announcement of the SLS has been tepid due to its uninspiring design and extremely un-ambitious timetable, that hasn’t stopped NASA from reminding us every few months that it still exists. In their latest effort to get us excited about a rocket that won’t be fully completed until 2032, they’ve released a new video showcasing everything they’ve accomplished in the year since the SLS was announced.

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Find Out Where Obama And Romney Stand On 14 Important Science Questions

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With the Republican and Democratic conventions playing out over the past two weeks, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney’s stances on various subjects have been even more in the spotlight than during the preceding months. But while much of the discussion is focused on the economy and whichever supposed culture war is being fought at that particular moment, we haven’t heard that much about where the candidates stand on important scientific issues. Thankfully, both candidates’ responses to 14 important scientific questions have been collected in one handy website.

ScienceDebate.com consulted thousands of scientists and engineers to generate a list of 14 questions determined to be “the most important science policy questions facing the United States.” The two candidates (or more likely some of their staffers) provided lengthy responses. While these scientific issues likely aren’t going to be the ones deciding the election for either party, it is good for those of us passionate about science to see where the candidates stand – or at least where they claim to. Here are their responses, in the order originally posted (lest anybody cry favoritism, we’re just cutting and pasting here, folks).

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Betelgeuse Looks Like A Star On The Verge Of Exploding

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If you’ve ever had an interest in astronomy, then you’ve probably seen an artist’s interpretation of a red supergiant star before. The ancient stars are usually depicted as giant red orbs that may be shown in the act of baking an alien planet or even eating one. They may be an angry shade of red and have some fancy set dressing, but for the most part, depictions of red supergiants are pretty similar to the look of our own Sun. Now, a new perspective on the red supergiant star Betelgeuse makes it look every bit the part of a star ready to explode.