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Topic: NASA’s Johnson Space Center

NASA announces Video to be Beamed by Laser back to Earth from International Space Station

 

Written by David Israel and Mark Whalen
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A team of about 20 working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, through the lab’s Phaeton early-career-hire program, led the development of the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) investigation, which is preparing for an April 14th launch to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX-3 mission.

The goal? NASA’s first optical communication experiment on the orbital laboratory.

This artist's concept shows how the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) laser will beam data to Earth from the International Space Station. (NASA)

This artist’s concept shows how the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) laser will beam data to Earth from the International Space Station. (NASA)

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NASA to conduct long term space flight experiment on Twins

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Consider a pair of brothers, identical twins. One gets a job as an astronaut and rockets into space. The other gets a job as an astronaut, too, but on this occasion he decides to stay home. After a year in space, the traveling twin returns home and they reunite.

Are the identical twins still … identical?

NASA is about to find out.

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NASA’s Johnson Space Center Scientists discover new evidence of Water in Mars Meteorite

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A team of scientists at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, has found evidence of past water movement throughout a Martian meteorite, reviving debate in the scientific community over life on Mars.

In 1996, a group of scientists at Johnson led by David McKay, Everett Gibson and Kathie Thomas-Keprta published an article in Science announcing the discovery of biogenic evidence in the Allan Hills 84001(ALH84001) meteorite.

This scanning electron microscope image of a polished thin section of a meteorite from Mars shows tunnels and curved microtunnels. (NASA)

This scanning electron microscope image of a polished thin section of a meteorite from Mars shows tunnels and curved microtunnels. (NASA)

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NASA to launch five Earth Science Missions in 2014

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – For the first time in more than a decade, five NASA Earth science missions will be launched into space in the same year, opening new and improved remote eyes to monitor our changing planet.

The five launches, including two to the International Space Station (ISS), are part of an active year for NASA Earth science researchers, who also will conduct airborne campaigns to the poles and hurricanes, develop advanced sensor technologies, and use satellite data and analytical tools to improve natural hazard and climate change preparedness.

Artist's rendering of NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)-2, one of five new NASA Earth science missions set to launch in 2014, and one of three managed by JPL. (NASA-JPL/Caltech)

Artist’s rendering of NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)-2, one of five new NASA Earth science missions set to launch in 2014, and one of three managed by JPL. (NASA-JPL/Caltech)

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NASA’s Orion Spacecraft has it’s Parachute Jettison system tested

 

NASA’s Johnson Space Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHouston, TX – Engineers testing the parachute system for NASA’s Orion spacecraft increased the complexity of their tests Thursday, January 16th, adding the jettison of hardware designed to keep the capsule safe during flight.

The test was the first to give engineers in-air data on the performance of the system that jettisons Orion’s forward bay cover. The cover is a shell that fits over Orion’s crew module to protect the spacecraft during launch, orbital flight and re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.

A test version of NASA’s Orion spacecraft floats through the sky about the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona under the two drogue parachutes that precede the release of its three main parachutes. (NASA)

A test version of NASA’s Orion spacecraft floats through the sky about the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona under the two drogue parachutes that precede the release of its three main parachutes. (NASA)

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NASA Astronauts go through Simulated Launch of the New Orion Spacecraft

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA astronauts recently experienced what it will be like to launch into space aboard the new Orion spacecraft during the first ascent simulations since the space shuttles and their simulators were retired.

Ascent simulations are precise rehearsals of the steps a spacecraft’s crew will be responsible for – including things that could go wrong – during their climb into space.

Astronauts Rick Linnehan and Mike Foreman try out a prototype display and control system inside an Orion spacecraft mockup at Johnson Space Center during the first ascent and abort simulations for the program. (NASA)

Astronauts Rick Linnehan and Mike Foreman try out a prototype display and control system inside an Orion spacecraft mockup at Johnson Space Center during the first ascent and abort simulations for the program. (NASA)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover is providing vital information for Human Missions to Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Curiosity rover is providing vital insight about Mars’ past and current environments that will aid plans for future robotic and human missions.

In a little more than a year on the Red Planet, the mobile Mars Science Laboratory has determined the age of a Martian rock, found evidence the planet could have sustained microbial life, taken the first readings of radiation on the surface, and shown how natural erosion could reveal the building blocks of life.

This mosaic of images from Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam) shows geological members of the Yellowknife Bay formation, and the sites where Curiosity drilled into the lowest-lying member, called Sheepbed, at targets "John Klein" and "Cumberland." (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This mosaic of images from Curiosity’s Mast Camera (Mastcam) shows geological members of the Yellowknife Bay formation, and the sites where Curiosity drilled into the lowest-lying member, called Sheepbed, at targets “John Klein” and “Cumberland.” (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Program comes to fruition with Cygnus cargo spacecraft launch

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHouston, TX – After a successful launch on Wednesday, September 18th, the Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus cargo spacecraft is approaching the International Space Station, signaling the coming completion of NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Program.

The COTS program began back in 2006 with the vision of acquiring cargo resupply and astronaut transportation services to low-Earth orbit from commercial companies.

Artist rendering of Cygnus spacecraft approaching the International Space Station. (Courtesy of Orbital Sciences Corporation)

Artist rendering of Cygnus spacecraft approaching the International Space Station. (Courtesy of Orbital Sciences Corporation)

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NASA Scientists strike it rich with Meteorite recovery

 

Written by Karen Jenvey
NASA’s Ames Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMoffett Field, CA – Scientists found treasure when they studied a meteorite that was recovered April 22nd, 2012 at Sutter’s Mill, the gold discovery site that led to the 1849 California Gold Rush. Detection of the falling meteorites by Doppler weather radar allowed for rapid recovery so that scientists could study for the first time a primitive meteorite with little exposure to the elements, providing the most pristine look yet at the surface of primitive asteroids.

An international team of 70 researchers reported in an issue of “Science” that this meteorite was classified as a Carbonaceous-Mighei or CM-type carbonaceous chondrite and that they were able to identify for the first time the source region of these meteorites.

Fragments of the Sutter’s Mill meteorite fall collected by NASA Ames and SETI Institute meteor astronomer Dr. Peter Jenniskens in the evening of Tuesday April 24th, two days after the fall. This was the second recovered find. (Image credit: NASA / Eric James)

Fragments of the Sutter’s Mill meteorite fall collected by NASA Ames and SETI Institute meteor astronomer Dr. Peter Jenniskens in the evening of Tuesday April 24th, two days after the fall. This was the second recovered find. (Image credit: NASA / Eric James)

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NASA uses rubber chicken “Camilla” to break the ice with School Children

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA has found a cure for a common phobia–the fear of asking “stupid” questions.

It’s not a pill. No therapy is required. The cure is a rubber chicken.

That’s right, school kids and even their teachers can find themselves tongue-tied when they come face to face with an astronaut or astrophysicist. This interferes with NASA’s mission to reach out, inspire, and educate. “But nobody’s afraid to talk to a rubber chicken,” says Romeo Durscher of Stanford University, executive secretary for a fowl NASA ambassador named “Camilla” who’s taking classrooms by storm.

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