NASA

Students help NASA control robots from space

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: March 16, 2012   View Article

Astronauts on missions to Mars and other worlds will almost certainly bring along a few robot helpers. A team of industrial design students is helping NASA make sure those robots are easy to control from the comfort of a spaceship.

Astronauts aren’t lazy, they are “extremely busy,” Maria Bualat with the Intelligent Robotics Group at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, told me.

Laser eyed to remove space junk

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: March 15, 2011   View Article

NASA-affiliated scientists have proposed using a low-powered, ground-based laser to nudge pieces of space debris off of collision courses with each other.

The proposal, presented in a paper submitted to Advances in Space Research and posted to arXiv.org, is a low-cost solution to the growing problem of space junk.

Ten high-profile players in the commercial space race

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: September 15, 2010   View Article

When NASA’s space shuttle fleet retires in 2011, the space agency will have to rely on Russian spacecraft and the private sector to taxi cargo and humans to and from the International Space Station, even as it turns its focus to the technologies required to send humans beyond low-Earth orbit.

President Barack Obama views the policy as a boost to the nascent commercial spaceflight industry, where competition is already heating up to supply the taxi services. Some companies are also talking about offering out-of-this-world rides for researchers as well as tourists with deep pockets and a serious case of star lust. Check out 10 of the top players in the race to commercialize space.

Memorable moments in space shuttle history

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: May 6, 2010   View Article

After more than 130 missions over nearly 30 years, NASA’s space shuttle program is gearing up for its final flight, when Endeavour will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a $1.5 billion particle detector, to the International Space Station.

“It is obviously time for these vehicles to be given an honorable retirement, and I do emphasize honorable,” said Roger Launius, senior curator of human spaceflight at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. “They have served well, but they are obsolete and it’s time to move on.”

Follow along as msnbc.com and Launius take a look back at memorable moments in space shuttle history

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Sun Erupts: Epic Blast Seen by NASA Solar Observatory

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 23, 2010   View Article

NASA’s new Solar Dynamics Observatory may be getting all the press this week for its retina-searing first pictures of the sun. But two old sun-observing warhorses recently showed they’re not quite ready for pasture yet.

The twin, golf cart-size spacecraft of NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) mission filmed, in ultraviolet light, the largest solar “prominence” in 15 years, according to the space agency.

Seven out-of-this world destinations

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: April 13, 2010   View Article

We are headed to Mars … eventually. But first we need the rocket technology and human spaceflight savvy to get us there safely and efficiently. And the best way to do that is to visit places such as asteroids, our moon, a Martian moon and even no man’s lands in space called “Lagrange points,” NASA administrator Charles Bolden explained during the unveiling of the agency’s revised vision for space exploration.

The vision shifts focus away from a return to the moon as part of a steppingstone to Mars in favor of what experts call a “flexible path” to space exploration, pushing humans ever deeper into the cosmos.

NASA Moon “Bombings” Friday: Sky Show, Water Expected

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 8, 2009   View Article

With its “bombing” of the moon early Friday, NASA’s LCROSS mission may beat a telltale signature of water out of a shadowy crater—and all you may need to see it is a good backyard telescope.

LCROSS (Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite) and its rocket will begin slamming into the South Pole just after 4:30 a.m. PT.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach