The Week: Most Recent Outer Space:NASA recent posts.en-usMon, 28 Jan 2013 13:39:00 -0500http://theweek.com Recent Outer Space:NASA from THE WEEKMon, 28 Jan 2013 13:39:00 -0500Today in history: Looking back at the 1986 Challenger Shuttle disaster<img src="" /></P><p><iframe width="650" height="398" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p><p >Twenty-seven years ago today, on January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded during its 10th flight mission (STS-51-L), just 73 seconds after liftoff. The mission&nbsp;was originally scheduled to begin on January 22, 1986, but it had to be rescheduled several times before the Challenger finally departed from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Jan. 28. After&nbsp;the failure of an O-ring seal on one of the shuttle's Solid Rocket Boosters, the vessel burst into flames and exploded. The tragic events were captured during a live broadcast, and&nbsp;all seven crew members lost their lives...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/elena-scotti" ><span class="byline">Elena Scotti</span></a>Mon, 28 Jan 2013 13:39:00 -0500NASA's bizarre plan to drag an asteroid into the moon's orbit<img src="" /></P><p>Of all the asteroids relatively close to Earth, a space rock called 1999 AO10 is the most attractive candidate for close-up inspection. But getting to it would be both ridiculously expensive and incredibly dangerous. Sending astronauts there and back would take roughly half a year, and potential rescue missions would be impossible. Astronauts would also be exposing their bodies to untold amounts of radiation once they're outside the Earth's magnetic field.</p><p class="p2">But there could be another way to study asteroids up close. NASA is reportedly considering a new mission proposed by the Keck Institute for...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/chris-gayomali" ><span class="byline">Chris Gayomali</span></a>Thu, 03 Jan 2013 16:05:00 -0500Did Neil Armstrong mislead the world about his 'one small step' line?<img src="" /></P><p>It's one of the most famous lines in human history: "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." Whether Neil Armstrong &mdash; who died in August at age 82 &mdash; actually included the "a" has been the subject of debate for decades (he claims it was lost in transmission). And now, thanks to a new&nbsp;<em>BBC</em> documentary,&nbsp;<em>Neil Armstrong &mdash; First Man on the Moon</em>, we might finally have our answer.</p><p class="p1">Brother Dean Armstrong says in the doc that the line wasn't thought up on the spot like the Apollo 11 mission commander long suggested. Instead, the astronaut allegedly wrote...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/chris-gayomali" ><span class="byline">Chris Gayomali</span></a>Mon, 31 Dec 2012 14:08:00 -0500NASA's next-generation spacesuit: Inspired by Buzz Lightyear?<img src="" /></P><p>NASA's first spacesuit, worn by U.S. astronaut Alan Shepard in 1963, was awfully&nbsp;shiny&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;like tinfoil wrapped around an action figure. Less than a decade later, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin skipped across the moon's surface wearing iconic bubble suits that vaguely resembled the Pillsbury Doughboy. And the current model donned by NASA's heroic space explorers hasn't been changed since 1992, making it something of a dinosaur,&nbsp;says David Szondy at <em>Gizmag</em>.&nbsp;Well, that's about to change, thanks to the "Z-1 Prototype Spacesuit and Portable Life Support System." Here's...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/chris-gayomali" ><span class="byline">Chris Gayomali</span></a>Thu, 20 Dec 2012 15:45:00 -0500WATCH: Eerie video of Earth's glowing cities -- from space<img src="" /></P><p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p><p class="p1">NASA's "Blue Marble" series has introduced countless space lovers to impossibly beautiful, high-resolution photos of Earth's swirling clouds and oceans, as seen from far above. Now a joint venture between NASA and the NOAA has introduced "Black Marble," an unprecedented photo-stitch of our planet's haunting urban sprawl, as seen from space at night. "Nothing tells us more about the spread of humans across the Earth than city lights," said NOAA's Chris Elvidge. The nighttime photographs were taken from April to October aboard the Suomi NPP satellite, which is equipped with light-sensitive cameras...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/chris-gayomali" ><span class="byline">Chris Gayomali</span></a>Thu, 06 Dec 2012 11:15:00 -0500Next up for NASA: Another rover on Mars by 2020<img src="" /></P><p>As Curiosity digs its treads into Mars' dusty surface, NASA is already moving ahead with plans for its next mission to the Red Planet. In front of 18,000 researchers Tuesday at the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, the space agency enthusiastically announced plans for a new billion-dollar rover that it hopes to launch in 2020. Here's what we know about the new mission so far:</p><p class="p2"><strong>What will the new rover do?</strong><br />NASA didn't say specifically, but it's assumed that it will continue the hunt for microbial life on the Red Planet. The new space lab will be based on the same architecture as the SUV...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/chris-gayomali" ><span class="byline">Chris Gayomali</span></a>Wed, 05 Dec 2012 12:27:00 -0500Why the U.S. wanted to nuke the moon during the Cold War<img src="" /></P><p>It sounds like the scheme of a James Bond villain &mdash; or even Dr. Evil from the<em> Austin Powers</em> movies &mdash; but the U.S. was once&nbsp;dead serious about attacking the moon with an atom bomb. The time was the 1950s, and America's arch-enemy the Soviet Union had just humiliated the U.S. with its 1957 launch of the first successful spacecraft, the satellite Sputnik 1. In the panic that followed, the U.S. Air Force approached the physicist Leonard Reiffel in 1958 to come up with plan to make a highly visible mushroom cloud on the moon.</p><p>The top-secret project was given the innocuous name "A Study...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/peter-weber" ><span class="byline">Peter Weber</span></a>Mon, 26 Nov 2012 13:26:00 -0500Will Obama's NASA take American astronauts back to the moon?<img src="" /></P><p>Now that President Barack Obama is officially in the driver's seat until January 2017, NASA may be gearing up to send human beings back to the moon. According to space experts, plans to send astronauts back into lunar orbit have probably already been cleared by the Obama administration, but were kept under wraps in case Obama's re-election bid failed. Here's what you should know:</p><p><strong>Why wait till after the election?</strong><br />Defeated GOP candidate Mitt Romney had&nbsp;pledged to reassess&nbsp;&mdash; and possibly revise &mdash; NASA's strategy and missions. So it wouldn't make much sense to unveil a huge,...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffThu, 08 Nov 2012 11:00:00 -0500Are astronauts stuck in space allowed to vote?<img src="" /></P><p class="p1">Tuesday Nov. 6 is election day, and for millions of Americans that means braving lines at a local polling place to help decide who will be the next commander in chief. But what happens when you're stuck in space hundreds of miles above Earth? Do astronauts floating around in zero-gravity still get a say in the country's future? It turns out they do. For several years now, adventurers aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have been able to cast their votes via encrypted email. Here's how it works:</p><p class="p2"><strong>How do astronauts vote?</strong><br />Thanks to a 1997 bill passed in the state of Texas, where nearly all...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 05 Nov 2012 16:10:00 -0500Will the Curiosity rover ever come back to Earth?<img src="" /></P><p>When Curiosity touched down on Mars in August, most assumed the SUV-sized rover would live out the rest of her days alone, dutifully traversing the planet's vast, unexplored deserts and beaming back data. But as soon as the six-wheeled space lab began sending back images of the Red Planet, capturing the imaginations of millions, "the world was hooked," says Ian O'Neill at <em>Discovery News</em>. America's enduring fondness for Curiosity is raising a new question: Will Curiosity ever find her way home?</p><p class="p1"><strong>It could happen</strong>, says Doug McCuistion, Director of NASA's Mars Exploration program, speaking over a satellite...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffThu, 25 Oct 2012 12:20:00 -0400NASA's Iron Man space suit<img src="" /></P><p>The brilliant minds at NASA are at it again with a futuristic space suit reminiscent of the bad-guy-fighting garb donned by Marvel Comics' Iron Man. The X1, like similar load-bearing exoskeletons, can be "used to assist or inhibit movements of the leg joints," says John Roach at <em>NBC News</em>. This preliminary version of the suit, weighing in at 57 pounds, operates in two modes: Inhibit mode "provides the resistance astronauts need for a workout while idle for months-on-end in a spaceship bound for Mars or doing time on the International Space Station." In reverse mode, the suit assists movement and...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 15 Oct 2012 17:41:00 -0400What the SpaceX launch means for private space flight<img src="" /></P><p>Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX for short, launched a rocket with a capsule carrying supplies for the International Space Station on Sunday, officially beginning a new era in which NASA will count on private companies to carry cargo and, eventually, people into orbit. The unmanned Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., and SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk, the billionaire PayPal founder, declared the liftoff a success. Despite a problem with one of the rocket's nine engines, SpaceX's Dragon capsule is expected to dock with the space station on schedule Wednesday. SpaceX...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 08 Oct 2012 08:55:00 -0400NASA's retired space shuttles: 12 iconic views from Endeavor, Enterprise, and Discovery's flyovers<img src="" /></P><p>Retired space shuttles Endeavour, Enterprise, and Discovery have visited sights that are literally out of this world. But before each made their final landings here on Earth &mdash; as Endeavour did at Los Angeles International airport on Sept. 21 &mdash; they made low-flying tours past the country's national treasures. Here, a look at some of these amazing photo-ops....</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 24 Sep 2012 18:20:00 -0400The astronaut who completed a triathlon in space<img src="" /></P><p>NASA requires its astronauts to exercise on space flights to fight off the debilitating effects of zero-gravity on the body's bone and muscle. But Sunita Williams, U.S. commander of the Expedition 33 crew at the International Space Station, took things to another level when she completed the first ever triathlon in space &mdash; running, biking, and even swimming to compete with Earth-based athletes 240 miles below in Southern California. A closer look at her stunning achievement:</p><p class="p1"><strong>What equipment did Williams use?</strong><br />Since quarters are a bit cramped at the I.S.S., Williams used special exercise equipment...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffThu, 20 Sep 2012 08:04:00 -0400Remembering Neil Armstrong: A humble hero and legendary astronaut<img src="" /></P><p>Neil Armstrong, the first human being ever to set foot on the moon, died Saturday following complications from heart surgery. He was 82. The legendary astronaut, who captivated the world on July 20, 1969, when he stepped off the Eagle lunar module as some half a billion earthbound people watched the grainy image on TV, is perhaps best remembered for uttering one of the twentieth century's most enduring phrases: "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." Received as a hero on his return to Earth, Armstrong preferred life away from the spotlight, leaving NASA shortly after the...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 27 Aug 2012 11:52:00 -0400The Curiosity rover: The jaw-dropping HD footage of its descent to Mars<img src="" /></P><p><strong>The video:</strong> The Curiosity rover touched down on Mars on Aug. 5 in a high-stakes gamble NASA team members called "seven minutes of terror." The choreographed landing saw the $2.5 billion nuclear-powered space lab go from 13,000 miles an hour to zero in nearly the blink of an eye, in maneuvers that had to be crucially automated beforehand. High-definition footage taken from aboard the Curiosity's MARDI descent camera is finally available, giving eager space fans a glimpse of what it's like to descend to the Red Planet's surface. (Watch it below.) First you see the rover's protective heat shield flung...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 27 Aug 2012 08:00:00 -0400