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All posts tagged "NASA"

  • This Cape Town startup wants to help send your laugh to space

    A new iOS app, called Laugh, could send your chuckle into space. The app was designed in conjunction with NASA's Made in Space division, developer Platoon, 3D artist Eyal Gever, Knut Studios and Cape Town startup Gravity Ideas . "NASA recently (space)shipped the first zero-gravity 3D printer to the International Space Station. Although its main function is to help astronauts build tools and spare parts in case of emergencies, NASA's Made in Space team seized the opportunity to do something pretty special," said David Perrott, Gravity's co-founder. Working with Eyal Gever, the company helped to create an easy-to-use app which allows people from...

  • NASA Cassini probe to ‘graze’ Saturn’s rings

    NASA's long-running Cassini space probe is set for a major manoeuvre on Wednesday when it comes within spitting distance of Saturn's rings. The probe will receive gravitational assistance from one of Saturn's moons, Titan, thereafter making multiple close orbits of the planet. "Between 30 November and 22 April, Cassini will circle high over and under the poles of Saturn, diving every seven days -- a total of 20 times -- through the unexplored region at the outer edge of the main rings," NASA wrote in a blog post. Cassini will use instruments to sample gases and particles emanating from the rings. "On many of...

  • What will Orion astronauts eat for breakfast?

    Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have over 200 food items choose from, thanks to constant resupply missions and ample storage. Those travelling on future Orion missions will have limited space though, resulting in different food requirements. To that end, NASA has been working on the most important meal of the day, in the form of breakfast bars for future crews. "Because flights to deep space will not rely on resupply spacecraft to deliver what astronauts need and dispose of trash, the Orion crew will have to take everything they need with them and bring it all back home," the space agency explained. "Given...

  • EMDrive: NASA paper says ‘impossible drive’ seems to work

    Several years ago, a controversial propulsion method was devised by Roger Shawyer, dubbed EMDrive. This "impossible" form of propulsion claimed to bounce microwaves to generate a small amount of thrust. Now, NASA's paper on the matter has been peer-reviewed and published - so what did the space agency make of the technology? Well, it seems like the EMDrive is the real deal to them. "Thrust data from forward, reverse, and null suggested that the system was consistently performing at 1.2±0.1  mN/kW1.2±0.1  mN/kW, which was very close to the average impulsive performance measured in air," the paper noted. The EMDrive has been the subject of...

  • Closest supermoon set for today – watch for spring tide

    The closest supermoon in almost 70 years is set to occur today (Monday), being the second of three supermoons in a row. A supermoon this close to Earth won't occur again until 2034, NASA said. However, if you do miss this one, the next supermoon takes place on 14 December. In a news alert on Thursday, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) warned of a spring tide as a result, urging "extreme caution" in the process. The NSRI has warned of rip currents and a stronger than normal spring tide as a result of the supermoon "The monthly Full Moon Spring Tide peaks on the Full Moon on...

  • Supermoon: NASA photographer gives shooting tips

    One of the biggest supermoons ever is set to take place on Monday 14 November. In fact, NASA says it'll be the closest supermoon to Earth in almost 70 years. Now, NASA photographer Bill Ingalls has revealed several tips to shoot the supermoon, starting with references. "Don't make the mistake of photographing the moon by itself with no reference to anything," NASA quoted him as saying. "I've certainly done it myself, but everyone will get that shot. Instead, think of how to make the image creative -- that means tying it into some land-based object. It can be a local landmark or...

  • Astronauts have voted in the 2016 US elections

    Even if you're outside the USA, citizens can still vote in elections. But what if you're not even on the planet? Well, you get voting rights too. Astronauts have been able to cast their votes from space since a law was brought into place in 1997, NASA explained in a post. "For astronauts, the voting process starts a year before launch, when astronauts are able to select which elections (local/state/federal) that they want to participate in while in space. Then, six months before the election, astronauts are provided with a standard form: the “Voter Registration and Absentee Ballot Request – Federal...

  • Citizen scientists discover intriguing circumstellar disc

    Citizen scientists and professional astronomers have found what could possibly be the oldest known circumstellar disk -- a group of dust and debris that often birth planets and stars. While most planetary discs seem to fade within 30-million years, this particular disc is still going strong. "This particular red dwarf is a candidate member of the Carina stellar association, which would make it around 45 million years old," said team leader Steven Silverberg in a blog post. "It's the oldest red dwarf system with a disk we've seen in one of these associations." This circumstellar disc could be as old as 45-million years The...

  • ExoMars: has NASA found ESA’s lost Mars lander?

    The ExoMars mission was in the spotlight last week after the orbiter and lander combination reached Mars. Although the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) was successfully captured in orbit around the planet, nothing was heard from the Schiaparelli lander, which separated from the TGO to actually touch down on the Red Planet. Now, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has found new markings on Mars which may be the landing site and parachutes of the lander. "The new image shows a bright spot that may be Schiaparelli's parachute, and a larger dark spot interpreted as resulting from the impact of the lander itself following a much longer...

  • Listen to Jupiter’s screams from NASA’s Juno probe

    NASA's Juno, successfully made its first flight around Jupiter, capturing the "voice" of the giant in the process. NASA's spacecraft is equipped with a recording device from the University of Iowa (UI) which recorded Jupiter's aurora, a light show similar to the ones we experience here on earth. The UI device called Waves, picked up the planet's radio emissions as Juno travelled 4184.29km above the planet's surface. The recorded emission was then converted by UI engineers making it audible. And absolutely haunting. "Jupiter is talking to us in a way only gas-giant worlds can," said associate research scientist Bill Kurth in a blog...

  • Juno: NASA’s Jupiter orbiter has an engine issue

    The Juno space probe arrived at Jupiter to much fanfare in July, having travelled almost three billion kilometres to reach the gas giant. Now, it appears that the orbiter is suffering from an engine-related problem, NASA confirmed in a statement. The issue was discovered after engineers decided to test systems ahead of a 19 October "period reduction manoeuvre" or PRM. This type of burn is meant to reduce the probe's orbital period around Jupiter from 53.4 days to just 14 days. Unfortunately, the issue means that the scheduled burn has been postponed for now. Juno has suffered an engine-related issue, but it's still gathering...

  • SA robotics firm Ryonic in push for NASA challenge

    You don't often hear about South African involvement in space-based endeavours, but local firm Ryonic Robotics is hoping to get in on the fun. The company has entered the qualification round of NASA's Space Robotics Challenge (part of the Centennial Challenges Programme), which ultimately seeks to improve the abilities of humanoid robots in space and Mars. The contest will eventually see finalists attempting to program a virtual robot, "stationed" on Mars, to complete a series of tasks. This is made tougher by the implementation of a communications delay, similar to the one between Earth and the Red Planet. Ryonic Robotics is hoping to make...

  • ISS: private modules to be allowed on space station

    The International Space Station (ISS) has been in service for well over a decade, serving as a key science and technology hub for space agencies and institutions. Now, the USA has announced that it will be allowing private companies to add their own modules "and other capabilities" to the orbital outpost. The announcement comes after NASA asked the private sector about possibly using an available docking port on the station. "One of the potential uses of such a port would be preparation for one or more future commercial stations in Low Earth Orbit, ready to take over for the Space Station once...

  • Europa: Hubble telescope spots ‘possible’ water plumes

    NASA has revealed possible water plumes erupting from the surface of Europa. The potential plumes were spotted in images taken by the Hubble Telescope, the space agency said. The discovery makes it more likely that a future mission to the Jovian moon wouldn't need to drill through "miles of ice" to sample water from an ocean, NASA said in a statement. "Europa's ocean is considered to be one of the most promising places that could potentially harbour life in the solar system, said Geoff Yoder, acting associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, in a statement. "These plumes, if they do indeed...

  • NASA to reveal ‘surprising’ Europa news on Monday

    Europa is considered to be one of the best candidates for extraterrestrial life of any kind in the solar system, and NASA has some surprising news to share. "Spoiler alert: NOT aliens," the space agency tweeted, in case anyone wanted to get their hopes up though. "Astronomers will present results from a unique Europa observing campaign that resulted in surprising evidence of activity that may be related to the presence of a subsurface ocean on Europa," the agency explained in a full press statement. Could we expect solid proof of an ocean on Europa? NASA will reveal all later NASA used images from the...