Blog




Image of the Day

Monday, July 26th 2021 09:19 AM

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 15 This image from May 11, 1971, is a high angle view showing the Apollo 15 spacecraft on the way from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Pad A, Launch Complex 39 at the Kennedy Space Center. The Saturn V stack and its mobile launch tower are atop a huge crawler-transporter. Apollo 15 was the fourth scheduled crewed lunar landing mission and was commanded by David Scott. Al Worden served as command module pilot and Jim Irwin as lunar module pilot. The mission successfully launched on July 26, 1971.   Image Credit: NASA

Read More



Image of the Day

Friday, July 23rd 2021 09:14 AM

The Little (Mars) Helicopter That Could   Ingenuity, the helicopter that arrived on the Red Planet on the Mars Perseverance rover, has made nine flights on Mars. Ingenuity's historic achievement is the first powered helicopter flight on a terrestrial body other than Earth. According to Håvard F. Grip, Ingenuity Chief Pilot, and Ken Williford, Perseverance Deputy Project Scientist, Flight 9, which occurred in July 2021, was unlike the flights that came before it. It broke our records for flight duration and cruise speed, and it nearly quadrupled the distance flown between two airfields. But what really set the flight apart was the terrain that Ingenuity had to negotiate during its 2 minutes and 46 seconds in the air – an area called “Séítah” that would be difficult to traverse with a ground vehicle like the Perseverance rover. This flight was also explicitly designed to have science value by providing the first close view of major science ta...

Read More



The Sky This Week

Thursday, July 22nd 2021 09:21 AM

The Sky This Week: Pluto reaches opposition   Wooden Ore Cart & Belt of Venus: Earth’s shadow sits below the glowing pink Belt of Venus in this summertime snapshot from July 2018.   Friday, July 16 By the time the sky grows dark after sunset, the constellation Lyra is already high in the east. The Harp is home to the famous Double-Double: A naked-eye double star in which each bright sun has a second companion. Start at Vega, Lyra’s unmistakable magnitude 0 alpha star. From there, swing your gaze 1.7° east-northeast, where you’ll find a close pair of magnitude 4.6 stars. They’re separated by 3.5' (or 208"), which is just about the limit of naked-eye resolution for most people. Can you see the two distinct stars? The luminary to the north is Epsilon1 (ϵ1) Lyrae, while the other is Epsilon2 Lyrae. Even if you can’t separate them by eye, virtually any pair of binoculars or a small telescope will split them. Once you zoom in on the pair...

Read More



Image of the Day

Tuesday, July 20th 2021 09:37 AM

A Peek Inside the Orion Nebula   This dramatic image from January 2006 offers a peek inside a cavern of roiling dust and gas where thousands of stars are forming. The image, taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) aboard the Hubble Space Telescope, represents the sharpest view ever taken of this region until this time, called the Orion Nebula. More than 3,000 stars of various sizes appear in this image. Some of them have never been seen in visible light. These stars reside in a dramatic dust-and-gas landscape of plateaus, mountains, and valleys that are reminiscent of the Grand Canyon. The Orion Nebula is a picture book of star formation, from the massive, young stars that are shaping the nebula to the pillars of dense gas that may be the homes of budding stars. The bright central region is the home of the four heftiest stars in the nebula. The stars are called the Trapezium because they are arranged in a trapezoid pattern. Ultraviolet light unleashed by these stars is c...

Read More



NASA Tracks Heat Wave Over US Southwest

Friday, July 16th 2021 09:19 AM

NASA Tracks Heat Wave Over US Southwest   While one science instrument mapped the dome of high pressure that settled over the southwestern U.S. in early July, another captured ground surface temperatures. Just weeks after the Pacific Northwest endured record-shattering temperatures, another heat wave scorched the U.S. Southwest. This heat wave, which started around July 7, tied or broke several all-time records in California, Nevada, northern Arizona, and southern Utah. Two instruments – NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) aboard the Aqua satellite, and the agency’s ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) – tracked the heat wave, providing visualizations of it. The AIRS instrument captured the progression of a slow-moving heat dome across the southwestern U.S from July 1 to July 12. The animation of the AIRS data (above) shows surface air temperature anomalies – values above or below long-term averag...

Read More



Image of the Day

Thursday, July 15th 2021 09:11 AM

A View of the Rings of Saturn   This artist's illustration shows the Cassini spacecraft in orbit around Saturn. Cassini made 22 orbits that swooped between the rings and the planet before ending its 13-year tour of the ringed planet on Sept. 15, 2017, with a final plunge into Saturn. Cassini spacecraft shared the wonders of Saturn and its family of icy moons—taking us to astounding worlds where methane rivers run to a methane sea and where jets of ice and gas are blasting material into space from a liquid water ocean that might harbor the ingredients for life.   Source: nasa.gov

Read More



Image of the Day

Wednesday, July 14th 2021 09:19 AM

Celebrating 5 Years at Jupiter   On July 4, 2016, our Juno spacecraft arrived at Jupiter on a mission to peer through the gas giant planet’s dense clouds and answer questions about the origins of our solar system. Since its arrival, Juno has provided scientists with a treasure trove of data about the planet’s origins, interior structures, atmosphere and magnetosphere. Juno is the first mission to observe Jupiter’s deep atmosphere and interior, and will continue to delight with dazzling views of the planet’s colorful clouds and Galilean moons. As it circles Jupiter, Juno provides critical knowledge for understanding the formation of our own solar system, the Jovian system and the role giant planets play in putting together planetary systems elsewhere.   Source: nasa.gov

Read More



The Sky This Week: Venus and Mars meet for a conjunction Friday, July 9   Moon, Venus, and Mercury: In October 2011, the Moon, Venus, and Mercury shared a small region of sky. A similar event occurs this week, but it will bring the two planets even closer. New Moon occurs at 9:17 A.M. EDT. A moonless night is the best time to challenge yourself and your telescope, so tonight, set your sights on one of the most famous objects in the constellation Sagittarius: M20, the Trifid Nebula. By two hours after sunset, the sky should be dark enough to begin your search. You’ll find M20 above the spout of the Teapot asterism, about 7.5° due north of 3rd-magnitude Alnasl (Gamma [γ] Sagittarii). The nebula is centered on the double star HN 40, whose components glow at magnitude 8 and 9. When observing this faint object, the size of your telescope will determine the amount of detail you can see. Mid-sized telescopes will show the Trifid as a hazy cloud surrounding the two st...

Read More



Image of the Day

Monday, July 12th 2021 10:53 AM

SpaceX Cargo Dragon Departs the Space Station The SpaceX Cargo Dragon resupply ship departs the International Space Station after it undocked from the Harmony module's space-facing international docking adapter on July 8, 2021. The central portion of the orbiting lab's truss structure and a pair of antennas dominate the right foreground.   Image Credit: NASA

Read More



Image of the Day - NASA

Thursday, July 8th 2021 09:38 AM

This Week in NASA History: Final Launch of Shuttle Program – July 8, 2011 This week in 2011, space shuttle Atlantis, mission STS-135, launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station. STS-135 carried the Raffaello multipurpose logistics module to deliver supplies, logistics, and spare parts to the orbiting lab. This was the final launch of the Space Shuttle Program. Today, the Payload Operations Integration Center at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center serves as “science central” for the space station, working 24/7, 365 days a year in support of the orbiting laboratory’s science experiments. After 20 years of continuous human presence, the space station remains the sole space-based proving ground and stepping stone toward achieving the goals of the Artemis program. The NASA History Program is responsible for generating, disseminating, and preserving NASA’s remarkable history and providing a comprehensive understan...

Read More