Watch inflation of new expandable habitat on ISS! – @NASA

NASA has inflated the BEAM (Bigelow Expandable Activity Module) module on the ISS. Check out the cool time-lapse video of the expansion above! The below image from NASA shows the location of the expandable habitat in the context of the whole space station.

The module measured just over 7 feet long and just under 7.75 feet in diameter in its packed configuration. BEAM now measures more than 13 feet long and about 10.5 feet in diameter to create 565 cubic feet of habitable volume. It weighs approximately 3,000 pounds.

During the next week, leak checks will be performed on BEAM to ensure its structural integrity. Hatch opening and NASA astronaut Jeff Williams’ first entrance into BEAM will take place about a week after leak checks are complete.

BEAM is an example of NASA’s increased commitment to partnering with industry to enable the growth of the commercial use of space. The project is co-sponsored by NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems Division and Bigelow Aerospace.

ISS_05-26-16_BEAM_Detail2

Advertisements

Celebrating 90 years since Robert Goddard’s rocket launch – @NASA #space

recreated-goddard-launch-1976

NASA is celebrating 90 years since Robert Goddard’s rocket lifted off, launching the era of spaceflight.

Ninety years ago, on March 16, 1926, a rocket lifted off – not with a bang, but with a subtle, quiet flame – and forever changed the scope of scientific exploration. This event ties directly to the birth of NASA more than 30 years later.

None of this would be possible without the experiments of Massachusetts physics professor Robert Goddard, best known for inventing the liquid-fueled rocket. The namesake of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, he dreamed as early as 1909 of creating an interplanetary vehicle. While he couldn’t achieve that in his lifetime, his inventions in the first half of the 20th century became the engineering foundation for the rockets that first took humans to the moon in the 1960s and for today’s rockets, which look further into space than ever before.

 

After nearly 17 years of work, Goddard successfully launched his creation on March 16, 1926.

@NASA visualization of sea level changes from 1992-2014! #science

Very cool visualization of sea level change from 1992-2014 from NASA!!

@NOAA validates what you already knew about this winter… its warm. #fewersnowmen

tave-anom-201512-201602NOAA reports that this winter has been very, very warm, especially when compared with previous average temperatures. This shouldn’t surprise anyone that is paying attention (or anyone who leaves their house now and then), given that NOAA and NASA found 2015 be the warmest year on record. Climate change… ya think??

  • Forty-six states across the contiguous U.S. had a winter temperature that was above average. Much-above average winter temperatures were observed across the West, Great Plains, Midwest, Southeast, and Northeast. Each of the six New England states had a winter temperature that was record warm.

  • Alaska had its second warmest December-February with a statewide temperature of 14.2°F, 10.6°F above average. Several locations across Alaska were record warm including Barrow and King Salmon, while Anchorage and Juneau had their second warmest December-February.

See the full report here.

@NASA’s Space Launch System – no small steps! #Journeytomars

No Small Steps Episode 1: Getting to Mars

NASA’s new rocket, the Space Launch System, will meet the challenges of exploring deep space. And when it comes to NASA’s journey of Mars and beyond, there are no small steps. Stephen Granade talks how SLS will be the most capable rocket ever built for that trip to the Red Planet and other destinations in the solar system. This is the first video in a set of three.

NASA looking for Astronauts – for future missions geared toward traveling to Mars! #OutofthisWorld

For the first time since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011, NASA is accepting applications for astronauts to start a new series of missions aimed at further space exploration with the goal of traveling to Mars.  Applications will be accepted from December 2015-February 2016, and successful candidates will be announced mid-2017.  From NASA:

In anticipation of returning human spaceflight launches to American soil, and in preparation for the agency’s journey to Mars, NASA announced it will soon begin accepting applications for the next class of astronaut candidates. With more human spacecraft in development in the United States today than at any other time in history, future astronauts will launch once again from the Space Coast of Florida on American-made commercial spacecraft, and carry out deep-space exploration missions that will advance a future human mission to Mars.

The agency will accept applications from Dec. 14 through mid-February and expects to announce candidates selected in mid-2017. Applications for consideration as a NASA Astronaut will be accepted at:

http://www.usajobs.gov

The next class of astronauts may fly on any of four different U.S. vessels during their careers: the International Space Station, two commercial crew spacecraft currently in development by U.S. companies, and NASA’s Orion deep-space exploration vehicle.

From pilots and engineers, to scientists and medical doctors, NASA selects qualified astronaut candidates from a diverse pool of U.S. citizens with a wide variety of backgrounds. 

“This next group of American space explorers will inspire the Mars generation to reach for new heights, and help us realize the goal of putting boot prints on the Red Planet,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “Those selected for this service will fly on U.S. made spacecraft from American soil, advance critical science and research aboard the International Space Station, and help push the boundaries of technology in the proving ground of deep space.”

Continue reading

Liquid Water confirmed on Mars!! #NASA

From NASA today:

New findings from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provide the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars.

Using an imaging spectrometer on MRO, researchers detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious streaks are seen on the Red Planet. These darkish streaks appear to ebb and flow over time. They darken and appear to flow down steep slopes during warm seasons, and then fade in cooler seasons. They appear in several locations on Mars when temperatures are above minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 23 Celsius), and disappear at colder times.

“Our quest on Mars has been to ‘follow the water,’ in our search for life in the universe, and now we have convincing science that validates what we’ve long suspected,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “This is a significant development, as it appears to confirm that water — albeit briny — is flowing today on the surface of Mars.”

These downhill flows, known as recurring slope lineae (RSL), often have been described as possibly related to liquid water. The new findings of hydrated salts on the slopes point to what that relationship may be to these dark features. The hydrated salts would lower the freezing point of a liquid brine, just as salt on roads here on Earth causes ice and snow to melt more rapidly. Scientists say it’s likely a shallow subsurface flow, with enough water wicking to the surface to explain the darkening.

Garni crater on Mars

Dark narrow streaks called recurring slope lineae emanating out of the walls of Garni crater on Mars. The dark streaks here are up to few hundred meters in length. They are hypothesized to be formed by flow of briny liquid water on Mars. The image is produced by draping an orthorectified (RED) image (ESP_031059_1685) on a Digital Terrain Model (DTM) of the same site produced by High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (University of Arizona). Vertical exaggeration is 1.5. Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Continue reading