Sure, that TwitPic you posted was dope, but could it ever be as snazzy as a photo taken from space? Although doubtful, now at least there’s the NASA Photography Training Program handbook to help you achieve such levels of awesomeness. The guide provides tips on operating the official camera of the space agency, the Hasselblad 500 EL/M, responsible for some of the most extraterrestrial shots this side of Pluto. Pointers on how to best operate the electric film lunar surface data camera include what type of lens to use and how to best use available light. Study up at the source — after all, privatized space travel is just around the bend.
Visualized: NASA’s Hasselblad photography manual originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 13 Sep 2011 06:30:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, space photography
With the Space Shuttle program now boldly going nowhere, it’s up to NASA partners like SpaceX to deliver on the interstellar milestones. Scheduled for a launch on November 30th of this year, the Elon Musk-funded Dragon spacecraft is set to dock for the first time with the International Space Station. The planned cargo delivery is expected to be a watershed moment for the space program, as it will cement the agency’s private-public commercial endeavors, heralding the “beginning of a new era in space travel.” NASA has already given the company conditional approval to merge its two planned test flights — COTS Demo 2 and COTS Demo 3 — into this singular mission, with formal authorization contingent upon the “resolution of any potential risks.” If all goes according to plan later this year, get set to embrace a brave new world of galactic travel — one where Musk ushers us into the stars.
SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft to dock with the ISS later this fall originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 17 Aug 2011 22:42:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, elon musk
, galactic travel
, space program
With the shuttle program being mothballed, we’re going to need a new way to get off this rock. How about that old space ladder concept? You know, the one riddled with issues that nearly trump its ambitions. The idea has faced its share of technological walls: NASA’s related Beam Power Challenge ended without a winner for years on end, and the project’s Tether Challenge remains unconquered today. Not to mention that the week-long lift might expose you to deadly levels of radiation. Lucky for us, attendees of the annual Space Elevator Conference aren’t ready to give up, and set to work last week brainstorming potential solutions. Could we replace the laser power system with solar panels? How strong are modern nanocarbons, and what issues do we need to be aware of to keep the carbon nanotube cables from breaking? Wouldn’t it be cool if the next design featured six cars instead of just three? Although the outpouring of ideas flowed like water, the response to many of them seemed to be the same: we really need to look into that. Despite the seemingly insurmountable issues, researchers remain optimistic, “We try not to be narrow-minded and say it won’t happen for 150 years,” stated one NASA program manager. We’ll just take the stairs, thanks.
Space Elevator conference gets theoretical, says lift won’t not happen in 150 years originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 15 Aug 2011 05:36:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, shuttle program
It’s not every day that scientists get to say they’ve found something in space for the first time ever, but astronomers working with the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory announced just such a discovery today, and it’s a big one. They’ve made the first confirmed finding of oxygen molecules in space (found hiding in the Orion nebula), and suggest that the oxygen is likely released when the water ice surrounding dust grains is melted by the heat from nearby stars forming. Of course, one discovery only leads to more questions, and the scientists note that they still haven’t found large amounts of oxygen, and “still don’t understand what is so special about the spots where we find it.”
Herschel telescope finds first evidence of oxygen molecules in space originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 01 Aug 2011 18:35:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, european space agency
It’s gotten its own photo shoot, some cool animation, and the interest of James Cameron — and now Curiosity finally has a destination. NASA’s pluckily-named Mars rover is set to land next to a mountain inside the red planet’s 96-mile-wide Gale Crater. Curiosity is scheduled to touch down in August 2012 in search of life on the fourth rock from the sun. The crater, one of 60 suggested sites, was chosen due to its potential for a safe landing and the possibility of scientific discovery, thanks in part to nearby geographical formations that may have been created by water. Here’s hoping it encounters some serious space oddities when it gets there.
Continue reading Curiosity rover to land in Mars’s Gale Crater to look for life, finally answer Bowie’s nagging questions
Curiosity rover to land in Mars’s Gale Crater to look for life, finally answer Bowie’s nagging questions originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 23 Jul 2011 23:59:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, curiosity rover
, mars rover
Is that an intergalactic wave pool, or just a hungry, hungry quasar? Turns out it’s a bit of both — well, not the wave pool bit, but it’s watery. A NASA-funded peep into the farthest reaches of the cosmos has uncovered this “feeding black hole” 12 billion light years away. APM 08279+5255, as this compacted mass of inescapable doom is affectionately known, has been gorging on water vapor and spewing out energy. How much H2O exactly? It’s only the “largest and farthest reservoir of water ever detected in the universe,” and it weighs in at 140 trillion times the amount in our oceans. Located via the cooperation of two teams of astronomers and their star-gazing equipment — the Z-Space instrument at California Institute of Technology’s Submillimeter Observatory in Hawaii and the Plateau de Bure Interferometer in the French Alps — this aqueous discovery proves the wet stuff is more universally omnipresent than we once thought. Also, surfing aliens, right?
Giant body of water found in space, black hole claims it was just hydrating originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 23 Jul 2011 12:37:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, feeding black hole
It’s hard to even believe these words, but they’re true: the last scheduled US space shuttle launch happens today. What started as a frenetic race to another world has ended as program that will forever be remembered for sparking the interest of mere tykes, and if this so-called economy ever gets turned around — heck, maybe we’ll see the hiatus ends. In all likelihood, it’ll be Sir Richard Branson making the next moonwalk, but rather than sit around and mourn the quiet death of the space shuttle, we’d prefer to share a few of our fondest memories here. And by all means, please deliver any final words of your own in comments below.
Continue reading The end of an era: what the space shuttle means to Engadget
The end of an era: what the space shuttle means to Engadget originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 08 Jul 2011 11:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, space race
It’s pretty easy to cool down an overheating desktop computer with an extra fan, but what do you do if there’s no air? That’s the hurdle NASA
‘s engineers are hoping to clear with a new prototype pump that the agency unveiled last week. The pinkie-sized instrument relies upon a technology known as electrohydrodynamic (EHD)-based thermal control, which uses electric fields to inject coolant through small vents on a thermal cold plate, before moving the extra heat to a radiator and spreading it far away from any temperature-sensitive areas. With no moving parts, the lightweight cooler uses only about half a watt of power and can be sized to work with small electric components or lab-on-a-chip
devices. The challenge is to make sure that the pump can survive the vibrations of a rocket launch, though NASA will put it to the test during a rocket mission on June 9 and in 2013, when an EHD thermal cold plate will be placed on the International Space Station
. Start your countdown clock and blast past the break for a full press release.
Continue reading NASA’s new cooling pump doesn’t need moving parts, set to chill out in space next month
NASA’s new cooling pump doesn’t need moving parts, set to chill out in space next month originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 31 May 2011 02:17:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, lab on a chip
, space station
, thermal cold plate
There’s been a lot of talk of things coming to an end
at NASA lately
, but there are also some new beginnings, and the space agency has now officially filled in one big gap. It’s announced that the so-called Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (or MPCV) will be its go-to space exploration vehicle for missions beyond Low Earth Orbit — presumably, the individual spacecraft will get names more up to the level of boldly-named vehicles like Endeavor and Atlantis. If it looks a little familiar, that’s because the MPCV will be based on the Orion spacecraft
that was developed under the now-canceled Constellation program
and, like it, it will be built by Lockheed Martin. Once its put into service, the spacecraft will be capable of carrying four astronauts on missions up to 21 days, and it could even be used as a backup for cargo and crew delivery to the ISS — to actually get into space, it would blast off atop a heavy lift rocket, and then splash down Apollo-style in the Pacific Ocean. Head on past the break for NASA’s official announcement.
Continue reading NASA commits to Orion-based Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle for space exploration
NASA commits to Orion-based Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle for space exploration originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 26 May 2011 19:53:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
More than a year after it first lost contact with its Mars rover Spirit, NASA has finally decided to throw in the towel. Yesterday, the agency confirmed that it will end all planned communications with the robot on May 25th, effectively ending the craft’s seven-year mission. NASA was hoping that the approaching Martian spring would allow the Spirit to recharge its solar panels and re-establish radio contact, but it now appears that the craft sustained irreparable damage last winter, when it was forced to endure brutally cold temperatures. NASA executive David Lavery, however, says the rover team will remember the Spirit more for its achievements than its slow demise:
“I think we’ll all sit around and have a sip of Guinness and reminisce about when Spirit was a wee small little rover and look back at the accomplishments and successes rover had over its entire lifetime.”
So the Spirit’s spirit will live on, but what about NASA’s mission to Mars? Well, the Opportunity is still in good health and, later this year, will be joined by the next-generation, nuclear-powered rover Curiosity, which will investigate whether or not Mars ever supported life forms. Meanwhile, NASA’s network of orbiting spacecraft will continue to passively listen for signals from the Spirit, just in case it miraculously comes back to life. Full PR after the break.
Continue reading NASA abandons Mars rover Spirit, chooses to remember the good times
NASA abandons Mars rover Spirit, chooses to remember the good times originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 25 May 2011 07:47:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, mars rover
, red planet