Tag Archives: NASA

NASA thinks the first alien life we discover is going to look nothing like what most people expect

by Keegan Larwin and Jessica Orwig, Business Insider

When we think of our first contact with alien life, many people imagine a small green humanoid in a flying saucer. The reality will be much different. NASA’s Chief Scientist, Ellen Stofan, explains what we should expect when we do discover extraterrestrial life.

Watch the video here…

The Milky Way is 392 decillion times more massive than the heaviest thing we’ve ever weighed

by Derrick Rossignol, Nerdist

The universe is so unfathomably huge that our tiny human brains can barely imagine just how big it really is out there. Case in point, a paper recently published in the Astrophysics Journal estimates that the mass of the Milky Way galaxy is 9.5 x 10^41 kilograms — 4.8 x 10^11 times the mass of the sun. That sounds wild, but can those impossibly gigantic numbers mean anything to us? Continue reading The Milky Way is 392 decillion times more massive than the heaviest thing we’ve ever weighed

How to go Supersonic without a Boom

by Ryan F. Mandelbaum, Popular Science

Breaking down the AS2 Business Jet

Until its retirement 13 years ago, the supersonic Concorde was plagued by two major problems: inefficiency and noise (the sonic booms it produced got it banned from over-land cruising). Now, heavyweights like Virgin and Airbus are planning to tackle supersonic speeds, and NASA began designing a “low boom” supersonic jet this year. But no one is as close as aircraft manufacturer Aerion Corporation, which is developing the AS2.

Quiet Cruise

When air molecules slam into a supersonic jet, they create a high-pressure wake that reaches the ground as a startling “ba-boom.” By slowing down its cruise speed to Mach 1.2 (the Concorde’s was Mach 2), the AS2’s wake will dissipate before it reaches civilization. Continue reading How to go Supersonic without a Boom

For third-straight time, Earth sets hottest year record

by Seth Borenstein, AP Top News

Earth sizzled to a third-straight record hot year in 2016, government scientists said Wednesday. They mostly blame man-made global warming with help from a natural El Nino, which has since disappeared.

Measuring global temperatures in slightly different ways, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that last year passed 2015 as the hottest year on record. Continue reading For third-straight time, Earth sets hottest year record

Russia, US Mulling Joint Mission to Venus

by Mike Wall, Space.com

Russia’s space program and NASA are working together on a mission to Venus that would investigate some of the scorching-hot planet’s biggest mysteries, including, perhaps, whether it harbors life.

An international team of scientists tasked with fleshing out the main goals of the mission, which is known as Venera-D, is wrapping up its work and will deliver its final report to NASA and the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Space Research Institute by the end of the month, said David Senske, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Continue reading Russia, US Mulling Joint Mission to Venus

NASA Plans to Peer Inside a Black Hole

by Alison Klesman, Discover

Neutron stars, black holes and other remnants of stellar explosions are some of the universe’s most intriguing objects – and some of the hardest to study. But when NASA’s newest Explorers Program mission, IXPE, launches, we’ll see them like never before.

Stellar remnants such as black holes and neutron stars are difficult to see. Because of their tiny size and oftentimes obscuring disks of dust and gas, direct measurements of these objects have long eluded astronomers. However, such extreme objects heat their environments to millions of degrees, which causes high-energy emission in the form of easily-observable X-rays. Studying these X-rays provides a window into the world around otherwise impossible-to-see phenomena. Continue reading NASA Plans to Peer Inside a Black Hole

SpaceX concludes accident investigation, targets return to flight

by Eric Berger, ars Technica

Four months after a fueling accident led to the loss of a Falcon 9 rocket and its satellite payload, SpaceX said Monday morning that it has concluded an investigation into the incident and submitted its findings to the Federal Aviation Administration. The company also announced a target date of January 8th for a return to flight.

The SpaceX investigation, in concert with the FAA, US Air Force, NASA, and the National Transportation Safety Board, concluded that one of three composite over-wrapped pressure vessels, or COPVs, inside the rocket’s second stage liquid oxygen tank failed. “Specifically, the investigation team concluded the failure was likely due to the accumulation of oxygen between the COPV liner and over-wrap in a void or a buckle in the liner, leading to ignition and the subsequent failure of the COPV,” the company stated in an update.

Read the full article here…

A New Home on Mars: NASA Langley’s Icy Concept for Living on the Red Planet

by Eric Gillard, NASA

When astronauts set foot on Mars, they may stay for months rather than days as they did during Apollo missions to the moon. The surface of Mars has extreme temperatures and the atmosphere does not provide adequate protection from high-energy radiation. These explorers will need shelters to effectively protect them from the harsh Martian environment and provide a safe place to call home.

For researchers at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, the best building material for a new home on Mars may lie in an unexpected material: ice. Continue reading A New Home on Mars: NASA Langley’s Icy Concept for Living on the Red Planet