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Posts under tag: Space

April 4, 2016

SpaceX is launching an inflatable space habitat for the ISS

The space station’s Canadarm attaching the BEAM inflatable module to Node 3 of the ISS. GIF courtesy of NASA.

On its next trip to the International Space Station (ISS), SpaceX’s Dragon rocket will be carrying an inflatable module on its payload. The module–the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module or BEAM–will essentially create a new room on the ISS once it is connected and inflated. At full inflation, the BEAM’s internal volume will be ten times its launch volume.

Inflatable modules are attractive from a mass and volume perspective. Before launch, they are smaller and lighter requiring less fuel and other expenses. This concept is not new to space. NASA originally licensed its inflatable technology in 2000 before Congress canceled the TransHab project and NASA’s first communications satellite, Echo, was inflatable.

For more information on this project, check out this article from TechCrunch.

July 9, 2015

A new photo of Pluto from the New Horizons spacecraft

Pluto as seen from the New Horizons Spacecraft taken July 7, 2015.

A composite image of Pluto as seen from two cameras onboard the New Horizons spacecraft from eight million kilometers away. Photo credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

The New Horizons spacecraft has acquired another view of Pluto from just under eight million kilometers away (roughly five million miles). As of today, the spacecraft will be about six million kilometers from the dwarf planet and will have its historic flyby on July 14. Pluto exhibits large swaths of dark and light material that most likely hydrocarbon-based perhaps frozen methane.

The Pluto flyby will be exactly that: the New Horizons will get as close as 12,500 kilometers from the surface of Pluto and will capture the best images anyone has ever seen of the dwarf planet and its main moon, Charon — then after about a day, will continue on to view other Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs). As the craft leaves the Pluto system, New Horizons will take some images as it passes through its shadow to verify the existence of an atmosphere. According to current spectroscopy, the atmosphere is primarily methane.

For more information on the new photo, check on this article from the BBC.

Additionally, designed a scale model of our solar system based on the Earth’s moon being 1 pixel in size. Click here for more.

August 6, 2012

These Are the First Images from the Mars Curiosity Rover

Image of Mars from Land Rover landing August 5th 2012

The Mars Curiosity Rover has landed successfully! And here’s the first image, from the hazard cameras that will help it navigate through the surface of Mars. This is a phenomenal achievement. And here are the first images!

The image shows the shadow of the rover, securely positioned on the surface of the red planet. It seems like a boring image, but it’s extremely important. It means that everything is ok, that the rover is on firm ground and ready to start moving when Mission Control gives the order. It’s also the pinnacle of the landing, perhaps the most amazing achievement in planetary exploration after the Apollo missions.

More images will be coming in the coming days. The first horizon image should be coming any time now. The first high definition panorama, however, is a week away. Both should be amazing, showing a gigantic mountain: Aeolis Mons, commonly known as Mount Sharp,

Read more at Gizmodo.

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