Ever wonder what happens when you wring out a wet wash cloth in space? Neither did I but the answer was still fun to watch!
“That awkward moment when you realize a an energy drink has a better space program than your nation.”
Nevermind how egotistical that statement sounds to the majority of the world who doesn’t even have the capability of a space program thanks to local weather conditions and other environmental conditions such as latitude and elevation, the sad part is that such an awkward moment doesn’t exist even for the United States.
Why? Because of several reasons, as enumerated by Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy in one of his articles.
1. While extraordinary and recording breaking Felix Baumgartner’s skydive was, he did not jump from space. He was only about half way to the designated point that people agree is exiting the earth’s atmosphere and entering low orbit.
2. NASA is still doing amazing space exploration, and will continue to do so as long as it has a budget, regardless of its capability to send a person into space. Thanks to technology such as satellites and robotic rovers, we’re exploring our solar system faster than we ever have before, in an incredibly safe manner. We’re collecting the data we need for true human space travel. NASA isn’t half-assed when it comes to this stuff.
3. We’ve been unable to send people into space in the past. After the Apollo missions, there was a nine-year gap in which NASA did not have a space vehicle capable of sending people into space. In comparison, we’re expecting SpaceX and various other companies to being contracting human spaceflight to NASA within the next five years.
4. The shuttle retiring is not a bad thing. Yes most of you may have grown up with the NASA space shuttle program. But you do realize there were other programs before it? And there will be other programs after it. The shuttle program, while immensely successful in helping us build the international space station and fixing Hubble, and doing multitudes of scientific studies in space, outlived its estimated timeline for several years. Those shuttles needed to retire. We pushed them further on an increasingly smaller budget than we really should have. It is time for something new.
Phil Plait makes this points far more eloquently and with more inherent knowledge than I, but I felt like needing to share these things. I understand that a majority of people aren’t interested in space anymore. It makes me sad, considering how close we are to so many great breakthroughs.
A video parodying “Sexy and We Know It” referring to the amazing feat of engineering and science NASA made by landing Curiosity on Mars. Also hilarious.
Ever wonder what NASA is doing? Well the NASA website is actually a really good place to learn that but some people prefer to hear.
So the final space shuttle liftoff is set to launch in just a little over an hour. There is a chance weather is going to cancel the lift off until next week but as of right now, everybody is still preparing. Right now you can go to Nasa.gov and the first page will take you to their live stream of NasaTV which will be covering everything up to and beyond the launch.
Space Shuttle: Atlantis
Primary Payload: Raffaello Multi-purpose Logistics Module
Launch Date: July 8
Launch Time: 11:26 a.m. EDT
Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39A
Landing Date: July 20
Landing Time: 7:06 a.m. EDT
Landing Site: Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility
Mission Duration: 12 days
Inclination/Altitude: 51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles
Good luck Atlantis!
NASA made the announcement a few days ago that they are contracting with Lockheed Martin for the creation of the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV). This would be a rocket launches a crew of four for up to 21 days of deep space exploration and then splash down in the Pacific ocean. In addition to this, it is capable of docking with the international space station. NASA feels confidant this design will be “10 times safer during ascent and entry than its predecessor, the space shuttle.”
This is probably some of the best news I’ve heard about space flight all year. With the space shuttles retiring soon, and the prior manned spacecraft project, Orion, cut due to over-budget and over-time, manned space flight for the US was looking very bleak. Now there is hope out there in deep space!
Jan. 3, 2004 – Mars Rover named Spirit lands on Mars. It has a 90 day mission to wander Mars and see what it can find. Three months later, Spirit was still rolling along, having completed its primary mission and starting to work on a little bit of over time, because why not?
A year later. Spirit is still roving. Two years. Four years.
On March 22, 2010, Spirit sent its last message to earth. NASA waited until yesterday, May 25th, 2011, to official confirm that there is no real chance Spirit will wake up and re-transmit. Spirit lasted six years and nine months longer than anybody ever thought it might, and it’s twin Opportunity, is still roaming.
Spirit also has an extra small achievement in that it was one of the first reasons I got a Twitter account.
NASA has announced that Spirit’s support assets, the Mars orbiters will be re-tasked for the upcoming Mars Science Laboratory Mission, which will include the new generation of Mars rover, Curiosity, which will likely be launching in November.
Bad Astronomy linked to an xkcd comic done about Spirit, and I will as well. It is an excellent comic, if a little sad, especially what we know now. Maybe someday, Spirit.
So we made some science history the other day. We have proof of two of Einstein’s theories. Albert Einstein came up with a lot of scientific theories and formula but a fair amount of them could never be tested. Why? Because they required testing in outer space and Einstein never managed to live to see human space flight.
- Geodetic effect which is the warping of space and time around a gravitational body.
- Frame-dragging which is the amount a spinning object pulls space and time with it as it rotates.
It was confirmed by NASA’s Gravity Probe B mission which was launched in 2004 and completed its mission in 2010.
This is actually a good example of how space based science works. It is sadly not a quick science.
Just a few minuets ago, on March 9th, 2011 11:57am ET, NASA space shuttle Discovery landed for the final time, completing a twenty-seven year rotation of thirty-nine missions. It spent a cumulative three hundred and sixty-five days in space and it will soon be decommissioned and housed in the Smithsonian Institution.
The Discovery will be the first of three shuttles decommissioned. The final two missions by Endeavor and Atlantis will finish by late June of this year, and the era of the NASA space shuttle will end.
There is a lot to say about America’s space program; the hardship they have endured for the last few decades. There is plenty to speculate about the loss of its funding and financing, the lack of public support for their projects, and its uncertain future
But now is not the time to discuss that. Now is the time to understand, reflect, and marvel at the effort and work that was put into the space shuttle program as it takes its final steps. To remember that wonder you felt the first time you saw a picture, video, or perhaps even saw a shuttle with your own eyes, knowing that that piece of machinery was a stepping stone for humanity to reach beyond our little planet.
Thank you Discovery, Endeavor, Atlantis, the entire fleet, and people who piloted, maintained, rode, and oversaw their operation. Thank you for being apart of some of the best of humanity’s history.