Aerospace

NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars, which first landed inside the Gale Crater on Aug. 6th, 2012, may provide clues as to how the red planet lost its original atmosphere, which scientists believe was much thicker than the one left today.


Tomorrow, we are being photographed from space.

No, it is not another NSA spying operation, it is NASA's Cassini and MESSENGER spacecraft, taking pictures of Earth from Saturn and Mercury.

The image taken from the Saturn system by Cassini will occur between 2:27 and 2:42 PDT (that's 5:27 and 5:42 p.m. EDT and 21:27 and 21:42 UTC) tomorrow, July 19th. Since Cassini is 898 million miles away from us, nearly 10 times the distance from the sun to Earth, it may not see you specifically but NASA is encouraging the public to get participatory and wave at Saturn at the time of the portrait and then pictures via social media.

We all think about space exploration, but we also need to think about dodging 50 years of debris from space exploration - aluminum, steel, nylon, even liquid sodium from Russian satellites. Sierra Club hasn't started fundraising over this issue yet but they might after reading this article.

According to NASA, there are more than 21,000 pieces of 'space junk' roughly the size of a baseball in orbit, and about 500,000 pieces that are golf ball-sized. Sure, space is big, but when a piece of space junk strikes a spacecraft, the collision occurs at a velocity of 5 to 15 kilometers per second, roughly ten times faster than a speeding bullet.


If you want to make sure your extra-terrestrial efforts can survive a nuclear attack, working inside the Jamesburg Earth Station on, fittingly, ComSat Road, just outside Carmel, California, is a fine choice. A short drive to Pebble Beach and Spyglass golf courses means it is not a bad way to spend your weekends either.

If you enjoyed seeing Neil Armstrong walking on the Moon, Jamesburg is one of the dishes you can thank. But the 10-story high antenna went out of service in 2002. The land was sold to a gentleman who wanted a vacation home - the coolest Cold War vacation home ever, if you ask me, with blueprints and cinder block walls and a room the size of a football field.

NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM satellite) flew directly above tropical storm Andrea on Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 0508 UTC (1:08 a.m. EDT). This orbit showed that Andrea had a large area of moderate to heavy rainfall in the northeast quadrant of the storm and precipitation was spreading over the state of Florida.


Yesterday, a monster tornado almost 2-miles wide tore through Moore, Oklahoma, a suburb of Oklahoma City, wiping out entire blocks and killing 24 people. 

The National Weather Service upgraded its calculation of the storm's strength today, declaring it was a rare EF5, the most powerful ranking on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, and had winds exceeding 200 miles per hour and left a trail of destruction measuring about 17 miles long. Debris from the tornado fell as far as 100 miles away, reaching the city of Tulsa.


The Karoo Array Telescope (KAT-7) in South Africa, the pathfinder radio telescope for the $3 billion global Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, has released its first results.


Imagine being the project scientist for a NASA experiment and getting an email telling you that a 3,100 lb. defunct spy satellite dating back to the Cold War might crash into your baby?

That's what happened to Julie McEnery of NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope,  which maps the highest-energy light in the universe, a year ago. When she checked her email on March 29th, 2012,  she had an automatically generated report from NASA's Robotic Conjunction Assessment Risk Analysis (CARA) saying that in about a week Fermi might be hit by Cosmos 1805. 


A coronal mass ejection (CME) is when our sun sends billions of tons of solar particles into space. A CME can affect electronic systems in satellites and NASA recently saw three.


X-ray astronomy is only 50 years old but nothing shows the progress of the technology like a new view of a supernova scientists watched over a thousand years ago.