NASA's manned mission to Mars could take a MacGyver approach to the flight home, potentially relying on oxygen extracted from the red planet's own atmosphere to support crew both during the mission and on the return journey. Dubbed in-situ resource utilization (ISRU), the strategy could mean a very different approach to mission design, particularly when it comes to the planned 2020 robotic rover NASA intends to send to Mars.
NASA has been challenged to come up with a way to use the International Space Station without relying on the Russians, as US lawmakers grow concerned that access to the orbiting research platform could be cut off amid sanction threats. Russia proposed effectively locking NASA out of the ISS earlier this week, after the US blocked high-tech exports as a sales scolding for allegedly supporting Crimean unrest.
A new NASA video offers up a computer simulation for the birth of a black hole. In the video, we see two neutron stars circling one another before the gravitational attraction becomes too much to bear. A combination of their energies via a merger creates the black hole.
The Expedition 39 crew is back from their recent mission, having spent 188 days in orbit. They’ve completed 3,00 orbits of Earth since November, when they departed Earth for the International Space Station. Their Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft touched down in Kazakhstan at 7:58am Kazakh time.
Russia has threatened to cut off access to the International Space Station and force the project to a premature close in retaliation over US sanctions, with NASA's orbiting research paying the price for growing international tensions. US plans to extend the ISS' life beyond the planned 2020 cut-off for another four years will be rejected, Russia's deputy prime minister said today, while also blocking the use of Russian rockets for upcoming launches.
Glacial melting in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is past the point of no return, NASA has revealed, with research spanning forty years indicating there's now nothing we can do to prevent their demise. The study, carried out in collaboration with the University of California, Irvine, makes ominous predictions about just how significantly the water currently frozen in the ice sheets will contribute to rising sea levels: enough in total, NASA says, to bring the global sea level up by four feet.
The return of commercial supersonic flight at faster-than-Concorde speeds could be one step closer to reality, with NASA developing real-time sonic boom prediction that would be essential to minimizing the impact of shockwaves on land. NASA's goal is a smart pilot aid that could help plan faster-than-sound travel for a jet able to fly at Mach 1.6 - or 1,218 mph - at altitudes of around 50,000 feet.
Funding for asteroid detection and the need for greater awareness of potentially dangerous space rocks has been sparked again, after astronomers caught sight of a bus-sized asteroid headed closer to Earth than the moon's orbit only days before it passed. 2014 HL129 came within 186,000 miles of us in the early hours of Saturday morning, NASA's Asteroid Watch project confirmed, having only spotted the roughly 25 foot wide rock the previous Wednesday.