5 Things You Didn’t Know About Astronaut Shane Kimbrough!

After years of training NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough is launching to the International Space Station on Wednesday, so there’s not much left to say, right?  Wrong!  Here are five secrets about his past that the Texas native and retired Army officer hasn’t told us, until now.

1. Shane went to elementary school in Germany

But his family returned to the U.S. where he attended middle and high school.

2. Life is Smyrna, Georgia 

Shane attended middle and high school in the Atlanta suburb of Smyrna with movie star Julia Roberts!

3. Shane had an accomplished military career

A retired Army colonel, Shane graduated from West Point, after which he became an Army aviator. He later became a jumpmaster and has had a long and distinguished military career.

Read his bio.

4. He loves sports. All sports!

He LOVES playing, coaching and watching sports. Watching college football is one of the things he’ll miss while he’s on the station.

5. Leading the future

His passion for teaching is one that he finds “most rewarding.”

Follow Shane on the station at @astro_kimbrough.

Learn more about missions to the International Space Station HERE.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

The crinkly skin of our planet

The International Space Station (ISS) is a fantastic viewpoint for our planet. Astronaut Karen Nyberg caught this fantastic shot of the Zagros mountains and posted it on twitter. It clearly demonstrates the crumpled mountain ranges of southwest Iran, bordering the Persian gulf. The Zagros mountains are formed from the collision of the Arabian and Eurasian continental plates, as discussed previously on The Earth Story. The black spots seen on these corrugated mountain ranges are salt domes pushing up through the crust.


Image: Karen Nyberg’s photo of the Zagros Mountains from the ISS, NASA.

Karen Nyberg is on twitter: https://twitter.com/AstroKarenN

Image credit: NASA/JPL-CALTECH

NASA’s $1 Billion Jupiter Probe Has Suffered 2 Big Problems In 2 Days

NASA’s tennis court-size Juno probe is in a bit of a sticky situation 600 million miles from Earth.

Just days before Juno swooped by Jupiter on Wednesday morning — its second 130,000 mph flyby since August 27 — the spacecraft experienced two significant glitches.

One of those problems prevented the $1.1 billion probe from taking new photos, recording auroras, and logging other crucial data about the gas giant, mission managers said during an American Astronomical Society (AAS) press briefing on Wednesday.

The other could lengthen the planned mission from February 2018 (when it’s supposed to plunge into the clouds of Jupiter and die) by an additional one or two years.

An illustration of NASA’s Juno spacecraft flying through the radiation belts of Jupiter. NASA/JPL-Caltech

“On the way in [Tuesday] night, the spacecraft went into safe mode,” Scott Bolton, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio and the Juno mission’s leader, said during the AAS briefing.

“It detected a condition that was not expected … and it did exactly what it was supposed to do,” Bolton said

He noted that a space probe’s safe mode is an act of self-preservation, and in this case the software turned off Juno’s cameras and other science instruments, pointed itself toward the sun, and waited “for direction from the humans back home.”

Fortunately, NASA said in an Oct. 19 press release, the probe is healthy and its Earth-based operators are working to restore Juno to a full functionality.

What caused the spacecraft to reset itself?

Bolton told Business Insider and other reporters who tuned into the conference that he wasn’t sure.

“It’s too early to take a guess,” Bolton said, later adding: “My instinct is that it wasn’t caused by the intense radiation belts that we’re so fearful of,” since the glitch occurred some 13 hours from Juno’s closest approach to the cloud tops of Jupiter.

Sticky engine valves

Like an automobile on a blisteringly cold morning, Juno is having engine troubles, too.

A firing of the probe’s main engine on October 19 was supposed to dramatically shorten Juno’s 53-day elliptical orbits around Jupiter to just 2 weeks — a move that would have sped up NASA’s study of Jupiter by nearly four-fold.

However, during a routine test, the spacecraft’s operators noticed a problem: Two valves that pressurize the engine before firing were operating sluggishly, Bolton told reporters on Wednesday.

“Maybe the valves were a little sticky,” he said. “We decided to postpone and delay that burn” to find the source of the problem, Bolton added.

According to an Oct. 13 NASA press release about the issue, the next chance for Juno to fire its thruster will be Dec. 11 — right before its third perijove, or closest pass, of Jupiter.

At worst, Bolton said the Juno team won’t ever fire the engine, and everyone will just have to be more patient.

“But the science opportunities are all there,” he said.

Peeking beneath the cloud tops

A peek under Jupiter’s clouds, as visualized from Juno spacecraft data. NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/GSFC

Aside from regaling reporters on Juno’s troubles, which seem recoverable, if not a little bit annoying, researchers took a moment to highlight new research from Juno’s first pass by the gas giant on August 27.

The above image is a visualization of data gathered by Juno’s microwave radiometer, when is designed to “peel the layers back as if Jupiter is an onion,” Bolton said.

He emphasized that this beyond-surface level view of Jupiter, let alone any gas giant, is unprecedented in the history of space exploration.

“The structures of the zones and belts still exist deep down into Jupiter,” Bolton said, but noted they seem to be twisting and evolving. “That came as a surprise to many scientists. We didn’t know if this was skin-deep. … Deep down, Jupiter is similar but also very different than what we see on the surface.”

In addition to sharing the new image, Candice Hansen, an imaging scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, showed off a few Juno images that “citizen scientists” processed using raw data.

This view, which its creator dubbed “Jupiterrise,” shows a false-color view of Jupiter’s South Pole that helps its roiling cyclones stand out:

A false-color image of Jupiter’s North Pole. NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Alex Mai

And this image was re-processed to point out the Earth-size storms on Jupiter in a different way:

Earth-size storms on Jupiter’s South Pole. NASA/SwRI/MSSS/Roman Tkachenko

Another user had a little fun, mirroring the visible half of Jupiter and coloring it yellow to make a smiley face:

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Randy Ahn 

~ IFL Science

Ice detectives race against time as climate change destroys evidence of itself
Threatened glaciers store many of Earth’s fading prehistoric memories, including valuable temperature information about climate change

Scientists scrambling to understand current climate and pollution trends are peering centuries into the past, long before the dawn of the industrial age. Late this past summer researchers and engineers from France, Italy and Russia extracted three ice cores from France’s Col du Dôme Glacier in a race to preserve valuable information about climate change before rising temperatures wash it away.

There is ample reason for concern. According to NASA’s September 2016 climate data, the previous 10 months have been the hottest on record for each of those months out of the last 136 years—since modern weather recording started. In fact, for a few days in July 2015, the Col du Dôme’s surface temperature rose above freezing, causing alarm among weather scientists.

We’re proud to announce the world premiere of @fightforspacefilm at @docnyc in the @ifc on November 14 (5:15PM EST) and November 15 (12:45PM EST) followed by a Q&A with the director, Paul Hildebrandt. 

Without the dedicated support of our @kickstarter backers across two campaigns, along with @nasa astronauts, scientists, space policy experts, space historians, science communicators, and our Tumblr friends @jtotheizzoe, @thedailycosmos, @ohstarstuff, @penny4nasa, @sagansense, @for-all-mankind and so many others all over the world, this film never would have been possible, nor provided the “Right Stuff” it deserves. 

DOC NYC is an honor to be a part of, as its rich history and dedicated team have fostered worthy relationships beyond the screenings; illuminated art through exposure to diverse audiences, and utilized filmmakers’ work to inspire others, which is what we set forth to do. More about DOC NYC here.

‘Fight for Space’ is more than a historical examination of America’s space program; it provides non-partisan insight into the last 50 years of NASA: the good, the bad, the ugly, and the questionable future ahead. We are grateful to have a host of notable individuals - Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michio Kaku, Lawrence Krauss, to name a few - who’ve lent their time and voice on this project to our everyone’s benefit. Many personal sacrifices were made to accomplish this film; and it’s with tremendous pleasure that we are finally able to share it with the world. 

As the title implies, we must fight, by all means necessary: online activism through locally and globally-directed social events; petitions to call for action; campus/community clubs and organizations to engage and educate; write to and sit down with local/state officials, representatives and governmental leaders in Congress; art/film projects like ours that extend beyond the contents to take it further and address all we didn’t; join space activist organizations like the Space Foundation, Space Frontier Foundation, New Worlds Institute, SEDS, The Mars Society and Explore Mars, Buzz Aldrin’s ShareSpace Foundation, The Planetary Society, and (many others) to become involved and visible in the space community; anything to carry on the fight until and beyond we achieve an active, spacefaring society worthy of the ambitions and efforts of those who paved the way for us, and for subsequent generations beyond our lives. 

Join the fight! Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. #fightforspace


HiClip mini: Outcrops of Light-Toned Materials Exposed in a Highlands Crater Wall

I'm only using the submission box so I can include the link

I’m not sure if it’s your area of interest, but the Jet Propulsion Laboratory does a lectures series, and the entire thing is archived online so you can watch it! It’s awesome. Here’s the link: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/events/lectures.php


Holy crap, that is so fucking cool. Heck *yes* this is in my area of interest, thank you so much!