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Lego announces new set themed around the women of NASA

  • Toy manufacturer Lego Group has announced it will be creating a set of Legos based around the women of NASA, Community Specialist Hasan Jensen wrote in a blog post for the company on Tuesday.
  • The idea for the project was originally pitched by Maia Weinstock, who submitted it to Lego through the company’s Lego Ideas program.
  • The set will include five women who contributed to NASA’s mission, including computer scientist Margaret Hamilton, mathematician Katherine Johnson, astronaut Sally Ride, astronomer Nancy Grace Roman and astronaut Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to enter space in 1992. Read more (2/28/17 5:53 PM)

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NASA scientist Sidd Bikkannavar says he was forced to unlock phone at airport

  • Before it was temporarily halted by federal judges, President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban affected thousands of people worldwide. While much of the focus has rightly been on the refugees and immigrants whose lives were affected by the ban, it’s also affected U.S. citizens — including a NASA scientist.
  • Sidd Bikkannavar, who works in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol on Jan. 30 upon returning to the United States from Santiago, Chile, the Verge reported.  Read more.
Pi Guides the Way

It may be irrational but pi plays an important role in the everyday work of scientists at NASA. 

What Is Pi ?

Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. It is also an irrational number, meaning its decimal representation never ends and it never repeats. Pi has been calculated to more than one trillion digits, 

Why March 14?

March 14 marks the yearly celebration of the mathematical constant pi. More than just a number for mathematicians, pi has all sorts of applications in the real world, including on our missions. And as a holiday that encourages more than a little creativity – whether it’s making pi-themed pies or reciting from memory as many of the never-ending decimals of pi as possible (the record is 70,030 digits).

While 3.14 is often a precise enough approximation, hence the celebration occurring on March 14, or 3/14 (when written in standard U.S.  month/day format), the first known celebration occurred in 1988, and in 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution designating March 14 as Pi Day and encouraging teachers and students to celebrate the day with activities that teach students about pi.

5 Ways We Use Pi at NASA

Below are some ways scientists and engineers used pi.

Keeping Spacecraft Chugging Along

Propulsion engineers use pi to determine the volume and surface area of propellant tanks. It’s how they size tanks and determine liquid propellant volume to keep spacecraft going and making new discoveries. 

Getting New Perspectives on Saturn

A technique called pi transfer uses the gravity of Titan’s moon, Titan, to alter the orbit of the Cassini spacecraft so it can obtain different perspectives of the ringed planet.

Learning the Composition of Asteroids

Using pi and the asteroid’s mass, scientists can calculate the density of an asteroid and learn what it’s made of–ice, iron, rock, etc.

Measuring Craters

knowing the circumference, diameter and surface area of a crater can tell scientists a lot about the asteroid or meteor that may have carved it out.

Determining the Size of Exoplanets

Exoplanets are planets that orbit suns other than our own and scientists use pi to search for them. The first step is determining how much the light curve of a planet’s sun dims when a suspected planets passes in front of it.

Want to learn more about Pi? Visit us on Pinterest at: https://www.pinterest.com/nasa/pi-day/

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5 NASA Software Codes You Can Download – For Free!

One of the biggest steps of any mission starts right here on Earth at a computer desk – NASA runs on software, period. Rovers can’t move, spacecraft can’t fly, even rockets can’t blast off without the software codes that run them all.

We’ve compiled hundreds of these powerful codes into one location at software.nasa.gov. And guess what? You can start downloading them right now for free! Here are just a few you can use:  

1. TetrUSS (Tetrahedral Unstructured Software System)

TetrUSS has been used extensively for space launch vehicle analysis and design, like on the Space Launch System, which is planned to take humans to Mars.

You really could say it’s helping us to “blast off.” Outside of NASA, this software has been used to analyze Mars planetary entry vehicles, ballistics and even high-altitude sky diver aerodynamics. Basically if anything has moved through any planetary atmosphere, this software has played a role.

2. KNIFE (part of the FUN3D software and released as a package)

The name may be a bit intimidating, but with good reason – KNIFE packs a powerful punch. 

It was created to help us learn more about the sonic booms that resonate when planes break the sound barrier, but it has also helped develop green energy sources such as wind turbines and techniques to minimize drag for long-haul trucking. Maybe we should re-name this versatile and handy code, “Swiss Army KNIFE?”

3. Cart3D (Automated Triangle Geometry Processing for Surface Modeling and Cartesian Grid Generation)

If software codes went to high school, Cart3D would be Prom Queen. This software is so popular, it is being used in almost every mission area here at NASA. 

Engineers and scientists are currently using it to model everything from advanced drones to quieter supersonic aircraft.

4. FACET (Future Air Traffic Management Concepts Evaluation Tool)

Frequent flyers: this may be your favorite code without even knowing it. FACET was developed to evaluate futuristic concepts in air traffic management, and it has served as a testbed for assessing today’s regular operations. 

To sum it up, this software code helps airports keep planes organized in the air and on the ground.

5. GIPSY-OASIS

GIPSY-OASIS is part of the GPS system to end all GPS systems. It’s so accurate, John Deere used it to help create self-driving tractors.

 How? John Deere already had a navigation system in the works, but it could only be used in certain parts of the world. 

Our ground stations are all across the globe, and our software ensures accuracy down to a few inches. And so, a new breed of tractor was born!  Did we mention this software is free?

These are just a few examples of the software NASA has available for free public and consumer use. To browse the catalog online, check out software.nasa.gov.

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

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

Get the latest on women making history at NASA, our Juno mission, the Curiosity rover and move!

1. Women at NASA Making History, Creating the Future

Throughout Women’s History Month, we’ve been presenting profiles of the women who are leading the way in deep space exploration.

+ Meet some of them

2. Juno and the Giant

Our Juno spacecraft made its fifth close flyby over giant Jupiter’s mysterious cloud tops.

+ See the latest from the King of Planets

3. When the Road Gets Rough, the Tough Keep Rolling

A routine check of the aluminum wheels on our Curiosity Mars rover has found two small breaks on the rover’s left middle wheel tread–the latest sign of wear and tear as the rover continues its journey, now approaching the 10-mile (16 kilometer) mark. But there’s no sign the robotic geologist won’t keep roving right through its ongoing mission.

+ Get the full report

4. What Do Mars and Dinosaurs Have in Common?

Our research reveals that volcanic activity at the giant Martian volcano Arsia Mons ceased about 50 million years ago, around the time of Earth’s Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction, when large numbers of plant and animal species (including dinosaurs) went extinct. However, there’s no reason to think the two events were more than a cosmic coincidence.

+ Learn how scientists pieced together the past

5. A Comet in Commotion

Images returned from the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission indicate that during its most recent trip through the inner solar system, the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was a very active place – full of growing fractures, collapsing cliffs and massive rolling boulders.

+ See the many faces of Comet #67P

6. Next Generation Space Robot is Ingenious, Versatile–and Cute

The next rovers to explore another planet might bring along a scout. The Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robot (PUFFER) in development at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory was inspired by origami. Its lightweight design is capable of flattening itself, tucking in its wheels and crawling into places rovers can’t fit.

+ Meet PUFFER

7. Shadowy Dawn

According to data from our Dawn mission to Ceres, shadowed craters on the dwarf planet may be linked to the history of how the small world has been tilted over time by the gravity of planets like Jupiter.

+ Find out how understanding “cycles of obliquity” might solve solar system mysteries

8. On Orbit and Online

We’re developing a  long-term technology demonstration project of what could become the high-speed internet of the sky. The Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) will help engineers understand the best ways to operate laser communications systems, which could enable much higher data rates for connections between spacecraft and Earth, such as scientific data downlink and astronaut communications.

+ See how it will work

9. A Big Role for Small Sats in Deep Space Exploration

We selected 10 studies to develop mission concepts using CubeSats and other kinds of very small satellites to investigate Venus, Earth’s moon, asteroids, Mars and the outer planets. “These small but mighty satellites have the potential to enable transformational science,” said Jim Green, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division.

+ Get the small details

10. Rings Around the Red Planet?

It’s possible that one of our closest neighbors had rings at one point – and may have them again someday. At least, that’s the theory put forth by NASA-funded scientists at Purdue University.

+ See more details about the once and future rings of Mars

Discover more lists of 10 things to know about our solar system HERE.

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

all of the nude models in our art school are such interesting people aside from just the nude model part like we have:
•a former NASA scientist for 20 years who seedily obtained a piece of the actual moon & brought it in to show us. he also wants to secure a piece of mars eventually I can’t believe he’s a space smuggler
•a male competitive roller-skater
•a burlesque dancer who auditioned for the rockettes & sings professional opera on the side
•a trapeze artist who used to train in Paris then became a French teacher in the states but gave up that to be a full-time circus performer & she’s the most Jacked™ woman I’ve ever seen
•a civil war reenacter. we have an actual fucking larper
•a guy who’s missing his left eye and nobody knows why but we have a theory that he’s an Italian mobster so it’s probably best not to ask
•a Chicago broadway actress who showed us her acting chops one day but she was naked at the time & reciting Shakespeare it was so intense
•a completely normal plain bagel dude but he can hold a 3hr standing pose without taking breaks so I’m convinced he’s not even alive and has no soul

Scientists predict that a pair of stars in the constellation Cygnus will collide in 2022, give or take a year, creating an explosion in the night sky so bright that it will be visible to the naked eye.

If it happens, it would be the first time such an event was predicted by scientists.

Calvin College professor Larry Molnar and his team said in a statement that two stars are orbiting each other now and “share a common atmosphere, like two peanuts sharing a single shell.”

Scientists Predict Star Collision Visible To The Naked Eye In 2022

Photo: NASA/IPAC/MSX
Caption: Scientists predict a star collision in the constellation Cygnus.

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After hundreds of years of detailed observation and study, our closest companion in the vast universe, Earth’s moon, remains an enigma.

Six ‘supposed’ moon landings and hundreds of experiments have resulted in more questions being asked than answered. In 1962, NASA scientist Dr. Gordon MacDonald stated: “If the astronomical data collected is correct, it is found that the interior of the moon is more likely to be hollow than a solid sphere.”

On November 20, 1969, the Apollo 12 crew jettisoned the lunar module ascent stage causing it to crash onto the moon surface. The LM’s impact created an artificial moonquake with startling characteristics - the moon reverberated like a bell for more than an hour, leading to the conclusion that the moon has no - core, bring rise to the well founded ‘hollow moon theory’

More strange moon facts in the video here

Can US Customs and Border officials search your phone?

Recent detentions and seizures of phones and other material from travelers to the United States have sparked alarm. Below, ProPublica details what powers US Customs and Border Protection officials have over you and your devices.

A NASA scientist heading home to the US said he was detained in January at a Houston airport, where US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers pressured him for access to his work phone and its potentially sensitive contents. Last month, CBP agents checked the identification of passengers leaving a domestic flight at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport during a search for an immigrant with a deportation order. And in October, border agents seized phones and other work-related material from a Canadian photojournalist. They blocked him from entering the US after he refused to unlock the phones, citing his obligation to protect his sources. These and other recent incidents have revived confusion and alarm over what powers border officials actually have and, perhaps more importantly, how to know when they are overstepping their authority.

The unsettling fact is that border officials have long had broad powers — many people just don’t know about them. Border officials, for instance, have search powers that extend 100 air miles inland from any external boundary of the US. That means border agents can stop and question people at fixed checkpoints dozens of miles from US borders. They can also pull over motorists whom they suspect of a crime as part of “roving” border patrol operations.

Sowing even more uneasiness, ambiguity around the agency’s search powers — especially over electronic devices — has persisted for years as courts nationwide address legal challenges raised by travelers, privacy advocates and civil-rights groups. We dug out answers about the current state-of-play when it comes to border searches, along with links to more detailed resources (below).

Original post on the TED-Ed Blog. Click below to read further!

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