anonymous asked:

What's Scott talking about when he says you made rocket launches fun to distract them from reality?

“When the boys were little, the world wasn’t exactly at peace.” Lucy looked out to her oldest boys playing outside, “The first time Jeff went to space, part of his mission was to disarm the spacemines left after the Global Conflict. Sure, space travel was much safer than when the first men went to space, but the mines, now they were dangerous things.”

Her gaze again drifts to her eldest boys that she so clearly remembered hugging close under the blankets when they had been so much smaller. She smiled sadly, “We used to pretend we were in mission-control, taking part in the countdowns and the final checks. Then we’d look at the stars and the planets, reciting as many facts as we could before take-off.”

“The boys were young, I had to shelter them from the risk their father was taking to ensure the peace in their future.”


NASA plans a robotic mission to search for life on Europa | io9

It looks like it’s finally going to happen, an actual mission to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa — one of the the solar system’s best candidates for hosting alien life.

Yesterday, NASA announced an injection of $17.5 billion from the federal government (down by $1.2 billion from its 2010 peak). Of this, $15 million will be allocated for “pre-formulation” work on a mission to Europa, with plans to make detailed observations from orbit and possibly sample its interior oceans with a robotic probe. Mission details are sparse, but if all goes well, it could be launched by 2025 and arriving in the early 2030s.

This is incredibly exciting. Recent evidence points to a reasonable chance of habitability. Its massive subsurface ocean contains almost twice as much water as found on Earth. The water is kept in liquid state owing to the gravitational forces exerted by Jupiter and the moon’s turbulent global ocean currents. The good news is that a probe may not have to dig very deep to conduct its search for life; the moon’s massive plumes are ejecting water directly onto the surface.

[Read more]


Very strange things happen to your body if you spend a year in space

NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly returns to Earth Tuesday night after spending almost a year in space.

But his 340 days aboard the International Space Station (ISS) haven’t been all fun and games.

Our bodies evolved on Earth, so they’re not built for weightlessness — which is exactly why NASA plans to use Kelly to study the long-term effects of spaceflight the human body.

Launch to Lovejoy | APOD

Blasting skyward an Atlas V rocket carrying a U.S. Navy satellite pierces a cloud bank in this starry night scene captured on January 20. On its way to orbit from Space Launch Complex 41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, planet Earth, the rocket streaks past brightest star Sirius, as seen from a dark beach at Canaveral National Seashore. Above the alpha star of Canis Major, Orion the Hunter strikes a pose familiar to northern winter skygazers. Above Orion is the V-shaped Hyades star cluster, head of Taurus the Bull, and farther still above Taurus it’s easy to spot the compact Pleiades star cluster. Of course near the top of the frame you’ll find the greenish coma and long tail of Comet Lovejoy, astronomical darling of these January nights.


Plants in Space

Check out this amazing project by Japanese artist Azuma Makoto and his crew! The team launch two objects (including a bonsai tree and an arrangement of different flowers) into space.

You can find more images and information here.

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  • first and foremost, a movie about three black women who were boss mathematicians and played integral roles in NASA’s first successful space missions while living in the Jim Crow South in the 1960s
  • an opening that your fave, Beautiful Minds COULD NEVER
  • octavia spencer taking the piss out of a white cop who can’t believe three black women work for nasa
  • a shitty nasa bro confusing taraji with the cleaning lady (AND YOU KNOW THERE’S ABOUT TO BE SOME COMEUPPANCE FOR THAT)
  • mahershala ali being taraji’s fine ass love interest
  • and taraji taking his ass to school with yes women work at nasa, not because we wear skirts, but because we wear glasses
  • janelle monae spittin this fire: we go from being our father’s daughters, to our husband’s wives, to our baby’s mothers
  • also janelle monae hitting on JOHN GLENN cause she all about that equal opportunity flirtin
  • also janelle monae spittin more fire: every time we have a chance to get ahead, they move the finish line
  • the moment when these women’s families are gathered around watching the launch and they’re so proud of their mamas, aunties, daughters, and wives making history (and then suddenly you’re tearing up)
  • also janelle monae spittin even more fire: if i were a white man i wouldn’t have to want to be an engineer, i’d already be one

I did this print a few weeks back and little did I know that it looks like “Planet Dorf” might actually be Pluto - (if you haven’t seen the photos recently taken please do. The giant heart on Pluto is incredible.)
This quote comes from Kristen Specht and her 4 year old daughter Evelyn. Thanks guys, this quote is so sweet and I think we discovered Pluto’s true look way before those NASA astronauts and scientists. Ha!

I am finally free to shout this one out loud…..

Yesterday a team of us scientists and engineers submitted a proposal to NASA’s Discovery program. The goal: To conduct a mission back to the Saturn system and search for life within its small icy moon, Enceladus! Since all details concerning the mission are still embargoed, and will be until we are selected … if we are selected … I am not free to divulge how we intend to go about this search. But I can say that we will be doing what Cassini cannot, and may in fact be employing diagnostic techniques never used anywhere before in the exploration of the solar system.

I thrill at the thought of it.

When I was a graduate student, moons like Enceladus, and even Titan — both seen in the image here — were mere points of light in the world’s largest telescopes. Forty years later, we’ve been there and know the tantalizing possibilities that are present but hidden and just out of reach.

If our mission is chosen, we may have the chance to make the most intellectually significant and emotionally satisfying discovery humankind has ever made: That a second genesis has occurred in our own backyard and, by inference, that life is not a bug but a feature of the universe in which we live. A look up at the night sky thereafter will never be the same.

Wish us luck!


Reaching Jupiter was NASA’s most difficult mission yet — here’s what made it so intense

If you haven’t heard this piece of extraordinary space news, NASA just launched its first space probe ever, aptly named Juno, into orbit around Jupiter on July 4. We can’t wait for it to beam back incredible images and discoveries in the months to come.

NASA even took in to account the possibility of potential alien life, with plans to destroy their $1 billion spacecraft, Juno, on purpose.

Simulated Mars Mission Reveals Body’s Sodium Rhythms

Clinical pharmacologist Jens Titze, M.D., knew he had a one-of-a-kind scientific opportunity: the Russians were going to simulate a flight to Mars, and he was invited to study the participating cosmonauts.

Titze, now an associate professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University, wanted to explore long-term sodium balance in humans. He didn’t believe the textbook view – that the salt we eat is rapidly excreted in urine to maintain relatively constant body sodium levels. The “Mars500” simulation gave him the chance to keep salt intake constant and monitor urine sodium levels in humans over a long period of time.

Now, in the Jan. 8 issue of Cell Metabolism, Titze and his colleagues report that – in contrast to the prevailing dogma – sodium levels fluctuate rhythmically with 7-day and monthly cycles. The findings, which demonstrate that sodium is stored in the body, have implications for blood pressure control, hypertension and salt-associated cardiovascular risk.

Titze’s interest in sodium balance was sparked by human space flight simulation studies he conducted in the 1990s that showed rhythmic variations in sodium urine excretion.
“It was so clear to me that sodium must be stored in the body, but no one wanted to hear about that because it was so different from the textbook view,” he said.

He and his team persisted with animal studies and demonstrated that the skin stores sodium and that the immune system regulates sodium release from the skin.

In 2005, planning began for Mars500 – a collaboration between Russia, the European Union and China to prepare for manned spaceflight to Mars. Mars500 was conducted at a research facility in Moscow between 2007 and 2011 in three phases: a 15-day phase to test the equipment, a 105-day phase, and a 520-day phase to simulate a full-length manned mission.

Crews of healthy male cosmonauts volunteered to live and work in an enclosed habitat of sealed interconnecting modules, as if they were on an international space station. Titze and his colleagues organized the food for the mission and secured commitments from the participants to consume all of the food and to collect all urine each day. They studied twelve men: six for the full 105-day phase of the program, and six for the first 205 days of the 520-day phase.

“It was the participants’ stamina to precisely adhere to the daily menu plans and to accurately collect their urine for months that allowed scientific discovery,” Titze said. The researchers found that nearly all (95 percent) of the ingested salt was excreted in the urine, but not on a daily basis. Instead, at constant salt intake, sodium excretion fluctuated with a weekly rhythm, resulting in sodium storage. The levels of the hormones aldosterone (a regulator of sodium excretion) and cortisol (no known major role in sodium balance) also fluctuated weekly.

Changes in total body sodium levels fluctuated on monthly and longer cycles, Titze said. Sodium storage on this longer cycle was independent of salt intake and did not include weight gain, supporting the idea that sodium is stored without accompanying increases in water.

The findings suggest that current medical practice and studies that rely on 24-hour urine samples to determine salt intake are not accurate, he said. “We understand now that there are 7-day and monthly sodium clocks that are ticking, so a one-day snapshot shouldn’t be used to determine salt intake.”

Using newly developed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologies to view sodium, Titze and his colleagues have found that humans store sodium in skin (as they found in their animal studies) and in muscle.

The investigators suspect that genes related to the circadian “clock” genes, which regulate daily rhythms, may be involved in sodium storage and release. “We find these long rhythms of sodium storage in the body particularly intriguing,” Titze said. “The observations open up entirely new avenues for research.”

Getting to Mars: What It’ll Take

Join us as we take a closer look at the next steps in our journey to the Red Planet:

The journey to Mars crosses three thresholds, each with increasing challenges as humans move farther from Earth. We’re managing these challenges by developing and demonstrating capabilities in incremental steps:

Earth Reliant

Earth Reliant exploration is focused on research aboard the International Space Station. From this world-class microgravity laboratory, we are testing technologies and advancing human health and performance research that will enable deep space, long duration missions.

On the space station, we are advancing human health and behavioral research for Mars-class missions. We are pushing the state-of-the-art life support systems, printing 3-D parts and analyzing material handling techniques.

Proving Ground

In the Proving Ground, we will learn to conduct complex operations in a deep space environment that allows crews to return to Earth in a matter of days. Primarily operating in cislunar space (the volume of space around the moon). We will advance and validate the capabilities required for humans to live and work at distances much farther away from our home planet…such as at Mars.

Earth Independent

Earth Independent activities build on what we learn on the space station and in deep space to enable human missions to the Mars vicinity, possibly to low-Mars orbit or one of the Martian moons, and eventually the Martian surface. Future Mars missions will represent a collaborative effort between us and our partners.

Did you know….that through our robotic missions, we have already been on and around Mars for 40 years! Taking nearly every opportunity to send orbiters, landers and rovers with increasingly complex experiments and sensing systems. These orbiters and rovers have returned vital data about the Martian environment, helping us understand what challenges we may face and resources we may encounter.

Through the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), we will demonstrate an advanced solar electric propulsion capability that will be a critical component of our journey to Mars. ARM will also provide an unprecedented opportunity for us to validate new spacewalk and sample handling techniques as astronauts investigate several tons of an asteroid boulder.

Living and working in space require accepting risks – and the journey to Mars is worth the risks. A new and powerful space transportation system is key to the journey, but we will also need to learn new ways of operating in space.

We Need You!

In the future, Mars will need all kinds of explorers, farmers, surveyors, teachers…but most of all YOU! As we overcome the challenges associated with traveling to deep space, we will still need the next generation of explorers to join us on this journey. Come with us on the journey to Mars as we explore with robots and send humans there one day.

Join us as we go behind-the-scenes:

We’re offering a behind-the-scenes look Thursday, Aug. 18 at our journey to Mars. Join us for the following events:

Journey to Mars Televised Event at 9:30 a.m. EDT
Join in as we host a conversation about the numerous efforts enabling exploration of the Red Planet. Use #askNASA to ask your questions! Tune in HERE.

Facebook Live at 1:30 p.m. EDT
Join in as we showcase the work and exhibits at our Michoud Assembly Facility. Participate HERE.

Hot Fire Test of an RS-25 Engine at 6 p.m. EDT
The 7.5-minute test is part of a series of tests designed to put the upgraded former space shuttle engines through the rigorous temperature and pressure conditions they will experience during a launch. Watch HERE.  

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