Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

NASA

Technicians at Lockheed Martin prepare the InSight Mars lander for propulsion proof and le...

At some point in every project, you stop unpacking the parts and start putting them together. What's true for flat-pack furniture is also true for spacecraft, so Lockheed Martin has begun the Assembly, Test and Launch Operations (ATLO) phase of NASA's INterior exploration using Seismic investigations, geodesy and heat transport (InSight) Mars lander project. Scheduled to launch in 2016, the unmanned InSight probe will be the first deep-drilling mission sent to the Red Planet.  Read More

U.S. communication with the International Space Station happens from this room at NASA's M...

One of NASA’s more off-the-radar facilities is responsible for some of the organization’s most important research. Kennedy Space Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory may get the lion's share of attention, but Marshall Space Flight Center, in Huntsville, Alabama, is responsible for developing much of the complex inner-workings of rockets, satellites, and future technologies.  Read More

Artist's concept of New Horizons flying by Pluto (Image: NASA)

In what must be history’s longest distance wake up call, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft comes out of hibernation on December 6 at 3:00 pm EST. Now about 2.9 billion miles (4.6 billion km) from Earth, and 162 million miles (260 million km) from Pluto, the spacecraft will be put through a month-long preparation for its six month flyby of Pluto, with the primary phase of the mission slated to begin on January 15.  Read More

Artist's concept of ESA's POP3D printer (Image: Altran)

ESA is set to send a 3D printer up to the International Space Station (ISS) for a preliminary round of orbital testing in the first half of next year. The Portable On-Board Printer (POP3D), was designed and manufactured in Italy and will be one of the focusses of ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti's Futura mission. The results of the study will be instrumental in informing us on the potential uses of 3D printing in microgravity.  Read More

A glowing band in the ionosphere as seen from the International Space Station (Image: NASA...

NASA has announced that it is going forward with its Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON). Scheduled to launch in 2017, the orbital mission aims to study the effects of the lower atmosphere on the ionosphere and its impact on the Earth’s surface.  Read More

Jupiter's Great Red Spot may be caused by the sun and not some internal phenomenon as prev...

The Great Red Spot is the distinguishing feature that makes Jupiter one of the most easily recognizable planets in our solar system. Until recently, it was widely believed that this blemish was formed as a result of reddish-colored chemicals rising up from within the planet itself. However, using information obtained by analysis of data from the Cassini fly-by mission of Jupiter, researchers working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have discerned that the planet's Great Red Spot may have more to do with the external action of the sun than some internal mechanism.  Read More

NASA's MAVEN has acted as a data relay for the Curiosity rover (Image: NASA)

NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft is the latest link in the space agency's Martian communications network for keeping in touch with its surface rovers. Last week, the unmanned orbiter carried out a test using a special radio apparatus that allowed it to relay 550 megabits of data from the Curiosity rover to NASA’s Deep Space Network back on Earth.  Read More

Artist's impression of the Imaging UltraViolet Spectrograph (IUVS) on NASA's MAVEN spacecr...

"Dodging a bullet" is a well-worn cliche, but it looks as if the small armada of space probes orbiting Mars dodged a shrapnel blast last month. According to observations made by NASA and ESA orbiters, the extremely close flyby of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring was accompanied by a meteor shower larger than any seen on Earth.  Read More

The Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge (ACTE) flap undergoing testing at  NASA’s Armstrong F...

In January, we looked at FlexFoil; a variable geometry airfoil system that seamlessly integrates into the trailing edge of the wing. During the year the system has made the leap from the test bench to the sky, with NASA conducting tests of the FlexFoil on a modified Gulfstream III business jet.  Read More

Wally Schirra examines the Hasselblad camera alongside Deke Slayton (L), and Gordon Cooper...

The first Hasselblad camera body and Zeiss lens sent into space during the Mercury-Atlas 8 mission in 1962 and the Mercury-Atlas 9 mission the following year are up for auction. The historic camera set, which was originally purchased over the counter, goes on the auction block on November 13 at the gallery of Boston-based RR Auction.  Read More

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