Advertisement

NASA

— Space

New Horizons begins massive "treasure trove" data downlink

When NASA's New Horizons probe made its historic flyby of Pluto on July 14, it gathered a wealth of information about the dwarf planet and its moons, but at a distance from Earth of over 3 billion mi (4.8 billion km), retrieving that data will take a very long time. To speed things up, NASA has begun an intensive download from the unmanned spacecraft that will return tens of gigabits of data over the next 12 months.

Read More
— Space

Spiky Hedgehog robots to hop around asteroids and comets

As demonstrated by the bumpy landing of ESA's Philae lander on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, exploring comets, asteroids, and small moons can be difficult due to their low gravity. Not only can landing on one be like trying to alight on a trampoline, but roving around their surfaces is next to impossible because the negligible gravity offers practically no traction. To overcome this, a team of engineers is developing Hedgehog, a completely symmetrical robot rover for low-gravity exploration that moves by hopping.

Read More
— Space

One year Mars mission simulation underway in Hawaii

Six people have begun a year-long mission to Mars without ever leaving Earth. Last week on the slopes of Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii, the volunteers sealed themselves inside a dome habitat where they will live in isolation for one year on a simulated space mission. The fourth Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS 4) aims to study how deep space missions can maintain morale on prolonged voyages.

Read More
— Space

Danish astronaut to control earthbound rover from ISS

Working outside in space is a tall order. The environment is hostile, even the smallest job takes hours instead of minutes, and everything has to be done in either bulky suits or through robotic arms. It's a challenge that will become even more difficult when future astronauts are controlling robotic rovers from orbit, so ESA is getting in a bit of practice. Next month Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen will take control of a rover in the Netherlands while orbiting the Earth aboard the International Space Station.

Read More
— 3D Printing

NASA tests 3D-printed turbopump

NASA has previously tested simple 3D-printed rocket components, such as combustion chambers and fuel injectors, but if the technique is to be practical, it has to cope with more complex items. Case in point is this 3D-printed rocket engine turbopump. Successfully built and tested at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, the turbopump is described as "one of the most complex, 3D-printed rocket engine parts ever made."

Read More
— Space

Planetoid a billion miles beyond Pluto selected as New Horizons' next destination

New Horizons isn't going to get much of a rest. Following on from its historic flyby of Pluto on July 14, NASA has selected the next potential destination for the unmanned spacecraft – a planetoid called 2014 MU69 that lies a billion miles beyond Pluto's orbit. The space probe will take over three years to reach this frozen remnant of the Solar System's earliest years.

Read More
— Environment

NASA teleconference on sea level change warns of rising oceans

On Aug. 26, NASA held a media teleconference regarding current predictions on sea level rise, highlighting the risks to coastal populations in low-lying areas, and the inherent problems in creating reliable global models. A panel of experts from NASA's recently-founded Sea Level Change Team tells us that ocean levels are inexorably on the rise, but gaps in our understanding and ability to survey risk regions mean we don't know just how fast the change will take place.

Read More
— Space

NASA tests Orion parachutes to breaking point

NASA has been pushing the safety features on its next-generation Orion spacecraft to the extreme, as it carried out a dramatic parachute test. During the test, engineers staged the failure of various components of the descent system in order to see if it would still function, and save the lives of a potential crew in a worst case scenario.

Read More
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement