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NASA

— Space

Orion capsule swaps glass windows for plastic

By - May 4, 2015 3 Pictures

When the first Orion astronauts stare back at Earth, they'll be looking through windows made mostly of plastic. Because Orion is designed to carry out manned deep-space missions and even a possible Mars voyage, NASA decided it was time to replace the conventional glass windows with panes of acrylic that are lighter, less expensive, and more structurally sound than previous designs, and is more suited to long-duration missions.

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— Aircraft

Ten-motor electric plane takes off

By - May 4, 2015 3 Pictures

In seeking a compromise between helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, engineers in recent years have opted for tilt rotors, but NASA has dusted off and improved on a tilt wing aircraft design that takes off and lands like a helicopter and flies like an airplane. Called the Greased Lightning, or GL-10, the unmanned prototype made a successful vertical takeoff and transition to horizontal flight at Fort A.P. Hill, not far from NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

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— Space

NASA'S MESSENGER mission finishes with a bang

By - April 30, 2015 2 Pictures
NASA'S MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft has ended its phenomenally successful mission in the most fitting manner imaginable. The probe, which had maintained a lonely vigil over the desolate planet for more than four years, smashed into the surface of Mercury, the planet that had surrendered countless secrets to the robotic explorer this Thursday at 3:26:02 pm EDT. Read More

Student-designed furniture is out of this world

A team of five mechanical engineering seniors has been tasked by NASA to design furniture suitable for use in future habitats on Mars, the Moon, or in space itself. The Lunar Lounger project aims to address the lack of available space and the low-gravity in such conditions, while ensuring the comfort of astronauts. Read More
— Space

NASA to test atomic clock to keep space missions on time

By - April 30, 2015 3 Pictures
If you thought the Apple watch was something to write home about, take a look at NASA's Deep Space Atomic Clock (DSAC). This miniaturized, ultra-precise mercury-ion atomic clock is described by the space agency as "orders of magnitude more stable than today's best navigational clocks," and is smaller and more accurate than any that's been previously sent into space. In 2016, it will fly on a test mission to demonstrate a technology that NASA sees as key to a number of high-priority Earth-orbit and deep space missions. Read More
— Space

NASA application grants general public the opportunity to explore the surface of Vesta

By - April 28, 2015 2 Pictures
NASA has released a browser-based application that allows citizen scientists to explore the surface of the asteroid Vesta. The 3D model was created from data harvested by the agency's Dawn spacecraft over the course of its year-long stay in orbit around the asteroid between July 2011 and September 2012. The application allows users a rare opportunity to make detailed observations of one of the lesser-known bodies in our solar system in an engaging, easy-to-use format. Read More

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