Author Topic: The Official Space Exploration Thread  (Read 56746 times)

Offline DSJ™

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Re: The Official Space Exploration Thread
« Reply #930 on: February 14, 2010, 08:11 PM »
NASA extends shuttle mission by a day



Endeavour shuttle astronauts Nicholas Patrick and Robert Behnken work outside the International Space Station during the second spacewalk of the STS-130 mission on Feb. 13 and 14, 2010. Credit: NASA TV.



NASA astronauts Terry Virts (right), STS-130 pilot; Nicholas Patrick (left) and Stephen Robinson, both mission specialists, are pictured in the newly-installed Tranquility node of the International Space Station. Image credit: NASA.

Voyager Makes an Interstellar Discovery

This Valentine's Day is also the 20th anniversary of an iconic space photo taken by NASA's Voyager 1 probe during it tour of the solar system in the late 1970s and 1980s.

On Feb. 14, 1980, the deep space probe took an image of Earth from a distance of nearly 4 billion miles (6 billion km) as it headed outside our solar system.

The image showed Earth, home to billions of human beings, as little more than a point of light in a sea of other lights.

Voyager 1 also took snapshots of Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, a crescent of Mars, and Venus. Mercury was too close to the sun and Pluto was too dim.

But it was the probe's view of Earth that inspired the late famed astronomer Carl Sagan, then a Voyager 1 imaging team member, to call our home planet a "pale blue dot."

"It captured the Earth as a speck of light in the vastness of the solar system, which is our local neighborhood in the Milky Way galaxy, in a universe replete with galaxies," saidid Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif.

Voyager 1 and its twin Voyager 2 are still sending transmissions back to Earth. They launched in 1977.

Voyager 1 is currently more than 10 billion miles (almost 17 billion km) from the sun. It and Voyager 2 are headed for the boundary of a bubble created by sun that surrounds all of the planets in our solar system.

"We were marveling at the vastness of space when this portrait was taken, but 20 years later, we're still inside the bubble," Stone said. "Voyager 1 may leave the solar bubble in five more years, but the family portrait gives you a sense of the scale of our neighborhood and that there is a great deal beyond it yet to be discovered."



These six narrow-angle color images were made from the first ever 'portrait' of the solar system taken by Voyager 1, which was more than 4 billion miles from Earth and about 32 degrees above the ecliptic. These blown-up images, left to right and top to bottom are Venus, Earth, Jupiter, and Saturn, Uranus, Neptune. Credit: NASA/JPL.


Offline DSJ™

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Re: The Official Space Exploration Thread
« Reply #931 on: February 17, 2010, 10:47 AM »


Spacewalker Nicholas Patrick works on the International Space Station's new Cupola lookout dome to remove locking bolts and allow its seven windows to be opened for the first time during an overnight spacewalk that began on Feb. 16, 2010. Credit: NASA TV.



NASA astronaut Robert Behnken, STS-130 mission specialist, participates in the mission's second session of extravehicular activity (EVA) as construction and maintenance continue on the International Space Station on Feb. 13, 2010. Credit: NASA.



The International Space Station's new Cupola observation dome is seen with all seven of its window shutters open on Feb. 17, 2010 after a spacewalk to unlock its launch restraints during NASA's STS-130 mission. Credit: NASA TV.



Endeavour pilot Terry Virts opened the windows of the newly installed cupola one at a time early Wednesday, giving spacewalkers Robert Behnken and Nicholas Patrick an early look into the International Space Station's room with a view that they had helped install.

The cupola's fully opened windows look down on the Sahara Desert in this image that was 'tweeted' from space by JAXA astronaut and Expedition 22 flight engineer Soichi Noguchi. Credit: NASA.

Offline BillCable

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Re: The Official Space Exploration Thread
« Reply #932 on: February 17, 2010, 11:22 AM »
Bill Cable - Steeler Fan & Star Wars Collector
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Offline Master_Phruby

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Re: The Official Space Exploration Thread
« Reply #933 on: February 17, 2010, 11:35 AM »
That is where the Emporer's throne goes.
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Offline DSJ™

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Re: The Official Space Exploration Thread
« Reply #934 on: February 18, 2010, 02:45 AM »
This is ******* cool!   8)

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Re: The Official Space Exploration Thread
« Reply #936 on: February 22, 2010, 08:20 AM »
The Space Shuttle Endeavour lands safely in Florida.



With landing gear down, space shuttle Endeavour approaches the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida after 14 days in space, completing the 5.7-million-mile STS-130 mission. Endeavour landed at 10:20 p.m. EST on Sunday, Feb. 21, after delivering the new Tranquility node and its seven-window cupola to the International Space Station. Returning to Earth aboard Endeavour are Commander George Zamka; Pilot Terry Virts; and Mission Specialists Robert Behnken, Nicholas Patrick, Kathryn Hire and Stephen Robinson. Credit: NASA.



This photograph, taken Feb. 21, 2010 by Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, shows the space shuttle Endeavour performing an S-turn to slow its speed during landing, as seen from 220 miles up from the station's new Cupola lookout. Credit: Soichi Noguchi via Twitter.



The sun rises over the limb of the Earth in this photo taken from the International Space Station's new Cupola observation deck on Feb. 18, 2010. A Russian Progress spacecraft, docked to the Pirs Docking Compartment, is visible at right. Credit: NASA.



The immense Andromeda galaxy, also known as Messier 31 or simply M31, is captured in full in this new image from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. The mosaic covers an area equivalent to more than 100 full moons, or five degrees across the sky. WISE used all four of its infrared detectors to capture this picture (3.4- and 4.6-micron light is colored blue; 12-micron light is green; and 22-micron light is red). Blue highlights mature stars, while yellow and red show dust heated by newborn, massive stars.

Andromeda is the closest large galaxy to our Milky Way galaxy, and is located 2.5 million light-years from our sun. It is close enough for telescopes to spy the details of its ringed arms of new stars and hazy blue backbone of older stars. Also seen in the mosaic are two satellite galaxies, known as M32, located just a bit above Andromeda to the left of center, and the fuzzy blue M110, located below the center of the great spiral arms. These satellites are the largest of several that are gravitationally bound to Andromeda.

The Andromeda galaxy is larger than our Milky Way and contains more stars, but the Milky Way is thought to perhaps have more mass due to its larger proportion of a mysterious substance called dark matter. Both galaxies belong to our so-called Local Group, a collection of more than 50 galaxies, most of which are tiny dwarf systems. In its quest to map the whole sky, WISE will capture the entire Local Group. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA.




This image from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, highlights the Andromeda galaxy's older stellar population in blue. It was taken by the shortest-wavelength camera on WISE, which detects infrared light of 3.4 microns. A pronounced warp in the disk of the galaxy, the aftermath of a collision with another galaxy, can be clearly seen in the spiral arm to the upper left side of the galaxy. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/WISE



This image from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, highlights the dust that speckles the Andromeda galaxy's spiral arms. It shows light seen by the longest-wavelength infrared detectors on WISE (12-micron light has been color coded orange, and 22-micron light, red).

The hot dust, which is being heated by newborn stars, traces the spidery arms all the way to the center of the galaxy. Telltale signs of young stars can also be seen in the centers of Andromeda's smaller companion galaxies, M32 and M110.

Andromeda, also called M31, is 2.5 million light-years away, and is the nearest large neighbor to our Milky Way galaxy. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA



Comet Siding Spring appears to streak across the sky like a superhero in this new infrared image from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. The comet, also known as C/2007 Q3, was discovered in 2007 by observers in Australia.

The snowball-like mass of ice and dust spent billions of years orbiting in the deep freeze of the Oort Cloud, a spherical cloud of comets surrounding our solar system. At some point, it got knocked out of this orbit and onto a course that brings it closer to the sun. On October 7, 2009, it passed as close as 1.2 astronomical units from Earth and 2.25 astronomical units from the sun (an astronomical unit is the distance between the sun and Earth). Now, the comet is leaving the warmer, more hospitable neighborhood of the solar system and heading back out to chillier parts.

In this view, longer wavelengths of infrared light are red and shorter wavelengths are blue. The comet appears red because it is more than ten times colder than the surrounding stars, for example, the bright blue star in the foreground. Colder objects give off more of their light at longer wavelengths. An ice cube, for example, pours out a larger fraction of its light at longer infrared wavelengths than a cup of hot tea emits.

A comet like this one can be thought of as a time capsule leftover from the formation of our solar system 4.5 billion years ago. After spending most of its long, lonely life in the darkest, coldest parts of our solar system, it warms up as it approaches the sun. The sunlight causes it to shed ices and dust in a long tail that trails behind it.
Comet Siding Spring, having experienced this "spring" awakening, is glowing in infrared light that WISE can see. Once it moves too far from the sun's warmth and light, it will disappear from view for the foreseeable future.

Astronomers will use these measurements to learn about the comet's size, composition, reflectivity, and the size and makeup of the dust particles in its coma (the hazy cloud surrounding its nucleus) and its tail. WISE data on this and other comets will help unlock clues that lay within these icy time capsules, teaching us about our solar system's evolution.

In this image, 3.4-micron light is colored blue; 4.6-micron light is green; 12-micron light is orange; and 22-micron light is red. It was taken on Jan. 10, 2010. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA.

Offline BillCable

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Offline Matt_Fury

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Re: The Official Space Exploration Thread
« Reply #938 on: March 3, 2010, 10:59 PM »
Dude...I think I can see my house!
Peacekeeper, when it absolutely, positively has to be nuked in 30 minutes or less.  Or the next nuke's free!

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Re: The Official Space Exploration Thread
« Reply #940 on: March 23, 2010, 11:24 AM »
Branson spacecraft completes test flight



This cutway of New Mexico's Spaceport America terminal details the multiple levels and hangar that will house Virgin Galactic's suborbital spaceliners. Credit: URS/Foster+Partners.



Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson (left) and SpaceShipTwo designer Burt Rutan pose with the first SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceliner (center rear) and its White Knight Two mothership in a sneak preview to their Dec. 7, 2009 unveiling. Credit: Virgin Galactic/Mark Greenberg.



We have liftoff! Slung underneath the WhiteKnightTwo carrier plane, SpaceShipTwo took to the air for the first time. The maiden trek on March 22, 2010 from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California lasted some three hours, the first of numbers of flight tests of the craft. Credit: Bill Deaver.



The VSS Enterprise, Virgin Galactic's first SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceliner, makes its first captive-carry flight with its WhiteKnightTwo mothership Eve on March 22, 2010 above Mojave, Calif. Credit: Virgin Galactic/Mark Greenberg.

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Re: The Official Space Exploration Thread
« Reply #942 on: March 30, 2010, 09:19 PM »
Egon always said "Don't cross the streams!"
Peacekeeper, when it absolutely, positively has to be nuked in 30 minutes or less.  Or the next nuke's free!

Offline Master_Phruby

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Re: The Official Space Exploration Thread
« Reply #943 on: March 30, 2010, 09:29 PM »
Egon always said "Don't cross the streams!"

Dr. Peter Venkman: Why?
Dr. Egon Spengler: It would be bad.
Dr. Peter Venkman: I'm a little fuzzy on the whole "good/bad" thing here. What do you mean, "bad"?
Dr. Egon Spengler: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.
Dr. Ray Stantz: Total protonic reversal!
Dr. Peter Venkman: That's bad. Okay. All right, important safety tip. Thanks, Egon.
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Re: The Official Space Exploration Thread
« Reply #944 on: April 5, 2010, 03:49 AM »
Countdown on for predawn launch of shuttle Discovery



The space shuttle Discovery stands ready at Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in preparation for its planned April 5, 2010 launch. Credit: NASA/Troy Cryder.



A specialized transporter brought the payload canister to Launch Pad 39A in preparation for the STS-131 mission. The canister, which is the same dimensions as the shuttle's cargo bay, held the Leonardo supply module during the move from processing to the shuttle. Leonardo will be packed inside space shuttle Discovery for launch. In this image, the payload canister holding the Leonardo supply module is hoisted to the clean room at Launch pad 39A. Credit: NASA/Amanda Diller.