If you’re the sort geek who likes to look at the stars and other celestial events, you want to have an eye turned to the sky around sunset next Tuesday, June 5, 2012 to view the last Venus transit for more than a century.
I’ve mentioned a couple times that SpaceX was set to become the first company to send a private spacecraft to dock with the ISS. Despite several delays, all went well for SpaceX with its launch, and this weekend the company’s Dragon cargo vessel successfully docked with the International Space Station.
After another delay, SpaceX finally got off the ground today with its Falcon 9 rocket lifting off early this morning and making it into orbit safely. The main mission for SpaceX is to demonstrate its Dragon space capsule and hopefully dock with the ISS.
After multiple delays, SpaceX is set to hit a major milestone this Saturday, May 19. Saturday is the day set for the launch of the first privately funded cargo mission to the International Space Station. With the Space Shuttle fleet retired, these commercial space missions are one of the only ways to get cargo to and from the ISS.
Launching a satellite can cost millions of dollars – not counting the millions of dollars your average satellite costs to build. The military and various governmental organizations have satellites in orbit that are able to peer from space to the surface of the Earth to help soldiers get a better look at the battle field.
We don’t talk about too much space stuff around here, but something is going to happen this week that is rare and is definitely worth a mention. The moon will be much closer to Earth than it normally is.
A company called Planetary Resources has made itself known, stating that they want to mine asteroids for natural resources. This of course raises a few questions: how exactly will they accomplish this task? What are the risks involved in space mining?
Earlier this year a photograph was circulated online that was taken by NASA that some thought showed a UFO. The photograph was later disproven and artifacts caused by reflected light from Venus. A similar photograph has surfaced that has UFO fans thinking NASA has again snapped a picture of a spaceship near our sun.
NASA has announced a plan to find earthquakes and respond more quickly to them using GPS satellites in orbit. Generally, earthquake detection is done by seismological hardware on the ground, but according NASA – that data can be difficult to capture.
NASA and General Motors teamed up a while back to create a humanoid robot called Robonaut 2 or R2. R2 is now on the International Space Station where it will be used to conduct repairs and maintenance outside the space station.
The retired space shuttle Discovery took its final flight atop the back of the modified Boeing 747 that has moved to the shuttle between locations over the decades. NASA loaded Discovery on the back of the 747 earlier this week in preparation for its flight to Washington where it will spend the remainder of its days.
Automated cargo vessels head to the ISS regularly to take astronauts new supplies and pick up trash. At times, these cargo ships also return experiments back to Earth. Leave it to the Scottish to send an experiment to the ISS involving whiskey.
A while back, NASA opened up its astronaut program to normal people that didn’t have a military background. Naturally, a bunch of geeks that always wanted to be astronauts applied even though they’ll never get the call.
Canon has unveiled a new DSLR camera that is designed specifically to allow astronomers to take better pictures. The camera has a modified infrared filter and low noise sensor with heightened hydrogen-alpha sensitivity.
What that means is the camera is able to capture much more accurate photos of things such as “red hydrogen emission” nebula and other celestial bodies.
NASA always has an eye on the Sun and other parts of the solar system just in case something cool happens. Turns out that NASA caught a very cool phenomenon back in September of 2011. The space agency recorded a video of that appears to be a gigantic solar tornado using the Solar Dynamics Observatory.