Gorgeous. Add it to my list of places to visit.
A NASA advanced ion propulsion engine has successfully operated for more than 48,000 hours, or 5 and a half years, making it the longest test duration of any type of space propulsion system demonstration project ever.
The thruster was developed under NASA’s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) Project at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. Glenn manufactured the test engine’s core ionization chamber. Aerojet Rocketdyne of Sacramento, Calif., designed and built the ion acceleration assembly.
The 7-kilowatt class thruster could be used in a wide range of science missions, including deep space missions identified in NASA’s Planetary Science Decadal Survey.
“The NEXT thruster operated for more than 48,000 hours,” said Michael J. Patterson, principal investigator for NEXT at Glenn. “We will voluntarily terminate this test at the end of this month, with the thruster fully operational. Life and performance have exceeded the requirements for any anticipated science mission.”
The NEXT engine is a type of solar electric propulsion in which thruster systems use the electricity generated by the spacecraft’s solar panel to accelerate the xenon propellant to speeds of up to 90,000 mph. This provides a dramatic improvement in performance compared to conventional chemical rocket engines.
During the endurance test performed in a high vacuum test chamber at Glenn, the engine consumed about 1,918 pounds (870 kilograms) of xenon propellant, providing an amount of total impulse that would take more than 22,000 (10,000 kilograms) of conventional rocket propellant for comparable applications.
More evidence that we’re living in the future and it’s awesome.
Bow chicka bow wow.
Now that it is history, debates abound about the overall value of the shuttle program. There’s the valid argument that it actually derailed our space exploration by focusing us on visits to LEO. Monetary costs were exponentially higher than predicted. Two shuttles were destroyed and the human costs are incalculable with the loss of 14 astronauts.
But, when all is said and done, no one will ever debate that fact that they were totally fucking cool.
The Engine Burns BlueThis image shows a cutting-edge solar-electric propulsion thruster in development at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., that uses xenon ions for propulsion. An earlier version of this solar-electric propulsion engine has been flying on NASA’s Dawn mission to the asteroid belt.
This engine is being considered as part of the Asteroid Initiative, a proposal to robotically capture a small near-Earth asteroid and redirect it safely to a stable orbit in the Earth-moon system where astronauts can visit and explore it. This image was taken through a porthole in a vacuum chamber at JPL where the ion engine is being tested.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
I spend half my time at work on ion propulsion so I’m into this NASA image of the day.
I love when Science Fiction becomes just Science.
Turd encounter #1
Apollo 10 audio transcript.
I’m incapable of not reblogging this.
Flown Saturn V Engines Recovered from Atlantic
So I just learned that bazillionaire Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos funded a salvage mission to recover spent Saturn V parts from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Bezos’ team has indeed located two Saturn F-1 engines from a depth of almost three miles. The specific engines have not yet been positively identified but they may belong to S-1C-6, the first stage of the Saturn V which launched Apollo 11. If so, this would be amazing. The only hardware to return from that mission are some pressure suits and the Command Module Columbia. Having more physical remnants by which to remember that historic mission would be wonderful.
News release from Bezos Expeditions.
As long as Bezos continues to do great things like this with his money, I’ll continue to make Amazon my first choice for every online purchase.
my 12 yo homeschooled daughter did this. She is a budding artist and is ADHD and has Aspergers.
She loves science and has loved watching the NASA exploration of Mars.
Drawing and art is her passion, and how she wants to make a living when she grows up.
She calls it “Lonely Curiosity”
It is her artist interpretation of how the Sun is going to block Mars and Earth for the month of April, and how NASA won’t be able to communicate with the Curiosity Rover for the whole month.
Please, if you like this… reblog it, and let’s see if we can get NASA to take notice, and maybe also get it on the radar of tumblr.
This rectangular version of a self-portrait of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity combines dozens of exposures taken by the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 177th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s work on Mars (Feb. 3, 2013).
The rover is positioned at a patch of flat outcrop called “John Klein,” which was selected as the site for the first rock-drilling activities by Curiosity. The self-portrait was acquired to document the drilling site.
The rover’s robotic arm is not visible in the mosaic. MAHLI, which took the component images for this mosaic, is mounted on a turret at the end of the arm. Wrist motions and turret rotations on the arm allowed MAHLI to acquire the mosaic’s component images. The arm was positioned out of the shot in the images or portions of images used in the mosaic.
Perfect dashboard synchronicity.
The gold medal in Landing A Rover On Mars is once again won by the USA.
(I suck at Photoshop!)
Actual video footage of the shuttle!
It’s too bad they didn’t have Sully Sullenberger piloting. Landing in the Hudson would’ve been even more impressive today.
The Space Shuttle Discovery on its Mobile Launcher Platform slowly moves through the high bay doors of the Vehicle Assembly Building en route to Launch Pad 39A, where Discovery is scheduled to lift off on the STS-82 mission on Feb. 11. A seven-member crew will perform the second servicing of the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope (HST) during the 10-day STS-82 mission.
Holy cow this is a truly gorgeous photo. Every time I see a new photo of the space shuttle I’m reminded that there was basically no angle from which it wasn’t beautiful.
Starting next month, NASA will begin delivering its four Space Shuttle orbiters to their final destinations. After an extensive decommissioning process, the fleet — which includes three former working spacecraft and one test orbiter — is nearly ready for public display. On April 17, the shuttle Discovery will be attached to a modified 747 Jumbo Jet for transport to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Virginia. Endeavour will go to Los Angeles in mid-September, and in early 2013, Atlantis will take its place on permanent display at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. Test orbiter Enterprise will fly to New York City next month. Gathered here are images of NASA’s final days spent processing the Space Shuttle fleet.
See more. [Images: NASA]
The images in this set are both beautiful and heartbreaking. It’s difficult to watch such a great chapter of human history coming to a close.
You should definitely click-through to view all of them.
LOOM WITH A VIEW This natural color view of Saturn, taken with the red, blue and green spectral filters of the orbiting NASA spacecraft Cassini in May, 2011, shows the rings of Saturn behind Titan, the planet’s largest moon, and Dione. (Photo via NASA APOD)
“People" often complain that NASA hasn’t done anything productive since sending man to the moon. "People" are stupid.