NASA engineers have demonstrated the agency’s Orion spacecraft can land safely if one of its three main parachutes fails to inflate during deployment.
The test was conducted Feb. 12 in Yuma, Ariz., when the test capsule was dropped from an airplane 7.62 kilometers, or 25,000 feet, above the Arizona desert. Engineers rigged the parachutes so only two would inflate, leaving the third to flag behind.
For more information about the parachute test, visit https://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/mpcv/chutetest_041812.html.
As NASA prepares Orion to take astronauts farther into space, take a look back at the recently ended shuttle program, and have your students track the linear regression of a space shuttle launch! Check out the launch video of shuttle mission STS-121, and then have them create a scatter plot from real launch data. “Linear Regression: Exploring Space Through Math — Space Shuttle Ascent” is a featured lesson on the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus.
On Mars, as on Earth, sometimes things take on an unusual appearance. One example is a shiny-looking rock seen in a recent image from NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover.
Some casual observers might see a resemblance to a car door handle, hood ornament or some other metallic object. To Ronald Sletten of the University of Washington, Seattle, a collaborator on Curiosity’s science team, the object is an interesting study in how wind and the natural elements cause erosion and other effects on various types of rocks.
To see an image of this rock, visit https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/news/msl20130211.html.
Find out what likely caused the shiny appearance of the Martian rock, and see some examples of similar phenomena found on Earth. A PDF of the images and explanatory text are available at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/images/msl/20130211/ventifacts.pdf.
This story marks yet another discovery by Curiosity. To learn more about the challenges the Mars Science Laboratory team faced during Curiosity’s landing, also known as the “seven minutes of terror,” check out NASA Now: Forces and Motion: Curiosity — Entry, Descent and Landing. You can access the video on the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus.
There’s nothing quite like historical photos of glaciers to show what a dynamic planet we live on. Alaska’s Muir Glacier, like many Alaskan glaciers, has retreated and thinned dramatically since the 19th century.
This particular pair of images shows the glacier’s continued retreat and thinning in the second half of the 20th century. From 1941 to 2004, the front of the glacier moved back about seven miles while its thickness decreased by more than 2,625 feet, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
Photo credits: Photographed by William O. Field on Aug. 13, 1941 (left) and by Bruce F. Molnia on
Aug. 31, 2004 (right). From the Glacier Photograph Collection. Boulder, Colorado USA: National
Snow and Ice Data Center/World Data Center for Glaciology.
NASA will host its first live Google+ Hangout with the International Space Station from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 EST, Friday, Feb. 22. NASA Explorer Schools students in Mr. Nate Raynor’s class at Mescalero Apache High School in Mescalero, N.M, and students in Ms Danielle Miller’s class at University High School in Orlando, Fla., will connect with astronauts living and working aboard the laboratory orbiting 240 miles above Earth and with astronauts on the ground.
Astronauts Kevin Ford and Tom Marshburn of NASA and Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency will answer questions and provide insight about life aboard the station. Crews conduct a variety of science experiments and perform station maintenance during their six-month stay on the outpost. Their life aboard the station in near-weightlessness requires different approaches to everyday activities such as eating, sleeping and exercising.
Participate by using #askAstro to ask real-time questions on Google+, YouTube or Twitter. On the morning of the event, NASA will open a thread on its Facebook page where questions may be posted.
View the hangout live on NASA’s Google+ page or on the NASA Television YouTube channel. To join the hangout, and for opportunities to participate in upcoming hangouts, visit the NASA’s Google+ page.
Link to the NASA Explorer Schools home page.
Join Dr. Liz Warren in this NASA Now classroom video as she discusses some very serious negative long-term effects and some interesting short-term changes the human body experiences in space.
Link to the NASA Explorer Schools home page.
On Friday, Feb. 15, NASA Television will provide commentary from 2 – 2:30 p.m. EST during the close, but safe, flyby of the small near-Earth asteroid named 2012 DA14. The half-hour broadcast from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., will incorporate real-time animation to show the location of the asteroid in relation to Earth, along with live or near real-time views of the asteroid from observatories in Australia, weather permitting. The commentary will be available via NASA TV and streamed live online at https://www.nasa.gov/ntv and http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2.
In addition to the commentary, near real-time imagery of the asteroid’s flyby, made available to NASA by astronomers in Australia and Europe, weather permitting, will be streamed beginning at about noon EST and continuing through the afternoon at http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2.
Also, a Ustream feed of the flyby from a telescope at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., will be streamed for three hours starting at 9 p.m. EST. To view the feed and ask researchers questions about the flyby via Twitter, visit http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-msfc.
For more information, including graphics and animations showing the flyby of 2012 DA14, visit www.nasa.gov/asteroidflyby.