National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

12:27pm

Thu August 8, 2013
The Two-Way

U.S. 'Space Fence' Will Cease To Operate, Site Says

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 2:54 pm

A rendering of objects currently in Low Earth Orbit (not illustrated to scale). According to NASA, "approximately 95 percent of the objects in this illustration are orbital debris, i.e., not functional satellites."
NASA

A U.S. radar system that tracks thousands of objects orbiting Earth — from satellites to harmful debris — has been slated for shutdown, according to the Space News site. The ground-based network known as the "Space Fence" may cease to operate in October.

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10:44am

Thu August 8, 2013
Science

NASA: Sun Getting Ready For A 'Field Flip'

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 1:05 pm

NASA/SDO

Our nearest star is about to pull a once-in-11-years move by swapping its north and south magnetic poles.

The sun's polarity switch is a natural part of "solar max" — the period of peak activity during what averages out to be roughly an 11-year cycle. According to NASA, this year will mark the fourth time since 1976 that scientists have observed the 180-degree pole flip.

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1:28pm

Mon August 5, 2013
Space

No Tax Dollars Went To Make This Space Viking Photo

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 2:02 pm

The Vikings Have Landed: Photographer Ved Chirayath staged this photograph in Palo Alto Foothills Park in California last December.
Courtesy of Ved Chirayath

Scrutinizing the books of government agencies can turn up lavish parties or illicit trips at the taxpayers' expense. But not every investigation turns out that way. And when they don't, the hunt for waste can appear to be a waste itself.

Such appears to be the case with a recent inquiry involving NASA and Viking re-enactors. This whole saga began with an idea from Ved Chirayath, an aeronautics graduate student at Stanford University who loves photography. He was talking over what to shoot one day with a colleague, and thought of Vikings.

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11:19am

Mon August 5, 2013
The Two-Way

Goodbye Earth! What Messenger Saw On Its Way To Mercury

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 12:48 pm

Earth as seen by the Messenger spacecraft.
NASA

For its "Astronomy Picture of the Day," NASA is featuring a time-lapse video of what Earth looked like from the Messenger spacecraft as it left its home planet in August of 2005 for its mission to Mercury, our solar system's innermost planet:

NASA explains:

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1:22am

Mon August 5, 2013
Space

A Year On Mars: What's Curiosity Been Up To?

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 8:55 am

This self-portrait of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity combines dozens of exposures taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager during the 177th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars, plus three exposures taken during Sol 270 to update the appearance of part of the ground beside the rover.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Imagine winning the World Series, the lottery and a Nobel Prize all in one day. That's pretty much how scientists and engineers in mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., felt one year ago when the 1 ton, six-wheeled rover named Curiosity landed safely on Mars.

Within minutes, the rover began sending pictures back to Earth. In the past year it has sent back a mountain of data and pictures that scientists are sorting through, trying to get a better understanding of the early climate on Mars.

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