Aerospace ScienceThe study of air and space flight, astronomy and the effect of flight on living organisms
We had hoped that Japan's IKAROS solar sail would work as advertised, and it did. Here's an animated image of the fully deployed sail, taken by a "separation camera" from a short distance away.In other happenings:
The Hayabusa asteroid sample return capsule came home in spectacular style last wee...
June 17, 2010 | By Tony Reichhardt
If Hayabusa were a human explorer instead of a spacecraft, the first thing it might do on Sunday after returning to Earth from a seven-year voyage is pour a stiff drink.Japan's first mission to an asteroid has generally been a success, and a major step up for the nation's planetary program. But man...
June 11, 2010 | By Tony Reichhardt
"Well the rain exploded with a mighty crash, as we fell into the sun..." As a kid, when I heard Paul McCartney sing those words, I sort of envisioned this:Now astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have envisioned something like this happening to a planet orbiting a star 600 light-years away....
May 24, 2010 | By Mike Klesius
Those of us in favor of human lunar return have been called “dinosaurs” because, as it’s being told, we want to repeat what this nation already did 40 years ago. If that were our mission objective, such a characterization might be valid. But who really is the dinosaur?At a recent Senate hearing, ...
May 21, 2010 | By Paul D. Spudis
The former Air Force historian asks, "Can anyone dispute that I had the most interesting job in the entire Air Force?"
May 2010 | By Perry Turner
In the age of orbiting telescopes such as the Hubble and the not-yet-launched James Webb Space Telescope, it's worth giving a nod to the dramatic advances made in building ground-based telescopes.The board of trustees of the Carnegie Institution for Science just authorized the release of $59.2 mill...
May 18, 2010 | By Mike Klesius
A new exhibition of awe-inspiring photos from the first 50 years of planetary exploration.
May 18, 2010 | By The Editors
Last week, the Science Team of the Mini-RF imaging radar experiment aboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission, met in Flagstaff, Arizona. We were there to conduct field studies of some interesting lunar analogs that occur in this area. Scientists study the planets through a variety of ...
May 15, 2010 | By Paul D. Spudis
The space shuttle's exhaust trail makes for a lovely sight on an April morning.
May 11, 2010 | By Michael Klesius
NASA’s new launch abort system just passed a major test. But what booster and capsule will use it?
May 06, 2010 | By Michael Klesius
The Moon is constantly bombarded by the solid debris of the Solar System. Comets, asteroids and interplanetary dust, all containing varying amounts of water, have pounded the lunar surface for billions of years. Yet until recently, the Moon was considered to be barren and bone-dry. Rock and soil...
May 02, 2010 | By Paul D. Spudis
May 2010 | By Robert M. White as told to Al Hallonquist
You don't have to go to the moon to find out what it's made of.
May 2010 | By Michael Klesius
The James Webb Space Telescope just cleared its most significant milestone, the Mission Critical Design Review. This means that the orbiting infrared observatory, scheduled to launch on an Ariane 5 rocket no earlier than June 2014 into orbit around the sun, about a million miles from Earth, is expe...
April 29, 2010 | By Mike Klesius
New hi-definition movies of the Sun, from NASA's recently launched Solar Dynamics Observatory. Mesmerizing.
April 23, 2010 | By Tony Reichhardt
During a carefully staged appearance at Kennedy Space Center yesterday, President Barack Obama rolled out his plans for the U. S. space program. Although there weren’t many surprises (the White House Office of Science and Technology, under the direction of John P. Holdren, had released a fact shee...
April 16, 2010 | By Paul D. Spudis
As we survey the wreckage and ruin of yet another NASA “return to the Moon” program, the inevitable “what went wrong?” arguments play out. We’re in a much different place today than we were when Apollo 11 reached the Moon (and each year there are fewer of us alive who witnessed it). To some of us...
April 02, 2010 | By Paul D. Spudis
The report of the Augustine committee analyzes America’s space program through a very narrow prism. Much of their report argues that the existing program of record (more specifically, the Ares I and V launch system) is not affordable, a fact already apparent to most observers. Thus, the committee...
March 24, 2010 | By Paul D. Spudis
Think the photo's impressive? Wait 'til you see the trailer for Hubble 3D, opening Friday in IMAX theaters.
March 15, 2010 | By Tony Reichhardt
Last fall, after much anticipation, the Augustine Committee presented us with their assessment of the future of space exploration. Its basic conclusion was that at currently envisioned budgets, the Program of Record (a.k.a. ESAS, Project Constellation) would not get us back to the Moon before many...
March 11, 2010 | By Paul D. Spudis