Posts Tagged: "NASA"

Federal funding for a cancer moonshot is not a terrible idea

To hear Ars Technica say it is ”a terrible idea” to devote increased funding in order to eradicate cancer is astonishing on many levels. As part of the reason why he believes increased funding for cancer research is a terrible idea he explains that great strides have been made with respect to treatments and cures, which is true. Of course, it is also true that people are dying and they are dying horrible deaths. With the victories and advances that have been made over the last generation it is no longer fanciful to dream of a day when cancer can become eradicated. So why is it a terrible idea to devote more resources on a so-called cancer moonshot to attempt to once and for all put an end to this scourge? For anyone to call President Obama’s cancer moonshot a terrible idea is nothing short of cruel, and is frankly incredibly stupid.

Next-generation GPS technologies include ground-based sensors, centimeter-level accuracy

Many of these issues would be addressed by a new ground-based GPS system being developed by an Australian tech firm in collaboration with both NASA and the U.S. Air Force. Locata, headquartered in the Australian Capital Territory city of Bruce, has designed ground-based transmitters which can provide accurate positioning by blanketing a vicinity with radio signals. NASA has seen some success in integrating the technology into unmanned aircraft safety systems while the Air Force is using the radio signal technology to monitor warfare simulation facilities in New Mexico. Signal synchronization timing is about 50 times quicker than conventional GPS and the proximity of these Earth-based sensors to receivers mean that signals can be more easily detected through walls.

Space Technology Hall of Fame includes NASA tech made because of research into space travel

The unintended positive impacts of research and development pursued in the improvement of space flight have been a topic of conversation here on IPWatchdog in recent months. In the wake of NASA’s announced three-phase plan to travel to Mars, we noted that the mission to put a man on the Moon, as well as other NASA activities, has unleashed a tremendous amount of technological development that we’re benefiting from today in ways we could have never predicted. A quick perusal of the collection honored by the Space Technology Hall of Fame puts this idea into some perspective. From agriculture to baby formula to automotive fuel efficiency to safe drinking water, it’s really amazing to consider the breadth of advances our world has made because of research into space travel. We don’t know what a mission to Mars will bring us in the terms of medical, communications, robotics and even more technologies, but it’s a safe bet that planet Earth can’t wait to get its hands on it.

NASA charts next steps in securing commercial crew funding, developing private partnerships

If NASA’s journey to Mars is impossible, you would never know it by hearing NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden speak. In remarks and responses to questions given at an event hosted Tuesday, October 28th, by the Center for American Progress (CAP), Bolden expressed nothing but optimism for America’s future as the world’s leading space agency and, despite the many challenges along the way, NASA’s eventual success in being the first space agency to land a human on Mars.

NASA is seeking answers for growing plants, constructing buildings on Mars

Now that NASA has announced its goal of sending a manned space mission to Mars sometime in the 2030s, the race is on to accomplish many of the scientific discoveries that will be required to support human life in space. On October 7th, NASA announced the In Situ Resource Utilization Challenge to drum up new ideas on how to use the resources available on the Red Planet to support life there. A prize pool of $15,000 will be distributed amongst three winning entries that will be announced by NASA next January; first place will receive $10,000, while the two runner-ups will each receive $2,500. Discoveries coming from this scientific competition will help to dramatically reduce the costs associated with sending a manned mission to Mars. The competition will close on December 3rd.

A NASA journey to nowhere may be exactly what U.S. needs

It’s unfortunate that NASA has had to operate in such a unfavorable climate, being pushed for more and more answers out of its space exploration program while suffering uncertainty in its federal funding amounts. It would be a mistake for Congress to ground NASA unless fine details on its Mars program are forthcoming. Having a goal oriented target has proven helpful for NASA, but scientific discoveries and the innovations that come therefrom are not easily or even appropriately quantifiable on a spreadsheet, business plan or budget. Historically, NASA space exploration mission objectives have led to great benefits for the American people, even when their plans and mission goals have been a little light on the technical details.

Tim Kopra, Expedition crew getting set for December launch to International Space Station

For this story Steve Brachmann interviewed Tim Kopra, who will be Commander of Expedition 47 aboard the International Space Station… Noting that ISS astronauts were more like lab technicians than scientists, Kopra separated ISS experiments into three main categories. “For some experiments we are the subjects,” Kopra said, especially for those experiments leading to a better understanding of how spending an elongated amount of time in zero-gravity environments affects the human body. Other experiments only require some setup from astronauts after which they run fairly autonomously while still more experiments are installed on the exterior of the ISS and require no astronaut intervention at all.

NASA’s Cassini orbiter sends back data from Saturn leading up to the mission’s Grand Finale

Powering Cassini towards the sixth planet of our solar system, and helping it to perform the braking techniques required to pull the craft into orbit around Saturn, is a propulsion module constructed by Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT). This module, the largest U.S. planetary spacecraft propulsion system ever constructed, was fired up 16 times while Cassini traveled to Saturn and will be used more than 100 times over the entire course of the already extended mission. Lockheed also built the Titan IV/Centaur rocket that launched Cassini-Huygens into space back in 1997.

With successful RS-25 engine test NASA one step closer to Mars, asteroids

We’re now just a little bit closer towards putting a human being on the surface of Mars thanks to the completion of a series of developmental tests on an RS-25 engine that will power NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket in the future. The tests, which took place at the agency’s Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, MI, were…

New Horizons rips past Pluto to explore the outermost reaches of our solar system

The scientific instruments installed upon New Horizons were dormant for the vast majority of the trip so as to make sure that they were all in good working condition when the craft reached its target. However, those instruments were woken up during the Jupiter flyby and were able to capture some incredible sights. For instance, a time lapse of images taken by New Horizon’s camera recorded a volcanic explosion happening on the Jupiter moon of Io, marking the first volcanic explosion observed outside of Earth.

Disaster Tech: Innovations spurred by earthquakes

Science has found it difficult to answer the many risks of harm to body and property which earthquakes cause. Technologies meant to enable the prediction of earthquakes have not worked out in the past and researchers are still unable to predict the location and magnitude of the next big quake. In the meantime, there has been plenty of research and development leading to the creation of tools and techniques that have saved lives from the incredible destruction of a violent shift in fault lines.

SpaceX Falcon 9 failure is a setback to the private space industry

SpaceX and NASA suffered a serious setback when the unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 craft exploded, rendering its mission to deliver supplies and hardware to ISS a complete failure. Excessive pressure building up in a liquid oxygen tank of one of the craft’s upper stages caused the space launcher to break up shortly after leaving Cape Canaveral, FL. Air Force safety officers gave the command for the SpaceX Falcon 9 to self-destruct, largely so that fuel reserves could be burnt off and not dropped into the ocean.

The mission to save the Hubble Space Telescope

Those who remember the earliest days of the Hubble mission will recall the tension surrounding a mechanical problem afflicting the Hubble. Even though the first images returned by Hubble were better than anything captured by telescopes here on Earth, NASA scientists quickly realized that the images weren’t as sharp as they should have been. Instead of letting the ill-formed telescope languish in space, incapable of fully realizing its mission, NASA embarked on a project that would eventually restore the Hubble Space Telescope to its intended clarity of vision.

For 25 years the Hubble Space Telescope unlocks secrets of the universe

Images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope also helped the global science community learn more about the formation of planets and galaxies. In 1995, Hubble captured images in the Orion Nebula of intense radiation jets reaching trillions of miles long as well as the gaseous protoplanetary disks which serve as raw material for the stars and planets of a forming solar system. Other planetary discoveries pioneered by Hubble researchers include the first visible-light image ever captured of a planet outside of our solar system, Fomalhaut b, located 25 light years from earth in the Piscis Australis constellation.

NASA innovates tech for fuel efficient air transportation

One area where NASA has been placing a fair amount of its research focus is in developing design features that allow for reductions in an aircraft’s weight and the amount of drag it creates. The aeronautical research agency has entered into a partnership with the Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) of Seattle, WA, to test a couple of fuel efficiency technologies on a special Boeing 757 model known as the ecoDemonstrator. One NASA project utilizing the ecoDemonstrator is the Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) project, which explores the benefits and risks of new vehicle design concepts. On the Boeing ecoDemonstrator, NASA installed a series of 31 sweeping jet actuators which are capable of on-demand manipulation of airflow over the vertical tail of an aircraft. The use of the sweeping jets would provide the stability and directional control usually supplied by the aircraft’s vertical tail, allowing manufacturers to reduce the tail’s size and the overall drag of the aircraft. A separate ERA project involving the ecoDemonstrator will test the insect repellant properties of various repellents for an Insect Accretion and Mitigation study. Even a small bug can disrupt the laminar flow of air over the leading edge of a wing, increasing drag and reducing fuel efficiency by as much as six percent. The Insect Accretion and Mitigation study will take place between April 27th and May 15th near the area of Shreveport, LA.