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Nasa

The Takeaway

NASA Tools of Yesteryear May Be The Key to Tomorrow's Innovations

Thursday, October 24, 2013

NASA's latest effort to explore new frontiers and technologies is starting by looking to the past.  In a partnership with tech start-up Marblar, NASA is sharing 40 patents in an effort to crowdsource ideas for new uses for the patents. The Takeaway is joined by Daniel Perez, CEO of Marblar, to tell us more about this new initiative. 

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The Takeaway

NASA's Voyager Now First Human-Made Object to Leave the Solar System

Friday, September 13, 2013

NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft has become the first human-made object to reach interstellar space. Voyager 1 is not only doing this with technology that is decades old, but a computing system that is slower and less complex than whatever you're using to read this page. Joining The Takeaway to explore the journey of Voyager 1 since it left Earth almost four decades ago is Kelly Beatty, senior contributing editor of Sky and Telescope Magazine.

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Radiolab

Voyager OUT

Thursday, September 12, 2013

NASA is reporting that Voyager 1 has finally left the heliosphere and is now cruising through interstellar space!

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On Being

Natalie Batalha — Exoplanets and Love: Science That Connects Us to One Another [remix]

Thursday, August 29, 2013

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On Being

[Unedited] Natalie Batalha with Krista Tippett

Thursday, August 29, 2013

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The Takeaway

NASA's Kepler Spacecraft Will Never Search for Planets Again

Friday, August 16, 2013

According to NASA, the Kepler Spacecraft a has identified and calculated the movements of more than 3,500 possible planets, but its search is over due to a malfunction. Matthew Holman is a Smithsonian Astrophysicist and lecturer at Harvard University. He was also a part of the Kepler team. He joins The Takeaway discuss Kepler and whether it will ever search the stars again.

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Radiolab

What It's Like To Drop 150,000 Feet Straight Down

Monday, July 29, 2013

If I say "meet me 28 miles from here," that doesn't seem very far, right? But what if the 28 miles is not on a road or a highway, but straight up? Take a trip with a space shuttle solid rocket booster as it tumbles back to Earth. Headphones on.

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WNYC News

Space Shuttle Enterprise Gets New Home at Intrepid

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum has opened a new pavilion to house the space shuttle Enterprise.

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Transportation Nation

PHOTOS: Space Shuttle Atlantis Now On Display in Florida

Friday, June 28, 2013

Space shuttle Atlantis made its debut at a $100 million specially built hangar at Florida's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

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The Takeaway

NASA's Asteroid Grand Challenge

Thursday, June 27, 2013

NASA has issued a new initiative called the “Asteroid Grand Challenge" that hopes to put government agencies and academics together with the public to figure out how to capture an asteroid and “lasso” it into the moon’s orbit for study. Could you be the next citizen scientist? Dr. Denton Ebel, Chair and Curator for the Division of Physical Sciences at the American Museum of Natural History, explains how this program might work.

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The Takeaway

SCOTUS Decisions Bring Landmark Change, Space Bacteria, Business Tips From Trappist Monks

Thursday, June 27, 2013

SCOTUS Decisions Bring Landmark Change | Business Tips From Trappist Monks | NASA's Asteroid Grand Challenge | The Evolving Immigration Bill | Foreign Press Coverage of Mandela's Health Raises Concerns | Employment Discrimination and Sexual Orientation

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Operavore

Top Five Ambitious On-Location Operas

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

It is one thing to just roll a piano outdoors. It’s another thing entirely to mount an entire opera in its actual setting. Here are five.

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WQXR Blog

Mercury's Surface is Littered with Classical Composers

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

NASA’s Messenger probe recently became the first spacecraft ever to orbit Mercury, having completed an extended two-year mission in March.

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Transportation Nation

With NASA Shuttles Gone, Florida Towns Suffer, Court SpaceX

Friday, May 03, 2013

WMFE

Florida's Space Coast boomed when NASA was launching shuttles. Now the region is struggling and pinning hopes of a space renaissance on private companies like SpaceX moving into old NASA facilities. But the government space agency isn't so quick to hand over the keys. 

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The Takeaway

Where in the Solar System Is Voyager 1?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Last week, a new study alleged that Voyager 1 had burst through the heliosphere into interstellar space. NASA quickly shot down that explanation, explaining that the craft is still within the heliosphere. But what, and where, is that?

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Radiolab

Voyager Is Such a Tease

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Producer Lynn Levy is STILL waiting for one of the Voyager crafts to make interstellar history as the first human-made object to leave the solar system...

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Radiolab

Neil Tyson Pounds The Table, Demanding A Future, Now!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

What happened to the future? In the '60s and '70s, says astrophysicist Neil Tyson, kids thought about going to space, exploring; tomorrow seemed so, so near. But no longer. Our world these days, is tighter, more awake to limits, and that's not good, says Tyson, not good for kids, and especially not good for the economy. Tyson insists that dreaming makes us richer.

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WNYC News

Earth's Near Misses With Asteroids

Friday, February 15, 2013

A meteor exploded in the sky above Russia Friday morning. But astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson says that's tiny compared to asteroid 2012 DA14, which will be flying by the Earth Friday afternoon.

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Transportation Nation

NASA's Moon Mining Robot

Monday, February 04, 2013

NASA's RASSOR (Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot) (photo by Matthew Peddie)

In a building at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, about 40 engineers and scientists are tackling the practical challenges of space exploration -- like designing astronaut clothing for long missions, converting trash into fuel, and harvesting extra-terrestrial resources.

"It's really a return to NASA's roots, the very early days of how NASA designed new technology" says Jack Fox, Chief of the Surface Systems Office at Kennedy Space Center. "We believe in a hands-on approach: just try something out, and if it works, great. If it doesn't, put it aside and try something different."

Swamp Works- NASA's technology incubator at Kennedy Space Center (photo by Matthew Peddie)

The Swamp Works team is housed in the refurbished Apollo flight crew training building, where astronauts once familiarized themselves with the lunar module and learned how to use the lunar rover. Scientists are now trying to solve some of the problems faced by those astronauts -- like dealing with space dirt.

"Dust got everywhere. It clung to everything," says Fox.

On one side of the building scientists are developing technology to banish dust electronically.

And in the Granular Mechanics and Regolith Operations lab, engineers are figuring out how to deal with the sandblasting effects of rocket exhaust during landing and lift-off on the moon and other planets. They're also building a machine to excavate space dirt, or regolith. NASA one day hopes to send astronauts beyond the moon, to an asteroid or Mars, and the Swamp Works team is developing a robot that can excavate other planets for water and other resources.

The RASSOR (Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot) looks like a small tank. At each end is a fearsome toothed drum, used to scoop up the regolith. It can also raise and lower its arms to climb over rocks.

Drew Smith, who helped design RASSOR, explains the counter-rotating drums would allow the robot to dig on another planet like the moon.

"Since we don’t have a really large mass on another planet we have to be able to cancel out the excavation forces or it would just spin its tracks and not go anywhere."

The robot weighs about 180 pounds, but on the moon that's only about 30 pounds of force.

The engineers are building a regolith test bed -- essentially a giant sand pit -- which they'll fill with 120 tons of "simulant" or imitation space dirt, so they can test the robot.

Philip Metzger, NASA physicist (photo by Matthew Peddie)

Philip Metzger, a physicist at the Regolith Operations Lab, says harvesting resources on other planets could lighten the load of spacecraft blasting off from earth. "By using the resources of space -- of the moon and the resources of Mars, we can reduce the mass of a Mars mission by a factor of between three and five," says Metzger.

NASA aims to eventually send a version of the RASSOR into the craters of the moon to excavate lunar ice deposits. Metzger says anything they design to work on the moon should also work on Mars -- although operating the robot remotely poses a problem: "On the moon there's  only a 2.7 second time delay, so you can tele-operate, but on Mars it’s too far of a distance to tele-operate. So robotic autonomy is one of the key technologies we’re trying to develop," he says.

Companies like Caterpillar are interested in robot autonomy for terrestrial mining. "Mining’s moving into places humans can’t go here on earth," says Metzger, adding that space mining companies have also expressed an interest in licensing the technology.

NASA's Orion spacecraft under construction at Kennedy Space Center (photo by Matthew Peddie)

Meanwhile, in a separate building at Kennedy, NASA employees and Lockheed Martin contractors are assembling the spacecraft designed to take astronauts to an asteroid, Mars and beyond. The green welded aluminum pressure capsule of the Orion crew module is being transformed into a functioning spacecraft inside the Operations and Checkout building. Orion's first unmanned foray into space is slated for September 2014.

 

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Radiolab

Krulwich Wonders: A Mysterious Patch Of Light Shows Up In The North Dakota Dark

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

NPR

If you are up in space looking down on America west of the Mississippi, one of the brightest patches of light at night is on the Great Plains in North Dakota. It's not a city, not a town, not a military installation. What is it?

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