NASA’s Asteroid Data Hunter contest series will offer $35,000 in awards over the next six months to citizen scientists who develop improved algorithms that can be used to identify asteroids. This contest series is being conducted in partnership with Planetary Resources Inc. of Bellevue, Wash. The first contest in the series will kick off on March 17. Prior to the kick off, competitors can create an account on the contest series website and learn more about the rules and different phases of the contest series by going to: http://bit.ly/AsteroidHunters. Managed by the NASA Tournament Lab, the entire contest series runs through August and is the first contest series contributing to the agency’s Asteroid Grand Challenge.
Monday, March 10, 2014
A nearly full Rhea shines in the sunlight in this recent Cassini image. Rhea (949 miles, or 1,527 kilometers across) is Saturn's second largest moon. Lit terrain seen here is on the Saturn-facing hemisphere of Rhea. North on Rhea is up and rotated 43 degrees to the left. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 10, 2013. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 990,000 miles (1.6 million kilometers) from Rhea. Image scale is 6 miles (9 kilometers) per pixel.
More than three decades after "Cosmos" first came to television, President Barack Obama kicked off the 21st-century version of the science show with a tribute to astronomer Carl Sagan and his successors. "America has always been a nation of fearless explorers, who dream bigger and reach farther than others imagine," Obama said in a 30-second clip that led off Sunday's premiere. "That's the spirit of discovery that Carl Sagan captured in the original 'Cosmos.' The new, updated version of Carl Sagan's popular 1980 documentary series exploring the hows, whats and whys of the universe, premiered Sunday night on Fox, the National Geographic Channel and various corporate cousins. Its "ship of the imagination" - a vehicle to take viewers through wonders large and small - now has a new captain, astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson, but the reaction to the show's debut shows that entertaining, informative science never goes out of style.
On 20 January, ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft emerged from a 31-month hibernation on the final leg of its 10-year journey to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Just like the spacecraft, the mission’s target is also now emerging from hibernation. For the last few months, the comet has been behind the Sun from our vantage point on Earth. But in late February, the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile resumed observations – its last look was on 5 October 2013. The image presented here was taken on the night of the 27 February (09:30 GMT on 28 February).
What's more interesting than videos of cats chasing laser beams over the kitchen floor? How about videos sent OVER laser beams from NASA's International Space Station back to Earth? A team of about 20 working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, Calif., through the lab’s Phaeton early-career-hire program, led the development of the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) investigation, which is preparing for a March 16 launch to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX-3 mission. The goal? NASA’s first optical communication experiment on the orbital laboratory.
American congressmen seem to be seriously interested in the idea of a space expedition in the course of which the spaceship will make flies around Venus and Mars. Several days ago, the Congress’s Committee of Science asked NASA to estimate the possibility of realization of such a flight (it is supposed that NASA would also take part in it). It is expected that the flight will start in November 2021 and will last 582 days, and that a married couple will take part in it. The idea to send a married couple to space first occurred to Dennis Tito, who is known as the first person to fly to space as a “tourist”, not a professional astronaut. According to Mr. Tito’s initial idea, the expedition was to take place in 2018 and last 501 days. Initially, it was planned to make a rotation only around Mars. Dennis Tito planned to use a private rocket and spaceship for this project. However, the private non-commercial fund “Inspiration Mars Foundation”, which was collecting money for this project, failed to collect the needed sum. There were several other uncertainties as well. Then, Dennis Tito realized that he would hardly be able to bring this project to life without NASA.
Sunday, March 9, 2014
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata, who is in his long-duration stay on board the ISS, has succeeded Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov and become the 39th ISS Commander on March 9, 2014. Wakata will take the leadership of the six ISS crewmembers until the day before he leaves the ISS on Soyuz spacecraft (37S/TMA-11M) scheduled around mid-May. "The ISS Commander must take the great responsibility and high capability of crisis management for ensuring the crewmember's safety and the success of the ISS missions." JAXA president Naoki Okumura said in a statement. "I believe that Wakata's assumption of the ISS Commander results from his versatile skills and leadership he has performed through the ground training and the on-orbit experiences, and also from the trust the international society place in Japan which Japan has built in the course of the space development."
A former U.S. Navy base in eastern Puerto Rico could be the place where Virgin Galactic chooses to build a launch pad for future commercial space flights, an option being considered that neither party denies. This week's publication of an article in the daily Caribbean Business saying that the owner of Virgin Galactic, British entrepreneur Richard Branson, has acquired 11 hangars at the Roosevelt Roads Naval Station in Ceiba, on the eastern end of the U.S. commonwealth, was what sparked the rumors and conjectures.