Tag: NASA

NASA aims to measure vital snow data from satellites

DENVER (AP) — Instrument-laden aircraft are surveying the Colorado high country this month as scientists search for better ways to measure how much water is locked up in the world’s mountain snows – water that sustains a substantial share of the global population. A NASA-led experiment called SnowEx is using five aircraft to test 10 sensors that might one day be used to monitor snow from satellites. The goal: Find the ideal combination to overcome multiple obstacles, including how to analyze snow hidden beneath forest canopies. "It would be, I would say, a monumental leap in our ability to...

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NASA astronaut Sellers dies at 61

WASHINGTON (AP) — Piers Sellers, a climate scientist and former astronaut who gained fame late in life for his eloquent commentary about the earth’s fragility and his own cancer diagnosis, has died. He was 61. Sellers died Friday morning in Houston of pancreatic cancer, NASA said in a statement. Sellers shared his astronaut’s perspective on climate change in Leonardo DiCaprio’s documentary, "Before the Flood," released this fall. He told DiCaprio that seeing the earth’s atmosphere as a "tiny little onion skin" from space helped him gain a fuller understanding of the planet’s delicacy. He also wrote a New York...

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Geminids meteor shower peaks Tuesday amid full moon

The Geminids meteor shower hits its peak on Tuesday, but a full moon will outshine the celestial show this year. NASA says the Geminids are one of the best and most reliable meteor showers. At its peak, 120 meteors can be seen per hour under perfect conditions. This year, the peak coincides with a full moon and that could make all but the brightest meteors invisible to the naked eye. NASA says sky watchers looking to see the shower should head somewhere away from city lights to a spot with a wide open view of the sky. Meteors can...

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Rhode Island School of Design works with NASA on Mars suit

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — When scientists are trying to figure out how to live in near-isolation in a dome to simulate a Mars mission, the last thing they’ll need is an ill-fitting space suit. So one of the nation’s top design schools has come to the rescue. Staff members and students at the Rhode Island School of Design have come up with a new, adjustable suit that closely resembles an actual space suit. Real space suits are designed to work in zero gravity, meaning they’re too expensive and too heavy to use at the NASA-funded Mars simulation mission in...

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Russia: Space ship malfunctions, breaks up over Siberia

MOSCOW (AP) — An unmanned Russian cargo spaceship heading to the International Space Station broke up in the atmosphere over Siberia on Thursday due to an unspecified malfunction, the Russian space agency said. The Progress MS-04 cargo craft broke up at an altitude of 190 kilometers (118 miles) over the remote Russian Tuva region in Siberia that borders Mongolia, Roscosmos said in a statement. It said most of space ship’s debris burnt up as it entered the atmosphere but some fell to Earth over what it called an uninhabited area. Local people reported seeing a flash of light and...

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Brightest moon in almost 69 years lights up sky around globe

BEIJING (AP) — The brightest moon in almost 69 years is lighting up the sky in a treat for star watchers around the globe. The phenomenon known as the supermoon reached its peak luminescence in North America before dawn on Monday. Its zenith in Asia and the South Pacific was Monday night. Across the international dateline in New Zealand, it was to reach its brightest after midnight Tuesday local time. The moon orbits the Earth in an oval shape. The moon will be at its brightest this week because it is coming closer to the Earth along its elliptical...

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NASA’s earliest and greatest astronauts star in new exhibit

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA’s earliest and greatest astronauts gathered at Kennedy Space Center on Friday to mark the grand opening of a new space exhibit in which they’re the stars. Thirty astronauts, three of them moonwalkers, took part in the outdoor ceremony, including two who had extra reason to celebrate. Fifty years ago Friday, Jim Lovell and Buzz Aldrin launched on Gemini 12, the last of that program. With all the excitement, Lovell forgot about Friday’s anniversary – until reminded by a reporter. He said spacewalks and rendezvous were refined on the two-man Gemini missions and "opened...

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Monday’s supermoon extra super; closest in nearly 69 years

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The moon doesn’t get much bigger and brighter than this. On Monday, Earthlings will be treated to a so-called supermoon – the closest full moon of the year. Monday’s supermoon will be extra super – it will be the closest the moon comes to us in almost 69 years. And it won’t happen again for another 18 years. NASA says closest approach will occur at 6:21 a.m. EST when the moon comes within 221,523 miles (356,508 kilometers). That’s from the center of the Earth to the center of the moon. Full moon will occur...

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Telescope reveals amazing pillars in star-breeding ground

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A peek into a distant star-breeding ground has uncovered scenes worthy of a watercolor master. Astronomers on Wednesday released majestic images of pillars of gas and dust in the Carina Nebula, some 7,500 light-years away. The observations were taken by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile. The pictures rank right with the Hubble Space Telescope’s famous Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula, an image now 21 years old. Scientists say these new images appear to be pillars of destruction, in which massive new stars destroy the clouds of gas from...

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European Mars lander’s fate unclear, ‘not good signs’

DARMSTADT, Germany (AP) — A senior European Space Agency official says that the signal from the experimental Schiaparelli probe cut off before its landing on Mars, which he says isn’t a good sign. Paolo Ferri, ESA’s head of operations, said the signal "stopped shortly before landing." He cautioned that more analysis of the data was needed to understand what had happened to the experimental lander during Wednesday’s descent. He says it is too soon to jump to conclusions but "it’s clear that these are not good signs." He said that an update is expected on Thursday. Recommended: US astronaut...

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