Around 13 times per century, Mercury passes between Earth and the sun in a rare astronomical event known as a planetary transit. The 2016 Mercury transit occurred on May 9, between roughly 7:12 a.m. and 2:42 p.m. EDT.
On May 3, NASA's Wallops Flight Facility hosted Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and others for an employee town hall and a tour of the Virginia facility - including Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. Preparations are underway there to conduct an engine test of Orbital ATK’s Antares rocket in anticipation of returning Antares to flight operations this summer following a launch mishap in 2014.
The telescope's mirrors are covered in a microscopically thin layer of gold, which optimizes them for reflecting infrared light, which is the primary wavelength of light this telescope will observe. To ensure the mirror is both strong and light, the team made the mirrors out of beryllium. Each mirror segment is about the size of a coffee table and weighs approximately 20 kilograms (46 pounds). A very fine film of vaporized gold coats each segment to improve the mirror's reflection of infrared light.
An April 19 event at NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California, showcased the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management (UTM) prototype the agency is developing for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
A SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket on April 8, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to resupply the International Space Station. Among the almost 7,000 pounds of science research, crew supplies and hardware being delivered is the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM.
ASTRA's Executive Director, Dr. Robert Boege and Senior Advisor & Futurist Dr. Ronnie Lowenstein were invited to join 100 other STEM Trailblazers for a dynamic day-long Round Table and Policy Forum to address issues of attracting, retaining, and advancing women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) on March 29th.
Engineers at Johnson Space Center in Houston are using a mockup of NASA’s Orion spacecraft to evaluate how well astronauts are able to operate Orion’s rotational hand controller and cursor control device, while dressed in spacesuits.
Engineers at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston are evaluating how crews inside a mockup of the Orion spacecraft interact with the rotational hand controller and cursor control device while inside their Modified Advanced Crew Escape spacesuits.
The enormous solid rocket boosters on the Orion launch system generate 3.6 million pounds of thrust! That's the equivalent of 14 jumbo jets operating at maximum power. NASA plans to increase this incredible performance to enable future missions to Mars.
Future astronauts will require highly reliable habitation systems to keep them healthy and productive during missions that take them farther from Earth than humans have ever gone before. Through public-private partnerships with U.S. industry, NASA is investigating habitation concepts that can support astronauts who are living and working in the harsh environment of deep space.