space

MIT Professor Advocates Ending Asteroid Redirect Mission To Fund Asteroid Survey

MarkWhittington writes Professor Richard Binzel published a commentary in the journal Nature that called for two things. He proposed that NASA cancel the Asteroid Redirect Mission currently planned for the early 2020s. Instead, he would like the asteroid survey mandated by the George E. Brown, Jr. Near-Earth Object Survey Act of 2005, part of the 2005 NASA Authorization Act, funded at $200 million a year. Currently NASA funds the survey at $20 million a year, considered inadequate to complete the identification of 90 percent of hazardous near-Earth objects 140 meters or greater by 2020 as mandated by the law.

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Largest Sunspot In a Quarter Century Spews Flares

schwit1 writes: The largest sunspot seen in about a quarter century has produced another powerful X-class flare today, the sixth in less than a week. “This was the sixth X-class solar flare from NOAA 2192, a record for the number of X-class flares generated by a single group so far this solar cycle. It was also the fourth X-class flare since last Friday, continuing a period of intense flaring activity. This sunspot group has grown again a bit, and maintains its magnetic complexity. A degradation of the HF radio-communication was observed over South-America, the Caribbean, and West-Africa.” The last sentence is referring to some radio communications blackouts that have occurred in these areas because of the flares.

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The science we lost when the Antares rocket exploded

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More than 1,600 pounds of scientific equipment and experiments were destroyed when a NASA-contracted rocket exploded just six seconds after takeoff from Virginia on Tuesday evening

The Antares rocket was carrying a Cygnus spacecraft that was packed with 5,000 pounds of supplies for the International Space Station. One-third of that load was dedicated to an exceptional scientific payload that included student experiments, a human health study and equipment that would have been used to study meteors

“We lost quite a bit of research hardware,” said space station manager Mike Suffredini. He added that NASA would find another opportunity for the researchers and scientists to fly their experiments to the space station at a later date. “All these things can be replaced and will be over time.” Read more…

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‘It’s gonna be loud’: 7 eyewitness videos of the Antares rocket explosion

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Hundreds of spectators were near the NASA launchpad in Virginia with their cameras ready to capture the Antares launch on Tuesday evening. What they got instead was a fiery explosion followed by a deafening sound

There were no injuries, and the cause of the explosion is still under investigation. Here are the videos of the incident as seen from eyewitnesses on the ground.

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Students who watched science project explode on rocket ask to try again

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Now that’s the spirit.

A group of middle schoolers who watched a rocket explode as it was carrying their science project to the International Space Station on Tuesday night immediately asked their principal if they could try it again.

The students, who gathered at Hobby Middle School in San Antonio to watch their project take flight, were described as “resilient” by the school’s principal, Lawrence Carranco, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

The Antares rocket, which was operated by Orbital Sciences, went up in flames just six seconds after launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The unmanned rocket was carrying a Cygnus spacecraft that was supposed to deliver supplies to the International Space Station on a routine mission. One-third of that cargo was made up of science experiments — exactly 1,602.8 pounds of them, according to NASA’s cargo manifest. Read more…

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Elon Musk called the Antares rocket a ‘joke’ 2 years before it exploded

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An Orbital Sciences rocket operating under a NASA contract exploded shortly after launch on Tuesday evening, much to everyone’s surprise — except, perhaps, Elon Musk.

Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, trashed Orbital Sciences for using outdated Russian engines during a 2012 Wired interview:

One of our competitors, Orbital Sciences, has a contract to resupply the International Space Station, and their rocket honestly sounds like the punch line to a joke. It uses Russian rocket engines that were made in the ’60s. I don’t mean their design is from the ’60s—I mean they start with engines that were literally made in the ’60s and, like, packed away in Siberia somewhere. Read more…

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Antares Rocket Explodes On Launch

sneakyimp writes: The Antares rocket operated by Orbital Sciences Corporation exploded on launch due to a “catastrophic anomaly” after a flawless countdown. No injuries are reported and all personnel are accounted for. According to the audio stream hosted by local news affiliate WTVR’s website, the Cygnus spacecraft contained classified crypto technology and efforts are being made to cordon off the wreckage area. Additionally, interviews of personnel and witness reports are to be limited to appropriate government agencies so that an accident report can be generated. This accident is likely to have a detrimental effect on the stock price of Orbital Sciences Corp, traded on the NYSE. The Antares rocket’s engines are based on old soviet designs from the ’60s. While this is sure to be a blow to NASA due to the cost, it may well boost the fortunes of SpaceX, a chief competitor of Orbital Sciences. Both companies were recently awarded resupply contracts by NASA.

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Unmanned rocket explodes during NASA launch

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A private, unmanned spacecraft under NASA suffered a catastrophic failure when it exploded shortly after takeoff from Virginia on Tuesday evening. No one was injured

The Antares rocket, which is operated by Orbital Sciences, went up in flames just six seconds after launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. The rocket was carrying a Cygnus spacecraft that was supposed to deliver supplies to the International Space Station on a routine mission. One-third of that cargo was made up of science experiments

The exact cause of the explosion is still unknown. However, the Orbital Sciences team wasn’t tracking any issues prior to launch. The private space company says it will conduct a thorough investigation starting immediately, including of the debris that was scattered around the area during the explosion. Read more…

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Interstellar Review: A Movie as Majestic, Slow and Sad as Space

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It’s fair to say that Interstellar, the hotly anticipated science fiction film from director Christopher Nolan, is his darkest, slowest-moving and most uncompromising work yet

This is not exactly the kind of thing a studio like Paramount may relish about a big-budget holiday season movie, especially not one opening November 7, the same weekend as Big Hero 6, Disney’s animated superhero spectacular. But it’s hard to spin this as a thrilling space epic. The action sequences are few and far between, and unlike in Nolan’s last complex big-budget epic, Inception, they are not played for Matrix-like fun Read more…

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‘Interstellar’: A Movie as Majestic, Slow and Sad as Space

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It’s fair to say that Interstellar, the hotly anticipated science fiction film from director Christopher Nolan, is his darkest, slowest-moving and most uncompromising work yet

This is not exactly the kind of thing a studio like Paramount may relish about a big-budget holiday season movie, especially not one opening Nov. 7, the same weekend as Big Hero 6, Disney’s animated superhero spectacular. But it’s hard to spin this as a thrilling space epic. The action sequences are few and far between, and unlike in Nolan’s last complex big-budget epic, Inception, they are not played for Matrix-like fun Read more…

More about Space, Science Fiction, Entertainment, Film, and Interstellar