• Astronaut Mom Karen Nyberg Preps for Mission

    Astronaut Mom Karen Nyberg Preps for Mission

    05.11.13 - Astronaut Karen Nyberg is just a few weeks from launching for her long-duration mission to the International Space Station. And, as the mother of a young son, Karen says she will be savoring this Mother’s Day weekend before departing for Kazakhstan, and ultimately space.

  • NASA Celebrates Skylab at 40, Looks to the Future

    NASA Celebrates Skylab at 40, Looks to the Future

    05.14.13 - 
    Launched aboard the last of the Apollo-era Saturn V rockets on May 14, 1973, the uncrewed Skylab became America's first space station. The station almost immediately developed technical problems due to vibrations during liftoff when a critical meteoroid shield ripped off, taking one of the craft's two primary solar panels with it. Engineers in mission control maneuvered Skylab's secondary solar panels to face the sun to provide as much electricity as possible.

      › Skylab Mission Page

  • Robots Practice New Satellite-Servicing Tasks

    Robots Practice New Satellite-Servicing Tasks

    05.10.13 - 
    Early on May 10, NASA's Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) completed a new round of satellite-servicing tasks. During five days of operations aboard the International Space Station, the Canadian-built Dextre robot with RRM tools retrieved and stowed tiny caps and sliced through satellite blanket tape.

    NASA developed RRM to demonstrate how remotely-operated robot mechanics could extend the lives of the hundreds of satellites residing in geosynchronous-Earth orbit.

  • New Public Application of Landsat Images Released

    New Public Application of Landsat Images Released

    05.09.13 - 
    Google released more than a quarter-century of images of Earth taken from space Thursday compiled into an interactive time-lapse experience. Working with data from the Landsat Program managed by the U.S. Geological Survey, the images display an historical perspective on changes to Earth's surface over time.

  • Sifting Through the Atmospheres of Distant Planets

    Sifting Through the Atmospheres of Distant Planets

    05.09.13 - 
    Currently, there are more than 800 confirmed exoplanets -- planets that orbit stars beyond our sun -- and more than 2,700 other candidates. Researchers are using infrared pictures, taken by ground-based telescopes equipped with spectrographs, to probe these planets' makeup.

    Project 1640, partly funded by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, recently found precise composition information about four exoplanets using the Palomar Observatory near San Diego.

  • Annular Eclipse on May 10

    Annular Eclipse on May 10

    05.09.13 - 
    On May 10, 2013, the sun will experience what’s called an annular eclipse – when the moon moves directly in front of the sun, but doesn’t obscure it completely. This leaves a thin, fiery ring, the annulus, visible around the outside.

    This eclipse will only be visible from the South Pacific, along an approximately 100-mile-wide track that traverses Australia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and the Gilbert Islands.

  • Dead Stars Found 'Polluted' with Planet Debris

    Dead Stars Found 'Polluted' with Planet Debris

    05.09.13 - 
    NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has found the building blocks for Earth-sized planets in an unlikely place-- the atmospheres of a pair of burned-out stars called white dwarfs.

    These dead stars are located 150 light-years from Earth in a relatively young star cluster, Hyades, in the constellation Taurus. The star cluster is only 625 million years old. The white dwarfs are being polluted by asteroid-like debris falling onto them.

  • Testing the Webb Telescope's MIRI Thermal Shield

    Testing the Webb Telescope's MIRI Thermal Shield

    05.08.13 - 
    NASA engineer Acey Herrera recently checked out copper test wires inside the thermal shield of the Mid-Infrared Instrument, known as MIRI, that will fly aboard NASA's James Webb Space Telescope.

    The shield is designed to protect the vital MIRI instrument from excess heat. At the time of the photo, the thermal shield was about to go through rigorous environmental testing to ensure it can perform properly in the extreme cold temperatures that it will encounter in space.

  • Testing the Orion Crew Module

    Testing the Orion Crew Module

    05.08.13 - 
    The Orion crew module is being put through a series of tests that simulate the massive loads the spacecraft would experience during a mission. Different test phases simulate launch, ascent, launch abort, launch abort system separation, reentry and landing.

    During its first flight test in 2014, Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1), Orion will travel 3,600 miles into space and return to Earth, allowing NASA to evaluate Orion's performance in preparation for deep space missions.

  • Milky Way Black Hole Snacks on Hot Gas

    Milky Way Black Hole Snacks on Hot Gas

    05.08.13 - 
    The Herschel space observatory has made detailed observations of surprisingly hot gas that may be orbiting or falling towards the supermassive black hole lurking at the center of our Milky Way galaxy.

    The biggest surprise was the hot gas in the innermost central region of the galaxy.

    The team hypothesizes that emissions from strong shocks in highly magnetized gas in the region may be a significant contributor to the high temperatures.