October 23, 2014

04.06.11: MPCV=Orion Reborn?

MPCV in Martian orbit. (Artist’s concept/NASA).

NASA may just have new marching orders for the post-shuttle era. Recently, NASA and Lockheed Martin announced a re-designation of its Orion (That OTHER Orion, not the Dyson one that shoots nukes out the back!) capsule as the MPCV, or the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. The project had been in the doldrums since the cancellation of the Constellation program, and fans of manned spaceflight had wondered what was next for NASA with only one space shuttle flight remaining. [Read more...]

23.04.10-SDO Unveiled.

(Credit: NASA/SDO).

(Credit: NASA/SDO).

An SDO Original!

    Cool images Alert: NASA’s recently launched Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has released some fairly mind-blowing pics and videos this week. The video below is but a small sampling of the capabilities showcased by this Sun-monitoring spacecraft. “We’ve seen prominences before, but not like this!” states Alan Title of Lockheed Martin. SDO was launched on February 11th, 2010 and studies the Sun from a polar inclined geosynchronous orbit. Equipped with high definition cameras and a 4096x 4096 –pixel array, you haven’t seen the Sun the way SDO has revealed it. Part of NASA’s Living With a Star program, SDO will provide a continuum in solar astronomy started by the ESA’s SOHO satellite in the 1990’s. One can only hope that SDO’s data will be as easily accessible and provide real time access to the public as SOHO has done. Not only will SDO have the capability to monitor the Sun in ultraviolet and extreme ultraviolet, but it also possesses an Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) and a Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager. But beyond pretty pictures, SDO also promises to give us a unique insight into the inner workings of our Sun. And with sunspot cycle #24 just gearing up, this capability may have come none too soon!