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October 05 2014

Reposted bycellnukotschaafkrimson

June 29 2014


May 13 2014

2052 cb2c
Reposted bynaichankin

December 24 2012


July 23 2012



When Curiosity Almost Took Men to Mars…

We’re less than a month away from one of the most highly anticipated Martian landings of all time.

On Aug. 5 (Pacific Time, Aug. 6 Eastern), NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity will land in Gale Crater. The incredibly sophisticated rover is a mobile laboratory designed to run tests on soil to determine whether or not the Martian environment ever had the conditions to support life.

But in the 1960s, the future of Mars exploration looked very different. In many instances, there were men aboard the spacecraft that were designed to fly by the red planet rather than land on it.

In the 1960s, NASA considered flyby missions almost as readily as it did landing missions. The proposals, like some of the more interesting missions to Venus, came from Bellcom, a division of AT&T established in 1963 to assist NASA with research, development, and overall documentation of systems integration.

A 1966 Bellcomm proposal cites the weight of a spacecraft bound for Mars as the mission’s limiting factor. That’s unsurprising. It takes a lot of fuel to send a spacecraft into orbit, and more to send it to an interplanetary destination.

But the planets can actually lend a hand on these long distance missions. If a spacecraft passes a planet at the right point, its gravity will slingshot the spacecraft away adding momentum to its interplanetary flight. This is how the Voyager spacecraft managed their impressive tours of the outer solar system. The same gravity assist maneuvers can be equally effective in the inner solar system, and while it might seem counter intuitive, Bellcomm engineers found that a mission to Mars could benefit from flying by Venus on its way to the red planet.

A September 1967 proposal outlines a possible triple-flyby mission that would send a spacecraft to Venus and Mars on. Based on the geometry of the planets — taking advantage of optimal alignment — the ideal launch date for this mission was May 26, 1981. The spacecraft would launch towards Venus, reaching the planet on Dec. 28. It would whip around and head for Mars, making its contact on Oct. 5, 1982. The inbound leg of the journey would take it back by Venus on March 1, 1983 before returning to Earth on July 25. The mission would last 790 days.

The launch window for this proposal was 30 days. Launching on another date in the window would change the duration of the mission, making it last anywhere from 720 days to 850 days.

Three-planet flybys were thought to be rare; the 1981 launch window came as a surprise to the Bellcomm engineers. It inspired them to look for similar opportunities and they found that conditions for triple-flybys are actually fairly common. By October 1967, the company had identified a dual-flyby mission, one that would send a spacecraft to Venus then Mars and back to Earth with the option to revisit Venus on the inbound leg. In this scenario, a launch on Nov. 28, 1978 would take the spacecraft by Venus on May 11, 1979, Mars on Nov. 25, 1979, and Venus again on Jan. 29, 1980 before returning to Earth on Jan. 31, 1981.

For possible crews aboard these missions, they would have a long trip likely filled with astronomical observations punctuated by exciting days spent flying by Venus and Mars. Both proposals sent the crew within 1,200 miles of the surface of Venus; in 1970 this would happen on the day side of the planet while the 1980 opportunity would take them into the planet’s dark side. Of course, infrared sensors and mapping radar would work either way. For the engineers and NASA, this was a cost efficient way to send men to Mars.

These kinds of proposals would probably never gain any serious traction in NASA’s current climate, especially not for manned missions. The duration alone would likely draw criticism, though it’s not much shorter than the roughly 500 day mission most direct missions to Mars are expected to take. But a swing by Venus could return valuable data, and give the crew not one but two fascinating sights during their mission.

Image credit: NASA/JPL

(via valetudo)
Reposted byelcommendanterazieliniJugger

June 21 2012


June 16 2012


May 27 2012

Leaving a better planet for the children? How about leaving better CHILDREN for the PLANET?
Reposted byemtezmazupemalvaesztyletmonimichCreamofSiegerosecellShingomurhdi

March 05 2012

I never watched the Magic School Bus, BUUUUUUT it's cute knowing the kids grow up to become planeteers.
Reposted byhuncwotasiunka2991

January 15 2012


December 14 2011



Newly Found Alien Planet Could Host Life

The newly confirmed planet, Kepler-22b, orbits smack in the middle of the habitable zone of a star similar to our own.

Previous research had hinted at the existence of such Earth-like planets, where liquid water could exist, but this is the first time such a life-friendly alien planet has been confirmed.

The planet is about 2.4 times wider around than Earth. It’s still unknown whether Kepler-22b has a rocky, gaseous or liquid composition, but its discovery is a milestone to finding Earth-like planets.

“This is a major milestone on the road to finding Earth’s twin,” Douglas Hudgins, Kepler program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington said

Read more

Omg I saw that on Vsauce just now. This photo's just an artist illustration btw.

Reposted byfrittatensuppeRachelMccombscell

November 25 2011


Saturn sings the blues

The ringed planet’s northern latitudes appear a tranquil blue in new images shot by the Cassini spacecraft.

Saturn has a case of the blues. Captured by the Cassini spacecraft, the new true-color images of the gas giant’s northern latitudes are a vivid blue.
The first image was taken by Cassini’s wide-angle camera in December 2004 at a distance of 446,900 miles (719,200 kilometers) from the ringed planet. Showcasing Saturn’s northern polar region, shadows cast by rings litter the blue region, appearing like atmospheric bands. Shadows created by outer rings are at higher latitudes than those created by rings closer to Saturn, which fall closer to the equator. Clouds also are sprinkled against the azure backdrop. 

While clouds are seen in this image, the relatively cloud-free makeup of Saturn’s northern hemisphere may create the blue color. Gases in Saturn’s upper atmosphere scatter blue light rays, which gives the northern latitudes their azure appearance. Cassini mission scientists may examine why these latitudes are cloud-free.

The second view caught Saturn’s icy moon Mimas crossing in front of the planet. Heavily crated, Mimas looks like a dented golf ball orbiting the planet. The satellite’s largest crater, Herschel, can’t be seen in this view. As with the other image, Saturn’s rings cast shadows on the backdrop. Cassini’s narrow-angle camera images were obtained in January 2005 from a distance of approximately 870,000 miles (1.4 million km) from the ringed planet.

September 24 2011


May 07 2011

4606 8218
For once, the Dark Side saves the planet.
Reposted byscarlettemars scarlettemars

April 17 2011

By your powers combined, I AM CAPTAIN LONGCAT!
Reposted byvictarionvonaroundcloudnineBattlecakepurplecyanide
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