Tag: NASA

Saturn.  Photograph from Cassini, taken on October 2004. Image: NASA
News Science

Cassini Spacecraft Begins Last Stage Of 20-Year Mission

In October 1997, a spacecraft called the Cassini orbiter was launched on a mission to explore Saturn and its moons.
Now, after nearly 20 years in space, Cassini’s mission is coming to an end. Cassini is running out of fuel. Scientists expect it to burn up in Saturn’s atmosphere in September.
But before that happens, the spacecraft will make a series of dives between Saturn and its rings, sending photographs and other information back to Earth.

This new view of Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) was taken with the TRAPPIST national telescope. Image: TRAPPIST/E. Jehin/ESO
News Science

The “Comet Of The Century” Set To Put On A Show

Comet ISON is about to put on a show.

Scientists around the world are watching as ISON streaks, ever-faster, towards the sun.

NASA has been studying ISON since December, when it was more than 800 million kilometres away.

Experts are calling Comet ISON as “the comet of the century.”

What is a comet? Here’s how astrophysicist Julie Abraham describes a comet: “It’s basically a big ball of dirty ice in orbit around the sun that gradually melts or burns up, spewing out debris and water in a plume blown out behind it.”

An artist's rendering of the MAVEN orbiting Mars. Image: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
News Science Technology

MAVEN Spacecraft Takes Off For Mars

This week, a “robotic explorer” left Earth on its way to Mars.

It should get there next September. Mars is more than 700 million kilometres away.

The explorer is going to Mars to try to solve some of the planet’s mysteries.

For instance, why is Mars now a cold, dry planet when it started out warm and wet?

The Associated Press reports that “the early Martian atmosphere was thick enough to hold water and possibly support microbial life.”

Scientists at NASA want to know what happened to change that.

Image: Pete Souza
News Politics

U.S. Government Partially Shut Down

The U.S. government was partially shut down on Monday.

More than 800,000 government workers were forced to stop working.

They won’t get paid during the shutdown.

More than 400 public sites that are run by the federal government were closed.

They include national parks, monuments such as the Statue of Liberty in New York, historic sites, lakeshores and walking trails.

About 97 per cent of NASA employees will be sent home during the shutdown, according to The Washington Post newspaper.

Image: Nasa
News Science

Want To Be An Astronaut? A New Post Has Just Opened Up

Canadian astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield will soon be simply, “Mr. Hadfield.”

That’s because he has announced that he is resigning.

In this case, “resigning” means stopping his job as an astronaut.

Hadfield has been an astronaut for 35 years.

Recently, he gained wide popularity after sending photos and videos to Earth from the International Space Station.

Many people around the world enjoyed his tweets and Facebook posts from space.

Image: NASA
Science

New Space Mission Will Study Asteroid In 2018

A new joint project between the Canadian and U.S. space agencies will bring a piece of the universe to Earth.

The goal of the mission, known as OSIRIS-REx*, is to study an asteroid.

NASA, working with the Canadian Space Agency, will send a spacecraft to Asteroid 1999 RQ36. A robotic arm will grab pieces of the asteroid.

The spacecraft will be launched in Sept. 2016 and it will reach the asteroid in 2018.

The asteroid will be studied and mapped for about six months in space and then the sample will be brought to Earth in 2023.