Questions tagged [identify-this-object]

Questions which ask for an object in a photograph or other media to be identified and/or have its function described.

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1answer
381 views

Why does this photo of the Hubble Space Telescope look so weird?

Question: Can someone identify this photograph of the Hubble Space Telescope seen as a still in the Los Angeles Times YouTube video Scientists witness huge cosmic crash, find origins of gold, figure ...
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2answers
205 views

How is atmospheric temperature measured from a satellite?

How does an Earth observing satellite measure the temperature of the atmosphere? Can they measure temperature at multiple altitudes, or measure the temperature of clouds?
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2answers
481 views

Identify this rocket and launch site from Gilligan's Island episode?

Since @geoffc has broken the "Gilligan's Island Barrier" with this answer I'd like to ask about the Space-themed episode 22 of Season 3 "Splashdown" which aired on February 20, 1967. What launch ...
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101 views

Which shuttle mission is this video from?

At 12 minutes and 19 seconds into the NASA video Space Shuttle Documentary (Narrated by William Shatner), there’s a really neat video of a space shuttle lighting up the clouds from underneath and then ...
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426 views

Why did Skylab have a thick blue flexible cord running down its central axis?

After watching the video below (found here and here and here) I am reminded of the series of possibly less than 100% serious questions here about being weightless in the middle of a large volume and ...
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543 views

What are these discs on the Crawler-Transporter?

I've just watched this footage of SLS's Mobile Launcher Platform being rolled out to LC-39B for fitting tests. On the front of the drive trucks are two rotating discs with red markings which are ...
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370 views

What steel ball was thrown out of the ISS to help test how well ground stations can track orbital debris?

The question What kinds of things have been tossed out of the ISS? has a broken YouTube link. This is why it's good to include at least the name of the video in your post (which I didn't back in 2016)....
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417 views

What's the spiral pattern on this satellite?

I was looking through old saved urls and when an old Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory press release link didn't work, it sent me to the PageNotFound page, where I saw the image below. It seems ...
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377 views

Why is this rocket transparent, and why is there a nozzle in the nose, pointing up?

This tough question links to the NASA YouTube video NASA 60th: How It All Began which shows a lot of really nice, historical file footage and stills. At about 01:56...
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500 views

Humanoid silhouette on SpaceX's Starhopper; what does it represent?

update: The silhouette now has a page in Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hughmann_for_scale.svg The images below are from a NASA Spaceflight forum post and can be seen in @...
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759 views

What are these four “debris” objects along with the Starlink satellites?

Celestrak has an updated system of categories for retrieving lists of current TLEs, and there's already one for Starlink, yay! Currently https://www.celestrak.com/NORAD/elements/starlink.txt contains ...
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420 views

What are these details on (renderings of) the Zhurong rover's wheels?

Looking at some renderings of the CNSA Zhurong rover I noticed some curious (pun intended) details on the wheels: This Newsy Today article: In this The Conversation article: seen in some clips of ...
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what's this fluffy object on the SAOCOM 1A mission's upper stage? [duplicate]

When watching the upper stage of the Falcon 9, I noticed this white or blue tuft: It changes shape a bit as time goes on. That makes me think it is something very light (cotton candy, fiberglass ...
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187 views

What is this ring-shaped part falling from Starship SN9 after launch?

The picture shown is a screenshot during the recent launch of SpaceX's SN9 from a live stream, and I noticed that a black ring fell off the exhaust/engine. It only shows up for around a frame or two ...
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107 views

What are these strips on the Long March 4B?

There are yellow square strips arranged semi-erratically on the lower stage of the Long March 4. There are also some on the upper stage. What are they, and do they come off before launch? Why are they ...
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143 views

What was the design failure that Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory is alluding to?

I was looking through old saved urls and when an old Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory press release link didn't work, it sent me to the PageNotFound page, where I saw the image below. It seems ...
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182 views

What space suit is this? [duplicate]

I recently saw this picture, and it puzzles me as to what they are wearing. At first thought, I imagined that they would be space suits. But, they went in a Soyuz craft, and the suits for a Soyuz don'...
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292 views

What is the purpose and necessity of this giant structure being used in tests of China's Mars lander?

Question: What is the purpose and necessity of this giant structure being used in tests of landing hovering and searching techniques to be used by China's Mars lander? It is shown in images (and a ...
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1answer
215 views

What's this mini-cupola-looking object in this photo from the ISS?

(I went through this exercise for my own benefit, so I figured I'd post it) Recently stay-extended astronaut Christina Hammock Koch posted this image to Facebook today and the object indicated by the ...
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Was there once a semi-serious space-art project planning to use solar reflectors to put a spot of light on the crescent Moon?

Reading the question What are the effects of orbital reflectors and advertising on scientific observation and orbital debris? I am reminded of a story I read a while ago about an even in the past, ...
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257 views

What exactly are Tindallgrams? (spaceflight related)

The word "Tindallgram" appears in three posts: this answer to How complex was the math and physics necessary to place Apollo 11 on the moon? What is a “Lear Processor” and how did it work? this ...
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564 views

What is this object outside the ISS that looks like a loudspeaker?

Things in space are not always what they seem. The question Why does there appear to be a 180-degree stereo microphone array outside the ISS? makes that clear. What is this object shown to the right ...
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What is that thing spraying during a Falcon 9 launch? [duplicate]

What are those things spraying something at the pad during the beginning of a Falcon 9 launch?
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216 views

What is a propellant burner trailer?

CNN and NPR have pointed out that the US president recently tweeted a surveillance photo of an explosion of a rocket on a launch pad. One of the items identified in the photo is labeled as a ...
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472 views

What are these big shiny metallic “lumps” on the bottom edge of each Falcon Heavy nozzle?

What are these big shiny metallic "lumps" on the bottom edge of each nozzle of each core of this Falcon Heavy image from the Teslarati article SpaceX reveals Falcon Heavy Block 5 in first official ...
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What kind of “jet engine-like propulsion” does HyperSciences use to accelerate projectiles to sub-orbital altitudes?

The Teslarati article For HyperSciences, geothermal energy builds a path to space describes the use of technology which has been applied to drilling to launching projectiles to sub-orbital altitudes ...
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395 views

Why does the Apollo-8 Trans-Lunar Injection burn appear to be pulsing in this photo?

This tweet called my attention to The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum story Photographing Apollo 8's Orbit Toward the Moon. The story is quite an interesting bit of space history and worth a ...
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554 views

What's the new hexagonal structure for in Boca Chica TX, SpaceX

At Boca Chica Texas at the SpaceX launch facility there is a new structure being built. RGV Aerial Photography shows a concrete base with six pillars being built in a hexagonal shape. What is this ...
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Is it the Apollo CM “flowerpot parachute attachment fitting”?

An Apollo 17 recovery image of the top of the CM, ap17-S72-55888 from ALSJ. What is the structure inside the red polygon (drawn by me)? Is it the "flowerpot parachute attachment fitting"? ...
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What's the puffy fabric-like material around the upper stage at launch of Ranger 5?

The Ranger 5 mission launched 57 years ago today. In a photograph of the launch, there's an irregular shroud of wrinkled white material either next to or wrapped around the upper Agena stage of the ...
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315 views

Where are these historical IBM + Apollo related locations within NASA? What do these computers do?

In the Fortune Magazine video IBM's Moonshot: Past and Future with the notes BM’s John Kelly reflects on Apollo 11’s historic mission and looks forward to what future technology will accomplish. ...
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224 views

What is the “baby rocket” attached to the booster on this rocket? [duplicate]

@OrganicMarble's answer shows some very cool looking historical rocket launches. What is the smaller structure attached to the booster on the right side, that looks like a "baby rocket"?
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316 views

What are these things in Elon Musk's tweeted Starship video?

I don't understand what I'm looking at in the video of this Elon Musk tweet. The text says: Just leaving SpaceX Starship build site in Boca These are reminiscent of funhouse mirrors. What are ...
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2k views

Stanley Kubrick used a NASA-inspired lens to film by candlelight in Barry Lyndon, but what did NASA use it for?

At 07:35 in the CinemaTyler video How Kubrick Achieved the Beautiful Cinematography of Barry Lyndon he says: As far back as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Kubrick and ...
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190 views

What's this camera view of Falcon Heavy's test flight?

At about T+1:51, the lower left tile switches to some camera view I don't understand. But only for the fraction of a second, then view is back to normal. Video at that position: ...
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225 views

What is this perturbation effect called, and what would be an analytical expression for the resulting eccentricity oscillations?

In this answer I've generated some oscillations of eccentricity by being somewhat naughty and propagating a TLE for +/-250 days from epoch. I believe it's okay for the purposes of demonstrating gross ...
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What does diiferent colours in orbital path seen in the CRS 21 launch video indicate?

The SpaceX broadcast of Falcon 9 - CRS 21 launch showed the orbital path of the vehicle differently than previous videos. Separate green lines and rectangualar boxes were visible. What additional ...
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209 views

What is the mysterious object flying by in this SpaceX video?

In the last second of this video tweeted by spaceX, you can see an object fly by on screen. Did this come from the SpaceX ship, or is it foreign space junk? If it turns out to be the latter, is that a ...
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136 views

Why does this “Midas missile early warning satellite” have a tilting cone with such a complex black-and-white checkerboard pattern?

Clicking on images of historic satellites led me to the airvectors.net page Foundations Of Automated Space Technology which includes this image and passage: A number of Samos satellites were also ...
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130 views

How did Sergei Krikalev get (or build) the drum he is shown playing here?

In this answer @horsh shows an image of Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev playing what might be an improvised drum, together with cosmonaut Sergey Volkov on guitar, aboard Mir in 1989. Is it possible ...
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What could be used to associate these fairing halves with their launches?

Eric Ralph's Teslarati article SpaceX’s BFR factory in LA spied with four Falcon 9 fairing halves shows several panoramic photos of the site for the future rocket factory. In it, the author says: ...
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What is the largest antenna deployed in space?

@Tristan's answer says: The satellites are classified, so details are speculative, but it is believed that the Magnum/Orion and Mentor SIGINT satellites have parabolic antennae around 100 m in ...
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461 views

Was New Horizons launched on a copper rocket?

Screenshots below are from Brian May's new music video Brian May - New Horizons (Ultima Thule Mix) [Official Music Video] The beginning shows the launch of a rocket. I can't tell for sure if this is ...
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529 views

What are the louver-like structures on the sides of the Mariner 4 probe?

The COSMOS Magazine article First mission to Mars: Mariner 4’s special place in history July 14, 1965, forever changed the way we see Mars. Tim Wallace looks back at one of NASA’s greatest triumphs ...
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Does this image of 91-core OTRAG “asparagus-staging” show a real launch, or is it “space-art”?

This answer to Were there any non-state organizations to organize space flight and colonizations in the second half of the 20th century? mentions OTRAG and links to Astronautix's OTRAG page. The ...
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174 views

What kind of camera was used to produce this Apollo-era footage of the Earth?

The question Reflected Earth is 1/3 the size of primary Earth in Apollo footage through spacecraft window; why? begins: In the video Brian Eno on Apollo at 08:20 ...
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186 views

What's this part of Curiosity?

What's this part here used for? The thing that looks like if you poured dirt into it, that it'd sift through it. Not the antenna, the white thing in center that looks as if it could spin.
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292 views

What spacecraft part is Mike Pence touching in this photo?

In this photograph, Vice President Mike Pence is touching an item labelled "Critical Space Flight Hardware". What is it? Has the photo been doctored?
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339 views

What is the meaning of this writing on the InSight lander, and why is some in Braille?

I spotted this image in this answer and a few things caught my eye. Both images are cropped from the much larger image PIA22540. First Braille in Space? On the left and right sides there is what ...
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259 views

What is Kennedy's USB?

In this answer, the following picture appeared (emphasis in red mine): The VIC is the visitor centre (nowadays KSVC). But what is the USB facility? Is this by chance related to the Unified S-band ...