Questions tagged [nasa]

Questions pertaining to activities of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, a United States government agency that deals with space exploration and research.

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21
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2answers
8k views

How did NASA remotely fix the code on the Mars Pathfinder?

In 1997, NASA remotely fixed a bug that caused priority inversion on their Mars Pathfinder. How did they go about doing this? What kind of communication protocols are used? How do they update the ...
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5answers
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Does NASA have an end-of-the-world policy?

If an asteroid were detected, shooting towards earth with enough speed and certainty that it would all but guarantee a sequel of the end of the dinosaurs. Observatories and space agencies would almost ...
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Why hasn't NASA planted a stationary lab on Mars yet?

Why does NASA send rovers such as Curiosity instead of remotely building a small building on the surface of Mars?
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4answers
14k views

What constellation is on the NASA logo?

While watching the ORB3 Antares explosion press conference, I began to wonder about the design of the NASA logo. Do the white stars on the blue background represent some particular stellar pattern, ...
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1answer
2k views

What are these enclosed regions on the Mission Control Center map?

Whilst watching NASA TV over the years, I've often seen the map on the wall of Mission Control:      "Main Screen in the ISS Mission Control Center", by AGeekMom, CC BY 2.0 In ...
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3answers
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Does the Voyager team use a wrapper (Fortran(77?) to Python) to transmit current commands?

I assume that the vast majority of the people who created the software for these missions are now retired (the "space pensioners" of the Voyager mission). Here's a very good summary of the current ...
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2answers
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How are New Horizons images sent back to Earth?

I'd like to understand how does New Horizons space craft send its data back to Earth, billions miles away from it. I read in a Time article: "Also, at the distance of Pluto, we can only send data ...
7
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1answer
867 views

Calculations Apollo astronauts were trained to do by hand if loss of guidance computer and/or data & coms link to Earth?

This answer to the question is it possible to navigate space travel with no computer? currently contains the line Yes, as long as you don't care where you end up but I am not so sure this is true. ...
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NASA Launch Control: was all of its capacity ever used?

The NASA Launch Control Center at Cape Canaveral has 4 Firing Rooms. Each can support the launch of a spacecraft. Similarly, the VAB was divided into four bays, each large enough to support assembly ...
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1answer
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What is the principle behind Mariner 4's “Solar Pressure Vanes”? In what case(s) would they be effective?

The image below, found in this answer shows four "Solar Pressure Vanes" on Mariner 4. I've never heard of such a thing. I can imagine that it might have been thought to help favor the spacecraft's ...
9
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1answer
846 views

What ever happened to the Asteroid Redirect Mission?

In Robert Zubrin's Moon Direct; A purpose-driven plan to open the lunar frontier (found in the Pod Bay) there is a paragraph that says: Essentially, the gateway is a vestigial form of the Obama ...
8
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497 views

Has NASA “gone south”? Why are astronauts needed to explore the Moon's south pole?

Wired: Why America Wants to Send Astronauts to The Moon's South Pole “Before we put boots on the ground at the poles, we urgently need a robotic water ice prospecting mission to the lunar poles,” ...
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1answer
154 views

Hows does “Glenn Research Center's sapphire refractive secondary concentrator” work?

Clicking through NASA.spinoff.gov I came to the page for spinnoff 2001 Glenn Research Center and found this: Glenn Research Center's sapphire refractive secondary concentrator will be used with ...
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8answers
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How can I, a high school student in Bucharest, go on to become an ISS astronaut?

I study at a High School in Bucharest, and I want to know what kind of education or subjects I need so that I can work in an International Space Station and stay there for 6 months. In the high ...
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Why did Armstrong pilot the LM, when Aldrin was tasked as Lunar Module Pilot?

Buzz Aldrin is credited (or was tasked) with being the Apollo 11 Lunar Module pilot. However in fact it was Neil Armstrong who piloted the craft down when the LM guidance computer overflowed, with ...
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Do we still have all the blueprints to go to the Moon? [duplicate]

The answer to Do we still have all the equipment to go back to the moon? is an unambiguous "no". Most of the equipment went to museums or got scrapped. But do we still have all the know-how? Say, a ...
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1answer
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Is potable water in the American & Russian segments still stored separately?

This article writes to say An interesting fact is that the Russian and American segment water supplies can’t be mixed. The U.S. water uses iodine for bacteria control, while the Russian water uses ...
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2answers
905 views

How did the US government shutdown of 2013 affect NASA operations?

At midnight on October 1, 2013 the US government entered the state of government shutdown where all functions deemed non-essential are suspended. This shutdown lasted 16 days. How did this shutdown ...
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3answers
961 views

How useful is placing an asteroid in Lunar orbit?

Quoting from NASA warned plan to send humans to Mars may fail news article: The Obama administration is opposed to another moon landing, saying such a mission would be too costly. It wants ...
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3answers
765 views

What would be the configuration and performance for Saturn V with all stages RP-1/LOX?

Saturn V had RP-1/LOX 1st stage with 5 F-1 rocket engines. The 2nd and 3rd stage used LH2/LOX J-2 rocket engines, 5 and 1 respectively. At that time NASA had an advantage to launch heavy payloads ...
9
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1answer
396 views

What's the current timeline for NASA's Mars orbiter laser communications?

Dr. Jim Green, Director, NASA Planetary Science Division, mentioned during his "The Martian": Science Fiction & Science Fact talk for the 18th Annual International Mars Society Convention (you can ...
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711 views

Why does NASA plan to put a meteoroid in Lunar orbit instead of Earth orbit?

NASA is working on an asteroid retrieval mission. A small asteroid will be moved into Lunar orbit where it will be visited by space walking astronauts. Since it will be only max seven meters in ...
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1answer
685 views

What does it mean when a software is called open-source for US-release only?

I saw this answer about MarsGRAM, and when I clicked on the NASA software link to read about it I saw at the bottom of the page a blurb for EarthGRAM 2010, an atmospheric model for Earth with likely ...
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1answer
436 views

How would the Apollo telescope have worked in the Apollo command module? Where would it be located and how would it be operated?

In the Vintage Space video episode Missions we Lost When Apollo was Cancelled, there is discussion of the Apollo Telescope and the Block 3 command module after about ...
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Understanding the information contained in the Deep Space Network XML data?

NASA's Deep Space Network activity can be viewed conveniently at https://eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/dsn.html but if you would like data in a more raw XML form, it can be accessed as described in this answer ...
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Why was MarCO-B CubeSats flying away after InSight landed?

Farewell to Mars November 26, 2018 MarCO-B, one of the experimental Mars Cube One (MarCO) CubeSats, took this image of Mars from about 4,700 miles (6,000 kilometers) away during its flyby of the Red ...
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1answer
245 views

What cosmic ray sensor is attached to this Balloon?

This short BBC News item shows a very large high altitude balloon lifting a science payload to measure high energy cosmic rays for about 100 days, circling the Earth perhaps twice in the process. ...
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1answer
190 views

How were the geodetic and geocentric latitudes of the Space Shuttle defined and calculated?

The image below is cropped from https://i.stack.imgur.com/4XFaJ.jpg as described in this answer. It shows a geographic state of a space shuttle at a given instant in time. There is only one value for ...
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1answer
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How will the Gateway-before-boots sequence benefit US business, economic and technological development?

Update: Several people were kind enough to make helpful suggestions about this question. I'm looking strictly for well-reasoned, fact-based answer only. Thanks! In the question More complete source ...
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How can Trident be so inexpensive? Will it orbit Triton or just do a (slow) flyby?

The recent NY Times article Neptune’s Moon Triton Is Destination of Proposed NASA Mission says (in part): HOUSTON — Is it time to go back to Neptune? Scientists representing NASA’s Jet Propulsion ...
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Size of Apollo era astronauts

I had read that the early astronauts were all 'short guys'. This made a lot of sense. A short man can have as much stamina and endurance as a large man, yet eat less, consume less oxygen & (...
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1answer
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Is there any reason why American spacesuits color changed over years?

From Mercury silver suits to orange Space Shuttle ones, color of space suits have changed over years. Is there any reason for it?
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Were there any CAPCOMs who were not astronauts?

The capsule communicator (CAPCOM) is the person in mission control who speaks to the astronauts. The position was invented by NASA's first flight director, Chris Kraft, who believed it would be best ...
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1answer
606 views

How did NASA's Deep Space Network encode and broadcast music to Opportunity?

@Ingolifs's answer to the question What was the last message to Opportunity today (13 Feb '19)? quotes ArsTechnica's Opportunity did not answer NASA’s final call, and it’s now lost to us: Late ...
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1answer
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This BBC photo does not show a replica of Vanguard-1, what might it be?

The BBC news article The World's Oldest Scientific Satellite is Still in Orbit talks about the Vanguard program and that Vanguard-1 is still in orbit around the Earth, and near the end shows a photo ...
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3answers
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Won't the heat sensor probe interfere with the seismometer?

I've read that the Mars InSight Seismometer will be deployed before the HP3 probe. Won't the digging interfere with the seismometer? Or the shock produced will be small enough to be dissipated by the ...
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2answers
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Origin of term “Block I”, “Block II”, etc

In NASA spacecraft development, subsequent versions of a design are referred to as "Block 1", "Block 2", etc. What is the origin of this naming convention? Why not just call them "Version 1", "...
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1answer
2k views

Why has NASA shunned the worm logo?

I love the NASA "worm" logo. It's a futuristic, stylish rendering of the agency's acronym. But they "retired" it in 1992. WHY??? It was replaced with NASA's original logo, the "meatball": Not be ...
7
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1answer
213 views

Why did the number of recovery ships decrease with time?

This NASA page names the various ocean ships that have helped recover NASA spacecraft. There is a general trend that later missions used fewer ships. Read the link for details, but here are some ...
6
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1answer
687 views

Which Voyager spacecraft “mutinied”, and what really happened?

The August 2017 BBC News Science in Action podcast The Algae that Changed the Earth includes other topics, including the following: In August and September 1977, Nasa's probes Voyager 2 and Voyager ...
6
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1answer
390 views

How well could the ISS attitude control system detect periods of astronaut activity?

The question Why doesn't ISS start to spin if people walk inside? is a good one partly because it has attracted several good, informative answers. One of them is particularly intriguing because it ...
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2answers
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Why did the Apollo program become a MULTIPLE human landing program?

How did JFK's promise of landing one man on the Moon grow into a whole series of landings of 12 men on 7 missions, with even more planned? Given the motivation of the program, shouldn't Apollo have ...
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1answer
885 views

Did Zuma “bump” NASA?

For this question, block-quoting all of the relevant information would be unwieldy (even for me) so I will just link four articles (plus one quoted section from the last item): NASA Spaceflight 16-...
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1answer
259 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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1answer
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What is the equivalent of Curiosity's “MSL” in the context of Perseverance? What's the official name of the mission? Are the distinctions similar?

Answers to Where does MSL end and Curiosity begin? explain the difference. There was much fanfare for the naming contest for the Perseverance rover, but I don't know what the mission is called. ...
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1answer
184 views

What's next for New Horizons?

Five years ago What's after Pluto for New Horizons? was asked, and the answer turned out to be at first 'something in the Kuiper belt if we can find a good candidate' and finally 2014 MU69. But now ...
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1answer
252 views

Has a NASA administrator ever explained US military initiatives in Space to the press before this?

A search of the site will show that from time to time the political aspects of NASA (a US government agency) or the Space Exploration aspects of politicians have been considered on-topic in this site. ...
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0answers
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More complete source for Lunar Gateway is “a stupid architecture” comments? (National Space Council Users' Advisory Group)

The Ars Technica article Former NASA administrator says Lunar Gateway is “a stupid architecture” disusses a meeting of the National Space Council Users' Advisory Group. Apparently there was not around-...
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1answer
171 views

Where would one deploy deep space atomic clocks?

Space.com: NASA IS LAUNCHING A GPS SYSTEM FOR SPACE NASA/JPL news: Five Things to Know about NASA's Deep Space Atomic Clock NASA mission pages clock NASA Deep Space Atomic Clock Fact Sheet The first ...
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1answer
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How will “InSight's onboard communications gear perform a radio-science experiment to shed further light on Mars' innards?” (Space.com)

The Space.com article How NASA Mars Lander's 'Steampunk' Claw Will Work (Video) says: InSight's mission aims to provide a detailed look at Mars' interior structure and composition. The lander ...