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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14
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2answers
1k views

What does NASA plan to do with the world's largest quantum computer?

NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) Division has apparently partnered with Google and acquired the world's largest quantum computer, D-Wave Two™: In a partnership with Google and independent, ...
6
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1answer
268 views

How does Curiosity find its own way to selected destination?

What kind of technique does the Curiosity rover employ to find the safest (probably not the fastest) way to its destination that was given to it by NASA from the Earth?
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1answer
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Why have a 10 minute pause at T-4 minutes?

I was watching the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas 5 rocket launching NASA's MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) to Mars today, and the countdown contained a planned 10 minute pause at T-...
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Text of John Houbolt's letter proposing Lunar Orbit Rendezvous for Apollo?

On 11/15/1961, John Houbolt, an engineer at the Langley Research Center, wrote a nine-page letter to Robert Seamans, associate administrator of NASA. (Referenced in this NASA retrospective.) This ...
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3answers
568 views

What's the public availability of data gathered by NASA probes?

The probes sent by NASA generate a lot of data for scientists to study, but how available is it to non-NASA affiliated scientists? For instance, would I (a layperson) be able to get the raw data ...
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Why does a rocket engine provide more thrust in a vacuum than in atmosphere?

According to NASA Each Space Shuttle Main Engine operates at a liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen mixture ratio of 6 to 1 to produce a sea level thrust of 179,097 kilograms (375,000 pounds) and ...
30
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1answer
3k views

Why do the Shuttle's external tanks appear to be rusted?

Wikipedia article states as STS-1 at liftoff. The External Tank was painted white for the first two Space Shuttle launches. From STS-3 on, it was left unpainted. I wonder why the ...
7
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1answer
235 views

What is the exercise regimen under the SPRINT program?

NASA says (emphasis mine) Current exercise countermeasures on the International Space Station (ISS) are insufficient to prevent muscle atrophy, cardiovascular deconditioning and bone loss ...
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3answers
21k views

How would one go about proving humans have really been to outer space?

Background: I am 40 years old, and in my entire life the only face to face eyewitness event that I can remember where humans actually observed an attempt to fly into outer space, the craft exploded ...
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2answers
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Do astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) actually use their legs?

The European Space Agency writes to say ◾The applicant must have the normal range of motion and functionality in all joints. Historically, IMHO, astronauts came from a flight/test-pilot background....
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How did NASA determine the distance and velocity of voyager 1?

According to Wikipedia At a distance of about 125.97 AU (1.884 × 10$^{10}$ km) from the Sun as of September 9, 2012, it is the farthest manmade object from Earth As of 2013, the probe was ...
9
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517 views

How effective would the ARES aircraft be?

NASA has been working on a glider aircraft they wanted to send to Mars - this is the Aerial Regional-scale Environmental Survey. (ARES) How long would it be able to travel? What would be the possible ...
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1answer
841 views

Will NASA really make a big announcement on November 13th, 2013? [closed]

This site says that NASA will release "The Biggest Discovery That will shake the earth, It will never be the same again" Is it hoax? Is it true? Does anyone here know something about it? Warning: ...
19
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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 & (...
15
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2answers
900 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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What's the coin on the Curiosity rover?

The image above was taken from the Curiosity rover (I hope). There appears to be a coin in the image. Is that really a coin or some kind of button? Is it really present on the rover? If it is ...
186
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6answers
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Can I borrow a lunar rover?

According to Wikipedia there are 3 LRVs sitting on the moon, in very well defined locations. Would China, or whomever gets to the moon with a person next, be able to get in and drive around in an LRV ...
14
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3answers
680 views

What's the advantage of using an SLS system rather than a number of small lift rockets?

I just read this article, in which former director Kraft is described as deriding NASA's current plan to use a single heavy-lift vehicle (Space Launch System, or SLS) as a primary launch platform. Why ...
9
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2answers
16k views

What is the success rate of NASA launches?

What is the success rate of NASA launches since it was founded in 1958? I'd appreciate a decade by decade statistic. By successful I mean a successful launch into space and release of payload (if any)....
6
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1answer
474 views

Post Space Shuttle, is NASA going from touchdown back to splashdown?

I have been reading a bit about the Orion spacecraft. I see they just did some sea recovery testing. It seems like in the post Space Shuttle era, NASA is going backwards. Is this a one off solution, ...
12
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1answer
1k views

How were vibrations supposed to be handled in an Ares I?

The basic concept of an Ares 1 consisted of a five-segment SRB and some liquid-fuelled upper stage. The SRB was derived from the four-segment Space Shuttle SRBs. A similar concept was later promoted ...
13
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1answer
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Did NASA use metric units for the Mercury missions?

Did NASA use metric or English units for Project Mercury? For example, did they measure delta-v in meters/second or in feet/second?
7
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1answer
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What kind of science can be conducted with the crippled Kepler telescope?

Recently, NASA declared the Kepler telescope 'unfixable'. However, it doesn't seem to be the end of the telescope, as NASA appears to have asked the broader scientific community for suggestions on ...
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2answers
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Do Russian and American spacecraft use the same docking mechanism?

Back in the days of the Apollo era, the Apollo–Soyuz Test Project had the two craft meeting each other in orbit and docking. The stated reason for this was so that if a spacecraft from one country was ...
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3answers
55k views

What made NASA shut down the Shuttle program?

Recently NASA shut down its Space Shuttle program. Between the first launch on April 12, 1981, and the final landing on July 21, 2011, NASA's space shuttle fleet --Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, ...
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364 views

Does NASA plan to land on Europa?

I recently studied that life may exist on Europa, an icy moon of Jupiter. Does NASA plan to land a spacecraft on Europa to study its environment in the near future?
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Why was the NERVA program dropped?

At the very end, NERVA (Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application) had developed nearly flight-ready engines able to: operate for periods in excess of an hour while providing maximum thrusts up ...
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3answers
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How much of an advantage do equator-proximal launch sites provide?

Comparing ESA's Kourou (5° off) with NASA's Cape Canaveral (28°) and JAXA's Tanegashima (30°) launch sites, how advantageous is proximity to the equator? Considering the fact that the ESA and all of ...
15
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2answers
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Does the Dawn spacecraft have the potential for an extended mission?

The Dawn spacecraft is scheduled to arrive in initial orbit around Ceres in February 2015 with a final planned orbital change in December to reduce its orbit to a 700km altitude. At present I can't ...
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3answers
510 views

Does NASA have a space tug project to bring a habitable module to the ISS?

The habitable modules of US sector of the ISS didn't have any propulsion systems to rendezvous the ISS by themselves. They were intended to be brought there by the Space Shuttle. Most of the Russian ...
16
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1answer
715 views

What was the space-worthiness determination procedure for STS-1?

I am specifically interested in on-ground tests that were conducted after the full shuttle was pieced together (orbiter, tank, engine, boosters) for the first time (before STS-1). Of course the ...
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1answer
1k views

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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What will be NASA's successor to the Saturn V rocket?

The Saturn V rockets were the "tallest, heaviest, and most powerful rocket ever brought to operational status and still holds the record for heaviest payload launched and heaviest payload capacity to ...
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4answers
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Why is the Shuttle Landing Facility runway surrounded by water?

The runway at the Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida has a unique feature that looks rather intentional: it is surrounded by "moats" or "canals". They certainly look man-made, so I presume this is ...