66 votes

Is pinging the Moon with a laser as shown on "The Big Bang Theory" possible?

There is a very nice Myth Busters video about bouncing a laser off the Moon linked below. To answer your question, current work is done with an array of corner cube reflectors on the Moon roughly 50 ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
36 votes

Is pinging the Moon with a laser as shown on "The Big Bang Theory" possible?

The University of Texas's McDonald Observatory performs laser measurements of the distance to the Moon using retroreflectors left by the Apollo astronauts. You can read all about it in the McDonald ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
17 votes
Accepted

Have there been experiments in space to determine how plants grow without any gravitational or light cues for direction?

Seeds include a plant embryo with a root and a shoot already developed. When the seed germinates, the root and the shoot each elongate through tissue growth at the tip (meristem). Without ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 47.9k
14 votes

Can a satellite work like a radiometer?

The Mariner 3 and 4 Mars flyby probes had angled vanes at the ends of their solar panel arms which provided passive stabilization of the spacecraft from solar radiation pressure:
Russell Borogove's user avatar
14 votes
Accepted

Could Stirling Engines work on sunlight alone?

Could Stirling Engines work on sunlight alone? With the heated side facing the sun and the rest in its own shade, could two contra-rotating Vacuum Stirling Engines and flywheels, in tandem, accumulate ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
11 votes
Accepted

Can a satellite work like a radiometer?

The drawing shows a Crookes Radiometer. They seem to spin nicely in even a little bit of sunlight. The common explanation is light pressure on the black vanes. Unfortunately, they don’t work that ...
Bob Jacobsen's user avatar
  • 12.6k
10 votes
Accepted

How did this structure fit into the Shuttle and then expand to 28 meters?

Yes, the whole strut-and-lens system was a giant balloon. There is good information in this paper. Folded up and deflated, it looked like this. This fit into a box mounted on the side of the SPARTAN-...
Organic Marble's user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

Blimp on Earth, but a glider on Mars?

Unfortunately my answer won't contain the crucial "yes" or "no" - for the simple reason that one hinges upon fine parameters and would likely require a good NASA study for actual answer. But the ...
SF.'s user avatar
  • 55k
9 votes
Accepted

Why did the Zond 5 tortoises lose body mass so quickly?

It's important to note that the tortoises carried on the Zond flight were probably not given any food or water, and I suspect they were selected because they could survive that for a long period. So ...
Andy's user avatar
  • 5,178
8 votes

Can a satellite work like a radiometer?

This is exactly what we call a solar sail. This works for orbit maintenance if the orbit isn't too low. If it's too low, the total impulse (force times time) lost to drag over one orbit is greater ...
Tom Spilker's user avatar
  • 18.3k
7 votes

Can a satellite work like a radiometer?

could a satellite have a stiff sail like the white side to let light pass and like the black side capture light to provide enough force to keep it in orbit? Not really. Let's ignore the point ...
SF.'s user avatar
  • 55k
7 votes

Has any living thing been directly exposed to the vacuum of space

In 1964 and 1965 at Holloman Air Force base in New Mexico a number of chimpanzees were exposed to a vacuum for 30 seconds. They were at 2 mm of mercury, which is 0.038 psi. They were revived with pure ...
Johnny Robinson's user avatar
7 votes

Has any living thing been directly exposed to the vacuum of space

In 1996 in a vacuum chamber space suit test Jim le Blanc had his air hose detach and he was exposed to a virtual vacuum at 0.1 psi. It was 87 seconds before the chamber was returned to normal air ...
Johnny Robinson's user avatar
7 votes

Has any living thing been directly exposed to the vacuum of space

I'm pretty sure this hasn't happened to Humans... Depends on your definition of 'exposed'... Soyuz 11 suffered an accidental depressuriation when preparing for reentry, when a valve accidentaly ...
Andrew is gone's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

What are these two SPHERES doing?

This student competition involved writing code to command the SPHERES. The scenario and requirements were presented as follows: The Red SPHERES Satellite is in trouble. Increasing numbers of ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
7 votes

What is this complicated experimental apparatus being pulled out of another complicated apparatus inside the ISS?

It is the Multi-user Droplet Combustion Apparatus, inside the station's Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR.) The CIR houses hardware capable of performing combustion experiments to further research of ...
Woody's user avatar
  • 21.4k
7 votes

What is this complicated experimental apparatus being pulled out of another complicated apparatus inside the ISS?

That is the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR) with its MDCA (Multi-user Droplet Combustion Apparatus) insert. This paper has a lot of technical details on CIR. The MDCA is capable of dispensing and ...
Doresoom's user avatar
  • 1,301
6 votes
Accepted

Has any living thing been directly exposed to the vacuum of space

Not quite sure what you mean by "directly", but yes, animals have been exposed to the vacuum of space. The European Space Agency (ESA) conducted an experiment called Biopan on the Russian satellite ...
called2voyage's user avatar
  • 23.7k
5 votes

Why did the Zond 5 tortoises lose body mass so quickly?

Not only were they starved, they were starved for a lot longer than the 6-day duration of the mission. According to this translation of Gaidamakin et al. (1969), the "turtles" (steppe ...
Ben Bolker's user avatar
5 votes

Methane detection on Mars by MOM?

I think they had an issue with the methane sensor. From India's Mars Orbiter Mission Has a Methane Problem: The problem has to do with how the instrument collects and processes detections of methane ...
MyTwoCents's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

How to get experiments to space?

Normal method to get things into space as a private individual is to build a cubesat, comply with the rules of whoever is going to fly it, send it to them and wait till they have a slot. Some costs ...
GremlinWranger's user avatar
4 votes

What ever happened to SpinSat - did it work?

When the results of the experiment become public, they should become visible on the NASA page you linked to. I haven't found anything in NTRS or on the website of the Naval Research Laboratory that ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 127k
4 votes

Fish in space: what were the results?

In many ways, medaka fish were able to adapt to the microgravity environment: Medaka fish were filmed for abnormal behaviors to consider a physiological change under microgravity. The movies showed ...
called2voyage's user avatar
  • 23.7k
4 votes

How do we determine the internal composition of gas giants?

@SteveLinton gave the primary investigations for determining a giant planet's internal structure: gravity field structure and magnetic field structure. One minor correction: while the round-trip ...
Tom Spilker's user avatar
  • 18.3k
4 votes

Can a satellite work like a radiometer?

In a way, yes — the US Naval Academy cubesat ParkinsonSAT was designed with four faces asymmetrical, with solar panels offset to one side and reflective tape occupying the remaining space, creating an ...
hobbs's user avatar
  • 927
4 votes

What would be the temperature range measured 2 meters above the Moon's surface? @10m? @50m?

In air, on Earth, we can talk about the temperature of the air 2 meters above the surface. Of course if it's the top of your hat, then the temperature of that is affected both by the air temperature,...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
4 votes
Accepted

Will astronauts on the way to mars do experiments like in orbital labs?

First of all, there are no announced plans, so nothing can be said definitively. Secondly, it really depends on the architecture. A Starship type mission, with lots of extra mass, will almost ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
4 votes

Isolation experiment in the Soviet Union in 1967

Andrew Bozhko together with Violetta Gorodinskaya wrote a book about his experience in this experiment “A year in a Star-flight”(год в «звездолете») 1975. From Goodreads.com Год в "Звездолете&...
Alina's user avatar
  • 41

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