79 votes
Accepted

This image of the Space Shuttle is truly beautiful, but is it real?

This image is very similar to the following image https://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/shuttle/sts-130/html/iss022e062672.html with the following description STS-130 Shuttle Mission Imagery ...
OON's user avatar
  • 1,684
55 votes
Accepted

What caused this bright light from the ground at night seen from the ISS?

Well I confirmed via Google Maps that this is Mecca. As shown in the map and image below the roads align with those lighted in the image. The dark areas in the first image are steep hills to the ...
Josh King's user avatar
  • 2,429
52 votes

What would be the (most difficult) challenge to make a 10,000 year satellite?

LAGEOS satellites This has, in a way, already been done, with the Laser Geodynamics Satellite (LAGEOS) satellites. LAGEOS satellites, (the second of which was launched from the shuttle on mission ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
44 votes

This image of the Space Shuttle is truly beautiful, but is it real?

A reverse image search (once you tell Google you're looking for the space shuttle, not base jump) brings you to the picture on Getty Images, which states: Space shuttle above Earth's atmosphere, ...
jcaron's user avatar
  • 957
44 votes
Accepted

What celestial body did NASA carve and why is it eating a spacecraft?

That's Saturn eating Cassini (remember Cassini's entry into Saturn's atmosphere at the end of its mission).
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
42 votes
Accepted

Why does this rocket have a nose cone "cozy"?

That video frame shows the top of the Apollo LES. The object under the cover is the Q-ball. The cover is removed at T - 9 s. The Q-ball is an angle of attack sphere perched above the launch escape ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
39 votes

Would Earth fireworks work on the Moon or on Mars?

The great majority of firework effects involve fuels and oxidizers incorporated together. The mortars and rockets would function fine to propel the shells, the burst charges would do their job, the ...
Christopher James Huff's user avatar
29 votes
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Cartoon-like characters on the side of the Tianwen-1 Mars lander?

The cartoon characters are the mascots for the 2022 Winter Olympic games & the Winter Para Olympic games. The panda figure on the left is for the Olympic Games and the red figure of the right is ...
Fred's user avatar
  • 13.1k
24 votes
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Who does these mesmerizing simulations of the phases of the Moon? And how?

I made the images on Wikipedia with my own software. The original on Wikipedia is here. The main work needed is getting the proper position of the Moon with its precessing elliptical orbit, while the ...
Tom R's user avatar
  • 556
24 votes

What would be the (most difficult) challenge to make a 10,000 year satellite?

The problems would be many to transmit a radio signal for 10,000 years. However there is nothing about a 10,000 year lifetime that would violate physics. It would just be extremely difficult ...
Mark Adler's user avatar
  • 58.2k
22 votes

What would be the (most difficult) challenge to make a 10,000 year satellite?

To complement, not attempt to replace, the other answers, I would like to propose a difficulty I see nobody having mentioned so far, but which could potentially be very problematic over such long time ...
user's user avatar
  • 7,310
21 votes
Accepted

Who is the artist of this image appearing in an article about a Russian space laser?

The Federation of American Scientists website, includes the image in a page entitled "DIA Military Art Series: The Threat In The 1980s" and credits the image to a Defence Intelligence Agency artist, ...
Ty Hayes's user avatar
  • 326
21 votes

Are there any photo(s) of International Space Station (ISS) captured from above its altitude?

Yes. Most craft, when docking with the ISS do a fly-around to survey the docking site. They can then frequently capture images of the ISS from the top view. Here is one from the Shuttle Atlantis taken ...
Brian Tompsett - 汤莱恩's user avatar
20 votes
Accepted

Have astronauts in space suits ever taken selfies? If so, how?

Several space selfies were made and chances are you already know the very first one Buzz Aldrin took of himself during Gemini 12. The cameras used are large-ish but imagine even holding a shoe box in ...
DarkDust's user avatar
  • 12.5k
20 votes
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What is the blue and purple glitter dinosaur above NASA astronaut Robert Behnken in this video?

The dinosaur, an Apatosaurus named "Tremor" is the unofficial third crew member (in the DM2 webcast also sometimes jokingly referred to as a stowaway) of SpX-DM2. It was chosen by Doug ...
Jörg W Mittag's user avatar
18 votes
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Why did New Horizons have to be spin-balanced to grams-level precision? (With quarters!)

I am familiar with the spin dynamics of both New Horizons and Ladee, since I performed nutation fuel slosh tests on models of the spacecraft in my drop tower facility, Applied Dynamics Laboratories, ...
jon harrison's user avatar
18 votes
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How did NASA's Deep Space Network encode and broadcast music to Opportunity?

TLDR; They didn't. I submitted NASA FOIA request 19-JPL-F-00295 asking about this, and they responded: [...] JPL confirmed that the song was not radiated to the spacecraft. It was just played on ...
Mark Omo's user avatar
  • 5,301
17 votes

Would Earth fireworks work on the Moon or on Mars?

The youtube channel Cody's lab has tested some small fireworks in a vacuum chamber. Fireworks in vacuum, some pyrotechnics, and gunpowder. While in principle the firework carry the oxidizer and don't ...
guest's user avatar
  • 171
16 votes
Accepted

Artificial Shooting Stars - how could this possibly work (economically/technologically)?

Now that I have my comment out of the way, I can't envision sending something up to a relatively high LEO would be either effective or efficient. It would make far more sense to do something on a ...
Tristan's user avatar
  • 17.3k
15 votes

What would be the (most difficult) challenge to make a 10,000 year satellite?

The biggest challenges are going to be what people have already mentioned - the funding (don't skirt over that comment, you did ask for the challenges), an energy source for 10,000 years, and how to ...
Andy's user avatar
  • 5,178
15 votes
Accepted

Who proposed detonating gunpowder on the moon to prove a rocket reached it?

Looks like it was indeed Goddard. Key search term was 'flash powder' not gunpowder. The Smithsonian has a box built and used by American rocket pioneer Robert H. Goddard in experiments in 1916 to ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
13 votes

How accurate is this Apollo Command Module replica, and why would it be copper-colored?

The color of that replica looks about right. You're looking at the heat shield, which consists of phenolic epoxy resin. The heat shield has several outer coverings: a pore seal, a moisture barrier (...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
12 votes

Two week mark; has Mayak (Маяк) been spotted yet? Reflector deployed? Astronomy "ruined"?

No, the reflector hasn't been deployed. Project head, Alexander Shayenko reported about it (RUS) (ENG) today. Early report information On July 17th the team reported about possible success (RUS) (...
Евгений Новиков's user avatar
12 votes

Who is the space artist? Patterns on the Spheres robots on the ISS

These are some of the SPHERES satellites. They're little flying robots, driven by pressurised gas, intended to fly around inside the station. They were created for various indoor experiments, such as ...
Andy's user avatar
  • 5,178
12 votes
Accepted

What Soviet-era space-related film is this Nick Stevens tweet referring to?

That frame is from the movie "Taming of the Fire". In Russian: "Укрощение огня". You can watch it on Mosfilm website: http://cinema.mosfilm.ru/films/film/Ukroshenie-ognya/...
chrns's user avatar
  • 321
12 votes

This image of the Space Shuttle is truly beautiful, but is it real?

Some further information on the manipulation or possible genuine situation can be had by analyzing the perspective in the image. I measured the length of the orbiter as 49 pixels and the diameter of ...
jpa's user avatar
  • 1,912
12 votes
Accepted

Which rocket was shown resupplying the ISS in Designated Survivor?

It's an older Delta, which as you say, is not (and was never) used to supply the ISS. Image source: Wired article on the Delta II Delta II flew its last mission in 2018. (wikipedia) I don't know if ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
11 votes
Accepted

Could an ISS astronaut photograph something like this 1km "Van Gogh" if they knew it was there?

I like @PearsonArtPhoto's answer, though the considerations about exposure time may not be correct. I was looking for something more visual. The website states an area of 0,53m² of the Van Gogh image,...
sweber's user avatar
  • 781
11 votes
Accepted

Design of 1970s era orbital fuel depot

They appear to be nuclear reactor modules, telescoped away from the rest of the station and each other for safety purposes. I googled 'MSFC-70-PD-4000-53' and found NASA's 1970 Space Flight Evolution ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

Is there really moon rock in this cathedral window? If so, how, and from where on the Moon?

This is the "Space Window" of the National Cathedral in Washington. Source: NASA The National Cathedral website identifies the rock as ...
1337joe's user avatar
  • 7,206

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