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18/07/2019 22:18:19  

Red wine's resveratrol could help Mars explorers stay strong, says Harvard study
18/07/2019 18:15:04  

Tecwyn Roberts was instrumental in the Apollo missions as Nasa's chief of network engineering.
18/07/2019 15:15:19  

Four Russians and two Nasa engineers emerge from four months in a Moscow "spacecraft".
18/07/2019 14:19:09  

Astronaut’s newly released video interview describes final moments before ‘the Eagle’ landed on the moon

Time was running out. The Apollo 11 lunar module was on its historic descent to the moon’s crater-pocked surface on 20 July 1969 when a fuel light blinked on. Still 100ft (30 metres) above the ground, it was not what the astronauts needed. The Eagle’s tank was nearly dry.

In a new video interview about the momentous first landing on the moon, Buzz Aldrin, the mission’s lunar module pilot, describes how he held his tongue when the warning light appeared and Charlie Duke, Nasa’s capsule communicator, came on the line from Houston to inform Aldrin and Neil Armstrong they had only 60 seconds left to make it down.

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18/07/2019 12:19:03  

Some of the earliest video games were influenced by the space race and created using the same computers as Nasa

On 20 July 1969, before an estimated television audience of 650 million, a lunar module named Eagle touched down on the moon’s Sea of Tranquility. The tension of the landing and the images of astronauts in futuristic spacesuits striding over the moon’s barren surface, Earth reflected in their oversized visors, would prove wildly influential to artists, writers and film-makers.

Also watching were the soon-to-be proponents of another technological field populated by brilliant young geeks: computer games. It is perhaps no coincidence that during the early 1960s, when Nasa was working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Instrumentation Lab to develop the guidance and control systems for Apollo spacecraft, elsewhere on campus a programmer named Steve Russell was working with a small team to create one of the first true video game experiences.

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18/07/2019 01:21:21  

LEGO Group Kicks Off Global Program To Inspire The Next Generation Of Space Explorers As NASA Celebrates 50 Years Of Moon Landing
17/07/2019 16:18:17  

Statement by NASA Administrator Bridenstine: Hearing: Moon to Mars: NASA's Plans for Deep Space Exploration
17/07/2019 09:19:24  

There's bit more to it than leaning down and fumbling for reset switch, though

Icarus – the ambitious project to track hundreds of thousands of animals from space – has hit an unexpected delay after a specialised computer installed on board the International Space Station (ISS) refused to work as intended.…

17/07/2019 09:18:12  

"Monday's Wall Street Journal includes a special Apollo 11 feature," writes Slashdot reader Outatime in honor of the 50th anniversary since Apollo 11's Saturn V launched from the Kennedy Space Center. "[O]f particular interest to many Slashdot nerds is the piece on the pioneering computer hardware and software that took three astronauts, and landed two, on the moon." Here's an excerpt from the report: The [MIT Instrumentation Laboratory or I-Lab] was housed in a former underwear factory overlooking the Charles River, now long since demolished. The Apollo engineers and programmers labored at scuffed metal desks in cubicles with code scribbled on the chalkboard, slide rules on the table, cigarette butts on the linoleum floor. Fanfold computer printouts were stacked up to 6 feet high, like termite mounds. The lab had pioneered inertial guidance systems for the nuclear-warhead-tipped missiles of the Cold War, such as the submarine-launched Polaris intercontinental ballistic missiles. Funded by the U.S. Air Force, it also developed a plan in the late 1950s to fly a computerized probe to Mars and back. MIT received the first major Apollo contract, the only one awarded to a university, and the only one given without competitive bidding. In an era when a computer used fragile tubes, ran on punch cards and filled an entire room, the I-Lab engineers had invented a briefcase-size digital brain packed with cutting-edge integrated circuits and memory so robust it could withstand a lightning bolt -- a direct ancestor of almost all computers today. Unlike other machines of its era, it could juggle many tasks at once and make choices of which to prioritize as events unfolded. Apollo missions carried two of these computers, one aboard the command module and one in the lunar lander, running almost identical software. Only the lunar lander, though, required the extra code to set down safely on the moon.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

17/07/2019 06:19:30  

Wait, did we get that the right way around?

Pic Panic-stricken headlines claiming Earth will be slammed by an asteroid on September 9 this year should be ignored, the European Space Agency (ESA) assures us.…

17/07/2019 02:20:29  

On the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission that first put humans on the moon, Richard Godwin explores why conspiracy theories about the landings still endure. Plus Geoff Andrews on his part in the Guardian’s lunar front page from 1969 – and how he missed the famous quote

It took 400,000 Nasa employees and contractors to put Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon in 1969 – but only one man to spread the idea that it was all a hoax. His name was Bill Kaysing.

It began as “a hunch, an intuition”, before turning into “a true conviction” – that the US lacked the technical prowess to make it to the moon (or, at least, to the moon and back). Richard Godwin tells Anushka Asthana how Kaysing’s self-published 1976 pamphlet We Never Went to the Moon: America’s Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle sought to provide evidence for his conviction by means of grainy photocopies and ludicrous theories. Yet somehow he established a few perennials that are kept alive to this day in Hollywood movies and Fox News documentaries, Reddit forums and YouTube channels.

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17/07/2019 00:18:28  

NASA Racks Up Two Emmy Nominations for Mission Coverage
16/07/2019 23:18:08  

On April 20, a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, designed to take humans to the ISS, exploded during a routine test fire at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The cause has now been identified as a leaky valve in a propellant pressurization system. Thelasko shares a report from CBS News: Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX vice president of build and reliability said: "We believe that we had a liquid slug of the (NTO) in the pressurization system. When we opened the valves and pressurized the propellant system, we think that this slug was driven back into the check valve. That basically destroyed the check valve and caused an explosion." He said no one expected that "NTO driven into a titanium component would cause such a violent reaction. We then performed tests ... with the help of NASA, and we found out when the pressure is high, the temperature is high and you drive a slug with a lot of energy into a titanium component that you can have these rather violent reactions." Additional work is needed to rule out other less likely culprits but SpaceX is pressing ahead with plans to replace the valves in question with pressure-activated "burst discs" that have no moving parts and cannot leak.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

16/07/2019 21:18:10  

SIMPLEx (PEA-J of SALMON-3) Closed, 2020 Solicitation Anticipated
16/07/2019 20:18:06  

NASA Adds Events to Celebration of 50th Anniversary of Historic Moon Landing
16/07/2019 15:28:06  

ESA identifies demand for satellites around the Moon
16/07/2019 15:28:00  

Northrop Grumman Awarded $274 Million Environmental Test, Integration Services Contract by NASA
16/07/2019 15:27:55  

NASA Awards IV&V Management and Communications Support 2 Contract
16/07/2019 11:19:10  

Also: Virgin Orbit demonstrates it can drop stuff off a 747

Roundup While some at NASA may still be obsessing over past glories, other eyes remained fixed on the Moon, Mars and beyond in this week's rocket-bothering roundup.…

16/07/2019 07:18:00  

Scientists believe aerogel sheets could transform the cold, arid surface of Mars into land fit for farming. The Guardian reports: The "aerogel" sheets work by mimicking Earth's greenhouse effect, where energy from the sun is trapped on the planet by carbon dioxide and other gases. Spread out in the right places on Mars, the sheets would warm the ground and melt enough subsurface ice to keep plants alive. Should humans ever decide to spread beyond Earth, as the late Stephen Hawking declared we must, then growing food on alien worlds will be a skill that has to be mastered. But on Mars the conditions are hardly conducive. The planet is frigid and dry and bombarded by radiation, the soil contains potentially toxic chemicals and the wispy atmosphere is low on nitrogen. The aerogel sheets do not solve all of the problems but they could help future spacefarers create fertile oases on desolate planets where plants and other photosynthesizing organisms can take root. Because life would only grow beneath the sheets, the risk of contaminating the rest of Mars with foreign lifeforms would be minimal. The aerogel used to make the sheets is composed 97% of air, with the rest made up of a light silica network. The researchers, including scientists at Nasa and the University of Edinburgh, showed that 2cm- to 3cm-thick sheets of silica aerogel blocked harmful UV rays, allowed visible light through for photosynthesis and trapped enough heat to melt frozen water locked in Martian soil. The sheets could be laid directly on the ground to grow algae and aquatic plants, or suspended to provide room for land plants to grow beneath them. The researchers published their findings in the journal Nature Astronomy.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

16/07/2019 01:26:11  

Just build houses near the ice caps to produce water and grow food. Easy!

We may be able to survive and live on Mars in regions protected by thin ceilings of silica aerogel, a strong lightweight material that insulates heat and blocks harmful ultraviolet radiation while weighing almost nothing.…

15/07/2019 23:18:03  

NASA to Broadcast Next Space Station Resupply Launch, Prelaunch Activities
15/07/2019 15:20:46  

Aerogel sheet mimics Earth’s greenhouse effect and could help to create fertile oases

For future astronauts bound for Mars it will surely rank as a positive: when they sit down to dinner on the barren red planet, they should at least have plenty of greens.

The harsh environment on Mars has always made growing food a daunting prospect, but scientists believe they have cracked the problem with sheets of material that can transform the cold, arid surface into land fit for farming.

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15/07/2019 09:18:32  

National Archive documents reveal Buckingham Palace thought messages ‘a gimmick’

While the world awaited the historic launch of Apollo 11 50 years ago this week, Nasa invited many heads of state and government, including the Queen, to send messages to the moon.

Buckingham Palace may not have been immediately enthusiastic, however, apparently thinking that any such message could be “a gimmick”, records at the National Archives suggest.

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15/07/2019 07:18:40  

Make the most of bright summer produce with saffron and yogurt grilled chicken, tomato and roast pepper bruschetta and cherry jelly with orange cream

You come back from the shops with cherries, their skins tight and bright, the colour of beaujolais. Green-shouldered tomatoes too, fat red peppers and a bunch of basil, its leaves as big as bay. A heavy wedge of watermelon perhaps, a cool cucumber and spiky bunches of hot rocket. Summer shopping is frustrating. Peaches or nectarines? Peas in the pod or broad beans? Should we buy radishes and artichokes? We need food for the grill, something to marinade, and yet we still want something of substance. (Seafood for a potato-topped pie, chicken for the barbecue.) From now till late autumn there is almost too much from which to choose. We should make the most of it.

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