October 7, 2013 |
You could place Michael Eisen in the same league as Aaron Swartz. Like the late Swartz, who campaigned for free public access to government publications and academic papers, UC Berkeley biologist Eisen is one of the genuine pioneers of open-access academic publishing. That's the notion that scientific papers should be made available free to researchers and the community at large, rather than hidden behind the expensive paywalls of profitable scientific journals. Last week Eisen took his battle to NASA, which submitted the first papers to come out of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's popular Mars Curiosity rover project to Science magazine, which charged the public as much as $20 a day to access them.
October 3, 2013 |
Planetary scientists are breathing a sigh of relief as NASA's MAVEN mission to Mars has been cleared for takeoff. The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN mission, slated for launch as early as Nov. 18, had been put on hold after this week's government shutdown, raising fears that the spacecraft would miss the launch window and be grounded for years. "I learned this morning that NASA has analyzed the MAVEN mission relative to the Anti-Deficiency Act and determined that it meets the requirements allowing an emergency exception," Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN's lead scientist based out of the University of Colorado in Boulder, said in an email.
October 2, 2013 |
Scientists have discovered that a huge, gassy exoplanet called Kepler-7b is covered with patchy clouds of silicates that might even rain liquid rock -- even though it's within scalding distance of its parent star. The findings, set to be published in Astrophysical Journal Letters, are the first to map cloud structures on a world beyond our solar system and could one day be used to study clouds on smaller, more Earth-like planets. The planet Kepler-7b, whose star sits in the constellation Lyra, was one of the earliest discoveries using NASA's now-hobbled Kepler space telescope . “We consider it a hot Jupiter because it's very close to its star," Demory said.
September 30, 2013 |
NASA is planning to send a 3-D printer into space and use it as a mini factory to churn out tools and instruments, sparing astronauts the hassle of lugging spare parts on each mission, according to a report. The printer is slated to go into space in the fall of 2014 on a supply mission, Associated Press said. NASA engineers envision a time when 3-D printers can print virtually any part that is needed and avert potential catastrophes in outer space. PHOTOS: Best states for doing business in 2013 "Any time we realize we can 3-D print something in space, it's like Christmas," Andrew Filo, a consultant with NASA on the printing project, told AP. "You can get rid of concepts like rationing, scarce or irreplaceable.
September 25, 2013 |
NASA engineers have built a device that uses radar to detect heartbeats in the rubble of collapsed buildings, with technology typically used to explore other planets. The FINDER device, developed with the Department of Homeland Security, could help search-and-rescue teams find survivors trapped underneath the wreckage - even when those victims can't call for help. Identifying people who are still alive in a collapsed building is a major challenge for urban rescue missions, said Jim Lux, task manager at Jet Propulsion Laboratory for FINDER (short for Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response)
September 20, 2013 |
After nearly nine years in space and 4.7 billion miles traveled, NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft has met an unexpected end after mission members lost contact with it last month. Though it was unable to complete its latest assignment, the comet-hunting spacecraft led a far longer life than expected with several career changes after its first encounter with comet Tempel 1. "We're all saddened by the loss of the spacecraft when we were just about to get some data that should have been very interesting on comet ISON and were hoping to continue for years to come," said the mission's principal investigator, Michael A'Hearn, an astronomer at the University of Maryland at College Park.
September 16, 2013 |
NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg says when a new cargo ship arrives this weekend at the International Space Station, she'll be unwrapping the chocolate. Like soldiers and college students everywhere, Nyberg gets excited about care packages from home. She told Associated Press that something freshly baked would be better, but she'll settle for chocolate. Her husband, astronaut Douglas Hurley, arranged to have the package stowed aboard the Cygnus. It's the debut of the space station delivery service by Virginia's Orbital Sciences Corp.
September 12, 2013 |
After 36 years of space travel and months of heated debate among scientists, NASA confirmed Thursday that Voyager 1 has indeed left our solar system and had entered interstellar space more than a year ago. "Voyager has boldly gone where no probe has gone before, marking one of the most significant technological achievements in the annals of the history of science," said John Grunsfeld, NASA's associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate....
September 12, 2013 |
Having trouble getting excited about NASA's planned mission to redirect an asteroid? Maybe William Gerstenmaier can help. "Turn off your logical side and turn on your touchy-feely side, the one you almost never use," Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Directorate, told attendees of an aeronautics and astronautics conference Wednesday in San Diego. "Then jump up and down and do some break-dancing. We're going to grab a space rock and we're going to move it!"