September 22, 1997 |
What makes plutonium so notorious? With hundreds of particles in the nucleus (compared to one, for say, hydrogen), plutonium is a huge, ungainly, complex atom. In fact, so many particles are crammed into plutonium's nucleus that the center cannot hold. The inter-atomic forces that normally keep atomic nuclei glued together aren't strong enough to keep the atom intact.
December 20, 1987 |
A full-scale test-firing of a redesigned space shuttle booster was scrubbed Saturday in the countdown's last second when the rocket's ignition system failed, officials said. A decision on rescheduling the test, considered a crucial milestone in the resumption of manned U.S. space flights, was to be made today, said Allan McDonald, Morton Thiokol Inc. vice president for shuttle engineering. The earliest a new test could be conducted would be Monday afternoon, he said.
June 27, 1993 |
NASA unfurled 1,640 feet of copper wire high above Earth on Saturday and conducted electricity through the line in a low-cost space tether test. "I rate this as a full success," National Aeronautics and Space Administration physicist Jim McCoy said. "We're getting at least a third of an amp in both directions." Such tethers, once refined, could be used to dispel electrical charges from spacecraft, including a space station, and change spacecraft orbits.
October 10, 1999 |
Today, as the spacecraft Galileo swoops past Jupiter's volcano-ridden moon Io collecting images and scientific data, few will be as mesmerized by the close encounter as La Verne resident Eileen Clark. The 49-year-old space buff is a mission operations analyst at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. She trouble-shoots the Galileo project, anticipating problems before they occur. Clark loves her job. In fact, she'd be thrilled to remain at JPL for years to come.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 17, 1991 |
Getting a student-designed science experiment into space is almost as difficult as making a perfect metal sphere. But later this month, four former Cal State Northridge students hope to accomplish both. After almost seven years of false starts and bureaucratic delays, their experimental device for making a flawless ball bearing in space has been loaded aboard the space shuttle Columbia, which is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral Wednesday morning.
August 21, 1989 |
Scientists have discovered a "Rogue's Gallery" of storm centers in the atmosphere of Neptune, including hurricane-like storms that are so intense they defy explanation. Packing winds of up to 400 m.p.h., the fierce storms appear as dark spots on photos that are being sent back to Earth from the Voyager spacecraft, which is zipping toward a close encounter with the distant planet Thursday night.