Joe Barnard, amateur rocketeer and founder of Barnard Propulsion Systems (BPS), specializes in making flight hardware for others in the hobby, and is currently working on mastering propulsive landings for model rockets. This is the same principle that enables SpaceX to land the first stage of its Falcon 9 rockets after boosting a payload to orbit. Thrust vectoring allows for control over the direction of a rocket’s engines during flight to change its trajectory and stabilize the vehicle, and Barnard is a pioneer in DIY thrust vectoring. Read more for two more videos (launch and landing).
A mile-wide asteroid that’s shaped like a walnut, and with a moon of its own, is expected to zip by Earth on Saturday, traveling at 48,000 mph. This double asteroid, designated as Asteroid (66391) 1999 KW4, is composed of one large asteroid orbited by a smaller moon, or one that’s about a third of a mile wide and orbits around the larger body about once every 16 hours. The Las Cumbres Observatory describes 1999 KW4 as “slightly squashed at the poles and with a mountain ridge around the equator, which runs all the way around the asteroid. This ridge gives the primary an appearance similar to a walnut or a spinning top.” Read more for two videos and additional information.
A NASA research center confirmed that a large, car-sized meteoroid landed on Tuesday in the Great Australian Bight just off the coast of South Australia. The Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at the California Institute of Technology analyzes the impact time, location, and amount of energy generated by meteors and asteroids that approach earth using high-precision orbit solutions of the space objects to predict the risk of impact and supports NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office. Read more for another video from another angle and additional information.
Ever wonder what happens when you dissolve the aluminum on a soda can with liquid still inside? MEL Science may have answered that question with their latest video. The experiment reveals that there’s actually a plastic coating lining the aluminum can after the metal is dissolved away that acts as a barrier against the corrosive effect of acidic drinks on the reactive metal. This plastic liner also forms a barrier between the product and metal to provide protection against food-borne diseases. Read more for the experiment video and additional information.
NASA’s next mission to the Red Planet will be a special one, and not just for the space agency, as they announced today that boarding passes will display names submitted by internet users etched onto microchips and carried aboard the Mars 2020 rover. It’s scheduled to launch as early as July 2020, with the spacecraft expected to touch down on Mars in February 2021. This 1,000-kg rover is designed to search for signs of past microbial life, characterize the planet’s climate as well as geology, collect samples, and pave the way for human exploration. Read more for another video and additional information.
Opening a jar of honey is nothing new or special, especially here on Earth where a small tilt would mean a big cleanup, but in space, it’s an entirely different story. Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques decided to conduct a honey experiment on the International Space Station, and as you’re about to see, honey clings from the jar to the lid and tries to curl back on itself in micro-gravity. Read more to watch the video and for additional information.
NASA has just released a new video showing a fly-over of Mount Sharp, where Curiosity rover is currently exploring and the path that it will take over the next few years as it wends its way up the mountain to learn more about the planet’s geology as well as history. This 3D model was made using data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which carries a host of instruments, like the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM), and the Context Camera (CTX). Read more to watch the video and for additional information.
NASA has just completed its first hardware test for Bumble, one of three Astrobee robots designed to research automated caretaking aboard the International Space Station. It arrived on April 17th, and will perform automated tasks in the spring, including recharging at its docking station, Kibo. Read more for a video and additional information.
The Trump administration has requested an additional $1.6 billion for NASA’s $21 billion 2020 budget request to kick start plans to return American astronauts to the moon by 2024, four years earlier than previously planned. The space agency is developing plans for the lunar “Gateway” space station that will be assembled in orbit around the moon to serve as a staging base for eventual piloted flights down to the surface using commercially landers and ascent vehicles. “Our charge is to go quickly and to stay, to press our collective efforts forward with a fervor that will see us return to the Moon in a manner that is wholly different than 50 years ago. We turn towards the Moon now not as a conclusion but as preparation, as a check point toward all that lies beyond,” he adds. “Our greatest adventures remain ahead of us. We are going,” said William Shatner in the newly released video. Read more for a selection of fascinating images from around the web.
How about a wearable armband that can keep your body at the ideal temperature inside the house? That’s exactly what scientists at UC San Diego have created. It works inside for more than eight hours and can lower skin temperature by up to 10°C (50°F), making it a more viable solution when central heating and / or air conditioning is not available. How does it work? Well, is relies on thermoelectric alloys, which use electricity to create a temperature difference, placed between heat-conducting stretchy sheets and connected to a small battery pack. Read more for additional pictures and information.