NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has officially made the closest-ever approach to a star and captured an image of the sun’s outer atmosphere for the world to see. The image, captured Nov. 8, shows the corona when the spacecraft was just 16.9 million miles from the star. The probe’s WISPR instrument took the photo, in which Jupiter is seen as the bright object. Parker also broke records for the fastest space probe, as it sends data back from its first solar encounter, and scientists gathered Wednesday at the American Geophysical Union meeting in Washington, D.C., to speak about the data. Read more for a video about Parker and additional information.
A human-made object has reached the space between the stars for the second time only in history. NASA’s Voyager 2 has exited the heliosphere – the protective bubble of particles and magnetic fields created by the Sun. Its twin, Voyager 1, crossed this boundary in 2012, but Voyager 2 has a working instrument that will provide first-of-its-kind observations of the nature of this gateway into interstellar space, which means its slightly more than 11 billion miles from Earth. Mission operators still can communicate with Voyager 2 as it enters this new phase of its journey, but the information it transmits – moving at the speed of light – takes about 16.5 hours to travel back to Earth – light traveling from the Sun takes eight minutes to reach our planet. Read more for another video and additional information.
Magicfly’s 3D-Printed Moon Lamp fits on your desk and is exquisitely crafted according to NASA satellite images, all for $20 shipped with coupon code: YIQ3PMGN, today only, originally $24.99. The surface has the feel of real craters and mountains, thanks to a special PLA material extracted from corn stalks. When fully charged via USB cable, it can be operated with gentle taps or other vibrations, with colors changing from yellow, white, to warm white. Product page – be sure to enter coupon code: YIQ3PMGN during final checkout for the additional discount. Read more for another hands-on video review and additional information.
NASA has just released a new audio file, captured by the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport InSight lander, which touched down on Mars just 10 days ago, of the first ever “sounds” of Martian winds on the Red Planet. The lander’s sensors captured a haunting low rumble caused by vibrations from the wind, which were estimated to being between 10 to 15 mph on December 1st, from northwest to southeast, consistent with the direction of dust devil streaks in the landing area. Read more for another video and additional information.
CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile Companion), a 3D-printed, AI robot created to help astronauts, has made its debut aboard the International Space Station. Featuring a cartoon-like face that interacts with astronauts, with the first being German Alexander Gerst, whom he will help conduct experiments. The 11-pound robot was developed by Airbus and IBM, the latter who, created the Watson AI. To start, it will work with Gerst three times on three different tasks – an experiment with crystals, working together to solve a Rubik’s cube and perform a complex medical experiment – totaling around three hours of work. Read more for another video and additional information.
The Nikon COOLPIX P1000 is no ordinary digital camera, as it’s the powerhouse of superzooms, with an incredible 125X optical zoom (24-3000mm equivalent) powered by high performance NIKKOR optics. It’s the ideal companion camera for birding, sports, wildlife and yes, even celestial-photographers seeking superior performance from extreme distances. The 16-megapixel COOLPIX P1000 also captures 4K UHD video and offers a host of manual controls, as well as user-friendly functions including built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, making it easy for photographers of all levels to explore and share their creativity. Product page. Read more for two more videos and additional information.
NASA’s latest spacecraft, the InSight Lander, is comfortably settling into life on Mars by recharging its batteries and taking stunning photos. This robotic mining device will eventually dig into the surface of the red planet, and to begin the process, it opened its solar panels on schedule Monday night. It’s scheduled to begin operations on the Martian surface and start deploying instruments over the next few days, while its mechanical arm continues to take pictures of the surface so JPL engineers can use to decide where to place the instruments. Read more for another video and additional information.
NASA’s InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport), a mechanical three-legged, one-armed mining spacecraft, successfully landed on Mars Monday afternoon, finishing one journey It will be the first mission to drill deeper into Mars as well as investigate if there are “Marsquakes.” The lander will open its solar panels after it waits for dust to literally clear approximately 4-hours after touching down. Read more for a live stream and additional information.
NASA recently tested their all-new Ignition Overpressure Protection and Sound Suppression Water Deluge System at the Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39B for its new Space Launch System (SLS). This test created a giant 2-million liter (450,000 gallon) water fountain in just over a minute. “When the mobile launcher is sitting on its pad surface mount mechanisms, the rest of the Ignition Over-Pressure/Sound Suppression System is connected to the pad supply headers and the water will flow through supply piping and exit through the nozzles…[as the water subsides], it flows into the flame trench and onto the east pad surface before finding its way to the east and west holding ponds through channels, called water flumes, or off the pad surface through the water drains and trenches,” said Nick Moss, NASA’s pad deputy project manager. Read more for another video on the SLS and additional information.
Photo credit: Peta Pixel
Nikon’s D5 is no entry level camera by any means, but just how much does it cost to ship to the International Space Station? The number might astound you. For starters, it costs $10,000 per pound when transporting things to the ISS, and the camera (3.11-pounds), along with a $500 Nikon 1.4x teleconverter (0.4-pounds) and $16,300 Nikon 800mm f/5.6E lens (10.10-pounds) totals $23,300, at 13.61-pounds. At the very low end, it costs NASA $136,100 to ship this camera kit without any packaging or accessories. Read more for another video and additional information.