Shuttle’s Human Experiments Pave Way for Moon, Mars Voyages

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 17, 2006   View Article

The space shuttle Discovery successfully finished its latest voyage today, touching down at Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 9:14 a.m. local time.

But science experiments started during the 13-day mission will continue.

Throughout their nearly two weeks in space, the crew kept diaries of their sleeping habits and filled containers with various bodily fluids.

The tasks were part of experiments designed to help better prepare astronauts to stay healthy during long-distance space flights to the moon and Mars.

NASA Aims To Open Moon for Business

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 25, 2006   View Article

For-profit space business is “critical” to any moon-mission plans, according to NASA under the Bush Administration.

But how do you make money on the moon?

According to experts, there are spaceships to build, moon metals to mine, and energy resources to harness. Not to mention movies to make, low-gravity games to create, and advertising to sell.

NASA Mini Plane Holds Promise for Mars, Military

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 7, 2006   View Article

NASA scientists have programmed a model airplane to seek out rising columns of hot air called thermals and use them to soar like a bird.

The airplane could help monitor forest fires, guard borders, and collect weather data, according to the team.

In the future such planes could use similar updrafts to extend flight time on Mars, giving scientists a bird’s-eye view of the planet.

“Hot” Rocks Found in Icy Comet

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 14, 2006   View Article

Comet Wild 2 has spent most of its life in the most frigid reaches of our solar system. But at the comet, NASA’s Stardust spacecraft has found minerals born of intense heat near the sun or other stars, scientists announced yesterday afternoon.

The surprising finding may alter our understanding of how comets form, they said.

Mars’s Gravity Captures NASA Spacecraft

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 10, 2006   View Article

After a seven-month journey, a NASA spacecraft successfully made orbit around Mars today to the relief of Mission Control.

“I am very relieved,” said James Graf, project manager for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

“It was picture perfect. I mean, we could not have scripted something better. As a matter of fact, I think we did script it,” he added.

Stronger Solar Storms Predicted; Blackouts May Result

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 7, 2006   View Article

The next 11-year solar storm cycle should be significantly stronger than the current one, which may mean big problems for power grids and GPS systems and other satellite-enabled technology, scientists announced today.

The stronger solar storms could start as early as this year or as late as 2008 and should peak around 2012.

NASA Budget Diverts Funds From Science to Spaceships

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 8, 2006   View Article

Is Earth the only planet with life?

It’s one of many tantalizing scientific questions that NASA is failing to adequately address, several experts said in response to the 16.8-billion-dollar 2007 budget that President George W. Bush’s proposed for the U.S. space agency on Monday.

The spending plan, which is a 3.2 percent increase over 2006, places priority on the space shuttle’s return to flight, space station construction, and development of the next-generation spacecraft to ferry humans to the moon and, eventually, Mars.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach