Tag Archives: NASA

NASA Shares Recordings from Space for you to Listen to & Use

NASA has a Soundcloud channel where they post audio recordings from space.  The channel includes items such as Kennedy’s speeches about space exploration, the shuttle’s rockets, as well as interstellar sounds. You can share the content or sample it in your work.

You can learn more about the project by going to NASA’s Soundcloud Stream or check out the story on NPR

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The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth

Want to know what your hometown looks like from space, check out NASA’s website “The Gateway to Astronaut Photography from Space.”

The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth hosts the best and most complete online collection of astronaut photographs of the Earth from 1961 through the present.

The free database is is a great way to explore both photographs and videos taken by astronauts from space. The public is permitted to use the images so long as they credit them appropriately:

“Image courtesy of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center” or “Video courtesy of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center” as appropriate. We recommend that the caption for any photograph published include the unique photo number (Mission-Roll-Frame), and our website (http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov) so that others can locate or obtain copies when needed.

Miami at Night Image courtesy of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center ISS026-E-8504 http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov

Miami at Night
Image courtesy of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center
ISS026-E-8504
http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov

NASA: A Day of Remembrance

722216main_dor_360Today, NASA remembers their fallen astronauts on their annual “Day of Remembrance,” which falls on the 10th anniversary of the Columbia disaster in 2003. While NASA has the the highest safety record for manned space flight in the history of the world, the program has not been without tragedy. I recently highlighted the 27th anniversary of the Challenger Explosion that took the lives of all seven crew members, including teacher Christa McAuliffe, the first and only participant in NASA’s Teacher in Space Project (cancelled in 1990 as a result of the tragedy).

Crew of the Apollo 1

Crew of the Apollo 1

The first astronaut tragedy to hit NASA was the ill-fated Apollo 1 in 1967. Originally intended to be the first manned mission to the moon, a fire during the launch pad test resulted in the deaths of all three crew members. Manned lunar launches were delayed only briefly as the United States government was embroiled in the Space Race against the Soviet Union.

While there would be other fatalities in training scenarios and frightening close calls (the Apollo 13 mission, for example, very nearly ended in tragedy but the swift thinking of its crew and NASA engineers resulted in a Hollywood-style happy ending) NASA’s space program would continue for nearly 20 years without incident until the Challenger explosion in 1986. Many believed that the explosion of the Challenger at launch would be the death knell for NASA, but after a few years space exploration continued and the program endured.

Crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia

Crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia

On February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated on reentry over Texas and Louisiana. Subsequent testing and examination indicated that pilot error had caused the tragedy. All seven crew members (5 Americans, 1 Israeli astronaut, and 1 Indian astronaut) were killed. The world community mourned the loss of these scientists.

Today, on the anniversary of the tragedy, American and NASA remembers all of the astronauts who gave their lives in our endeavor to explore beyond our own atmosphere. While their tragedy touches us all, their legacy endures. NASA, still battling funding cuts, intends to reinstitute manned flights to space in a few years.

For a list of all space-flight related fatalities, see this article on Wikipedia (note that while the USSR has some names reported, historians and political scientists agree that the number of cosmonauts killed in space travel has been vastly and drastically underreported).

For more information on Columbia Disaster, see:

“How the Columbia Tragedy Unfolded – and Led to NASA’s Tough Transition” by MSNBC

“The Day the Room Went Silent: NASA Design Engineer Remembers Columbia Explosion” by FoxNews

“Top 10 Myths Surrounding NASA’s Columbia Space Shuttle Disaster” by MSNBC

27 Years Ago Today – the Challenger Explosion

Explosion of the Challenger

Explosion of the Challenger

On January 28, 1986, 11:38 am EST, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after launch. All seven crew members were killed in the tragedy. This was the first shuttle to be completely destroyed in an accident. The Challenger launch had been promoted and touted by NASA, especially with its inclusion of Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher in space.

After the disaster, space flight was put on a 32 month hiatus while NASA officials and the government investigated the cause of the explosion. The Rogers Commission (a special committee formulated to investigate the disaster) and the House investigations determined that the explosion was caused due to the failure of an o-ring seal during launch. The House made the determination that:

…the Committee feels that the underlying problem which led to the Challenger accident was not poor communication or underlying procedures as implied by the Rogers Commission conclusion. Rather, the fundamental problem was poor technical decision-making over a period of several years by top NASA and contractor personnel, who failed to act decisively to solve the increasingly serious anomalies in the Solid Rocket Booster joints.

The Challenger explosion was the worst disaster in NASA’s history until the Columbia was destroyed on re-entry in 2003.

Myths of the Moon Missions

In advance of the upcoming film Apollo 18, a Sci-Fi Horror flick based on the cancelled Apollo 18 mission, Discovery News has released a collection of famous “Moon Mission Myths.” Like most Americans, I grew up in awe and admiration of the American Space Program. To learn more about NASA’s missions to the Moon and the myths and realities associated with it, click here and learn why Neil Armstrong was the first man to step on the moon or who invented the multi-million dollar “space pen.”

50th Anniversary of JFK’s “We Will Go to the Moon” Speech

Today marks the 50th Anniversary of JFK’s famous speech in which he outlined America’s goal to put a man on the moon – a turning point in America’s space program.

The President’s speech, in which he stated:

“this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”

jump-started America’s Apollo program, which would ultimately achieve this stated goal.

Evidently, in spite of his public statements to the contrary, the President had little faith in the burgeoning space program.

“I don’t think the space program has much political positives.”

However, competition with the Russians and the public excitement it invoked kept NASA funded and the Apollo program moving forward.

To read more about the President’s speech and America’s Apollo program, read this FoxNews article. To learn more about President Kennedy reservations, check out this article from MSNBC.

Lost Egyptian Pyramids Found From Space

Seventeen lost pyramids, more than one thousand tombs, and over three thousand settlements have been located via satellite imagery.

The sites were identified by a team of archaeologists, led by Dr. Sarah Parcak and partnered with NASA, by examining thousands of infra-red images recorded by orbiting satellites.

You can read more about these discoveries in this BBC Article or, if you’re a UK resident, in this BBC One Programme.