Launched: STS 135—To Infinity & Beyond

NASA’s STS-135 mission of the Space Shuttle lifted off its pad in Florida successfully, today, July 8, 2011. More than a million people were there to witness the liftoff. Here is a video I made of the launch and commentary.

Launched: STS 135—To Infinity & Beyond

NASA’s STS-135 mission of the Space Shuttle lifted off its pad in Florida successfully, today, July 8, 2011. More than a million people were there to witness the liftoff. Here is a video I made of the launch and commentary.

STS 135 Eve of Last Launch of the Space Shuttle

Four astronauts will board the Space Shuttle tomorrow morning for the last ride on America’s Space Shuttle program. More than one million people will view the launch of STS-135 at the NASA Kennedy Center, and millions more on the Web and TV.   You follow the mission on the NASA blog here, Facebook, Twitter, and […]

Water on the Moon

NASA scientists, of  Project LCROSS, have reported that there is water in one of the moon’s craters, and that there is more water in this crater than there is in the Sahara Desert.  The water, in the form of ice crystals, makes up about 5 – 8% of the crater’s mixture.  According to NASA, 8 […]

NASA’s Role in Inspiring Teachers and Youth

NASA, created by Congress and President Eisenhower on October 1, 1958, has played an important role in the hearts and minds teachers and their students. Although originally created as a national defense strategy, NASA’s space exploration missions have effectively inspired generations of people, not only in the U.S., but around the world. I wanted to […]

NASA's Role in Inspiring Teachers and Youth

NASA, created by Congress and President Eisenhower on October 1, 1958, has played an important role in the hearts and minds teachers and their students. Although originally created as a national defense strategy, NASA’s space exploration missions have effectively inspired generations of people, not only in the U.S., but around the world. I wanted to […]

Images from NASA for Science Teaching

I received note from Jake Johnson, outreach coordinator, the Internet Archive Outreach, NASA images asking to mention a resource for teaching at the NASA Images website. I think you will find this site a powerful aid for teaching. Here are some examples:

That Historic Day When We Landed on the Moon & How an Australian Dish Saved the Day

Forty years ago, Neil Armstrong’s historic “one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind” comment as he stepped from the LEM onto the moon’s surface was watched by more than 600 million people (one fifth of mankind at the time).  Humankind almost didn’t see this historic event. Here is the unbelievable footage, recently […]

That Historic Day When We Landed on the Moon & How an Australian Dish Saved the Day

Forty years ago, Neil Armstrong’s historic “one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind” comment as he stepped from the LEM onto the moon’s surface was watched by more than 600 million people (one fifth of mankind at the time).  Humankind almost didn’t see this historic event. Here is the unbelievable footage, recently […]

Space Shuttle Discovery Launched!

I am watching the countdown of STS 119, the October 15, 2009 launch of the Space Shuttle, Discovery. I started this post at T minus 6 minutes and counting, and continued watching until Discovery reached orbit.  It’s always amazing whenever we launch the Space Shuttle. I remember watching the landing (from TV) of the first Space […]

Is there life out there?

NASA’s latest spacecraft, Kepler lifted off into a solar orbit but in a region close to earth.  It’s mission over the next 3 1/2 years is look for Earth-like planets by using a photometer that is very sensitive to variation in the light intensity emitted from stars.  According to Kepler project scientists on a NASA […]

Asteroid 2009 DD45 Comes Close to Earth: A Teaching Opportunity

Australian astronomers noticed a surprise blip on an image taken from Siding Spring Observatory, and announced that an asteroid, designated 2009 DD45 would pass about 40,000 miles from Earth on March 2.   It did, and it was reported on most news services.  And it provides an interesting teaching opportunity to examine asteroids, and also […]

Science Teaching: In search of the answers of questions unknown

There were two articles in the New York Times today that relate to this post about the nature of science teaching. One was an essay entitled by Dennis Overbye, Elevating Science, Elevating Democracy, and the other was an interview with Peter Agre (President of the AAAS & Nobel Winner in Biology, and major contributor to […]

Launched! Endeavor Blast Off!

I witnessed one Space Shuttle launch in 1982, and it was an unbelievable experience.  The sounds that you hear, and the vibrations you feel are amazing.  Here are a few pictures of the Endeavor launch, on November 14, 2008.                 After lift off roll procedures, followed by a […]

Set to Launch: Space Shuttle Endeavor—STS 126

STS 126, Space Shuttle Endeavor is set to launch tonight from Kennedy Space Center.  Seven astronauts will ride into space aboard the shuttle under a full moon. Here is a close up of Endeavor just prior to lift off!

Touchdown: Mars Lander Arrives Polar Region

I watched the last half-hour and the final seven minutes of terror as the Mars Lander (Phoenix) approached and continued on into the Martian atmosphere entering at about 12,000 miles/hour, and slowed to 5 miles/hour and made a perfect landing: touchdown. What was exciting about this half-hour was watching the activities in mission-control and listening […]

NASA’s Phoenix Lander Set to Land on Mars

On Sunday, soon after the finish of the Indianapolis 500 race, the Phoenix Mars Lander will approach the planet Mars and attempt a powered landing. Live coverage will be shown on NASA television with the descent to Martian surface beginning around 4:46 P.M. Eastern time. Here are some sequences showing how the Phoenix will approach […]

NASA's Phoenix Lander Set to Land on Mars

On Sunday, soon after the finish of the Indianapolis 500 race, the Phoenix Mars Lander will approach the planet Mars and attempt a powered landing. Live coverage will be shown on NASA television with the descent to Martian surface beginning around 4:46 P.M. Eastern time. Here are some sequences showing how the Phoenix will approach […]

Mission to the Blue Planet

Last week, astronomers in Europe announced the discovery of an Earth-like planet outside of our Solar System. It was discovered this month, and it orbits the star Gliese 581, which is a red dwarf star located a little more than 20 light years from Earth. As a star system, Gliese became interesting to the astronomers […]

Oldest Solar Observatory in the Americas

Yesterday I wrote about a new column that will appear in the New York Times, Across the Universe, and the anticipation of some very interesting discoveries by astrophysics about stars and galaxies, and what’s out there. Then today, in the same newspaper comes a story (that had been released on NPR earlier in the month) […]

Around the Universe: A Resource for Science Teachers

The New York Times has launched a new column, Across the Universe featuring Sir Patrick Moore, Brian May and Chris Lintott. This will be an outstanding resource for teachers, grades 3 – 12. Moore has been the host of “The Sky at Night,” a monthly TV show on BBC, for 50 years. Yes, that’s right. […]

NASA’s Earth-Sensing Satellites Getting Old

Satellites orbiting the earth have provided Earth Scientists will information that is used to study many parameters important to scientific investigation of Planet Earth. Paramters such as sea level, motions of the earth, glacial ice, and others are measured. In a report, Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and […]

NASA's Earth-Sensing Satellites Getting Old

Satellites orbiting the earth have provided Earth Scientists will information that is used to study many parameters important to scientific investigation of Planet Earth. Paramters such as sea level, motions of the earth, glacial ice, and others are measured. In a report, Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and […]

Wernher von Braun and the American Rocket Program

In the previous post I focused on Sergey Pavlovich Korolyov, the Chief Designer and brilliant engineer of the Soviet rocket program. In this post I want to talk about Wernher von Braun and his contribution to the American rocket and space program. My thinking is influenced by Cadbury’s book, SpaceRace, as well as my own […]

Sergey Pavlovich Korolyov—Russian Rocket Scientist

Sergey Pavlovich Korolyov, featured in D. Cadbury’s new book, SpaceRace, was the man unknown to the west who built the rockets that put the first satellite into orbit, the first man in orbit about the earth, as well as several rockets to the moon. Who was Sergey Pavlovich Korolyov? Why was he unknown to the […]

Hubble Repair Mission

NASA adminstrators announced two days ago that they will design and carry out a daring mission in 2008 to repair and upgrade the Hubble Telescope which was launched 16 years ago. Two shuttles will be readied for the mission, one to be used if a rescue mission is needed. The repair will involve very sophisticated […]

Russian Space Web

In the process of reading SpaceRace, and searching the web for further resources and information, I came across Anatoly Zak’s incredible website, Russian Space Web. According to Zak’s site, “The mission of this site is to preserve and popularize the history of space exploration and to promote the cooperation in space.” And Anatoly Zak does […]

The Race for Space: Launching a Satellite for the International Geophysical Year (1957)

The race for space for a long time was a dream of von Braun’s rocket scientists, and Sergei Korolev (Russian: Серге́й Па́влович Королёв) in Russia, but any of their hopes were dashed by the political forces, and the general feeling that building rockets for space exploration was a fantasy, and probably couldn’t be done. However, […]

The Race for Space–The American-Soviet Battle for Space

I am reading an exciting book entitled SpaceRace by D. Cadbury, Harper Collins, 2006. If you are interested in the space program, enjoy historical suspense, then this is a book for you. The book weaves the story of the German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun and the Soviet rocket expert Sergei Korolev. The story begins […]

Rest and Sleep for NASA: Participate in the Bed Rest Study

I read an interesting article in the New York Times online today entitled NASA Seeks Volunteers to Spend 3 Weeks in Bed (It’s Tougher Than You Think). Apparently, according one of the NASA scientists (Dr. Liz Warren)working on the project, its been difficult to find volunteers. The article intriqued me, so I went to NASA’s […]

2006 Nobel Prize in Physics: The Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE)

John C. Mather of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and George F. Smoot of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory received the 2006 Nobel Prize in physics. They will split the $1.3 million prize. They headed a team of scientists and engineers who developed the COBE satellite which was launched in 1989. It measured the temperature and […]

Pluto is a Dwarf Planet

Astronomers at IAU Congress in Prague reached agreement that the planets and planet like-bodies in the Solar System (and in other solar systems) will be categorized into three groups, meaning that Earth is still a planet, but Pluto is now a “Dwarf planet.” Here is what they decided. 1. The classic eight planets of the […]

Planet Redefinition Fails!

In the first open discussion of the redefinition of the meaning of planet (held today in Prague), the proposal set forth by the Executive Committee of IAU was voted down by planetary scientists by a vote of 60 to 40! According to a report that I read, “most of the speakers during the discussion favored […]

Does our Solar System have a Double Planet?

It appears so! According the redefinition of the meaning of planet, Pluto and Charon would be the only double planet system in the Solar System. At least according to the proposed redefinition. According to IAU’s new definition, a “planet is a celestial body that (a) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body […]

Planet Definition—Emergence of New Solar System Mobiles

On Tuesday, August 22 at the International Astronomical Union Conference in Prague, the IAU Executive Committee will hold a general meeting to discuss the meaning of the concept of planet. As in an earlier post, the definition that has been proposed, and that will be discussed tomorrow has raised perhaps more questions than it answers. […]

What is the definition of a Planet? Teaching about the nature of science.

I recently heard a science teacher say that the astronmers’ current debate and formulation of a new definition for a planet was great because it could be used to teach students about the nature of science. Right on! In a recent New York Times article, Dennis Overbye wrote that “a committee of astronomers and historians […]

Discovery Returns to Florida

Space Shuttle Discovery returned safely to Florida after a really important mission for NASA’s astronaut corp, and the Space Station. After three space walks, transferring thousands of pounds of supplies, and removing trash, the astronauts “installed new equipment outside of the station, tested technologies and techniques for repairing small areas of damage to the shuttle’s […]

July 4th Blast Off!

It wasn’t the shot heard ’round the world, but for NASA it was an important success in its plan to help finish the contruction of the Space Station. It will take about 15 flights of the Space Shuttle from now until 2010, so today’s flight was important in reaching that goal. The astronauts looked ready […]

The Space Shuttle: Connecting with Space

It looks like NASA will be proceed with the launch on July 4 of the Space Shuttle Discovery. It will be the first time that a launch of astronauts has taken place on Independence Day. Let’s hope that it proceeds as the astronauts hope. Imagine getting on that giant rocket twice and have it called […]

Back to the Moon and Then Onto Mars

In the last post I reported that new goals for NASA, established by the current Administration, not only involve sending astronauts to Mars, but a return series of trips to the moon. Instead of Apollo, the astronauts will travel in an “apollo-like” spacecraft called CEV (Crew Exploration Vehicle). I think NASA administrators are involved in […]

NASA's Budget: Funding Big; Loss for Small Projects

Last year, President Bush established a goal for NASA that would put astronauts on Mars by 2020. This has naturally impacted (intended) NASA’s budget. Although the NASA budget will increase this year, many projects that are much smaller in scope than completing the International Space Station, creating a successor to the Orbitor, and working on […]

NASA’s Budget: Funding Big; Loss for Small Projects

Last year, President Bush established a goal for NASA that would put astronauts on Mars by 2020. This has naturally impacted (intended) NASA’s budget. Although the NASA budget will increase this year, many projects that are much smaller in scope than completing the International Space Station, creating a successor to the Orbitor, and working on […]