RSSAll Entries in the "Videos" Category

VIDEO: NASA tests parachutes for Orion spacecraft

NASA IS DEVELOPING A NEW crewed spacecraft called Orion… otherwise known as ‘Apollo on steroids’ because it looks like a bigger version of the spacecraft that took astronauts to the Moon.

Just like the Apollo command module, Orion will carry a heat-shield to protect it during re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, and huge parachutes to bring it down to a soft landing.

NASA has been conducting a series of tests to make sure the parachute system will work properly.

The first video shows a test that was conducted last year, where an Orion mock-up was dropped from the back of a military cargo aircraft to see how well its parachutes would work. There are several ‘layers’ of parachutes, each designed to slow the craft down in stages and then help to pull out the bigger parachutes. Towards the end of the test, one of the three main chutes was deliberately cut loose to see how well the system would perform on just the remaining two chutes. See what happened…

Complete success!

The second video shows a more recent test of the system that will release a cover that protects the parachutes. We say release, but it’s more like a blast, as the cover is propelled upwards by small rocket thrusters and into a safety net. Take a look…

Orion is due to start taking US astronauts into orbit toward the end of this decade. But a first test flight into space will be conducted later this year, when an uncrewed test craft will be shot into a high orbit, from which it will then re-enter the atmosphere at great speed to test the heat-shield.

Story by Jonathan Nally. Videos courtesy of NASA.

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Remembering Apollo 5

PRIOR TO THE SUCCESSFUL manned lunar landings of the 1960s-’70s, NASA conducted a series of test flights, both crewed and uncrewed. One of those was the uncrewed Apollo 5 flight, which saw the first test (in Earth orbit) of the lunar module.

Apollo 5 (LM-1/Saturn 204) was launched from the Kennedy Space Centre’s Launch Complex 37 on January 22, 1968. The Lunar Module-1 payload was boosted into Earth orbit by a launch vehicle composed of a Saturn IB first stage and a Saturn S-IVB second stage. The Apollo lunar module’s first flight test was called a complete success. Ascent and descent propulsion systems and the ability to abort a lunar landing and return to orbit were demonstrated.

Adapted from information issued by NASA.

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Video: What’s the Higgs all about?

THE CONCEPT BEHIND the Higgs boson can be quite a hard thing to grasp, but his video from PhD Comics (made shortly before the announcement) might help you to understand it. It’s an interview with a scientist working at the place where the Higgs was (probably, or preliminarily) detected – the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

Video courtesy of PhD Comics.

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Videos – Around the globe

HERE ARE SOME MORE fantastic short videos of Earth at night, taken by cameras aboard the International Space Station. Visible in many of them are the aurora and lightning below. Enjoy!

Adapted from information issued by NASA.

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VIDEO: Another trip around the Earth

HERE ARE SOME MORE fantastic short videos taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in Earth orbit. The ISS circles the globe every 92.5 minutes at a speed of about 27,745 kilometres per hour. This unique vantage points enables us to see the planet spinning below, with numerous countries, cities and landscapes passing underneath.

A couple of the videos show a point of view looking out the main window of the Station’s “Cupola“. The multi-window observation post attached to the side of the ISS gives astronauts and cosmonauts not only the ability to get great views of the Earth, but also to keep an eye on activities—such as spacewalks and spacecraft movements—outside the station.

Story by Jonathan Nally. Videos courtesy NASA.

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Must-see video of the Sun!

THIS TWO-MINUTE VIDEO shows highlights from the Solar Dynamics Observatory’s second year of studying our nearest star. The NASA spacecraft takes continuous imagery at many wavelengths, providing an unprecedented insight into the life and times of the Sun.

Story by Jonathan Nally. Imagery courtesy NASA / Goddard Space Flight Centre Scientific Visualisation Studio

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VIDEO: The road to Mars

WHAT DOES IT TAKE to get a spacecraft from Earth all the way to Mars? There are a few key things to consider, as explained in this 60-second video from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Adapted from information issued by NASA / JPL / Caltech.

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VIDEO: Twister on Mars!

AN AFTERNOON WHIRLWIND on Mars lofts a twisting column of dust more 800 metres into the air in this image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

HiRISE captured the image on February 16, 2012, while the orbiter passed over the Amazonis Planitia region of northern Mars. In the area observed, paths of many previous whirlwinds, or dust devils, are visible as streaks on the dusty surface.

The active dust devil displays a delicate arc produced by a westerly breeze partway up its height. The dust plume is about 30 metres in diameter.

The image was taken during the time of Martian year when that planet is farthest from the Sun. Just as on Earth, winds on Mars are powered by solar heating. Exposure to the Sun’s rays declines during this season, yet even now, dust devils act relentlessly to clean the surface of freshly deposited dust, a little at a time.

Dust devils occur on Earth as well as on Mars. They are spinning columns of air, made visible by the dust they pull off the ground. Unlike a tornado, a dust devil typically forms on a clear day when the ground is heated by the Sun, warming the air just above the ground. As heated air near the surface rises quickly through a small pocket of cooler air above it, the air may begin to rotate, if conditions are just right.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been examining Mars with six science instruments since 2006. Now in an extended mission, the orbiter continues to provide insights into the planet’s ancient environments and how processes such as wind, meteorite impacts and seasonal frosts continue to affect the Martian surface today. This mission has returned more data about Mars than all other orbital and surface missions combined.

Adapted from information issued by Guy Webster, Jet Propulsion Laboratory NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona.

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VIDEO: Two amazing views of Planet Earth

THESE TWO AMAZING NASA VIDEOS were taken by the astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The one above was made in mid March, and shows the view looking down as the Station sailed across Brazil and out into the Atlantic Ocean and across the Earth’s “terminator”. The terminator is the line dividing the half of the planet lit by the Sun and the half in shadow. The camera view also shows Soyuz (manned) and Progress (unmanned) spacecraft docked with the Station.

The video below was taken a little later in March and shows what it’s like to see an aurora from above. The Station was flying over the southern part of the Indian Ocean at the time. Toward the end of the video we can see daylight beginning to break across the horizon in the right-hand half of the screen.

Story by Jonathan Nally. Videos courtesy NASA.

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VIDEO: Tornadoes on the Sun!

THIS TIME-LAPSE ANIMATION shows enormous tornado-like vortices on the Sun’s limb as seen by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory in February this year. The individual images that make up this animation were taken at 36-second intervals.

Adapted from information issued by NASA / Goddard Space Flight Centre Scientific Visualisation Studio.

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