In August 1984, President Ronald Reagan announced NASA’s plan to send “one of America’s finest—a teacher” to space aboard space shuttle Challenger. Of 11,000 aspirants for the adventure, 37-year-old high school teacher Christa McAuliffe from Concord, New Hampshire, was chosen. As the first teacher traveling to space, sheplanned to conduct science demonstrations from low-Earth orbit to get students “excited about history, about the future, and about space.”Tragically, Challenger broke apart soon after liftoff on January 28, 1986.
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Most people picture a glovebox as the small space on the passenger side of your car. But if you’re an astronaut floating 250 miles up, you might picture a large glass enclosure that allows you to conduct experiments that could change how we live both on and off Earth.
One of the key elements of Earth’s climate system is the cryosphere – the many forms of ice found on Earth. Two new NASA missions use different technologies to help scientists better understand how frozen water is affecting our planet. Both will continue satellite data records that have greatly improved our understanding of Earth’s frozen regions.
What's Up for September? Set your sights beyond the solar system, and take a late summertime road-trip along the Milky Way.
Michael Freilich, director of the Earth Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate, announced he will retire from the agency in February 2019.
Earth recently experienced its largest annual increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels in at least 2,000 years. Data from NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2), which launched in 2014, are helping scientists understand why.
The Sun. It inspires songs, warms us, and grows our food. Life on land and in the oceans, the daily weather, and long-term climate patterns happen primarily because of energy we receive from our closest star. Even tiny variations in that energy can affect the workings of our planet’s atmosphere. NASA uses instruments to “follow the Sun,” and monitor the amount of solar energy coming to us. The latest instrument to do so – the Total and Spectral Solar Irradiance Sensor (TSIS–1) – makes those measurements with unprecedented accuracy.
Hours before the rise of the very star it will study, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe launched from Florida Sunday to begin its journey to the Sun, where it will undertake a landmark mission. The spacecraft will transmit its first science observations in December, beginning a revolution in our understanding of the star that makes life on Earth possible.
The fireworks show you watched in July most likely lasted 20 minutes. But in August, you can watch some celestial fireworks that will last hours and hours. This is the Perseid Meteor Shower. With a clear sky, observers will be able to see up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak.
People around the world look up and see our Sun every day. But through a space telescope, it looks nothing like it does from down on the ground. The surface dances with arches of solar material that reach up into the solar atmosphere – an environment of charged particles and magnetic fields unlike anything we experience on Earth.