One of my readers shared the following infographic, titled NASA Spinning Off Since 1962. It highlights the inventions, discoveries and economic return on investment resulting from NASA. For every dollar invested by the government the American economy and other countries economies have seen $7 to $14 in new revenue, all from spinoffs and licensing arrangements. That amounts to in $17.6 billion current NASA dollars spent to an economic boost worth as much as $246.4 billion annually.
In case you missed it, the rover in Gale Crater on Mars has achieved another milestone, having traversed across rough terrain with minimal damage to its delicate wheels and now sits at the base of Mount Sharp, where it will begin its ascent. What's on its agenda?
Back in July 2012, I wrote about Made in Space, a company focused on developing 3-D printers that could be used to build components, satellites and habitations in the environment of space. Two years later, the 3-D printer is ready to go and should be delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) by SpaceX in the next two weeks. What will the crew use it for?
A labor of love is about to be carried out by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) involving Opportunity, the ten-year veteran Martian rover. It seems fitting to write about this on Labor Day as the rover continues to set new records for distance and longevity on the Martian surface.
While away on vacation, I read about LiftPort Group, a Kickstarter-funded space elevator project that received over $110,000 U.S. from more than 3,400 backers. The company, located in Tacoma, Washington, originally sought $8,000, so one would think this was largely fantasy, but with the amount of money that has come in it would seem it owes its investors something more than one it has delivered to-date.
The Perimeter Institute at University of Waterloo, Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, has proposed in recent discussions among its faculty focused on cosmology, that the Big Bang may have been the back side of a black hole.
In the last week updated plans for the next generation of Martian rovers have been released.
The real story behind this most recent imagery of Charon circling in close proximity to its parent, Pluto, is just how little we actually know about the dwarf planet. Here is an astonishing reminder of our lack of knowledge. We humans have yet to observe a full year on Pluto. We've known of its existence since 1930 but the dwarf planet takes 248 Earth years to orbit the Sun. As a result we don't, to date, have an accurate measure of Pluto's complete orbital path.
October 19th is the date when Comet Siding Spring makes its Mars flyby. The distance will be 132,000 kilometers (82,000 miles) from the planet's surface. The tail of the comet will potentially threaten NASA's two orbiters as well as one operated by the European Space Agency. And NASA has a third orbiter, MAVEN, expected to arrive at Mars in September, just a month before Siding Spring passes.