News From Our Blog

Image description: This 1968 EX-1A Apollo Applications Project spacesuit is part of the “Suited for Space” traveling exhibit which explores the design and innovation inside a spacesuit.
The exhibit is on a 13 city tour across the U.S. until 2015. Find out if the exhibit is coming to a city near you.
Photos by Mark Avino, Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and Ron Cunningham.
Read this note in Spanish.

Image description: This 1968 EX-1A Apollo Applications Project spacesuit is part of the “Suited for Space” traveling exhibit which explores the design and innovation inside a spacesuit.

The exhibit is on a 13 city tour across the U.S. until 2015. Find out if the exhibit is coming to a city near you.

Photos by Mark Avino, Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and Ron Cunningham.

Read this note in Spanish.

Happy Birthday, Curiosity!

Video description

NASA’s Curiosity rover celebrated its Martian birthday on August 5 (PDT), the day that it landed on Mars. In honor of this special ocassion, engineers at Goddard Space Flight Center used the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument to “sing” Happy Birthday to Curiosity.

You can help Curiosity celebrate its first birthday too by sending it a postcard, learning about landing on Mars and more.

Video transcript

My name is Florence Tan, I’m the SAM Electrical Lead Engineer, I work at Goddard Space Flight Center. SAM stands for Sample Analysis at Mars. It is an organic chemistry lab on the Curiosity rover, it is the most well-equipped chemistry lab that we’ve sent to Mars to date.

Curiosity landed on Mars on August 5, 2012. It was born on Mars that day, and so we consider that day as its birthday.

We’re here at the test bed lab where SAM was built. It is an identical unit to the unit on Mars, and we use this unit to test our experiments before it is transmitted to Mars.

SAM will be running some great science experiments on Mars, we will be analyzing some soil samples. To make the soil samples go down, we have to program it to vibrate at various frequencies. When we’re introducing a sample into SAM, it will go through a resonance and it will sound like this.

[ electronic tone ]

To commemorate SAM’s birthday and Curiosity’s birthday on Mars, we decided to play a little song. If there’s anyone listening on Mars on this special occasion, you will hear this.

[ Happy Birthday to You ]

It’s really neat, and it’s exciting! This is a first for NASA and for the world, and music brings us all together so this is fun!

It’s been a great year on Mars and I cannot wait to get to Mount Sharp next year. We’ve discovered so many new things, and there’s still lots more discoveries to come.

Image description: NASA’s Cassini spacecraft captured this image of Earth and the moon from its perch in the Saturn system nearly 900 million miles away.
Pictures of Earth from the outer solar system are rare because from that distance, Earth appears very close to our sun. A camera’s sensitive detectors can be damaged by looking directly at the sun, just as a human being can damage his or her retina by doing the same. Cassini was able to take this image because the sun had temporarily moved behind Saturn from the spacecraft’s point of view and most of the light was blocked.
View more images of Earth from Cassini.
Image from NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.

Image description: NASA’s Cassini spacecraft captured this image of Earth and the moon from its perch in the Saturn system nearly 900 million miles away.

Pictures of Earth from the outer solar system are rare because from that distance, Earth appears very close to our sun. A camera’s sensitive detectors can be damaged by looking directly at the sun, just as a human being can damage his or her retina by doing the same. Cassini was able to take this image because the sun had temporarily moved behind Saturn from the spacecraft’s point of view and most of the light was blocked.

View more images of Earth from Cassini.

Image from NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.

Image description: This is an animation of the Aurora Australis (Southern Lights), eight days after a record-setting solar flare sent a shower of charged particles towards Earth. From Earth, this glowing ring would appear as a curtain of light shimmering across the night sky. Image captured by NASA IMAGE satellite courtesy of NASA Space Place.

Image description: This is an animation of the Aurora Australis (Southern Lights), eight days after a record-setting solar flare sent a shower of charged particles towards Earth. From Earth, this glowing ring would appear as a curtain of light shimmering across the night sky.

Image captured by NASA IMAGE satellite courtesy of NASA Space Place.

Image description:

From the National Archives:

Did aliens land in Roswell, New Mexico, 66 years ago? We don’t have evidence of aliens, but we do have the schematics for a flying saucer.

This is a real report found recently in the National Archives by an archives technician processing 100 boxes of Air Force reports.

“What caught my eye was the icon of the saucer-looking shape,” he explains. The icon—a blue saucer over a red arrow—was in the corner of test flight reports and contracts with a Canadian company. And the strangest record of all? A drawing that Rhodes says “looked just like the flying saucer in the popular science fiction films made during those years.”

According to the report, the aircraft was designed to be a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) plane. It was meant to reach a top speed of Mach 4, with a ceiling of over 100,000 feet and a range of over 1,000 nautical miles.

Read the story of how our archives technician found these unique records, which inspired an article in Popular Mechanics.