The astronauts on board the International Space Station have some great views of space, naturally, but with so many stars on display, it can be a little tough to make out the constellations. Maybe you can give NASA's Christina Koch an assist.Koch tweeted a photo on Monday, taken from the ISS, that shows a field of stars. She issued a challenge: "Can you spot the Big Dipper from the space station?"It took me a couple of false starts before I located the famous star formation, which makes up part of Ursa Major, the great bear. If you need a hand, Twitter user Super Grover tweeted out the answer while also mapping out some additional constellations for extra credit.Space fans on Twitter are wondering about the string of orange lights in the photo. They speculated it could be anything from the Battlestar Galactica to Santa and his reindeer. The lights might be a reflection or another orbiting object catching the sun. Koch is currently on an extended stay on the ISS. She's … [Read more...] about NASA astronaut asks: Can you spot the Big Dipper from the ISS?
Nasa spot the station
Twenty years ago, the most ambitious construction project in the history of the human race began with the launch of a Russian Proton rocket on Nov. 20, 1998. The uncrewed vehicle carried Zarya, a control module that would become the first piece of the International Space Station (ISS) placed in orbit. The first crew, consisting of American astronaut and former Navy SEAL Bill Shepherd alongside Russian cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko, would arrive to live in orbit just under two years later on Oct. 30, 2000.Construction of the ISS, however, would continue for another decade until 2011, when the final planned module was installed. All that assembly was done over a decade while the station was continuously inhabited by rotating crews of astronauts from several different countries."The space station to me and the way we have put that program together with our international partners is absolutely the best example of how we can peacefully, successfully do complicated … [Read more...] about At 20, the International Space Station remains a stellar success story
If you're lucky, you may have seen one during your time on Earth. A glory is a shimmering optical phenomenon that forms when water droplets scatter light. It's ethereal, like a rainbow halo that shifts from red on the outside to blue on the inside.European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst saw one, which he calls a pilot's glory, from on board the International Space Station. He shared his surprise at the sighting in a Twitter message on Tuesday."A 'glory' is a rare optical phenomenon that is mostly seen by pilots and mountain climbers looking down at mists or clouds," says the ESA. They are sometimes called pilot's halos or "the glory of the pilot." To see one from space is very unusual.Airplane passengers sometimes see glories while flying, usually while spotting the plane's shadow at the center. The ISS doesn't throw a shadow into the center of the glory seen by Gerst due to its high orbital altitude above Earth. ISS happenings Star Wars, Elvis haunt the ISS on … [Read more...] about ISS astronaut spots rare, glorious phenomenon above Earth
Japanese startup ispace, which has grand ambitions of creating a lunar base, says it is teaming up with three other aerospace companies to conduct regular missions to the surface of the Moon for NASA. All four companies, one with experience navigating the Apollo missions to the Moon, will contribute their personal area of expertise in order to design, build, and launch a spacecraft that can land on lunar soil. The four companies have come together to compete in NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, or CLPS. It’s the space agency’s initiative to send small, robotic lunar landers, made by private companies, to the Moon. It’s meant to be the first in a series of programs that NASA will do to stimulate the creation of lunar landers, as the space agency focuses on a return to the Moon. In April, NASA called for interested companies in the commercial space industry to send in designs for landers they could build and operate for CLPS. Such vehicles need to … [Read more...] about Japanese startup ispace is tapping Apollo-era expertise to build lunar landers for NASA
There's a myth the Great Wall of China is the only human-built object visible from space. It can even be seen from the moon, according to the legend. Cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev of Russian space agency Roscosmos is pretty sure he photographed the epic structure from space, but that doesn't mean it's easy to spot from orbit.Artemyev posted a photo of China as seen from the ISS on Sunday. "The @Space_Station flies over China. @Astro_Alex and I think that in this photo we can see the Great Wall of China. I've been looking for it for a long time!" he wrote. Artemyev references his International Space Station crewmate Alexander Gerst, a European Space Agency astronaut. They both think they can see the wall in the image, though it's hard to tell which of the many lines across the landscape it might be. If the Great Wall is indeed in the image, then the ISS crew can see it from space, though they spotted it with the help of a camera. NASA says the wall generally isn't visible to … [Read more...] about See if you can find the Great Wall of China in this ISS image