NASA can’t get out of LEO with current budget/Levitating Mice
September 10, 2009
Bad news for NASA from the Augustine Commission. Under the current budget through 2015, we can’t even get out of Low-Earth Orbit. What that means is we can only go to the ISS. We can’t even get back to the moon, let alone send people to Mars or beyond. The commission’s recommendations are best summarized in a cool graphic that I found on Universe Today yesterday. See below.
Obviously Obama has to allocate more money to NASA if we are to even think about achieving the current set of goals. (Those being: retiring the space shuttle, developing the new Ares rockets, Orion Crew Module, and Antares Moon Lander, and getting back to the Moon around 2020.) In these times that will be tough, and sadly NASA could get put on the backburner for a few years until we have more economic stability. Let’s hope for the best, though.
In some much better NASA news, the newly refurbished Hubble Space Telescope is working like a charm and is taking better pictures than ever before. Check out some of the gorgeous new images at NASA’s website. You can even download super hi-res versions. Eye. Gasm.
Who knew that we’d be able to build an actual, real-life antigravity device so soon? Scientists have found a way to levitate small creatures as big as mice. We’ve all seen the classroom science experiment where they use a superconductor in liquid nitrogen to levitate a tiny disc. But you can actually do that with almost anything. They key is getting the magnetic field to the right strength. AND there’s a practical goal of this research other than “Holy Shit! We made a mouse float in mid-air! Cool!” The practical goal is to study long-term effects of microgravity on the mice’s bodies, the results of which can be applied to astronauts in space and help NASA plan for missions to Mars and beyond. (Via LiveScience)
Here’s one of those awesome Hubble images: