NASA’s space shuttle to fly again – or at least pieces of it

By

NASA recently pulled the water tanks from the space shuttle Endeavor.
NASA recently pulled the water tanks from the space shuttle Endeavor.
Photo: California Science Center

If you get to a museum to see one of the shuttles that actually flew in space, your jaw may drop. Just don’t mind the guys pulling parts from it.

NASA recently sent engineers to the California Science Center in Los Angeles to dust off the mothballs of the space shuttle Endeavor and remove four water storage tanks for future use aboard the International Space Station.

NASA needs a smartwatch app for its astronauts

By

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti worked with iPad during a recent mission on the International Space Station. NASA wants astronauts to start using smartwatches for some of their tasks.
ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti worked with iPad during a recent mission on the International Space Station. NASA wants astronauts to start using smartwatches for some of their tasks.
Photo: NASA

There’s a smartwatch app for almost everything, but very few are useful to the men and women who work in microgravity.

So NASA is asking the pubic to design a smartwatch app for its astronauts to do everything from keeping them organized during science experiments to alerting them to space debris approaching.

NASA flyby gives closer look at Pluto’s mysterious ‘heart’

When NASA shared this image of Pluto with its Instagram followers Tuesday, scientists called it a love letter.
When NASA shared this image of Pluto with its Instagram followers Tuesday, scientists called it a love letter.
Photo: NASA/APL/SwRI

We downgraded its status, but Pluto still showed us its heart.

A spartan but warm-toned orb with a prominent heart-shaped terrain came into clear view Tuesday morning after NASA’s New Horizons snapped a picture some 476,000 miles from its surface after nearly a decade of travel.

Pluto was still considered a planet when New Horizon’s took off in 2006 for the end of our solar system. Since then, astronomers changed its status to a dwarf planet, but that did not diminish the excitement scientists and fans of star-gazing as the probe approached Pluto and its moons.

Hubble finds football-shaped moons in the end zone of our solar system

An artist's rendering shows the wobbble and oblong shape of Pluto's moon, Nix.
An artist's rendering shows the wobbble and oblong shape of Pluto's moon, Nix.
Illustration: NASA

Just because Pluto lost its planetary status doesn’t mean it’s any less interesting to astronomers.

NASA on Wednesday reported two football-shaped moons that wobble so unpredictably that the sun could rise in a different direction every day from either of the moons.

The Hubble Telescope recorded the oddball orbits of the oblong moons Nix and Hydra, which wobble because they are embedded in a constantly shifting gravitational field created by dwarf planet Pluto and its largest moon, Charon. Pluto and Charon share a common center of gravity.