NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has sniffed the Martian air and now its Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument has taken its first taste of soil. The microwave-size internal laboratory of the nuclear-powered rover received its first sample on November 9 and spent the next two days analyzing it. Taken at the Rocknest area of Gale Crater, the purpose of the sampling is to study soil composition with a special emphasis on seeking organic molecules. The…"NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has sniffed the Martian air and now its Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM)"
NASA’s giant crawler transporter that carried the Apollo missions and the Space Shuttles to the launch pad is getting an upgrade. In service since the mid-1960s, the 5.5 million pound (2.49 million kg) vehicle is receiving new engines and other improvements that will allow it to carry the future Space Launch System (SLS) rockets due to enter service in 2017. In world where the latest smartphone is obsolete before you’ve figured out how to set…"NASA’s massive crawler – at the time it entered service, it the largest land vehicle on Earth"
Today NASA announced that it has reduced the number of companies competing to produce the first privately built and operated manned spacecraft, to three. The current competitors for the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative are now Sierra Nevada Corporation (which will receive a development contract of US$212.5 million), Space Exploration Technologies (aka SpaceX, receiving $440 million) and the Boeing Company (getting $460 million). This is the third round of initiatives designed to promote the…"A concept image of Sierra Corporation’s Dream Chaser at the International Space Station"
NASA is looking to turn another staple of science fiction to practical use by studying ways to make “tractor beams” a reality. While none of the technologies under the microscope will be able to transport anything the size of a modified YT-1300 Corellian freighter – at least in the short term – the researchers will examine if it is possible to trap and move planetary or atmospheric particles using laser light so they can be…"NASA is looking to turn another staple of science : Space Technology"