Engineer creates the largest water gun ever

Engineer builds the largest water gun in the world.

Mark Rober recently built the world’s largest water gun. He is a former NASA engineer who likes to think big.

This Super Soaker is a beast that shoots water at 272 mph. That speed is more powerful than a fire truck hose.

During testing, it broke through glass, destroyed a large watermelon, and sliced through soda cans. “It’s definitely something you don’t want to stick your hand in front of,” Rober said.

He worked at NASA for seven years. His project was the Curiosity rover that is currently exploring Mars. Now he is a famous YouTube personality. His popular posts are on do-it-yourself gadgets.

To create the Super Soaker her went away to work on it for six months. It is seven feet long, holds two gallons of water and uses nitrogen gas to power it.

Rober’s son, nieces and nephew think the water gun is cool. He used it with family and friends and it was he versus them until the water ran out.

The Guinness World Records has recognized him as the creator of the biggest Nerf Gun on earth. He made it using plunger heads and pool noodles.

He also received recognition from Guinness for building the Super Soaker. He framed both certificates and put them on his wall.

“It was another classic from my childhood. The Super Soaker was such a big deal when it first came out,” he said.

 

 

ISS to become the coldest place in space

The International Space Station will become the coldest spot in space as NASA’s Cold Atom Laboratory starts producing super-cold atoms.

The International Space Station will become the coldest spot in space as NASA’s Cold Atom Laboratory starts producing super-cold atoms. Scientists can cool these atoms, Bose-Einstein condensates, to 10 millionth of one Kelvin above absolute zero.

When they cool an object very close to absolute zero, it is the lowest temperature that is theoretically possible. This temperature is a measurement of the movement of molecules in a substance.

If molecules move extremely slowly then the substance is solid. If they move faster, it is a liquid. A little faster than that and it is gas. Even faster movement than any of those, the electrons start to strip away and it is plasma.

If these molecules stop completely, then they have reached absolute zero. However, no matter how much energy they suck out of a molecule, it still moves slightly.

It is the realm of quantum mechanics where the normal laws of physics begin to break down. It is also why super cooled helium remains a liquid under normal pressures when reduced to near absolute zero.

The new Cold Atom Lab has an advantage because it is in the microgravity environment of the ISS. The CAL has already cooled atoms of rubidium down to 100 non- Kelvin above absolute zero.

When CAL is fully functional, it will be the coldest spot in the Universe. Scientists will be able to observe BECs for up to 10 seconds and repeat experiments up to six hours a day.

 

NASA’s Jim Bridenstine says America’s going to Moon forever

NASA’s Jim Bridenstine believes that the next time the United States lands on the Moon, it will be for good.

Although some have their doubts about NASA’s ambitious space plans, including going to Mars by the 2030s and heading back to the moon, a recent Bloomberg interview with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine revealed his confidence in the agency’s future missions.

“The vision is: NASA does things that nobody else can or will do,” he said. “So if there’s a robust commercial space industry in low Earth orbit, then NASA doesn’t need to be there. We want to be one of many customers in the mature economic domain we’re hoping low Earth orbit will become in a matter of years.”

“What NASA can do is go further,” he continued. “So we use our resources to go to the moon, and we build an architecture around the moon that includes landers that can get us to the surface, initially with robots and rovers and eventually with humans.”

“President Trump’s [first] Space Policy Directive says he wants our return to the moon to be sustainable,” he added. “In other words, it’s going to be there forever. We’re not going to leave the moon as we did in 1972. We’re going this time to stay. Then the next step is taking the architecture we’re building around the moon and applying it to Mars. Everything feeds forward, and this is our objective: to get to Mars. It’s a lofty ambition, but it’s eminently doable.”

When questioned about exoplanet discoveries—which have now reached the thousands—and the odds of finding life, Bridenstine is optimistic.

“Exoplanets have changed the way we think about our own planet,” he said. “It’s changed the way we think about our place in the universe and whether or not we are alone, and of course NASA wants to be the first to discover life on another planet.”

“It’s why our missions to Mars are so important,” he continued. “It’s why our mission to Europa [the Europa Clipper, planned for as early as 2022] is so important. The United States of America does not want to be the second country to find life on another planet. We want to be the first.

Whether the United States will be able to accomplish this lofty goal remains to be seen.

NASA’s TASS planet hunt begins

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TASS) has officially begun its two-year science mission.

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TASS) just began its two-year science mission Wednesday. It began its hunt approximately three months after it left Cape Canaveral aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

“I’m thrilled that our new planet hunter mission is ready to start scouring our solar system’s neighborhood for new worlds,” said Paul Hertz, NASA’s astrophysics division director. “Now that we know there are more planets than stars in our universe, I look forward to the strange, fantastic worlds we’re bound to discover.”

“You can go out on a dark night, and you can see 6,000 stars or so in the sky with your naked eye,” said George Ricker, who leads the TESS science team at MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research “We’re going to look at every single one of those stars.”

Ricker expects TESS to find between 500 and 1,000 planets about one and three times larger than the Earth, which would increase the number of known planets outside of our solar system. However, this isn’t the only goal of the mission.

“The focus that TESS has on finding systems associated with bright stars means that they will be much easier to follow-up,” Ricker said. “Once you find that a transiting system exists, it’s something that you’ll want to come back to and study more and more as improved instruments, satellites and telescopes become available because this is going to be the benchmark for future research.”

Thus far, NASA has released one image from one of the four cameras on TESS, which showed abut 200,000 stars on the plane of the Milky Way.

NASA flight controller reveals biggest myth about outer space

NASA flight controller Robert Frost reveals what he believes is the biggest myth about outer space.

Robert Frost, Instructor and Flight Controller at NASA, recently revealed what he believes is the biggest myth about outer space.

“That there is no gravity in space,” he said. “People do not have a good understanding of what weightlessness is. They see astronauts floating around inside and outside a spacecraft and reach the conclusion that there is no gravity.”

Frost continued to explain that gravity, which is the curvature of spacetime resulting from the presence of mass, exists anywhere that space and mass does.

“The gravitational influence from the Sun that keeps the Earth in orbit around the Sun is felt equally by the astronauts in space,” he said. “The gravitational influence from the Earth that keeps the Moon and the ISS in Earth orbit is also felt by the astronauts floating inside and outside the spacecraft. If these influences were not felt, the astronauts would not stay in orbit.”

Astronauts appear to float from weightlessness because they are in freefall.

“Imagine an astronaut on Earth standing on a scale,” Frost said. “The scale would indicate weight because gravity is pulling the astronaut towards the center of the Earth but the Earth isn’t willing to get out of the way. Weight is the perception of the Earth not getting out of the way.”

“Now imagine that same astronaut in space, orbiting the Earth,” he continued. “He has the same scale, and he stands upon it. Will it show weight? No. It won’t show weight because the astronaut and scale are falling together and there is no contact with the Earth to allow the Earth to push back.”

Frost ended by explaining that if it weren’t for the resistance below them, skydivers would experience the same thing as astronauts.

Luxembourg to be a leader in space race

A tiny European nation recently launched a space resources law to provide a legal framework for the exploitation of resources beyond Earth.

NASA scientists say building colonies on the moon will provide a blueprint to Mars. The people who will found these settlements will probably work for companies connected to Luxembourg.

Takeshi Hakamada, the CEO of ispace, wants to scour the moon for profitable minerals and other resources. His company is in Tokyo, Japan and has a presence in Luxembourg.

They plan to complete a lunar orbit in 2020, “Our first two missions will act as a demonstration of our technology. From there, we will begin to establish a high-frequency transportation service to bring customer payloads to the moon,” he says.

There are 10 space-mining companies in Luxembourg that opened since the launch of their Space Resources Act. The Moon is one of two primary targets under consideration; commercial ventures are eyeing near-Earth asteroids for mining metallic resources.

The launch of the new law in Luxembourg has sped up the space race. The tiny European country became the second one in the world after the United States to provide a comprehensive legal framework for the exploitation of resources beyond Earth.

United States law obligates companies to have more than 50% of U.S.-backed equity. Luxembourg has no such limitation.

Their new law opened the door to investment, with the ministry of economy now saying the space industry accounts for about 1.8% of the nation’s GDP. Nevertheless, space mining is an industry that highlights uncertain risks.

 

NASA has a big space trash problem

NASA is calling on U.S. companies to create innovative space trash solutions.

Storage space on the International Space Station (ISS) is pretty limited. And although astronauts can store up to 2 metric tons of garbage onboard, NASA is thinking ahead to situations when they are farther from the Earth than current missions, which will complicate trash removal.

“Storing trash inside a spacecraft not only consumes precious volume, but also can create physical and biological hazards for the crew,” NASA said in a statement. “Storage also removes the option to extract valuable leftover resources that could be recycled or repurposed. The solicitation seeks solutions that compact trash, remove biological and physical safety concerns, and recover trapped resources for potential reuse or repurposing.”

In order to devise an improved space trash solution, NASA is calling on United States companies to create trash-processing systems and compactor prototypes. The goal is to gather innovative designs that can compact trash, remove hazardous materials, and process pieces waste that have the potential to be recycled.

“The development will occur in two phases,” the agency said. “In Phase A, selected companies will create a concept trash compaction and processing system, conduct design reviews with NASA, and validate concepts through prototype ground demonstrations. Throughout this phase, the companies may request use of NASA facilities to conduct subsystem tests. In Phase B, a flight unit will be developed to demonstrate a system aboard the space station as early as 2022.”

“Inherent with the NextSTEP partnership model, private companies must contribute their own corporate resources toward the development of their trash compaction and processing systems,” they continued. “In this case, responders are required to show a minimum of 20 percent contribution toward the overall development cost, or 10 percent for small businesses. Proposals are due August 22, 2018. NASA plans to host an industry day on July 24, to share details about the solicitation, describe available NASA facilities, and answer questions from potential respondents.”

NASA planning to award contract to test flying drones on Venus

NASA plans to award a contract to Black Swift Technologies that lets them test flying drones in Venus’ firey atmosphere.

NASA is planning to award a contract to study flying drones on Venus. The difficult challenge will be conducted in partnership with Black Swift Technologies, a company located in Boulder that specializes in unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

The mission will hinge on the creation of a drone that can survive in Venus’ upper atmosphere. It won’t be easy, but if all of Black Swift’s designs are good enough, NASA is going to award the company a contract for a Venus aerial drone.

“They’re looking for vehicles to explore just above the cloud layer,” said Jack Elston, who co-founded of Black Swift Technologies. “The pressure and temperatures are similar to what you’d find on Earth, so it could be a good environment for looking for evidence of life. The winds in the upper atmosphere of Venus are incredibly strong, which creates design challenge.”

Elston and his team are going to focus on creating a unique aircraft and an energy-harvesting method to help it survive Venus’ upper atmosphere.

“Our experience working on unmanned aircraft systems that interact with severe convective storms on Earth will hopefully provide a valuable contribution to the ongoing discussion for how best to explore this turbulent environment,” he said. “Additionally, the work we do will help inform better designs of our own aircraft and should lead to longer observation times and more robust aircraft to observe everything from volcanic plumes to hurricanes.”

The end-goal of this kind of research is to determine if Venus was once a more habitable planet, and if so, how it came to be the hellish environment that it is today.

NASA to test supersonic aircraft technology with Texas residents

The F/A-18 Hornet aircraft will fly over Galveston while performing dive maneuvers to determine noise levels.

NASA has plans to test its quiet supersonic aircraft technology in Texas in November of this year, according to a report by Engadget. The NASA administration said it has plans in place to conduct a range of public tests in the city of Galveston later this year.

NASA will be testing its F/A-18 Hornet aircraft with the community. It will perform a series of dive maneuvers that are said to produce louder sonic booms when over the sea and quieter sonic sounds over the Galveston region. The tests will rely on 500 local volunteers that will offer feedback on the sounds that they heard during the flight tests. Audio sensors will be used to provide more accurate sound readings during the tests.

NASA said it hopes the Hornet tests will produce a sonic boom level that the residents of Galveston will deem acceptable. The Hornet tests are designed to help the NASA team with its X-59 supersonic jet development. It will allow them to verify their noise level strategy during the construction phase of the aircraft.

The X-59 is not expected in flight anytime soon as testing of the aircraft is not planned until 2021. Community overflights are anticipated for 2023.

NASA pushes James Webb Space Telescope launch to 2021

NASA pushed the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope back to 2021.

NASA just announced a new launch date for the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) James Webb Space Telescope: March 30, 2021 at the earliest. The telescope is the successor of the Hubble Space Telescope, and the announcement comes not long after it was delayed from 2019 to 2020.

NASA’s Independent Review Board assessed the telescope’s progress through the examination of technical challenges and remaining tasks to be completed.

Although they concluded that the project should move forward, they also spoke of “a range of factors influencing Webb’s schedule and performance, including the technical challenges and tasks remaining by primary contractor Northrop Grumman before launch.”

NASA says that it “established the new launch date estimate to accommodate changes in the schedule due to environmental testing and work performance challenges by Northrop Grumman on the spacecraft’s sunshield and propulsion system.”

“The telescope’s new total lifecycle cost, to support the revised launch date, is estimated at $9.66 billion; its new development cost estimate is $8.8 billion,” the agency continued.

The next step is “to complete the extensive battery of testing on the spacecraft element of the Webb. Once this is done, it will be integrated with the other half of the observatory: the telescope and science instrument module. This module, which completed its tests last year, includes the NIRSpec and MIRI instruments – part of Europe’s contribution to the observatory.”

“The fully-assembled observatory then will undergo a series of challenging environmental tests and a final deployment test before it is shipped to Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, to be launched on an Ariane 5 rocket,” NASA said.

The full report, as well as NASA’s response, can be viewed here.