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DISPLAYING POSTS TAGGED: nasa (3)

Space Shuttle Columbia

Author
by Tanya
Publish date
1 February 2013
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It was 10 years ago today, 1 February 2003, that the Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart on its way back to Earth. The STS-107 crew had spent 16 days in orbit and were just 16 minutes from landing when the accident tragically occurred.

Crew of STS-107 This photograph survived on a roll of unprocessed film recovered from the accident. Bottom row (L to R): Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist; Rick D. Husband, mission commander; Laurel B. Clark, mission specialist, and Ilan Ramon, payload specialist. Top row (L to R): David M. Brown, mission specialist; William C. McCool, pilot, and Michael P. Anderson, payload commander.
Source: NASA
 

On a trip to the USA in 2002, I attended a talk by astronaut and astronomer, John Grunsfeld. He was asked “why fly into space when the risks are so high?” and his reply has always stuck with me. It was pretty much “because it’s the most amazing thing to do.

He went on to explain that while astronauts are fully aware of the risks involved – and they don't take them lightly – they are also certain that the benefits of what they are doing will lead to greater things for our future.

Today we remember the amazing men and women who have believed in the spirit of space exploration. I hope there will always be pioneers just like them, who are willing to push the limits of what’s possible and dream big for all of us.

Links:

Powerhouse Museum: "Sometimes, when we reach for the stars, we fall short..."

NASA's success on Mars

Author
by Tanya
Publish date
13 August 2012
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NASA sure has got it right this time. Not only did they achieve a perfect controlled landing on Mars, but they also re-ignited the public’s fascination with space exploration.

Watching landing in Times Square, New York In New York, around 1,000 people watched the landing on the big screen in Times Square.
Image: Leslie Mullen
Source: NASA
 

It must be said, I’ve always been an advocate for human space exploration. I want to live vicariously through the adventures of astronauts. I want to imagine what it would be like to be the first person to walk on Mars. But this week, I found myself just as excited about a mechanical machine taking that first bold step – and I wasn’t alone!

The landing on Mars was brilliant, but just as successful was the range of interesting communication strategies that NASA used to get us all talking about Curiosity.

Have you tried your hand at the Mars Rover Landing game? It’s free for the Xbox Kinect. My boys had some fun over the weekend trying to land the rover for themselves – for what it is, it’s a great little game, and best of all, they now have a clear idea of exactly what the landing involved and why it was such an amazing thing to get right.

Mars Rover Landing on Xbox Do you have the right stuff to land Curiosity? Test your skills with the Mars Rover Landing game.
Source: NASA
 

Then there was the “seven minutes of terror” animation. At the Melbourne Planetarium, we’re now showing a special version that was specifically made for planetariums, using the planetarium's fulldome cinema format. Rather than watching a square screen, the action fills the planetarium dome and is a great treat for our visitors.

And wasn't it great to see all the action live? It was so easy to get online and be right there in the control room! Who can’t but get excited when you see the elation and hear the whoops of joy from those NASA guys as their “seven minutes of terror” came to the perfect conclusion.

NASA Control Room The exhilaration of a nail-biting achievement.
Source: NASA
 

Lastly the tweets – nothing makes a spacecraft more lovable than hearing its own excited reaction (so what if it’s make-believe!).

It once was one small step... now it's six big wheels. Here's a look at one of them on the soil of Mars #MSL pic.twitter.com/uzO99NZz

Curiosity landing site Happy snaps from Curiosity on the surface of Mars.
Source: NASA
 

Congrats to Curiosity and NASA. Wish you all the best for the next Martian year and let’s hope the excitement continues as you discover more about the red planet.

Chat with an astronaut

Author
by Pennie Stoyles
Publish date
22 September 2011
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Today, students from Spotswood Primary School attended Scienceworks to participate in an online conference with NASA astronaut, Rex Walheim. Rex is in Australia as a guest of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) to launch their new exhibition Star Voyager, Exploring Space on Screen.

To coincide with the launch, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development organised an online conference using their Elluminate software. Rex was speaking to students in the ACMI theatre at Federation Square. Scienceworks' Program Coordinator, Bronwyn Quint organised for Spotswood PS students to participate in the session which was projected onto the big screen in the Auditorium. MV Astronomer, Dr Tanya Hill was also on hand to answer questions from the Spotswood students.

Bron & Tanya Bron Quint and Tanya Hill preparing for the online conference (fingers crossed that the technology works).
Image: Pennie Stoyles
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Dr Tanya Hill answering questions from Spotswood PS students Dr Tanya Hill answering questions from Spotswood PS students.
Image: Pennie Stoyles
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Over 100 other schools throughout the state also participated. Many questions were submitted throughout the 45-minute session and those that could not be answered by Rex during the presentation will be posted on the DEECD website.

Astronaut Rex Walheim Astronaut Rex Walheim answering student questions via online conference.
Image: Pennie Stoyles
Source: Museum Victoria
 

We've lent a number of objects to ACMI for the Star Voyager exhibition, including a space glove, a large number of magic lantern slides, a urine collection device and an altitude and azimuth instrument.

Altitude and Azimuth Instrument Altitude and Azimuth Instrument - Troughton & Simms, London, circa 1836 (ST 022216)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Links:

Rex Walheim's Biography

Star Voyager, Exploring Space on Screen.

MV Blog: Lost in Space

About this blog

Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.

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