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World's most powerful engine blazes path for space launch system advanced propulsion

A gas generator from an F-1 engine is test fired at the Marshall Space Flight Center. (Credit: NASA/MSFC/Emmett Given)

Jan. 26, 2013 — To help develop the nation's future heavy lift rocket, NASA resurrected the world's most powerful rocket engine ever flown -- the mighty F-1 that powered the Saturn V rocket-- and test fired its gas generator today at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

NASA engineers ran the gas generator at the Marshall Center's Test Stand 116. The test is part of a series that will push the gas generator to limits beyond prior Apollo-era tests. Modern instruments on the test stand measured performance and combustion properties to allow engineers a starting point for...

Landsat senses a disturbance in the forest

Jan. 14, 2013 — A new way of studying and visualizing Earth science data from a NASA and U.S. Geological Survey satellite program is resulting in, for the first time, the ability to tease out the small events that can cause big changes in an ecosystem.

Called LandTrendr, this computer program is able to find patterns previously buried within vast amounts of scientific data. Still in development, it's already led to seeing for the first time in satellite imagery an obscured...

Simulated Mars mission reveals body's sodium rhythms

Jan. 8, 2013 — Clinical pharmacologist Jens Titze, M.D., knew he had a one-of-a-kind scientific opportunity: the Russians were going to simulate a flight to Mars, and he was invited to study the participating cosmonauts.

Titze, now an associate professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University, wanted to explore long-term sodium balance in humans. He didn't believe the textbook view -- that the salt we eat is rapidly excreted in urine to maintain relatively constant body sodium...

The self-assembling particles that come from InSPACE

NASA astronaut Suni Williams photographing InSPACE-3 vial assembly after particles redistribution operation on the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

Jan. 7, 2013 — Shape-shifting malleable, gelatinous forms are orbiting Earth at this very moment -- assembling and disassembling, growing as they are bombarded by magnetic pulses. These forms will take shape as astronauts run experiments involving smart fluids aboard the International Space...

NASA'S Space Launch System core stage passes major milestone, ready to start construction

Friction Stir Weld for SLS: Tim Livengood, a welding engineer with The Boeing Co., confirms the setup on a friction stir weld test fixture at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans in support of the agency's Space Launch System. (Credit: Boeing)

Dec. 28, 2012 — The team designing America's new flagship rocket has completed successfully a major technical review of the vehicle's core stage. NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) will take the agency's Orion...

Botany experiment will try out zero gravity aboard space station

Dec. 18, 2012 — Gravity: It's the law in these parts. But to reach the stars, humans may have to learn to live outside the law.

"Gravity is the most pervasive thing on the planet, and it's always been there," says Simon Gilroy, University of Wisconsin-Madison botany professor. "Terrestrial biology has evolved with this constant force in the background, and when you remove it, things start to happen that you wouldn't necessarily think of."

Surprises are not welcome in...

Beating heart of J-2x engine finishes year of successful NASA tests

View of the J-2X powerpack test at Stennis Space Center on Dec. 13, 2012. (Credit: NASA/SSC)

Dec. 14, 2012 — NASA on Thursday took another step toward human exploration of new destinations in the solar system. At the agency's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, engineers conducted the final test-firing of the J-2X powerpack assembly, an important component of America's next heavy-lift rocket.

The J-2X engine is the first human-rated liquid oxygen and liquid...

Saying 'Godspeed' to a Spidernaut: Eight-legged Nefertiti spent 100 days on International Space Station

Astronaut Suni Williams with the YouTube SpaceLab payload Spider Habitat where Nefertiti the spidernaut lived while she was on orbit. (Credit: NASA)

Dec. 13, 2012 — "You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I...

NASA progressing toward first launch of Orion spacecraft

Employees at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., unpack four large metal rings that will be used to create adapters for NASA's Orion spacecraft to integrate with the propulsion elements for flight. The rings were forged at Major Tool and Machine in Indianapolis, Ind., for NASA's Space Launch System Program, managed at the Marshall Center. (Credit: NASA/MSFC)

Dec. 13, 2012 — Recent engineering advances by NASA and its industry partners across the...