Shuttle Columbia carried the first United States Microgravity Laboratory during its summer 1992 flight to orbit. The Spacelab science expedition was the longest shuttle mission to date, thanks to the new Extended Duration Orbiter equipment flown for the first time. The crew of STS-50 narrate the highlights in this post-flight film.
Research Project: X-15
The documentary "Research Project: X-15" looks at the rocketplane program that flew to the edge of space in the effort to learn about the human ability to fly at great speeds and aircraft design to sustain such flights.
Apollo 1 service
On the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 1 fire that took the lives of astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee, a remembrance service was held January 27 at the Kennedy Space Center's memorial Space Mirror.
Technical look at Project Mercury
This documentary takes a look at the technical aspects of Project Mercury, including development of the capsule and the pioneering first manned flights of America's space program.
Apollo 15: In the Mountains of the Moon
The voyage of Apollo 15 took man to the Hadley Rille area of the moon. Astronauts Dave Scott and Jim Irwin explored the region using a lunar rover, while Al Worden remained in orbit conducting observations. "Apollo 15: In the Mountains of the Moon" is a NASA film looking back at the 1971 flight.
Skylab's first 40 days
Skylab, America's first space station, began with crippling problems created by an incident during its May 1973 launch. High temperatures and low power conditions aboard the orbital workshop forced engineers to devise corrective measures quickly. Astronauts Pete Conrad, Paul Weitz and Joe Kerwin flew to the station and implemented the repairs, rescuing the spacecraft's mission. This film tells the story of Skylab's first 40 days in space.
Jupiter flyby preview
NASA's New Horizons space probe will fly past Jupiter in late February, using the giant planet's gravity as a sling-shot to bend the craft's trajectory and accelerate toward Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. Mission officials describe the science to be collected during the Jupiter encounter during this briefing.
Mars orbiter sees effects of ancient underground fluids NASA/JPL NEWS RELEASE Posted: February 18, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO - Liquid or gas flowed through cracks penetrating underground rock on ancient Mars, according to a report based on some of the first observations by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. These fluids may have produced conditions to support possible habitats for microbial life.
Tectonic fractures within the Candor Chasma region of Valles Marineris, Mars, retain ridge-like shapes as the surrounding bedrock erodes away. This points to past episodes of fluid alteration along the fractures and reveals clues into past fluid flow and geochemical conditions below the surface. Credit: NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona
These ancient patterns were revealed when the most powerful telescopic
camera ever sent to Mars began examining the planet last year. The camera
showed features as small as approximately 3 feet (one meter) across.
Mineralization took place deep underground, along faults and fractures.
These mineral deposits became visible after overlying layers were eroded
away throughout millions of years.
Dr. Chris Okubo, a geologist at the University of Arizona, Tucson,
discovered the patterns in an image of exposed layers in a Martian canyon
named Candor Chasma. The image was taken in September 2006 by the High
Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera aboard the orbiter.
"What caught my eye was the bleaching or lack of dark material along the
fracture. That is a sign of mineral alteration by fluids that moved
through those joints," said Okubo. "It reminded me of something I had seen
during field studies in Utah, that is light-tone zones, or 'haloes,' on
either side of cracks through darker sandstone."
Dr. Alfred McEwen, the camera's principal investigator from the University
of Arizona, Tucson, said, "This result shows how orbital observations can
identify features of particular interest for future exploration on the
surface or in the subsurface or by sample return. The alteration along
fractures, concentrated by the underground fluids, marks locations where
we can expect to find key information about chemical and perhaps
biologic processes in a subsurface environment that may have been habitable."
The haloes visible along fractures seen in the Candor Chasma image appear
to be slightly raised relative to surrounding, darker rock. This is
evidence that the circulating fluids hardened the lining of the fractures,
as well as bleaching it. The harder material would not erode away as
quickly as softer material farther from the fractures.
The most likely origin for these features is that minerals that were
dissolved in water came out of solution and became part of the rock
material lining the fractures. Another possibility is that the
circulating fluid was a gas, which may or may not have included water
vapor in its composition, Okubo said.
Similar haloes adjacent to fractures show up in images that the
high-resolution camera took of other places on Mars after the initial
Candor Chasma image. "We are excited to be seeing geological features too
small to have been noticed previously," Okubo said.
"This publication is just the first of many, many to come. The analysis is
based on test observations taken even before the start of our main science
phase. Since then, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has returned several
terabits of science data, sustaining a pace greater than any other deep
space mission. This flood of data will require years of study to exploit
their full value, forever increasing our understanding of Mars and its
history of climate change," said Dr. Richard Zurek, project scientist for
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena,
Okubo and McEwen report the findings in the Feb. 16 edition of the journal
JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, manages the
mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed
Martin Space Systems, Denver, is the prime contractor for the project and
built the spacecraft. The University of Arizona operates the High
Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera. Ball Aerospace and
Technology Corp., Boulder, Colo., built the camera.