recent space exploration

mitk12 videos science out loud

How to Discover a New Planet Thousands of planets - ones that look totally different than what were used to, and possibly could support life, exist outside of our solar system. But were only just now starting to find them. In the video below, Ashley takes you behind the simple technique that astronomers have been using to discover these curious new planets. MEDIA Click image to the left or use the URL below. URL:

solar system exploration

We continue to explore the solar system. A rover is like a spacecraft on wheels (Figure 23.29). It can wheel around on the surface. Scientists on Earth tell it where to go. The craft then collects and sends back data from that locations. The Mars Pathfinder studied the red planet for nearly three months in 1997. Two more rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, landed on Mars in 2004. Both were only designed to last 90 days, but have lasted many times longer. Spirit sent back data until it became stuck in January 2010. Opportunity continues to explore Mars. Several spacecraft are currently in orbit, studying the Martian surface and thin atmosphere.

textbook_image

textbook_image

future missions

Budget concerns have impacted NASA in recent years. Many scientists have come together to discuss the goals of the U.S. space program. Some would like to further explore the Moon. Others are interested in landing on Mars. A variety of destinations in the inner solar system may also be visited. Private aerospace companies will play more of a role in the coming years.

space shuttle disasters

The space shuttle program has been very successful. Over 100 mission have been flown. Space shuttle missions have made many scientific discoveries. Crews have launched many satellites. There have been other great achievements in space. However, the program has also had two tragic disasters. The first came just 73 seconds after launch, on January 28, 1986. The space shuttle Challenger disintegrated in mid-air, as shown in Figure 23.27. On board were seven crew members. All of them died. One of them was Christa McAuliffe, who was to be the first teacher in space. The problem was later shown to be an O-ring. This small part was in one of the rocket boosters. Space shuttle missions were put on hold while NASA improved the safety of the shuttles. The second occurred during the takeoff of the Columbia on January 16, 2003. A small piece of insulating foam broke off the fuel tank. The foam smashed into a tile on the shuttles wing. The tile was part of the shuttles heat shield. The shield protects the shuttle from extremely high temperatures as it reenters the atmosphere. When Columbia returned to Earth on February 3, 2003, it could not withstand the high temperatures. The shuttle broke apart. Again, all seven crew members died. The space shuttle will be retired in 2011. All the remaining shuttle missions will be to the ISS. Orion will replace the shuttle. Known as a Crew Exploration Vehicle, Orion is expected to be ready by 2016.

textbook_image

space shuttles

NASA wanted a new kind of space vehicle. This vehicle had to be reusable. It had to able to carry large pieces of equipment, such as satellites, space telescopes, or sections of a space station. The new vehicle was called a space shuttle, shown in Figure 23.25. There have been five space shuttles: Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavor. A space shuttle has three main parts. You are probably most familiar with the orbiter. This part has wings like At the end of the mission, the orbiter re-enters Earths atmosphere. The outside heats up as it descends. Pilots have to steer the shuttle to the runway very precisely. Space shuttles usually land at Kennedy Space Center or at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The orbiter is later hauled back to Florida on the back of a jet airplane.

textbook_image

textbook_image

the international space station

The International Space Station, shown in Figure 23.24 is a joint project between the space agencies of many nations These include the United States (NASA), Russia (RKA), Japan (JAXA), Canada (CSA), several European countries (ESA) and the Brazilian Space Agency. The International Space Station is a very large station. It has many different sections and is still being assembled. The station has had people on board since 2000. American space shuttles deliver most of the supplies and equipment to the station. Russian Soyuz spacecraft carry people. The primary purpose of the station is scientific research. This is important because the station has a microgravity environment. Experiments are done in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, physiology and medicine.

textbook_image

modular space stations

The first space station designed for long-term use was the Mir space station (Figure 23.23). Mir was launched in several separate pieces. These pieces were put together in space. Mir holds the current record for the longest continued presence in space. There were people living on Mir continuously for almost 10 years! Mir was the first major space project in which the United States and Russia worked together. American space shuttles transported supplies and people to and from Mir. American astronauts lived on Mir for many months. This cooperation allowed the two nations to learn from each other. The U.S. learned about Russias experiences with long-duration space flights. Mir was taken out of orbit in 2001. It fell into the Pacific Ocean.

textbook_image

textbook_image

early space stations

Between 1971 and 1982, the Soviets put a total of seven Salyut space stations into orbit. Figure 23.22 shows the last of these, Salyut 7. These were all temporary stations. They were launched and later inhabited by a human crew. Three of the Salyut stations were used for secret military purposes. The others were used to study the problems of living in space. Cosmonauts aboard the stations performed a variety of experiments in astronomy, biology, and Earth science. Salyut 6 and Salyut 7 each had two docking ports. One crew could dock a spacecraft to one end. A replacement crew could dock to the other end. The U.S. only launched one space station during this time. It was called Skylab. Skylab was launched in May 1973. Three crews visited Skylab, all within its first year in orbit. Skylab was used to study the effects of staying in space for long period. Devices on board were and for studying the Sun. Skylab reentered Earths atmosphere in 1979, sooner than expected.

space shuttles and space stations

While the United States continued missions to the Moon in the early 1970s, the Soviets worked to build a space station. A space station is a large spacecraft. People can live on this craft for a long period of time.

space telescopes

Incredible images have come from the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Even more incredible scientific discoveries have come from HST. The Hubble was the first telescope in space. It was put into orbit by the space shuttle Discovery in 1990. Since then, four shuttle missions have gone to the Hubble to make repairs and upgrades. The last repair mission to the Hubble happened in 2009. An example of a HST image is in Figure 23.28,

recent space missions

The disasters have caused NASA to focus on developing unmanned missions. Missions without a crew are less expensive and less dangerous. These missions still provide a great deal of valuable information.

instructional diagrams

No diagram descriptions associated with this lesson

questions

While the U.S. flew missions to the moon in the early 1970s, the Soviets worked to build space

a. orbiters.

b. shuttles.

-->  c. stations.

d. rovers.

The International Space Station has had people on board since ____.

a. 1969

b. 1989

-->  c. 2000

d. 2008

The Soviet Salyut space stations were used for

a. military purposes.

b. scientific research.

c. astronaut transport.

-->  d. two of the above

A space station is

-->  a. launched and constructed in pieces

b. designed for defense purposes

c. home to astronauts from one country at a time

d. none of these

The first space station designed for long-term use was

a. Salyut 7.

b. Skyla

-->  c. Mir.

d. none of the above

What features make a space shuttle unique?

a. It can explore the inner solar system.

-->  b. It can haul cargo into space.

c. It can fly like an airplane.

d. It can land on the moon and return.

If you want to see what happened to a lake before and after a hurricane, you would use

a. geospatial satellites

-->  b. Landsat images

c. rovers.

d. none of these

Nations that have worked together on the International Space Station include

a. U.S.

b. Russia.

c. Brazil.

-->  d. all of the above

Most people have been carried to and from the ISS by

a. American shuttles.

-->  b. Russian spacecraft.

c. U.S. and Soviet rovers.

d. two of the above

Smaller solar system objects, like asteroids, may give us clues as to

a. how the solar system formed

b. what planets are made of

c. when the solar system formed

-->  d. all of these

Crews on U.S. space shuttles have

a. transported materials to the ISS.

b. repaired the Hubble space telescope.

c. launched satellites.

-->  d. all of the above

The Hubble space telescope was put into orbit by the

-->  a. space shuttle Discovery.

b. Deep Impact Probe.

c. Cassini mission.

d. Huygens Probe.

space station that is a joint project of many nations

a. space shuttle

-->  b. ISS

c. space station

d. Skylab

e. Hubble

f. Mir

g. orbiter

any large satellite that people can live on

a. space shuttle

b. ISS

-->  c. space station

d. Skylab

e. Hubble

f. Mir

g. orbiter

part of a space shuttle that has wings

a. space shuttle

b. ISS

c. space station

d. Skylab

e. Hubble

f. Mir

-->  g. orbiter

One purpose of the International Space Station is to conduct medical research.

-->  a. true

b. false

space station with the longest continuous use

a. space shuttle

b. ISS

c. space station

d. Skylab

e. Hubble

-->  f. Mir

g. orbiter

Private companies are increasingly getting into space exploration.

-->  a. true

b. false

reusable space vehicle for carrying equipment and people to and from space

-->  a. space shuttle

b. ISS

c. space station

d. Skylab

e. Hubble

f. Mir

g. orbiter

first U.S. space station

a. space shuttle

b. ISS

c. space station

-->  d. Skylab

e. Hubble

f. Mir

g. orbiter

There are currently rovers on Venus and Mars.

a. true

-->  b. false

first space telescope

a. space shuttle

b. ISS

c. space station

d. Skylab

-->  e. Hubble

f. Mir

g. orbiter

The mission of NASA is to study everything in the solar system except Earth.

a. true

-->  b. false

The record for one crew inhabiting a space station is ten years.

a. true

-->  b. false

The Huygens space mission is studying Pluto.

a. true

-->  b. false

The Soviet Salyut space stations were all temporary stations.

-->  a. true

b. false

Skylab studied the effects of staying in space for long periods of time

-->  a. true

b. false

A space shuttle includes an orbiter, fuel tank, and booster rockets.

-->  a. true

b. false

The space shuttle program flew a total of 10 missions.

a. true

-->  b. false

The last space shuttle was retired in 2001.

a. true

-->  b. false

Space shuttle disasters caused NASA to focus on missions without crews.

-->  a. true

b. false

Saturns moon Titan has some of the conditions needed to support life.

-->  a. true

b. false

The Stardust mission collected dust particles from the surface of Mars.

a. true

-->  b. false

Private companies will play more of role in future space missions.

-->  a. true

b. false

diagram questions

No diagram questions associated with this lesson