To Infinity and Beyond
Boeing and SpaceX have both been awarded contracts by NASA to fly astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). Ever since NASA retired its space shuttle fleet in 2011, it has been relying on the Russian Soyuz capsule to fly astronauts to the ISS, an arrangement that was meant to be temporary until NASA’s chosen commercial partners under the Commercial Crew Development Project could supply it with a private spacecraft.
Well, with the strained US-Russia relations in recent months, the timing couldn’t have been better! Boeing is a well-known Chicago-based aerospace company known for its commercial and military aircraft. On the other hand, Hawthorne-based SpaceX is a startup run by Paypal cofounder and visionary Elon Musk.
This new development is very significant as it could be the beginning of a new era in space exploration. Until recently, only governments could afford to build and fly spacecraft, but now, private companies are starting to get in on some of the action. In fact, SpaceX has actually already made history before. In 2012, the very year after the shuttles retired, SpaceX became the first private company to launch a spacecraft to dock with the ISS.
With private companies now able to send astronauts and cargo to low-earth orbit destinations like the ISS for relatively low cost, NASA and other government agencies will be able to put more funding into more ambitious exploration missions to uncover even more about our universe.
To read more about the contracts, click on this link.
Submitted by Aram H., Discoverer.
Edited by Peggy K.
The youngest start system in our galaxy is the Pleiades cluster. Formed within the last 100 million years, so even some early dinosaurs never saw them. At a distance 424 light years away, there are easily recognised on a clear night (northern hemisphere in summer) in the constellation of Taurus.
Laniakea: Our Home Supercluster of Galaxies Image Credit: R. Brent Tully (U. Hawaii) et al., SDvision, DP, CEA/Saclay
Explanation: It is not only one of the largest structures known — it is our home. The just-identified Laniakea Supercluster of galaxies contains thousands of galaxies that includes our Milky Way Galaxy, the Local Group of galaxies, and the entire nearby Virgo Cluster of Galaxies. The colossal supercluster is shown in the above computer-generated visualization, where green areas are rich with white-dot galaxies and white lines indicate motion towards the supercluster center. An outline of Laniakea is given in orange, while the blue dot shows our location. Outside the orange line, galaxies flow into other galatic concentrations. The Laniakea Supercluster spans about 500 million light years and contains about 100,000 times the mass of our Milky Way Galaxy. The discoverers of Laniakea gave it a name that means “immense heaven” in Hawaiian.
The city of Portland, Oregon, is nearing approval of construction for tiny home communities on public land in order to house homeless and low-income residents.
The IBM 7030, also known as Stretch, was IBM’s first transistorized supercomputer. Originally designed to meet a requirement formulated by Edward Teller at Lawrence Livermore, the first example was delivered to Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1961, and a second customized version, the IBM 7950 Harvest, to the National Security Agency in 1962.