Rockets often utilize liquid propellants for their combustion. To maximize the efficiency during burning, the liquid fuel and oxidizer must mix quickly and break up into an easily vaporized spray. One method to achieve this is to inject the fuel and oxidizer as liquid jets that collide with one another. For high enough flow rates, this creates a highly unstable liquid sheet that quickly atomizes into a spray of droplets. The animation above shows an example of two impinging jets, but rockets using this method would typically have more than just two injection points. Other rockets use co-axial or centrifugal injectors to mix and atomize the fuel and oxidizer prior to combustion.  (Image credit: C. Inoue; full-scale GIF)

This is what my day job is all about.


Rockets often utilize liquid propellants for their combustion. To maximize the efficiency during burning, the liquid fuel and oxidizer must mix quickly and break up into an easily vaporized spray. One method to achieve this is to inject the fuel and oxidizer as liquid jets that collide with one another. For high enough flow rates, this creates a highly unstable liquid sheet that quickly atomizes into a spray of droplets. The animation above shows an example of two impinging jets, but rockets using this method would typically have more than just two injection points. Other rockets use co-axial or centrifugal injectors to mix and atomize the fuel and oxidizer prior to combustion.  (Image credit: C. Inoue; full-scale GIF)

This is what my day job is all about.

(this post was reblogged from sagansense)


     Here, we have the Saturn V rocket, housed inside the Apollo/Saturn V Center at Kennedy Space Center near Titusville, Florida, just a few miles from Launch complex 39, where these beasts once roared into the sky.

     When we look at the enormous first stage of the Saturn V rocket, called an S-IC, we think “spaceship”. Truthfully, the Saturn V first stage never actually made it into space. The stage only burned for the first 150 seconds of flight, then dropped away from the rest of the rocket, all while remaining totally inside Earth’s atmosphere. The S-IC stage is merely an aircraft.

     Even more truthfully, the S-IC stage displayed here at the Apollo/Saturn V Center at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, never flew at all. It is a static test article, fired while firmly attached to the ground, to make sure the rocket would actually hold together in flight. Obviously, these tests were successful, (e.g. she didn’t blow up), and she sits on our Apollo museum today. I wrote more about this particular stage in a previous post, (click here to view.)

     The rest of the rocket, the second and third stages, called the S-II and S-IVB stages, did fly into space. The S-II put the manned payload into orbit, and the S-IVB was responsible for initially propelling that payload from earth orbit to the moon, an act called “trans-lunar injection” (TLI).

     The particular rocket in this display, except for the first stage, is called SA-514. 514 was going to launch the cancelled Apollo 18 and 19 moon missions.

     The command/service module (CSM) in the photos is called CSM-119. This particular capsule is unique to the Apollo program, because it has five seats. All the others had three. 119 could launch with a crew of three, and land with five, because it was designed it for a possible Skylab rescue mission. It was later used it as a backup capsule for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.

(this post was reblogged from projecthabu)


     NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center, in Hancock County Mississippi, was formed in 1961, out of a need for a rocket testing facility with a large acoustical buffer area surrounding the test stands. Back then, it was referred to as the Mississippi Test Facility. Before this facility, rocket testing took place in Huntsville, Alabama, at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, on test stands which I covered in a previous post (click here to view). Once Marshall started testing the large S-IC stage of the Saturn V rocket, the nearby town of Huntsville was suffering broken windows and structural damage. The need for this new facility was obvious.

     One critical step in rocket engine development is static testing, where an engine, or the entire rocket stage, is fixed to an enormous test stand, and fired for different periods of time. The data from these tests is analyzed, and used in countless ways to refine design, and prove that these engines will work in their mission.

     The third photo shows the A-3, A-2 and A-1 test stands (from left to right), most recently used fire the J-2X rocket engines.

     Photos six and seven show the enormous B1/B2 test stand, where the Saturn V S-IC stages were fired during the 1960s, and the Space Shuttle Main Engines were tested most recently. These photos of B1/B2 stand were taken on March 21, 2014. They are pretty exciting, because they show renovation underway, in preparation for testing future SLS Core Stage, which will ultimately bring humans to Mars. When I went to Stennis on September 14, 2013, the cranes, shown in these photos, were not yet present.

     Several companies and agencies operate from the Stennis property, including the NOAA oceanic buoy headquarters, and Rolls-Royce, who tests their Trent 1000 jet engine, installed in the 787 Dreamliner.

     Wernher von Braun’s office, shown in the second photo, rises above the treetops, for ample viewing of the B1/B2 test stand from afar. I would love nothing more than to go back and time to March 3, 1967, and watch the first Saturn V S-IC-T stage test from this building.

(this post was reblogged from projecthabu)


They’ve extended the deadline, *and* the hilarious Comic Sans PowerPoint you’ve been secretly working on about this whole thing can probably be sent as an attachment to their email. Let’s do this thing, people!

(this post was reblogged from upworthy)

Read the Apollo 11 Flight Plan in Its 353-Page Entirety

Exactly 45 years ago today, after months of preparation, Apollo 11 embarked on its now-legendary mission to the moon. But what exactly does it take to send three men into the great, vacuous unknown? See for yourself.

This 353-page document is the entire Apollo 11 flight plan in all its scientific glory. And if it gets a little confusing it’s because this is one of those rare cases where, yes, it actually is rocket science.

Thankfully, the National Archives does provide a small amount of decoding of the highly technical literature. This acronym key should be of some help:

  • CSM = Command Service Module
  • CMP = Command Module Pilot (Mike Collins)
  • LM = Lunar Module
  • CDR = Commander of the Mission (Neil Armstrong)
  • LMP = Lunar Module Pilot (Buzz Aldrin)
  • MCC-H = Mission Control Center-Houston.
  • LLM = Lunar Landing Mision
  • S/C = Spacecraft

And as an added bonus, NASA has also kindly made available the entire Apollo 11 onboard voice transcription. Yep—you get to be privy to every last word uttered between our three space heroes as they were making history happen.


when i was growing up in new york and connecticut i imagined california as looking like this. palm trees and architecture that looked nothing like the center hall colonials of connecticut or the tenements and skyscrapers of nyc.

and then when i first started coming to l.a i was amazed that this was a CITY but that people primarily lived in houses. and granted, many of the houses in l.a are kind of ugly and beige.

but then there are these perfect little jewel box mid century houses, reminding me of my post-adolescent l.a/california visions. and i guess one could argue that architecturally these mcm houses aren’t as arbitrary as norman castles or swiss chalet in the desert.

i mean, architecture like this opens itself to the outdoors but keeps the sun at bay when necessary. and it has the quasi-privacy screen, sort of saying ‘well, we like our privacy, but it’s ok if you peek a little bit’. the paradox of exhibitionist privacy.


(this post was reblogged from mobylosangelesarchitecture)
(this post was reblogged from cheyennerandall)
(this post was reblogged from cheyennerandall)
As the Secretary General of the United Nations, an organization of 147 member states who represent almost all of the human inhabitants of the planet Earth, I send greetings on behalf of the people of our planet. We step out of our solar system into the universe seeking only peace and friendship, to teach if we are called upon, to be taught if we are fortunate. We know full well that our planet and all its inhabitants are but a small part of the immense universes that surrounds us and it is with humility and hope that we take this step.

The story of Carl Sagan’s Golden Record, humanity’s eternal message to the cosmos 

(via explore-blog)
(this post was reblogged from explore-blog)

Dinner Guide to Saving the Ocean



I am that guy.

You know the one. When the waiter comes to the table to give the specials, I’m the one who needs to know where the snapper’s from, how the swordfish was caught, and whether the salmon is farm-raised. My brother generally starts apologizing for me as soon as I open my mouth to see if the Chilean seabass is from the Marion Islands or the McDonald Islands. The answer better be the McDonalds or I lose it.

I am aware that there are lots of things on the menu. And that if we freaked out over every food injustice we’d quickly become the classic Portlandia sketch.

But here’s the thing, sustainable fish is not like organic veggies or free-range chicken. In fact, if you only follow one food issue, forget GMOs, hormones in beef, or (please, God) biodynamic wine.

Become a fish nerd. As I detail in a story for the upcoming issue of Harpers Magazine the oceans are in freefall. We are literally squeezing them dry. Except, you know, not literally dry I suppose.

Fish are the last wild creatures that we eat (no, that mooseburger you ate was not from a wild moose). And as global demand for fish has doubled in the past 20 years, the prices have remained stagnant. How is that possible, you ask? We catch a buttload more of them now, that’s how. Many populations have tanked below 20 or 10 percent as we just move onto the next species. And worst of all is how many we catch, kill, and chuck overboard because it’s the wrong thing. Up to 90 percent in many cases.

And unlike beef or chicken, most of that fish we buy at a restaurant rather than the market, meaning we are even more unconnected to it. Which leads to the next logical question, “What can I do?” The answer is, a lot. Fish may be the most damaging food you can eat, but it’s also the one where the consumer has the most direct power to affect change. So rather than simply saying, “Don’t eat seafood anymore,” I’ve created a guide, arranged in order of pains in the ass (easiest stuff at the beginning, biggest pains in the ass at the end, in case you drop out early). I give you the Erik Vance Restaurant Guide to Saving the Oceans.

Send a message to the chef – Your average chef could give hot bowl of sea lion turds about where his/her seafood comes from. And most think you feel the same way. Many tell me that they would happily look into sustainable options if they thought their diners cared. It’s hard work and they’re not going to do it just to be nice. Statistics suggest that more than half of us do. So if you’re not sure if something’s sustainable and you want to eat it anyway, tell the waiter to tell the chef (or manager – whoever orders the fish) that sustainable options are important to you. That you will eat the halibut-of-dubious-origins this time, but that you expect an effort to find clean versions next time. If everyone did that alone, it might save our oceans.

Sushi - Don’t eat it. There are, like, six truly sustainable sushi restaurants in the country and their owners are driving themselves insane. Sorry, but just don’t eat it.

Talk to your waiter - Ask if the fish is sustainable. If the waiter doesn’t know, then it’s not. If he comes back and says it is, he’s probably fibbing (this happens A LOT). If a restaurant is going to the trouble of sourcing their fish right, they will tell their waitstaff before the night starts. Unless your waiter is new or not terribly bright.

Don’t trust the waiter - Even if the waiter says a fish is sustainable, it may not be. After all, there is a premium for selling sustainable and it’s not clear that laws are being broken if you fib a little. These fibs can come from either the restaurant or the distributor, trying to appease a chef who cares about the oceans. A few years back I fact checked the menu of a restaurant in San Francisco, called Waterbar, that claimed to have sustainable fish and charged high prices for them. When I called the distributors and talked to the staff, more than half of the menu was either unverifiable or patently false (I encourage any local journos to take a look at them and see if they’ve improved – might be a story in it).

Check the species - What kind of fish is it? Obviously, if you are eating orange roughy or blue fin tuna, it doesn’t matter how the thing was caught, it’s from a decimated population. For this, there is no better guide than the Monterey Aquarium’s Seafood Watch guide. They have a cool smartphone ap and little paper pocket guides, organized by region. If a fish is on the green list, eat away; if it’s yellow, only on special occasions; and if it’s red, don’t order the stupid thing.

Start at the bottom - If you do recognize the fish ask yourself, “Is this from the top or the bottom of the food chain?” Tuna, shark, and swordfish are all slow growing and likely to disappear faster (also loaded with mercury). Things like halibut, sardine, crab or trout are closer to the bottom and tend to be better.

Check the gear - “Gear” in fishing parlance is how the fish was caught. Bottom trawlers, for example are basically bulldozers that rumble up and down the ocean floor, wreaking havoc. Long liners leave hooks that sit out for days and catch everything and its mother. Acceptable terms are troll caught (not to be confused with “trawl” caught), rod and reel, Scottish seine, trap-caught, or pole caught. “Hook and line” is sort of a mixed bag that could either be a sustainable fishing rod or an unsustainable longline.

Check the season - If you are still reading, you are probably already a fish nerd. Yes, fish, like crops, have seasons. If you are eating something that claims to be fresh and it’s out of season, well, either it’s caught in a very nasty way for the ocean or its not fresh. Sadly, most seasons are from late spring to early fall (mmm, except for the wonderful California crab season).

Fins and farming - If it has fins, it shouldn’t be farmed. That’s a rough guide, but salmon and other farmed fish are heavy polluters and eat a lot of fishmeal (ie: other ground-up fish from the ocean as shown in this hilariously-titled movie). If it has a shell and is farmed, like oysters or (rarely) scallops, it’s great to eat. If it’s farmed shrimp … well, ah, that’s complicated.

Mix it up - This one is actually pretty easy, but it hurts a lot more. About 60 percent of the fish we eat in the US is either shrimp, salmon, or tuna. Even if we hunted them right, no species can withstand being America’s favorite fish. Just avoiding the top three and broadening your horizons is a help. Try the rockfish, it’s good.

In all of this, remember that the term “sustainable” is not a legal term. It’s not like “organic,” “grade A,” or “registered sex offender,” which have specific legal definitions. Laws requiring accurate menus punish lying about what kind of fish it is, not lying about whether it’s good for the planet. If I want to say it’s sustainable because I urinated on it while calling it nasty names, well, I’m not breaking any laws. Except, I suppose, one or two health codes.

But after I published a seafood story a few years back, I got a call from NOAA’s enforcement wing trying to figure out how they might begin enforcing sustainability. It’s still a ways off, but the more demand we create the faster industry will adapt. And we’re not talking about a lot, here. The industry completely freaked out and went through a revolution when it realized that 10-15 percent of us wanted to buy sustainable fish. If we hit 30, God knows what we might accomplish.

Read more from Pulitzer Center grantee Erik Vance and view his whole project: Mexico: Emptying the World’s Aquarium

Great post on how you all can help the future of our oceans.

(this post was reblogged from pulitzercenter)


The Sun is better than art

This incredible image was produced using data from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) taken on January 17, 2003. This is the sun photographed as it was building towards a major eruption.

SDO carries imaging instruments that photograph different wavelengths of light released from the sun. If you remember your physics, there is a relationship between the wavelength of light, the frequency of the light, and the energy of the light, so SDO images basically reflect the temperature of the sun.

The colors in this shot are 3 different wavelengths of light. Temperature across the sun’s surface and in its corona varies as gases are moved around by convection and by the sun’s powerful magnetic field. Images like this are both gorgeous and help scientists understand the forces churning beneath the surface of the body at the heart of the solar system.


Image credit: NASA Goddard/SDO

This is amazing but calling it “better than art” assumes that art and science are mutually exclusive, which they aren’t.

(this post was reblogged from the-actual-universe)

MOON MOSAIC — A gorgeous image of the Moon from Noel Carboni via NASA: “No single exposure can easily capture faint stars along with the subtle colors of the Moon. But this dramatic composite view highlights both. The mosaic digitally stitches together fifteen carefully exposed high resolution images of a bright, gibbous Moon and a representative background star field. The fascinating color differences along the lunar surface are real, though highly exaggerated, corresponding to regions with different chemical compositions.” (NASA)

(this post was reblogged from kiyo)


On June 30, 2004, the Cassini spacecraft, carrying the European Space Agency’s Huygens probe, arrived at Saturn. Today Cassini celebrates 10 years exploring the Saturn system. Originally intended for a four-year primary mission, Cassini has received three extensions allowing the spacecraft to collect 514 GB of science data and 332,000 stunning images of the planet, its rings and moons.

Below is a list compiled by NASA of Cassini’s Top 10 discoveries and accomplishments:
— The Huygens probe makes first landing on a moon in the outer Solar System (Titan)
— Discovery of active, icy plumes on the Saturnian moon Enceladus
— Saturn’s rings revealed as active and dynamic — a laboratory for how planets form
— Titan revealed as an Earth-like world with rain, rivers, lakes and seas
— Studies of Saturn’s great northern storm of 2010-2011
— Studies reveal radio-wave patterns are not tied to Saturn’s interior rotation, as previously thought
— Vertical structures in the rings imaged for the first time
— Study of prebiotic chemistry on Titan
— Mystery of the dual, bright-dark surface of the moon Iapetus solved
— First complete view of the north polar hexagon and discovery of giant hurricanes at both of Saturn’s poles

Read more:
Cassini’s 10 Years At Saturn: http://go.nasa.gov/1o3EzJZ
Cassini’s Top 10 Discoveries: http://go.nasa.gov/1m1Skuf
Check out Cassini’s Top Images: http://go.nasa.gov/1veUSF3
Download The Infographic: http://go.nasa.gov/1wxXSyW

Image Credit: NASA

posted by pennyfornasa

(this post was reblogged from starstuffblog)
(this post was reblogged from crookedinspiration)


Tech experts hope the open structure of the internet will prevail in the coming decade. But they also fear threats to the internet’s connectivity will arise from efforts by nations to restrict content, increased surveillance, and commercialization of too much online activity.

We’ve got a NEW REPORT from our expert series out today, and we’ll be spending the day talking all things future of the internet, the Web at 25, and the threats that face the Net in the coming decade. Follow along here and on Twitter with #web25.

(this post was reblogged from pewinternet)