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NASA

Katherine Johnson, a mathematician who was one of NASA's human "computers" and an unsung hero of the space agency's early days, died Monday. She calculated the flight path for America's first crewed space mission and moon landing, and she was among the women profiled in the book and movie Hidden Figures. She was 101.

Her death was announced by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

Composite image of neutron star
X-Ray: NASA/CXC/J.Hester (ASU); Optical: NASA/ESA/J.Hester & A.Loll (ASU); Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R.Gehrz (Univ. Minn.) / Via Associated Press

NASA is pulling the plug on one of its great observatories — the Spitzer Space Telescope — after 16 years of scanning the universe with infrared eyes.

Fifty years ago, astronaut Pete Conrad stepped out of the lunar module onto the surface of the moon.

His first words were: "Whoopie! Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but that's a long one for me."

Conrad, who stood at just 5 feet 6 inches tall, was only the third human to set foot on the lunar surface. He did it on November 19, 1969, just four months after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made the first lunar landing. However, unlike Armstrong and Aldrin, Conrad and fellow astronaut Alan Bean are not household names.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

July 20  marks the 50th anniversary of the first humans on the moon. Astronauts got there aboard the Apollo spacecraft designed just for that purpose. Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin was in Dallas this past spring, with two fellow space travelers, to view the unveiling of a painting featuring ten living Apollo astronauts.

Associated Press

A recent collaboration involving the Texas A&M Forest Service and NASA scientists could help urban planners in Texas more quickly coordinate recovery efforts following a natural disaster.

If you have ever wanted to get paid to lie in bed, then this job is for you: NASA, the European Space Agency and the German Aerospace Center are offering $18,500 for people to lie in bed for two months.

The future of space exploration could be determined in San Antonio. NASA announced Monday it was creating two university-based institutes to delve into the technologies critical to keeping habitats alive and maintained in deep space travel, largely unmanned.

Left to right: NASA astronauts Buzz Aldrin, R. Walter Cunningham and Al Worden stand in front of Maciej Maga's painting of 10 Apollo astronauts just after it was unveiled at Old Parkland Hospital in Dallas.
Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Arts and space exploration took center stage when a life-sized painting of 10 Apollo astronauts was revealed Wednesday night in Dallas.

Three of the astronauts attended the unveiling — Buzz Aldrin, R. Walter Cunningham and Al Worden — and stood next to the likenesses of themselves.

Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET

That is not one small step for women.

History was supposed to be made Friday when, for the first time, two female astronauts were scheduled to do a spacewalk together outside the International Space Station. However, one of the astronauts was switched out this week because of a lack of "spacesuit availability."

Opportunity lost.

NASA has officially declared an end to the mission of the six-wheeled rover on Mars. Opportunity lost power in a dust storm last June, and all efforts to make contact have failed.

"Our beloved Opportunity remained silent," Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, said Wednesday at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "With a sense of deep appreciation and gratitude," he added, "I declare the Opportunity mission as complete."

Saturn is famous for its lovely rings, but a new study suggests the planet has spent most of its 4.5 billion years without them.

That's because the rings are likely only 10 million to 100 million years old, according to a newly published report in the journal Science that's based on findings from NASA's Cassini probe.

Ultima Thule, the nickname of the Kuiper belt object and farthest object ever explored, is actually two different objects.

About a billion miles beyond Pluto, a spacecraft is closing in on an icy minor planet — a mysterious little place that's only about 20 miles across.

If all goes well, NASA will start the new year with the most far-off exploration of a world ever, flying past it about 2,200 miles from the surface while taking images with an onboard telescope and camera. The closest approach will be at 12:33 a.m. ET on Jan 1.

KERA / Miguel Perez

A six-person team at Texas Woman's University in Denton designed a special type of shirt that targets lower back pain in astronauts. The students created the garment for NASA's Design Challenge Showcase, a competition that pushes students to solve issues related to space travel. 

Irving students show off their award-winning space colony design.
Bill Zeeble / KERA News

One year shy of the 50th moon landing anniversary, young space enthusiasts pack Dallas' Frontiers of Flight Museum. CEO Cheryl Sutterfield-Jones says this place will see three to four times the normal Saturday turnout. 

NASA is heading back to Mars. If all goes well, a two-stage Atlas V 401 will lift off from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on Saturday morning. Onboard will be a lander named InSight, an $813.8 million mission to study the interior of the Red Planet.

Recent Mars missions have snapped pictures of the surface, studied rocks, dug in the dirt and looked for signs that water once flowed on Mars. But as Insight's principal investigator William "Bruce" Banerdt sees it, that's just scratching the surface.

NASA / Twitter

A full moon in a clear night sky is nothing short of breathtaking. But, the next one will be even better, for three reasons.

Molly Evans / KERA News

Images from the moon landing and other major space moments of the 1960s are familiar to many Americans. But what about the sounds? NASA recorded thousands of hours of audio tapes from the Apollo missions that have sat unheard in storage for decades.

The Orionid Meteor Shower will reach its peak on Friday night and Saturday morning, with the best viewing shortly before dawn (wherever you are).

Last year, the annual show was less than spectacular — a bright gibbous moon hung in the sky for most of the night, stealing the glory from the meteors.

But this year, there's barely a sliver of moon in sight — the new moon was just on Thursday. And much of America can expect a nearly cloudless sky, to boot.

Texas Scientists Worry About Research Funding Under Trump

Feb 2, 2017
Texas Tribune

Late one night last month, Rice University climate researcher Daniel Cohan spotted a headline on Twitter that stunned him: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was temporarily freezing all grants and contracts. He immediately worried that the climate change-related grant application his team had been working on for months "was a goner."

Courtesy of David Ham

Spending time in space changes people: not just their outlook on life, but also their eyesight in general. For years, a North Texas doctor has been trying to find out what is causing this vision change among astronauts. His latest research provides some clues — and connects astronauts on the International Space Station, cancer patients on a roller coaster plane flight and high-tech sleeping sacks.

The last person to leave footprints on the moon has died. NASA reported that Gene Cernan died Monday at the age of 82, surrounded by his family.

Gene Cernan flew in space three times, including twice to the moon. Cernan was big, brash and gregarious. And if he hadn't been lucky, he could have missed his chance to walk on the moon.

Brad Thompson / Shutterstock

On Monday, the full moon will be the biggest and brightest it’s been in almost 70 years.

From Texas Standard: NASA astronaut Tim Kopra will soon break a record for the number of days a Texan has been in space – five months, to be exact. He'll be visiting the International Space Station, conducting experiments in coordination with ground teams, and bringing materials up for scientists already on ISS


UT Southwestern

Four volunteers recently went on a zero gravity ride with the help of NASA in Houston – in the name of science.

Imagine you’re flying in a plane, high above the Gulf of Mexico — and then you start to fall. Eight thousand feet in just 30 seconds.

NASA.gov

Tuesday night's explosion of a rocket bringing fresh supplies to the International Space Station destroyed valuable cargo and a number of scientific experiments -- including one from students at a Rockwall middle school.

Adelina Sun / KERA News

The private space business is booming, and Texas is a primary launch pad. For this week’s Friday Conversation, KERA’s vice president of news, Rick Holter, sits down with Ed Lu – a longtime astronaut who now has his own space company.

amanderson2 / Flickr.com

NASA and Texas are offering the state’s high school juniors a chance to spend part of their summer in Houston’s Johnson Space Center. The scholarship program amounts to more than space camp.

NASA

It won't leave the ground, but it'll help lay the floor for a $12 million attraction at Space Center Houston - and NASA wants you to give it a name. Starting today at noon, Texans can christen a new high-fidelity Shuttle replica that will crown the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft as part of a $12 million new attraction at the center.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems

NASA has released a low-resolution video of the Curiosity rover during the final few minutes of its descent to the Martian surface.

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