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Quickie Questions - Humans - Space Missions

Date Answered Questioner (age, location) Question Answer
February 9, 2011Anthony ( New York)How far is outer space from the ground, like where we sit and walk on and all of that, if we went straight up?There is no sharp boundary between our atmosphere and outer space. The atmosphere just gradually gets thinner and thinner. One definition of space is called the Karman line. The Karman line is 100 km up (about 62 miles). NASA uses 122 km (76 miles) as their re-entry altitude, where space shuttles switch over from using thruster rockets to using wing and tail surfaces for steering.
April 23, 2010simi (ON)which scientist has work associated with the sun(full name plese)and which was the first spacecraft to observe the sunPioneers 6,7,8, and 9 (respectively launched on 16 December 1965, 17 August 1966, 13 December 1967, and 8 November 1968) were the world's first solar monitoring network and provided warnings of increased solar activity which could affect Earth orbiting satellites and ground systems
March 9, 2010kim (usa)where does the money for space exploration come from?As many other enterprises funded by the goverment, from our taxes! Although nowadays there are also private enterprises developing the capability for space turism.
February 17, 2010Mantas (LITHUANIA)Why, when a object(for example Voyager spacecraft) passes a planet, it gains speed?This is called "Slingshot Effect", and is based on a relatively simple application of momentum conservation. This page describes the physics involved in this effect.
February 1, 2010Morgan (kentucky)What spacecraft is suppouse to vist saturn in 2010On July 1, 2004 UTC, the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft fired its main engine to reduce its speed, allowing the spacecraft to be captured by Saturn's gravity and enter orbit. Cassini completed its initial four-year mission to explore the Saturn System in June 2008. Now, the healthy spacecraft is working overtime on the Cassini Equinox Mission, seeking answer to new questions raised in Cassini’s first years at Saturn
January 13, 2010Lexy (USA)What provisions are needed in space for people? spacecraft?There are many! Humans need oxygen, water and food. They also need to keep their muscular strengh through exercise because the lack of gravity would weaken them. They have to be protected from dangerous radiations and from energetic particles, their body wastes have to be recycled and stored, a estrict hygiene has to be kept, etc.
January 8, 2010shirley (BC Canada)Is the International Space Station finished already? ThanksNo, the ISS still has a long Assembly Sequence to go. See the NASA's Space Shuttle Flights and ISS Assembly Sequence for more details.
December 28, 2009Mamediarra (OH)how long does it take to send a rover to mars?The transit time to Mars is about 8.5 months. This NASA page shows a simple calculation of this time.
December 23, 2009Jacqueline (north carolina)what probes have been sent to Venus or will be sent to Venus. Please answer my question.Our web page Missions to Venus offers the information you need.
October 27, 2009Dakota (Texas)What layer of the earths atmosphere are space shuttles located?The space shuttles and the International Space Station orbit Earth within the thermosphere.
October 19, 2009Hannah (Australia)Why does the Hubble Space Telescope have missions to do?The Hubble Space Telescope has helped scientists to make many new discoveries, like new cosmic bodies and and the dark matter. With Hubble's help, astronomers have monitored weather patterns on our solar system planets and harvested important information about stars and galaxies. The Hubble Site offers tons of information about this unique telescope!
October 16, 2009sirperriyawn (mississippi ,united states)what was the name of the first space shuttle that had serious problems during its journey?I think you are asking about Apollo 13, a mission to the moon launched in 1970, that suffered an explosion which caused a loss of electrical power and failure of both oxygen tanks. A movie based on this event is of the same name.
October 9, 2009Christy (GA, USA)How long would it take to send a US space shuttle to reach Venus in its most direct route?There is no answer to this question. The shuttles have never been used to reach other planets, only to conduct in-orbit maneauvers and to visit the International Space Station. Other kinds of space ships could be used to reach Venus, but first we would have to establish the usefulness and priority of such mission.
October 6, 2009nelly (canada)is there a connection between space and neurological illnesses(stroke,parkinson)on earth based on roberta bondar experiment?and how?As far as I know, one of Dr. Bondar's projects was to conduct the Back Pain Experiment (BPE) aboard the IML-1, but I haven't found anything about neurological problems associated with space missions.
September 16, 2009Emily (Indiana)When was the challenger destroyed?The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986, 73 seconds after lift off.
August 25, 2009 Till now how many rockets went to the sun?The answer to your question, along many more details, can be found in NASA's page Solar Missions.
August 20, 2009zach (Wisconsin)What was the name of the first probe to land on mars?Mariner 4 (USA) was the first successful flyby of the Red Planet. It arrived in 1965. Mariner 9 (USA) was the very first orbiter of Mars to reach Mars. The lander of the Mars 2 (USSR) mission crash landed on the Martian surface in 1971. The lander of the Mars 3 (USSR) mission did achieve soft landing on Mars (although instruments stopped working after 20 seconds).
August 17, 2009Iva (canada,ontario)what is a space Shuttle?Space shuttle is any vehicle capable of travelling repeatedly between the Earth's surface and outer space carrying people or cargo, with wings for a controlled descent through the Earth's atmosphere.
August 10, 2009fabian (germany)how do scientists use robots on mars?The use of robots on Mars has been very succesful. For example, a meteorite found on Mars yield clues about the planet's past, Opportunity recently found the youngest crater ever seen by either Mars Exploration Rover, the observations show clouds of dust being lifted into the atmosphere by a storm near the edge of the seasonal polar cap, etc. The main source of information on this topic is NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Mission.
August 10, 2009jessica (germany)what was the flight carrying strelka and belka likeKorabl-Sputnik-2 (Spaceship Satellite-2), also known as Sputnik 5, was launched on August 19, 1960. On board were the dogs Belka ( Squirrel) and Strelka (Little Arrow). Also on board were 40 mice, 2 rats and a variety of plants. After a day in orbit, the spacecraft's retrorocket was fired and the landing capsule and the dogs were safely recovered. They were the first living animals to survive orbital flight. Extracted from Russian Dogs in Space.
August 10, 2009Megan (Utah)Has Voyager 2 landed yet? If not, where is it?"Voyager 2 continues its journey of discovery, crossing the termination shock multiple times as it entered the outermost layer of the giant heliospheric bubble surrounding the Sun and joined Voyager 1 in the last leg of the race to interstellar space." said Voyager Project Scientist Dr. Edward Stone of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif. See The Voyager Website for more information.
August 7, 2009lexi (oregon)what are the names of the original mercury 7 astronauts?The "Mercury Seven" were Scott Carpenter, L. Gordon Cooper, Jr., John H. Glenn, Jr., Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, Walter M. Schirra, Jr., Alan B. Shepard, Jr., and Donald K. "Deke" Slayton. More information on this NASA web page.
August 6, 2009sophie (england)Has a british man ever landed on the moon?As far as I know, the 12 astronauts that have visited the moon have been American. See this page for more information.
July 29, 2009Nancy (Iowa)What does the New Horizons space probe going to Pluto look like?Here is the NASA page for the New Horizons mission, there you will find lots of information, including pictures of the spacecraft.
July 22, 2009Savannah (FL/USA)How many monkeys have been into space?The United States launched monkey flights primarily between 1948-1961 with one flight in 1969 and one in 1985. France launched two monkey space flights in 1967. The Soviet Union and Russia launched monkeys between 1983 and 1996. Thirty-two monkeys flew in the space program; each had only one mission. Extracted from Monkeys in space.
June 17, 2009ArtI've always felt that the landing was a fact..but I heard someone on a radio program indicate that it was a hoax because humans could not possibly survive the trip through the vast Van Allen radiation belt, which is supposedly 10s of thousands of miles thick.There is indeed deadly radiation in the Van Allen belts, but the nature of that radiation was known to the Apollo engineers and they were able to make suitable preparations. The principle danger of the Van Allen belts is high-energy protons, which are not that difficult to shield against. And the Apollo navigators plotted a course through the thinnest parts of the belts and arranged for the spacecraft to pass through them quickly, limiting the exposure.
May 21, 2009Danielle (New York)Why did Laika the dog have to put to sleep a week after the mission?For a long time it was not known the real causes of and when Laika died. Now is known that Laika died a few hours after launch, presumably from stress and overheating.
May 19, 2009ROSILINDA (U.S.A. CALIFORNIA)why has nobody went to pluto?With today technology, a space mission to Pluto takes about 9 years. Please, visite our web page New Horizons Mission to Pluto for more information on this topic.
April 30, 2009richard (n.j. usa)How many years would it take to reach the outer edge of our solar system?Launched in 1977, Voyager 2 headed toward the fringes of the solar system. Scientists analyzing the data sent back by Voyager 2 reported in the July 3 2008 Nature that the ship had at least five encounters with a turbulent region known as the termination shock. It took over 30 years to arrive there!
April 21, 2009alexia (arizona)are there any reconnaissance satellites on saturn?Yes, since June 30, 2004, the Cassini spacecraft entered orbit around Saturn. Currently it is conducting the Cassini Equinox Mission.
April 20, 2009ariana (nc)has anybody ever landed on the moon?Yes, the Apollo 11 mission was the first manned mission to land on the Moon. On July 20, Armstrong and Aldrin became the first humans to land on the Moon, while Collins orbited above.
April 15, 2009Mikaila (Florida)What were the uses of the orbiters,lander,and rover vehicles during america's first manned mission to the moon?As their name implies, the orbiter was kept orbiting the moon, while the lander was use to descend on the moon's surface and later return to the orbiter; and the the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) or lunar rover was a type of surface exploration rover used on the Moon during the Apollo program.
April 14, 2009Kyle ( Ashtabula, Ohio)Which country is going to build the most sections of the International Space Station?U.S. Role and Contributions to the International Space Station (ISS): The United States has the responsibility for developing and ultimately operating major elements and systems aboard the station. The U.S. elements include three connecting modules, or nodes; a laboratory module; truss segments; four solar arrays; a habitation module; three mating adapters; a cupola; an unpressurized logistics carrier and a centrifuge module. The various systems being developed by the U.S. include thermal control; life support; guidance, navigation and control; data handling; power systems; communications and tracking; ground operations facilities and launch-site processing facilities. International Contributions to the ISS: The international partners, Canada, Japan, the European Space Agency, and Russia, will contribute the following key elements to the International Space Station: · Canada is providing a 55-foot-long robotic arm to be used for assembly and maintenance tasks on the Space Station. · The European Space Agency is building a pressurized laboratory to be launched on the Space Shuttle and logistics transport vehicles to be launched on the Ariane 5 launch vehicle. · Japan is building a laboratory with an attached exposed exterior platform for experiments as well as logistics transport vehicles. · Russia is providing two research modules; an early living quarters called the Service Module with its own life support and habitation systems; a science power platform of solar arrays that can supply about 20 kilowatts of electrical power; logistics transport vehicles; and Soyuz spacecraft for crew return and transfer. In addition, Brazil and Italy are contributing some equipment to the station through agreements with the United States. Extracted from the webpage International Space Station.
March 19, 2009SANJEEV (India)Can a boy go into space 13 year?The youngest astronaut in the history of space exploration has been Sally Ride, who was 32 years, 23 days old when she flew on STS-7 in June 1983.
March 5, 2009William (Malaysia)It is possible that human can live on Mars?Yes, it is possible, but itwould require many resources. For example, there is not the oxygen necessary to live, the travelers would be expossed to dangerous radiations, and many biological processes would be affected by the lack of atmospheric pressure (Mars atmosphere is much thinner than that of Earth, with a surface pressure averaging 1/100th that at the surface of the Earth) and the much lower gravity (0.37% of Earth's).
February 25, 2009sana (united arab emirates)how many man made satelites have been sent to mars?There have been many space missions to Mars. This NASA table offers a comprehensive list and information of all of them.
February 17, 2009makayla (michigan)why do humans want to explore Mars?Plese, see here a very detailed explanation on the reasons to explore Mars.
January 27, 2009Lorna (South Australia)we know that 8 {used to be 9) planets are in the solar system, but what is the end? what does the end of the solar system look like? is it all white, is it all black, or is it just a vast empty space full of nothingness??? are we a galaxy in a galaxy??Just recently the mystery of edge of the solar system (sometimes known as termination shock) started opening for the scientists to study. The twin Voyager spacecraft, launched in 1977 to travel to and explore Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, have made many intriguing discoveries, but the latest finding is that the 'bubble' formed around the Solar System by supersonic solar wind is asymmetrical and dynamic. Much more information here.
January 21, 2009Vinay (India)What are the payloads of chandrayaan-1?The scientific payload of this mission was composed by: 1. TMC or the Terrain Mapping Camera, 2. HySI or Hyper Spectral Imager, 3. LLRI or Lunar Laser Ranging Instrument, 4. C1XS or X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, 5. HEX is a High Energy X-ray/gamma ray spectrometer, 6. MIP or the Moon Impact Probe, 7. SARA, The Sub-keV Atom Reflecting Analyser, 8. M3, the Moon Mineralogy Mapper, 9. SIR-2, a near infrared spectrometer, 10. miniSAR, and 11. RADOM-7, Radiation Dose Monitor Experiment.
January 20, 2009Poppy (England)has a woman landed on the moon yet?As of 2009, 12 astronauts have walked on the MOON: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Pete Conrad, Alan Bean, Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell, David Scott, James Irwin, John W. Young, Charles Duke, Eugene Cernan, Harrison Schmitt. All are males.
January 5, 2009jasmine (nsw/australia)what is the type of technology used on space missions and how has it changed over the yearsDue to their inherent complexity, space missions use a great number of technologies. From state-of-the-art propulsion to microcircuitry, the range covers almost all spheres of science and technology. Space missions use the latest and best of the available technologies.
November 11, 2008sondra (illnois)how much money to travel to mercery?The Mercury Messenger mission, with a price tag of $446 million, was launched on 3 August 2004. Its main goals were to measure the planet’s geology, magnetic field, atmosphere, and core composition. Messenger will prepare for its final insertion into Mercury’s orbit in 2011.
October 9, 2008Katissa (NC)Describe the mission that we have taken to other planets.There are many missions to other planets. It would be too long to describe all of them here. NASA web page offers related information.
September 18, 2008chris (canada)my question is why dont u guys send a robot to other galaxys such as ellipticuls,irregulars or spirals. because there might be other life or other planets that human has not discovered yet think about it and keep it in and on your mind!?Recent measurements indicate that the closest galaxy is Canis Major dwarf, at only 42 000 light years from the Galactic center. This means that if we can send a space mission traveling at the speed of light (1 079 252 848 km/h or 670,616,629.4 miles per hour), it would take 42 thousand years to reach Canis Major.
August 21, 2008Leslie (Ontario, Canada)I have to do a project on a robot that has to be sent to one of the planets in our solar system and we have to make up some features that our robot will have and based on one of the robots that was sent to Mars in 1997 what would some of the features be? Also we have to have a day and night pattern for our robot what would that be? To an experts opinion what planet would be best for my robot and why?Please, visit this page for information about the robots sent to Mars.
August 19, 2008Manish Kumar Singh (India)What happened to the huygens probe sent to explore Titan ?(i read that it functioned for 1.5 hrs but what exactly had happened and why did it stop functioning is what i want to know)The main reason was the life of the battery, which went way beyond its life expectancy. It should be noted that the mission intended to obtain measurements during both the descending phase and after landing. Everything was accomplished!
July 7, 2008RebeccaI was wondering did the latest mission to saturn go as planned?On July 1, 2004 UTC, the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft fired its main engine to reduce its speed, allowing the spacecraft to be captured by Saturn's gravity and enter orbit. The spacecraft is now on a four-year mission to explore the ringed planet, its mysterious moons, the stunning rings and its complex magnetic environment. More information at the web page of the Cassini-Huygens mission.
June 26, 2008Matthew  (New York)Dose Mars Stil Have The Rovers On It???????????The twin rovers landed on Mars in January 2004, on missions originally planned to last 90 days. However, NASA is extending, for a fifth time, the activities of the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, possibly through 2009. More information at NASA.
June 20, 2008Haley (Ga-Usa)I am doing a research on Mercury and I wonder how could The Space Missions go near Mercury without blowing up from the heat from the sun?Please, visite our page Missions to Mercury for details about these missions.
June 20, 2008Haley Matthews (Ga-Usa)I am doing a research on Mercury and I wonder how could The Space Missions go near Mercury without blowing up from the heat from the sun?Please, visite our page Missions to Mercury for details about these missions.
May 29, 2008anthony (ma)did you realy send a monkey into outer space?Before sending humans to the space, several animals were sent to study how space flights would affect them. The first animal to be flown in to space was the Russian dog Laika, in 1957.
April 24, 2008Mark (USA)How does the Apollo 11 mission affect us today?Apollo 11 mission planned to collect lunar samples, deploy several experiments, and examine and photograph the lunar surface. All scientific activities were completed satisfactorily. Besides the scientific success of the mission, the Apollo 11 mission was the first human spaceflight mission to land on the Moon, and has had a wide effect on popular culture.
April 22, 2008priya (kerala)Which are the indian satellites now in orbit?There have been 28 Indian satellites missions, from the Aryabhata satellite, launched in 1975, to the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRS-1D) launched in 1997. Still in service are the Stretched Rohini Satellite Series (SROSS-C2), the Indian National Satellites INSAT-1D, INSAT-2A, INSAT-2B, and INSAT-2C, the Indian Remote Sensing Satellites IRS-1B, IRS-1C, IRS-P3, and IRS-1D. More information here.
April 18, 2008Josh (Illinois)How much would it cost to travel to Jupiter?Spacecraft designe, production and operation are very expensive. For example, the estimated cost of manned space missions to Mars is $180 billion.
April 17, 2008sunithai would like to know about bhaskarracharya satelliteThe Bhaskara-I Satellite was the first Indian low orbit Earth Observation Satellite. It was launched on June 7, 1979 by a Soviet Intercosmos rocket. Its orbit parameters are 619 x 562 km inclined at 50.7 deg. On-board systems include television ameras operating in visible and near-infrared (to collect data related to hydrology, forestry and geology), and a microwave radiometer for study of ocean-state, water vapor, liquid water content in the atmosphere, etc.
March 31, 2008samntha (nc)number of missions earth has hadThis NASA-Earth Missions web page lists all past, current, and future mission to study our planet.
March 31, 2008samntha smih (kings mountain nc)number of missions earth has hadThis NASA-Earth Missions web page lists all past, current, and future mission to study our planet.
February 15, 2008Ben (Illinois)What was Sputnick's obital speed ?Sputnik-I traveled at 29 000 kilometers (18,000 mi) per hour.
February 11, 2008Jenny (California)How is the Hubble space telescope able to operate outside the atmosphere?At an altitude of 569 km, or 353 miles, inclined 28.5 degrees to the equator (low-Earth orbit), Hubble is outside the earth atmosphere.
January 31, 2008indy (Australia)Have any space crafts left our solar system?The more likely man-made object to reach the edge of our system is NASA's Voyager 1. 30 years after its launch it is expected to have crossed the end of the heliosphere, the region of the universe where the Sun'a magnetic field is predominant.
January 2, 2008Andrew Yes, Voyager 2 was a flyby mission that visited Uranus in early 1986. Around 7000 images of Uranus, its rings, and its satellites were received from this mission.
January 2, 2008Andrew Has NASA or any other space organization sent probes to Uranus? Yes, Voyager 2 was a flyby mission that visited Uranus in early 1986. Around 7000 images of Uranus, its rings, and its satellites were received fron this mission.
December 19, 2007Pearce (Jamaica)Why is space travel dangerous?Space travel, the so called new frontier, is still on its beginning. There are still many incognits we don't now, and the astronauts will have to deal with them. There are also technical factors to consider. Just imagine, if after more than a century after the first one was created, our cars are still far from perfect and need several trips to the workshop, how many things will need to be perfectioned to make space ships absolutely safe!
July 20, 2007Sam (Northern Ireland)Could we ever live on the moon and if so what would we need to do to do so?A space station on the Moon (shouldn't it be call a "Lunar Station"?) has been a topic of discussion for some time. Such a station should create the right conditions for human inhabitants.
July 20, 2007siddharth (uttar pradesh/india)If astronauts have really traveled to moon so how can they come back as all the engines and the fuel is used up to escape the Earth’s gravitation?Actually, they Space Shuttle engines are not used for lift up. The power at this time is provided by external fuel rockets that propel the shuttles to their escape velocity. The on-board engines are use for maneuvers in space, including the orientation, acceleration (and braking!) when returning to Earth.
July 19, 2007L . Ashok (Malaysia)what is aerogelAerogel is pure silicon dioxide and sand, just as is glass, but aerogel is a thousand times less dense because it is 99.8 percent air. It has been recognized as the solid with the lowest density. As a side note, aerogel is the particle-collecting substance on NASA's Stardust spacecraft.
July 11, 2007Brittney (california)Why is sojourner not transmiting any data anymoreThe rover Sojourner, as other rovers and most of the spaceships, relies on solar panels and batteries to operate, and both degenerate with time. In the specific case of Sojourner, the 3 strings of rover batteries were not rechargeable, and became depleted limiting it to solar power only.
July 9, 2007karren (California)how did mariner 10 get it's name?Mariner 10 was the seventh successful launch in the Mariner series, the first spacecraft to use the gravitational pull of one planet (Venus) to reach another (Mercury), and the first spacecraft mission to visit two planets. More information in NASA webpage Mariner 10.
May 21, 2007KASANDRA (TEXAS USA)HAS ANYONE EVER DIED ON A MISSION IF SO WHYUnfortunately, yes. For example, the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster occurred on February 1, 2003, when Columbia disintegrated over Texas during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, shortly before concluding its 28th mission.
May 11, 2007Erick (Florida/USA)what satellite above the sun is gathering sun dataThe Solar and Heliospheric Observator (SOHO). Vist NASA/SOHO website.
April 13, 2007Ashley (Delaware)Which space probe will head into the kuiper belt after it flies past pluto?NASA's Pluto-Kuiper Belt Mission is known as New Horizons. In the web page NASA-New Horizons you will be able to find all about this mission.
April 13, 2007Franchesco How did moon landing astronauts from Apollo 11 avoid dangerous radiation from van allen radiation belt?The best way to minimize the effects of the radiation is to avoid the radiation belts, which is routinely done for all manned missions. When the Sun, an important source of radiation, is very active, NASA closely follows the real time information gathered by the NOAA-Space Environment Center before authorizing a space walk.
April 7, 2007briana (washinton)4 famus space shuttlesThe NASA’s Space Shuttle fleet includes: Columbia (28 flights) and Challenger (10 flights). These Space Shuttles are not longer in service, they were destroyed in accidents. Discovery (33 flights), Atlantis (27 flights) and Endeavour (19 flights).
March 28, 2007samantha (ohio)who is going to be on the space craft AIM?The Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) mission, to be launched on April 25, 2007, is focused on the study of Polar Mesospheric Clouds (PMC’s), also known as noctilucent clouds (NLC’s). This mission is not tripulated. For more information visit our web page AIM Mission Overview.
March 21, 2007Bianca (california)what probes have been sent to pluto or will be sent to pluto.New Horizons is a NASA's Pluto - Kuiper Belt mission that was launched on 19 January 2006, 19:00:00 UTC. Pluto closest approach will happen on 14 July 2015, 11:59:00 UTC.
March 1, 2007christopher (philippines)the rosetta mission.The Rosetta Mission general goals are to study the origin of comets, the relationship between cometary and interstellar material and its implications with regard to the origin of the Solar System. Rosetta trajectory is very complex, including 4 "sling shots" manouvers (three Earth and one Mars gravity assist manoeuvre). Abundant information about this mission can be found at the web site Rosetta.
January 21, 2007Lindsey (Florida)Identify several jobs that computers perform in space exploration.The list would be too long. Almost every aspect of the space exploration is related to computers. From the calculation of the ideal trajectory during launch, to the analysis of satellite data.
December 27, 2006maria (california)how far is the I.S.S. from planet earth?The altitude of the ISS is now 354.4 km. For real time values visit NASA ISS Tracker.
December 20, 2006Ermias (Ethiopia)Waht was the size of Sputnik lunche on oct 4, 1957 and what it lookes like?
Thank you.
The Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I on October 4, 1957. The first artificial satellite was about the size of a basketball, weighed only 183 pounds, and took about 98 minutes to orbit the Earth. More information can be found at Sputnik.
November 14, 2006Jordyn (Utah)Who wrote the book From Earth To The Moon,published in 1865?From the Earth to the Moon, by Jules Verne, is considered to be the single most important work of fiction in the history of astronautics. Originally published in 1865, it has been a tale loved by generations.
November 30, 2000Leslie (Kansas, USA)What do you know about the Voyager missions?The Voyager probes are really, really far out in space! They are likely to clear the heliosphere by 2008. Then they'll be where no spacecraft has ever gone before.
November 30, 2000Tomeka (Colorado, USA)What is the I.S.S.?The ISS is the International Space Station.
June 19, 2000Boonie (Australia )Is there going to be a new satellite launched this year? If so, what is the name of it?There are new satellites launched all the time. To see a NASA launch schedule, click here.
May 10, 2000Lori (Florida, USA)What was the name of the first geosynchronous satellite?

The first geosynchronous satellite was named Syncom. It was launched in 1963 by Hughes Aircraft and NASA.

A geosynchronous satellite stays in the same orbit around the Earth and travels at the same speed as the rotation of the Earth.

March 1, 2000Judith (Australia)What are the main reasons for and against space exploration?Well, the biggest reason to explore space is to learn. The origin of our world, the possibility of life on other worlds, and the chance that we could one day live on another planet are all great reasons to venture off Earth.

Of course, there are some setbacks. Finance is probably the biggest problem with exploration. The recent losses of the Mars Climate Orbiter and the Polar Lander are examples of money lost during exploration.

The loss of life isn't as much of a problem now as it will be in the future. If we decide to send astronauts to Mars, or try to make a colony on the Moon, there is always a chance a problem could occur.

The pros and cons to space exploration are vast and therefore difficult to explain in a few paragraphs. It does make a great conversation piece, though!

January 25, 2000Dale (Canada)Do you think Nasa will send another explorer to Mars?The recent disasters with the Mars Polar Lander and the Mars Climate Orbiter have not stopped NASA from studying Mars. In fact, more missions are already being planned. Read more about the future missions to Mars here.
July 26, 1999Michael (Austria)All of the pictures taken on the Moon by Apollo astronauts do not show any stars in the background. Can you explain why please?The reason no stars are visible in the Apollo Moon landing photos is because the mission was faked on a Hollywood sound-stage ... just kidding! The easiest way to explain this is that it was just too bright, at least for the camera. When a camera is set to photograph a bright object like the Moon or astronauts on the Moon it has to use a short exposure and slow f/stop. This is the opposite setting than the one needed to capture stars. Stars will appear the same from the Moon as from the Earth (except that they won't twinkle because the Moon doesn't have much of an atmosphere).
July 19, 1999Anna (New York)What kind of metals are used in space crafts? Are there strong metals on the outside that can be used as protection from debris in space? Are there different metals used inside space stations for the plumbing?Spacecraft are made out of metals that are really strong and can withstand the really high temperatures and really cold temperatures of outer space. Aluminum is one that is used in many spacecraft because it has these features and it is extremely light in weight. The lighter the metal, the easier it is to launch the spacecraft into space.
In order to protect spacecraft from space debris, astronauts simply try to steer their spacecraft away from incoming objects. Because the smallest piece of rock or space junk can be traveling at very high speeds in space, it can make a hole in almost any material. The best way for a spacecraft to protect itself is to avoid and stay away from space objects.
As for the pipes, engineers had to design pipes that would be light and really strong. On the space station, pipes are made out of metal, and plastic depending on what flows inside.
June 22, 1999Matthew (Washington)Will there be any more missions to explore the planets closest to the sun (Mercury & Venus)?NASA has a number of current and future proposed missions to a large number of places. MESSENGER and VESPER are two possible missions to Mercury and Venus. I am currently working on a proposal for a landed mission to Mercury for submission to NASA's JPL at the end of the summer.
June 7, 1999Nichole (Idaho)Will the Y2K computer bug have any effect on the NASA's Cassini mission to Saturn?NASA is very carefully checking all their computers, hardware and software, to be absolutely sure nothing will go wrong as the new year begins.
May 6, 1999Andreas and Troels (Denmark)We heard that a plane will be sent to mars to discover the valles merineris. Can you write something about it, by the way the name of the plane is Kitty Hawk if it helps you and it will happen in the year 2003.The plan is that on December 17, 2003, the Kitty Hawk would make a 1,800 kilometer flight over the Valles Marineris. It will carry a number of instruments for experiments. The Kitty Hawk is currently in the proposal stage.
May 1, 1999Ashley (New South Wales, Australia)Why do satellites burn up upon entering the atmosphere? Are there any pictures of this?Satellites burn up upon re-entry because the Earth's atmosphere causes friction against the satellite, which in turn becomes heat. This causes the satellite to burst into flame. Her e is a great website about re-entry, with pictures.
April 16, 1999Conny (Canada)I am looking for the Mir Space Station at night.Where abouts should I be looking?I live in Northern British Columbia.Can it be seen close to a planet? How fast does it move across the night sky? And does it go east to west or west to east?All of that depends upon where you live. Here is NASA's Mir visibility page, which answers all your questions based on the city you live closest to.
April 15, 1999Adam (Iowa, USA)How long would it take to travel from Earth to Jupiter?It depends on how fast you go. The Voyagers took about three years, the fastest so far.
March 29, 19997th and 8th Grade Russian Students (Connecticut, USA)Our classes will be seeing the film October Sky and have been studying Sputnik in preparation. The only student-generated question that we have not been able to find an answer to is the cost of this satellite. Do you know how much it cost to develop in either rubles or dollars?I wasn't able to find the cost of Sputnik anywhere! The only reason for that we could think of here was that maybe Russia never released the cost of the satellite. But if anyone knows, please let us know!

Cami, a Windows to the Universe user, wrote in to tell us that Sputnik cost billions of rubles. Thanks Cami!

February 4, 1999Justin (Ohio, USA)When I was 9 I signed a thing that said my name would be sent to Mars. Is that true?Probably! 932,816 names were sent to Mars on January 3, 1999.
January 6, 1999Johnathan With the upcoming year 2000 is there a space mission planned to explore the outer regions of our solar system?NASA is working on a mission called the 'Pluto-Kuiper Express' which will do exactly that. It is hoped that the Express will get to Pluto and Charon around 2010, and if that is successful, c ontinue on to the Kuiper Disk.
November 30, 1998Daryl I was reading that sometime this year or next we are going to start building a space station. Is this true? How long will it take? How big will it be?Yes! An International Space Station is in the works, and you can read all about it here.
November 19, 1998Griff (Wisconsin, USA)How far is the farthest any of our space sattilites have gone?Pioneer 10 and 11 and Voyager 1 and 2 have left the solarsystem. Voyager 1 and 2 are still transmitting data.
November 10, 1998Jim (Ohio, USA)If Vega is 24 Light Years from Earth, how long would it take any of our conventional spacecraft to reach Vega? How about to the center of our Galaxy (30,000 Light Years) and the closest Spiral Galaxy (2 Million Light Years)?The Galileo probe reached a speed of about 106,000 mi/hr, the fastest so far. It is probable that using the slingshot effect of Jupiter, we could reach speeds of 150,000 mi/hr. Even at this speed, it would take about 102,000 years to reach Vega, 129 ,000 years to the center of the Galaxy, and 8,500,000,000 years to get to the next galaxy!
November 9, 1998Ben (Ontario, Canada)What material is a spaceship constructed of?Spaceships are usually made of very light weight and durable alloys of titanium, aluminum and magnesium.
November 4, 1998Cristen What was the first spacecraft to visit space?Soviet satellite Sputnik 1, launched in 1957, was the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth.
October 7, 1998Josh (Pennsylvania, USA)What is NASA doing next in space?NASA currently has a lot of things planned. On October 25, the Deep Space 1 mission will be launched to demonstrate the first ion propulsion engine to operate in deep space. In December and January, the Mars Climate Orbiter and the Mars Polar Lander will be launched. To better study the ocean winds and El Nino, the Quikscat sattelite will be launched November 24. NASA is also testing other technologies, such as in aeronautics research and propulsion technology.
September 14, 1998Austin (Illinois, USA)What does NASA mean?NASA stands for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Here's a link to their homepage.
August 7, 1998Amy (Vermont, USA)I would just like to know why it's necessary to conduct 'experiments' in outer space since technology exists, upon the earth, to emulate and mimic the conditions of space here on the earth. Are not all the experiments based on a '0-gravity' measurement and the answers already a scientific fact and readily available and known?Actually, it is quite impossible to create 'zero-gravity' here on Earth. I think one of the most frequent questions I get from people is whether or not I've been in the microgravity room at NASA...did I get to float around and all? There really is n o such room! One of the only ways to simulate microgravity in the Earth environment is while in an airplane in the air. And this is only for 20 second periods of time.

We actually don't have all of the answers readily available when it comes to a microgravity environment. Remember, humans have only been in space for the last 30 years of a very long existence. To get these answers, we really do need to do the research up in space. And there are some very important things being done...research in the area of diabetes, improved crystallography, fluids studies and medical research for those who are bed-ridden. Check out NASA's microgravity research homepage. It is packed with more info!

August 5, 1998Jenny (Australia)How much money does the U.S. government fund NASA each year?NASA's budget varies from year to year. Here's a whole page on NASA's current budget.
May 4, 1998Travis (Minnesota, U.S.A.) Does the discovery of ice on the moon mean that one day in the near future man will be able to colonize it?The discovery of ice doesn't mean we will be living on the moon very soon, but it makes it much more of a possibility, since water is essential to life. Since transporting things through space is very expensive, finding water on the moon means it wou ldn't have to be transported there, makeing living there a more reasonable possibility.
April 1, 1998Dennis (South Africa) What is the probability of man ever sending a craft to our nearest star,and how long would it take.The nearest star, Proxima Centauri, is 4.2 light years away. Right now it takes over six years for a probe to even get to Jupiter. A flight to Proxima at that rate would take something like 250,000 years! So, sending a spacecraft to a star is not i n the near future.
March 17, 1998Jan How long does it take a probe to reach Jupiter?The Galileo probe took about 6 years to reach Jupiter.
February 18, 1998Giulio (Milan) What went wrong with the Challenger mission?Because it was so cold on the day of the launch, the sealing joints on the rocket launching the Challenger failed.The leaking gas caught fire, which r uptured the hydrogen tank, which in turn ruptured the oxygen tank, causing a tremendous explosion. Which shows that little things can be extremely important!
February 17, 1998Minh (California, USA) How can the satellites stay in their paths without bumping into each other?Satellites stay in orbits that are very precise given that there are no external forces on the given satellite (like atmospheric drag which would eventually force a satellite into reentry...). And the actual distance between most large satellites is hundreds of miles so their is no danger of satellites bumping into each other (especially because we can track large objects in orbit around the Earth).
February 17, 1998Mike (New Jersey, USA) I believe there are about 16,000 decayed man made objects in Earth's orbit. Orbital debris is becoming a problem. Why can't satellites and rocket stages have small jets attached to them, then after their mission is completed they could be nudged out of orbit and would burn up in re-entry?You're right, there is an incredible amount of debris in orbit around the Earth. The ESA debris site estimates that there is between 70,000-120,000 objects orbiting the Earth that are 1 cm or less in size! Even objects this small can cause considerable damage because they are traveling so fast! The large satellites that you mentioned like rocket stages are large enough to track from the Earth's surface, so they are not a huge problem (see question above!). It is the small flecks of paint that are too small to track from the Earth's surface that are the problem. And I'm sure you'd agree that it's just not feasible to put small jets on these tiny bits of orbital debris!
February 17, 1998Minh (California, USA) What keeps the satellites moving?(What kind of power?)A lot of the early satellites (1960's-late 1970's) used batteries of various forms as their main power source. The most common power source these days (for Earth-orbiting satellites) is photovoltaic cells. P hotovoltaic cells and the solar-generated electricity they produce are extremely reliable. Of course, back-up batteries (often rechargeable) are also included on a satellite so that energy is provided when the satellite is in darkness.
February 6, 1998Giulio (Italy)What was really the problem with Apollo 13?Well, let's just say the movie, Apollo 13 wasn't too far off! Three days into the mission, Swigert, Haise, and Lovell heard a huge bang. The Apollo 13 crew heard an alarm go off and they radioed Mission Control: 'Hey, we've got a problem here!' The explosion caused a rupture in the liquid oxygen tank in the service module. The only part of the spacecraft t hat was still usable for returning back to Earth was the lunar module, the Aquarius. The Aquarius which was only meant to support two men for 50 hours (on the lunar surface!), supported the whole crew for 95 hours. The crew had to conserve power which m eant enduring temperatures just above freezing (which meant little, if any sleep!). The parts in the movie about measles, carbon dioxide and lost wedding bands were as well a part of their saga. Instead of landing on the moon, the Aquarius splashed down gently into the Pacific Ocean bringing the 3 men safely home. As NASA put it later: 'Apollo 13 must officially be classed as a failure, the first in 22 manned flights. But in another sense, as a brilliant demon stration of the human capability under almost unbearable stress, it has to be the most successful faliure in the annals of space flight."
January 15, 1998Sue (Louisiana, USA)What was the name of the first satellite to receive radio, television and telephone calls in space?On July 10, 1962, the first commercially funded satellite, Telstar I was launched into orbit. It was paid for by the American Telephone and Telegraph. It was the first true communications satellite that could relay data, voice and television. The f irst broadcast was relayed from America to England and showed an American flag flapping in the breeze. The Early Bird satellite launched in 1965 provided regular telephone service with 240 telephone circuits.
January 9, 1998Nichole (Connecticut, USA)In the future, could we ever live on the moon?It sure seems like a possibility! In fact many people hope that a colony will be set up in the next century. This lunar colony would support astronomical and mining activities. I've heard the colony already referred to as Moon Town.
January 6, 1998Katie (Louisiana, USA)How many people live in the space station?Three seems to be the magic number. There are 3 men living on the Russian space station Mir right now (Anatoly Solovyov, Pavel Vinogradov and David Wolf). When the International Space Station is built the first crew will be three men (Bill Sheperd, Yuri Gidzenko and Sergie Krikalev).
December 30, 1997Bri (Colorado, USA)Is it possible to send a probe to Mars, gather information on Mars and its atmosphere? Then we could try and find different chemicals to dissolve a part of the atmosphere. We could raise the temperature until all the ice was melted creating water so we can live there.Actually, a NASA probe just reached Mars. It is called the Mars Surveyor. It will map the entire surface of Mars. After this we will have a better understanding of the Martian atmosphere and the polar ice caps. Melting this ice may not be worthwhile (say to a colonist living there) because scientists think that the ice caps may be made up of carbon dioxide ice.
December 30, 1997Robert (Florida, USA)Of all the space probes launched (over the past 30 years) can and does NASA transmit and receive pictures and data from them still...i.e. when a space probe nears the end of the solar system... and the previous mars lander...If NASA still keeps in touch with them....which ones are they.......and how far away can the probes get before we lose contact?The main (ancient) spaceprobes which NASA keeps in contact with are Voyagers 1 & 2, Pioneer 10 & 11. These are out in deep space taking measurements which will show where the edge of the solar system is. Data is taken about every 6 months. There are n o pictures however. The cameras are turned off because they are essentially too far away to see anything very clearly.
By taking data this way NASA will find out, by the time the edge of the solar system is found, from just how far away data can be sent by a spacecraft. Right now scientist expect that the edge of the solar system may be as far away as 100 Astronomical Unit (the average distance from the sun to the earth).
December 30, 1997Christopher (Illinois, USA)Is it possible to use electricity as a means of travel in space? Maybe as in a floating tunnel sort-of-way? And is it possible to heat the Martian icecaps with a laser from an orbiting satellite?Traveling in space using electricity may be possible, but no engineer I know of has figured it out. This is a(way) futuristic idea.
Heating the martian polar caps with a laser is also possible, but there would not be much effect. You'd have to have an (impossibly) powerful laser to have any effect at all, and such a large laser is currently impossible to fly with present spacecraft we have.
December 8, 1997Audrey (Oregon, USA)Has a person ever stepped on Mars? Is Mars really hot?No one has stepped onto the planet Mars yet, but NASA expects to send a manned mission to Mars by the year 2020. Mars is definitely not hot--expect chilly temperatures around -63o F! Check out some of our previously asked Ask a Scientist questions to learn more about who will be first on Mars and what it would be like to live on Mars.
December 8, 1997DavidWill we be able to live on other planets?Probably. Mars is the most likely planet humans will try to colonize first since it is more similar to Earth than any of the other planets. NASA plans to send a manned mission to the Red Planet by the year 2020. See Audrey's question below for link s to other questions about inhabiting Mars.

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