Above:NASA successfully launched its Low-Density Supersonic…Read More »
Decelerator (LDSD) — a flying saucer-shaped vehicle that could one day be used to help humans land on Mars — on Saturday (June 28) over the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range in Hawaii.
The flight was designed to test equipment — including a massive 100-foot-wide (30.5 meters) parachute — that could be used to slow a heavy spacecraft as it descends through Mars' atmosphere. During the weekend test, a high-altitude balloon carried the LDSD vehicle to an altitude of 23 miles (37 kilometers), before dropping it. The vehicle's onboard rocket motor fired according to plan, but NASA engineers say the chute inflated but did not deploy correctly.
Still, agency officials say the test flight was a success. "The test vehicle worked beautifully, and we met all of our flight objectives," Mark Adler, project manager for LDSD at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement. "We have recovered all the vehicle hardware and data records and will be able to apply all of the lessons learned from this information to our future flights."
National Park Service rangers do amazing things every day. The latest incredible feat is a heartwarming story, and a great example of the work they do…Read More »
on a daily basis.
Early last week, staff members at Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska received a report of a dog stranded on a cliff ledge near the edge of Exit Glacier. After gaining the dog’s trust, park rangers pulled the dog to safety and carried her out to the trailhead.
Kenai Fjords National Park lies at the edge of Alaska's Kenai Peninsula. It's a land where the ice age lingers and nearly 40 glaciers flow from the Harding Icefield, Kenai Fjords' crowning feature. Wildlife thrives in icy waters and lush forests around this vast expanse of ice.
The area is a tough place to survive, and even tougher if you're a runaway Labradoodle, like Sadie (pictured above). Park rangers say Sadie was at least 20 miles (32 kilometers) from home when she was rescued. Now that she's off the cliffs and back home, the dog is reportedly recovering well, reported the Associated Press. [Related: 8 Amazing National Park Structures]
Credit: Ke-Jung Chen, Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
This mesmerizing image is actually a visualization of the guts of an exploding supermassive star. The computer model represents…Read More »
a slice through the interior of a star that is 55,500 times as massive as the sun.
Some astrophysicists have suggested that supermassive black holes form when hefty stars — those that are more than 10,000 times as massive as the sun — collapse into black holes. Understanding this process could help scientists determine how structures, such as supermassive black holes, formed in the early universe. [Related: The 9 Biggest Unsolved Mysteries in Physics] Less «
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Fuzzy Flamingo Chicks
Credit: Madelyn Duhon/Smithsonian's National Zoo
Two adorable flamingo chicks were born this month at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C. The baby birds were the 100th and 101st …Read More »
Since flamingo chicks have a higher survival rate if they are hand-reared, zookeepers are keeping the babies out of the spotlight for now. When they are older, the birds will join the zoo's flock of flamingoes outside, according to Smithsonian officials. [Related Gallery: World's Cutest Baby Wild Animals] Less «
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Credit: Tom Koerner/USFWS
Lightning creates an electrifying effect in the skies over Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge in Wyoming. The refuge's name originates from a Shoshone…Read More »
Indian word meaning "rover of the prairie hen," according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
The Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge spans 43 square miles (111 square kilometers) in southwestern Wyoming. The shrubs and wetlands are located along 36 miles (58 kilometers) of the Green River, which is an important migration route and nesting area for a variety of bird species.
According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the refuge lands were once well-traveled trails used by nomadic Indian tribes, fur trappers and early pioneers. [Related: Stunning Images of Lightning] Less «
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Credit: Reid Wiseman/NASA
NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman snapped this gorgeous photo of Earth from space. In the orbital image, the twinkling lights of Florida, Cuba and the Bahamas…Read More »
Whooooo is there? An eastern screech owl peeks out from a tree, in this photo taken by Steve Gifford, of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Eastern…Read More »
screech owls can be found throughout eastern North American. These small owls typically live in forests and woodlands, and can be found in many national parks and wildlife refuges across the United States. [Related: Images of Amazing Owls] Less «
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Credit: National Park Service
Fog rolls through the Yellowstone River Valley, and across the Blacktail Deer Plateau in Yellowstone National Park. The iconic…Read More »
park is located primarily in Wyoming, but also stretches into parts of Montana and Idaho.
The study, known as the Integrated Precipitation and Hydrology Experiment (IPHEx), was a six-week campaign that combined measurements from the ER-2 aircraft with data from rain gauges and ground radar stations across western North Carolina. [Related Gallery: Hurricanes from Above – See Nature's Biggest Storms] Less «
5,000-year-old bristlecone pine trees, and the Lehman Caves at the base of Wheeler Peak, a 13,063-foot (3,981 meters) mountain, named for George Wheeler, an explorer and cartographer who led expeditions in the west west from 1869 to 1871.