August 2nd, 2011
12:22 PM ET

Space shuttle Columbia part found in East Texas

(CNN) - Authorities in a Texas city found material from space shuttle Columbia that had fallen into a local lake.

NASA calls the object, which is 4 feet in diameter, a PRSD: power reactant storage and distribution, said Lisa Malone, a spokeswoman for the agency.

The object is a tank that provides power and water for shuttle missions, she said.

"It's one of ours," Malone said, adding that NASA is trying to develop a plan to recover the item. "We're looking into whether we'll send a team out or local authorities can."

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Filed under: In Space • News
August 2nd, 2011
11:20 AM ET

Another Take on Supersonic

"Our ability to fly at supersonic speeds over land in civil aircraft depends on our ability to reduce the level of sonic booms. NASA has been exploring a variety of options for quieting the boom, starting with design concepts and moving through wind tunnel tests to flight tests of new technologies. This rendering of a possible future civil supersonic transport shows a vehicle that is shaped to reduce the sonic shockwave signature and also to reduce drag."

Source: NASA

Filed under: Light up the screen
My concussion: Be nice to your brain
August 2nd, 2011
10:00 AM ET

My concussion: Be nice to your brain

I write about health issues every day but I honestly thought that concussions happened only to football, soccer and hockey players. Since kickball is the only sport I play competitively – and there's an obvious limit to how cut-throat an adult kickball game can be – I never considered that a serious head injury would happen to me.

But at kickball in mid-July, I was standing in my usual less-than-important position in right field when the other team's kicker sent the ball flying right toward me. Excited to be useful, I jumped to catch it. Unfortunately, so did one of my teammates, according to my friends who watched in horror.

They say we collided in mid-air, and the force of his body knocked me to the ground. But all I remember is seeing the ball, feeling pain, and suddenly struggling to breathe and speak.

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Filed under: Voices
Heavenly discoveries, earthly inventions
August 2nd, 2011
09:11 AM ET

Heavenly discoveries, earthly inventions

Astronomers just discovered the largest reservoir of water ever, roughly 140 trillion times the volume of the Earth's oceans. With severe drought afflicting Africa, Asia and the southern United States, you might ask whether this offers a solution to earthly afflictions.

Alas, it is in the very distant universe, roughly 12 billion light years from Earth. So even moving at light speed (NASA's fastest spacecraft move about 20,000 times slower), it would take humans several trillion lifetimes to reach this water blob, never mind bringing it home - definitely too far for a quick trip to the well.

But it's worth taking a deeper look. The newly discovered water can teach us about the universe when it was only a fraction of its present age.

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Filed under: In Space

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