Space

RPI President George Low’s role in moon walk recalled

TROY >> Forty-five years ago – July 20, 1969 – when man first landed on the moon, former Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute president George M. Low had a hand in planning the giant step for mankind.

Low joined the National Aeronautics Space Administration soon after its formation in 1958, and was chairman of Manned Lunar Landing Task Group, which investigated technical and planning requirements for the mission and provided technical background for President John F. Kennedy’s decision to promise a manned moon landing by the end of the 1960s.

Astronaut Vine video from space goes viral

The sun never sets in a new video taken by a space traveler aboard the International Space Station (ISS). 

The space station orbits around the Earth once every 92 minutes in its journey around our planet. 

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute graduate and NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman recorded the first Vine video from space, filming the Earth during one entire orbit. The 92 minutes are compressed to a mere six seconds.

Curiosity sample shows astronauts could mine water from Martian soil

To figure out what was in the dirt, the Mars Science Laboratory Team used a device known as the Sample Analysis at Mars, or SAM. As lead author Laurie Leshin, dean of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, puts it, a baby aspirin-sized piece of the sample was fed into a tiny cup in Curiosity, then heated to temperatures of 835 degrees Celsius (over 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit.) The gases that came off revealed the composition of the soil inside.

Curiosity Rover Makes Big Water Discovery in Mars Dirt, a 'Wow Moment'

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has found that surface soil on the Red Planet contains about 2 percent water by weight. That means astronaut pioneers could extract roughly 2 pints (1 liter) of water out of every cubic foot (0.03 cubic meters) of Martian dirt they dig up, said study lead author Laurie Leshin, of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.

This Scoop of Mars Soil is Two Percent Water

“One of the most exciting results from this very first solid sample ingested by Curiosity is the high percentage of water in the soil,” said Laurie Leshin, Dean of Science at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, N.Y., and lead author of one of the studies focusing on SAM analysis of Mars ‘fines.’ “About 2 percent of the soil on the surface of Mars is made up of water, which is a great resource, and interesting scientifically.”

Where’s the Water on Mars? Everywhere!

“Laurie Leshin fell in love with Mars when she was 10 years old. It was 1976, the year NASA landed its twin Viking probes on the surface of the Red Planet, beaming back the first closeups of the rocky, rust-colored surface of Earth’s nearest neighbor. “They put the Viking mission on the cover of TIME,” she recalls. From that point on she knew she wanted to study Mars.”

RPI graduate school alumnus headed for International Space Station

A Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute graduate will be among the next crew on the International Space Station. NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio and two crewmates who are scheduled to travel to the International Space Station in November will conduct a news conference today at the Johnson Space Center in Houston about their upcoming mission. Mastracchio, Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and veteran cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin of the Russian Federal Space Agency, make up space station Expedition 38.

Two RPI graduates will head to space

Two Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute alums, Rick Mastracchio and Reid Wiseman, will fly separate missions to NASA’s International Space Station. Mastracchio, 53, graduated from the Troy, NY research university in 1987 with a master’s in electrical engineering. He is training as a flight engineer as a member of the Expedition 39 crew, a six-month mission with a planned November 2013 take-off. This is his fourth NASA Space Shuttle mission. Wiseman, 36, is a former Naval commander, aviator and test pilot who is training to fly a six-month mission as part of the Expedition 40/41 crew.

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