NASA’s Space Launch System: The Future of Space Exploration

Space Launch System, or SLS, begins a bolder mission for NASA and the world — a new era of exploration unlike anything we’re done before. Able to carry more payload than the space shuttle and generate more thrust at launch than the Saturn V, SLS will send the Orion spacecraft farther into space than Apollo ever ventured…and that’s just the first flight!

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) will be the most powerful rocket in history for deep-space missions, including to an asteroid and ultimately to Mars. The first flight test of the SLS will feature a configuration for a 70-metric-ton (77-ton) lift capacity and carry an uncrewed Orion spacecraft beyond low-Earth orbit to test the performance of the integrated system. As the SLS evolves, it will provide an unprecedented lift capability of 130 metric tons (143 tons) to enable missions even farther into our solar system.

Image credit: NASA



elaine: Surface of Mars, photographed by Mars Express and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

First 6 images cover 9°S to 20°S, 129°E to 131°E, showing the centre of Herschel Crater, photographed by MEx, 23rd June 2006.

Last 3 images show the detail highlighted in the 2nd image, photographed by MRO, 16th February 2012.

Image credit: ESA (MEx), NASA/JPL/UoA (MRO). Composite: AgeOfDestruction.


RFID Tags Show Elite Bees Are Made, Not Born

by Michael Keller

Some bees in a hive have a right to complain. Researchers studying individual foraging behavior found that a minority group of elite colony members work much harder than others. 

By attaching tiny radio frequency identification tags to the backs of bees, University of Illinois scientists realized that 20 percent of bees that leave the nest to forage account for 50 percent of the total food brought back.

“We found that some bees are working very, very hard – as we would have expected,” said lead researcher Gene Robinson, who heads the university’s Institute for Genomic Biology. “But then we found some other bees that were not working as hard as the others.”

Read more and check out the video below.

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