Stories about NASA

SUPARCO: Dr Abdus Salam’s long forgotten dream

In 1961, Dr Abdus Salam and late Pakistan Air Force (PAF) commodore WJM Turowicz were busy laying down the foundations of Pakistan’s space agency called Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Corporation (SUPARCO). Little did they know that 52 years later, the nation’s space agency would be lagging woefully behind times, renting foreign built satellites or else hitchhiking on foreign country’s rockets to launch indigenously built satellites (in a manner of speaking) into space. The beginning of SUPARCO reflected the dreams and goals of its founders and the scientists involved. Frequent rocket tests, collaborations with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) regarding training of Pakistani rocket scientists and ...

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December 21, 2012: The end of the world?

With exactly seven days to go, the air is booming with buzz about an impending doomsday set to fall on December 21, 2012. I’m sure you already know what the fuss is about, but for the uninitiated, here goes. It is predicted by historians, astrologers, astronomers, the Mayans, scientists and even internet wizards that the world is going to end this December. Yes, that’s right this very month, even before Christmas and the New Year holidays! Now, let me share with you a few fascinating historical revelations that, for some, point towards the end of the world as we know it.  1. The Mayan ...

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Neil Armstrong: Never the showman, always the astronaut

Ask any serious sci-fi fan, and they will tell you that the most compelling piece of science fiction has a strong element of plausibility. If you can suspend your disbelief long enough to believe that the fiction you are consuming is within the realms of possibility, then your imagination’s immersion within that universe is likely to be deeper. In that sense, science fiction fans have much to thank the people at NASA for, who in bringing about the moon landing, unshackled the gates of imagination for the minds of countless, including myself. Although I was born 11 years after American astronauts ...

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Mars Rover: Does ignorance triumph Curiosity?

Eight months, 352 million miles, and $2.5 billion later, Curiosity has finally landed. This landing was a little more complicated than just reaching the surface of the fourth rock from the sun; it involved successfully descending a 2,406-kilogram rover on unfamiliar territory, using methods that had never been used before. The rovers sent in 2004, Spirit and Opportunity, were significantly lighter and were hence simply cushioned by airbags as they lowered onto the surface. With Curiosity weighing the same amount as a Mini Cooper, it required a much more complicated landing procedure. After ...

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