Special Sub-Topic: The American Space Program
|What does "NASA" stand for?|
National Aeronautics and Space Administration. After World War II, the US Navy and Army both had their own rocketry programs. Realizing the ineffectiveness of this, President Eisenhower placed all space exploration under the civilian control of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics and renamed it the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
|We all know about the tragic fire during a test of Apollo 1. What was the next Apollo mission?|
Apollo 4. The first 4 planned flights were designated AS-201, AS-202, AS-203, and AS-204. The fire occured in AS-204 and the widows petitioned NASA to name the mission Apollo 1. NASA agreed, but refused to rename the other three missions. The next mission was unmanned and was designated Apollo 4. Apollo 7 was the first manned mission and Apollo 11 was the first to land on the moon.
|Which of these probes is the furthest artificially made object from the sun?|
Voyager 1. Although Pioneer 10 was the first object to leave the solar system, as of 17 February 1998 Voyager 1 passed it to become the furthest object from the sun that human beings have created.
|What was the name of John Glenn's Mercury capsule?|
Friendship 7. All of the Mercury capsules ended in 7 to represent the seven astronauts. Glenn named his "Friendship" to honor the friendship that the astronauts had formed during their training.
|By 2004, only one probe had ever explored Mercury. Which was it?|
Mariner 10. In addition to being the first (and so far only) craft to explore Mercury, Mariner 10 was the first to use the gravitational pull of one object (Venus) to alter course to another object. This technique is common now.
|On 28 January 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after takeoff but it is (symbolically) the United States' longest mission. Why? According to tradition, the mission clock is still running since they havn't landed yet.|
f. A beautiful story, but it is not true. I've contacted NASA about this urban legend and have been told the the official mission time is 73 seconds. There is no history of the running mission clock ever being a tradition.
|Ranger 7 was the first American spacecraft to take a picture of the moon. What area of the moon did it photograph?|
Mare Nubium. The entire Ranger series (1 to 9) cost $170 million to build during the 1960s. Compare this to $1.8 billion that the Cassini probe cost.
|Possibly the most famous picture a probe has ever taken was Viking 1's picture of the "Face on Mars". What region of Mars is this feature in?|
Cydonia Mensae. There are some great photos of the "face" at http://www.msss.com/mars_images/moc/extended_may2001/face/index.html
|The first manned Gemini flight, Gemini 3, was (unofficially) named "Molly Brown". How did this nickname arise?|
It was a reference to Gus Grissom's Mercury mission.. The hatch on Gus Grissom's Mercury capsule Liberty Bell 7 blew prematurely, causing it to sink. When he was selected as pilot for Gemini 3, he continued the astronaut tradition of naming his capsule. NASA overruled him, deciding to use the mission name for radio communication, but the nickname "Molly Brown" (of Titanic fame) stuck. In a tragic irony, the hatch malfunction caused a redesign of the hatch that would figure prominantly in Grissom's death in the Apollo 1 fire.
|Jet Propulsion Laboratories processes much of the data from America's space program. Where is it located?|
Pasadena, California. California Intitute of Technology (Caltech) is also located in Pasadena, making this Los Angeles suburb a mecca for engineers.
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