The Stack Overflow podcast is back! Listen to an interview with our new CEO.
342

Nuts. Vostok 1 reached an Apogee of 327 km. That is well within Earth's magnetosphere. Aside from that, and aside from certain sensory effects that can be experienced when exposed to strong magnetic fields, the human body doesn't care much for magnetism, or the lack of it. The one thing that would make a lack of magnetism in space harmful would be solar ...


199

From a NASA blog post made the day after contact was lost: The dust storm that is affecting Opportunity has greatly intensified. The atmospheric opacity (tau) over the rover has increased to a record 10.8 on Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018). Power levels on the rover have dropped to a record low of ~22 watt hours. As expected, Opportunity has tripped a low-...


192

The part about magnetic fields has already been covered by DevSolar's answer. I will attempt to cover whether Yuri Gagarin was ever in "critical condition". The Vostok 1's landing program consisted of the pilot ejecting from the descent module when it was approx 7km above sea level, and parachuting to the ground alone. The descent module was designed to ...


126

Yes. There was still a lawsuit pending due to Apollo 8 astronauts reading Genesis 1:1-10 for Christmas Eve 1968. So the Apollo 11 communion needed to be kept private. Reverend Dean Woodruff of Webster Presbyterian Church supplied the communion kit (bread, wine and cup). Aldrin read John 15:5 from a card: I am the vine, you are the branches; he ...


120

No. The original source of this claim is a satirical news site. This claim is from an article in World News Daily Report, which carries the following disclaimer in the footer: World News Daily Report assumes all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles ...


119

It seems that he fluffed his line. He meant to say "a man", but inadvertently missed out the "a". It is also possible that the "a" was masked by static. What did Neil Armstrong really say when he stepped on to the moon? According to the authors of the 1986 book Chariots for Fire, the astronaut tried to argue it omitted the word "a" but after hearing a ...


92

Opportunity does not literally speak English, so no such message was expressed in those terms. However, Opportunity did communicate the information that it had a low battery and it was dark outside. The rover's flight software outputs a variety of data formats (summarized in this paper) ranging from "event reports" to telemetry to binary data produced by ...


77

The photo depicts Margaret Hamilton Yes, this is an official NASA picture of her: Margaret Hamilton was the lead software engineer of the Apollo Project Indeed, from the same source: Margaret Hamilton, leader of the team that developed the flight software for the agency's Apollo missions [...] Depicted is a print-out of the Apollo Project code Yes, ...


71

The claim that NASA has asked people to have sex in space as a scientific experiment seems a bit far-fetched to me. I would expect them to experiment with animal mating first, which it doesn't seem they have done. (Update: Russia experimented with gecko mating in July 2014. The experiment was not successful.) As for whether or not any sex-in-space has ...


65

Yes, that's pretty close in at least one sense, though not for the entire trip. As noted here The Saturn V rocket’s first stage carries 203,400 gallons (770,000 liters) of kerosene fuel and 318,000 gallons (1.2 million liters) of liquid oxygen needed for combustion. At liftoff, the stage’s five F-1 rocket engines ignite and produce 7.5 million pounds of ...


60

More grist for the mill: Despite his initial adamance that he got the grammar right by including the indefinite article, Armstrong acknowledged at a 30-year anniversary event in 1999 that he couldn't hear himself utter the "a" in the audio recording of his moonwalk transmission, according to the Associated Press. But then, in 2006, computer ...


47

Firstly, the Guardian is a reasonably serious newspaper. Not everyone is going to share its political opinions, and sometimes it will get the facts wrong but it would be surprising if it invented easily verifiable quotes or fabricated the story in its entirety. It quotes Aldrin's autobiography as saying: I would like to request a few moments of silence … ...


44

I've known Margaret for 20 years and when my son pointed this question out to me I emailed her and Ron Hackler (who I've also known for 20 years) to clarify some of this. They replied as follows: "To clarify, Margaret was the Director of the Apollo on-board flight software (the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) software). http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/...


42

In addition to everything else that was mentioned already, according to this article, Gagarin reported back to headquarters that he was in good health shortly after landing. There are also pictures of him not long after, apparently, as he is still in flight suit, e.g. here: https://bashny.net/t/es/140240 - and he seems to be perfectly fine. Primary sources ...


42

Other answers give good technical answers to what the last message would actually have looked like, but I thought it worth tackling the angle of where the quote came from. Wikipedia cites an article on LAist a Los Angeles local news / blogging site, written by Jacob Margolis. In it he describes how he coined the phrase: "My battery is low and it's ...


38

From an archive from NASASpaceflight.com (which is not an official NASA web site), NASA solves YERO problem for shuttle: By Chris Bergin, 2/19/2007 6:35:00 PM Shuttle orbiters can now enjoy a happy New Year's Eve on orbit, following the recommendation to implement a YERO (Year End Rollover) solution that was recently designed by NASA engineers. ...


37

On the headline question Has “the destruction of the space shuttle Challenger… been linked to insufficient sleep” There probably was a link, as it was important enough included in the Rogers report. As was reported by NASA: The Rogers Commission Human Factors Findings stated, "The willingness of NASA employees in general to work excessive hours, while ...


28

I asked Peter Norvig, who was on the review board, and he gave me the following more nuanced answer (the question was asked in the context of type-safety in programming language choice): The problem involved reading data from a file and a miscommunication about what the numbers in the file were. I don't know of any language, no matter how type-strict, ...


24

The current answer correctly addresses the truthiness of the claim; but neglects to mention that the satirical article in question from WNDR was actually NOT made up from scratch, but instead cued from an actual news of Bolden's statements in 2015 that discussed aliens and Area 51 (albeit, far less content in his statement, as far as exciting news). He DID ...


24

The MCO MIB has determined that the root cause for the loss of the MCO spacecraft was the failure to use metric units in the coding of a ground software file, “Small Forces,” used in trajectory models. Specifically, thruster performance data in English units instead of metric units was used in the software application code titled SM_FORCES (small ...


24

There are no traces anywhere of a Stanford torus being built by NASA, and such undertaking is highly unlikely. However, what was built in cooperation between NASA and Ukraine in the Yuzhmash in 2011 was the Antares project: http://usa.mfa.gov.ua/en/ukraine-us/science The signing on March 31, 2008 of the Framework Agreement between the Government of ...


19

This claim appears to be false or exaggerated. I can't find any patents in the name of the alleged inventor. The source article identified by Rob in comments above states: Mustafa’s supervisor, Dr. Ahmed Fikry, who heads the physics department in Sohag University, has shown great interest in his student’s invention and helped her patent it in the ...


19

"Space" and "visible" are poorly defined, but the broad question has been widely addressed already. Can you see it from the Moon, with a naked eye? No: NASA "The only thing you can see from the Moon is a beautiful sphere, mostly white, some blue and patches of yellow, and every once in a while some green vegetation," said Alan Bean, Apollo 12 astronaut....


18

Yes, it's true that that SpaceX charges NASA and the USAF higher rates... but there's a good reason. http://spacenews.com/40006spacex-says-requirements-not-markup-make-government-missions-more-costly/ In a March 21 interview on TheSpaceShow.com, Shotwell appeared to address one of the critiques regularly leveled at SpaceX by its European rival, ...


16

From the EagleWorks paper: The test campaign included a null thrust test effort to identify any mundane sources of impulsive thrust; however, none were identified. They are not lying, they did detect thrust, but the source of that thrust remains a mystery. The fact that the EM drive would violate Newton's third law, one of the most established ...


16

Юрий Гагарин: "Я чувствовал себя хорошо..." Yuri Gagarin: "I was feeling well ..." If the "missing magnetic field" problem would be actual for Yuri Gagarin, who was in space for about an hour (1 hour and 48 minutes total flight time), how the extended missions for Valeri Polyakov could be possible? Valeri Vladimirovich Polyakov (Russian: Валерий ...


15

This Metro article cites a tweet by Keri Bean, an engineer who worked on the opportunity mission who had Oppy’s final measurement tattooed on her arm. This tattoo means more to me than just Oppy. Of course, the biggest significance is this is Oppy’s final measurement. I studied tau (atmospheric optical depth) as a student researcher. Don’t worry, I ...


14

The basic answer is: we don't know. If you look at the original paper, you will find table 2, which shows that the number of people in the Apollo Lunar Astronauts group was 7 (n=7). Of those, 43% (or a total of 3) died from cardiovascular disease. In general you can't use such small sample sizes to draw conclusions in this sort of situation. According to ...


12

This question has been asked on Quora - here is Christopher Burke's answer: I downloaded the source code this afternoon and ran some simple metrics on it, looking only at the ".agc" files which are the assembly language source. 420,837 lines of source Of these, 102,958 lines of comments ("#" in column 1) and 38,626 empty lines 10,305 ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible