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Mon, June 5 2017

A Brief History of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems

Last week a United States’ “hit-to-kill vehicle” intercepted and destroyed a mock intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the first time during a test. Until fifteen years ago, however, anti-ballistic missiles (ABMs) like the one just tested were banned under the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty signed by the United States and Soviet Union in 1972.   

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Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle Model
Fri, June 2 2017

Former Lake Environment on Mars Might Hold Clues to Life Beyond Earth

When John Grant was only 16, the Viking landers were sent to Mars. Today, Grant  helps lead the operation groups controlling two Mars rovers,  Opportunity and Curiosity, as a geologist at the National Air and Space Museum’s Center for Earth and Planetary Studies. Recent data collected by Curiosity and published in Science describes an ancient lake environment located at Gale Crater—an environment Grant, a coauthor of the article, believes holds further clues to whether there was ever life on the Red Planet.

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Curiosity's Selfie
Wed, May 31 2017

Hubble Trouble: Repairing the Hubble Space Telescope

The first images produced by the Hubble Space Telescope were fuzzy and unclear due to a problem with its optical system. While the media had a field day with this “Hubble Trouble,” NASA had an opportunity to prove that they could fix the telescope in orbit, a task that was uniquely incorporated into the Hubble’s design. Astronauts were able to repair the telescope, and soon after, the Hubble Space Telescope was producing stellar images.

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Hubble Test Telescope
Thu, May 25 2017

A New Way to Search our Technical Files

Until recently, our largest and most-used archival collection, The Technical Reference Files, did not have an online finding aid. As the majority of the Archives Department’s public reference requests (of which we receive over 2,300 a year) can be answered using material in these files, we are delighted to finally enable researchers to search the listings of this valuable collection.

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Example of Technical Files
Tue, May 23 2017

The First Significant Anti-War Movie

All Quiet on the Western Front, based on the 1929 novel of the same name by Erich Maria Remarque, is still considered one of the best films ever made in the war movie genre. Released in 1930, All Quiet on the Western Front was a reflection of the profound disillusionment with war in the post-World War I (WWI) era. It was the first significant anti-war movie, exploring the war’s physical and psychological impact on a generation lost to war.

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The First Significant Anti-War Movie
Fri, May 19 2017

Wheeling and Flying

May 19 is Bike to Work Day. Whether you walked or wheeled your way into work this morning, you may be interested in the surprising connection between cycling and flight.

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The Van Cleve
Mon, May 15 2017

Setting Commercial Air Routes with the Lindberghs

When Charles Lindbergh was asked by Pan American Airlines to conduct survey flights, there was no doubt in his mind who would be his copilot: his wife Anne Morrow Lindbergh. In 1931 and 1933, Charles and Anne set off to determine where air routes and airports might be located. Anne learned Morse code and how to operate radios for the flight. She became so talented at this work that she won awards for distance flights and radio operation.   Today, when you fly to Europe you’re still using some of the same routes that Charles and Anne surveyed.  

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Anne Lindbergh
Fri, May 12 2017

The Death of a King, End to a War, and the Solar Eclipse

The United States will play host to an extraordinary phenomenon known as a total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth.  Eclipses have occurred throughout history, and some have fascinating stories associated with them. Take the following two tales for example.

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King Henry I
Wed, May 10 2017

Miracle on the Hudson: A Conversation That Changed How I Fly

As the host of a STEM in 30, a TV show for middle school students from the National Air and Space Museum, I’ve been able to do some amazing things. I’ve flown in a helicopter with no doors, rode in a hot air balloon, and I’ve interviewed some amazing people from astronauts to engineers. Recently, however, I experienced one of the most powerful interviews I have ev

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Interview With Miracle on the Hudson Passenger
Mon, May 8 2017

Lost Balloons: Depicting the Dangers of Early Ballooning

The dangers of ballooning were apparent to aeronauts and the general public. From the early 1800s, attempts to fly over water too often ended in disaster or a narrow escape. Some of the best known aeronauts on both sides of the Atlantic set off across a large body of water never to be seen again. The daring rescue of balloonists from water was a favorite subject with artists and engravers. The vision of a “lost balloon” vanishing over the horizon became a metaphor for the uncertainties of life in the turbulent 19th century.  

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Downed Balloon

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