Crater Lake

Crater Lake: overwhelmingly yet sublimely beautiful. Moody. At times brilliantly blue, ominously somber; at other times buried in a mass of brooding clouds. The lake is magical, enchanting - a remnant of fiery times, a reflector of its adjacent forested slopes, a product of Nature's grand design. ...

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What Is Air Pressure?

You can think of our atmosphere as a large ocean of air surrounding the Earth. The air that composes the atmosphere is made of many different gases. Nitrogen accounts for as much as 78 percent of the ... Continue reading


White Dwarfs

White dwarfs are among the dimmest stars in the universe. Even so, they have commanded the attention of astronomers ever since the first white dwarf was observed by optical telescopes in the middle of ... Continue reading


Why Can't We Really Clone Dinosaurs?

You might think, if you saw the movie Jurassic Park, or read the book, that a real live cloned dinosaur would be on the TV evening news any day now. Not very likely! In the fictional version, the ... Continue reading


Right Ascension & Declination

Right Ascension (abbreviated R.A.) and Declination (abbreviated Dec) are a system of coordinates used by astronomers to keep track of where stars and galaxies are in the sky. They are similar to the ... Continue reading


NASA Hits a Hole-In-One

NASAHitsaHoleInOneHow are NASA and golf related? Ask the professional golfers using clubs made from NASA's space-age technology. NASA needed stronger, more durable materials for its space missions. A landmark discovery was made during a research project with vitrified metals in 1992. A vitrified metal is a frozen liquid that fails to crystallize during solidification, combining the properties of glass and metal not found in nature. Liquidmetal is a new class of vitrified metals and is known as metallic glass. Also called Vitreloy, Liquidmetal is an alloy blend more than twice as strong as titanium, but softer and more elastic.

The product has been strengthened since its discovery and now goes by the name trademarked LiquidMetal. Licensed to a company in Lake Forest, Calif., Liquidmetal golf clubs were the first commercial application of NASA's technology. The product has dozens of other potential commercial uses, including wrist watches, cellular phones and industrial machinery.

As a nation we have progressed because of innovations to basic materials. In the 1800's, Sir Henry Bessemer of England invented a process to mass-produce steel inexpensively. During the 1900's, chemists invented thermo-plastics. You don't have to look far to see the impact plastics have had on our lives. This NASA-related technology appears to have the same potential. A major breakthrough for the 21st century, the Liquidmetal alloy, is being considered to replace titanium in medical instruments, cars, the military and aerospace industry. For those with an active lifestyle, this NASA-based technology has recently expanded to the construction of recreational equipment such as tennis rackets, bicycle frames, baseball bats and more. NASA's Vision for Space Exploration comes closer to reality as technology and commercial industry work together, finding safer and more economical ways to soar into space and help live better lives here on Earth.