NASA denies accusations it cut live video feed when UFO appeared

Staff members of Juno Mission watch on before the solar-powered Juno spacecraft went into orbit around Jupiter, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., on July 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Staff members of Juno Mission watch on before the solar-powered Juno spacecraft went into orbit around Jupiter, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., on July 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

In case you hadn’t heard about the latest “UFO” cover-up theory circulating the internet, last week people began accusing NASA of covering up a “UFO” when its live-streaming video cut out just as something appeared to be entering Earth’s atmosphere.

Read: Security guard videotapes UFO hovering over Texas mall

YouTube user StreetCap1 posted the video clip, acknowledging that the object is not necessarily a space craft and it could be something less notable like a meteor. “What made it interesting was the camera cut off when the UFO seemed to stop,” he wrote.

After the video went viral, CNET reached out to NASA for comment. NASA spokesman Daniel Huot said to CNET in an email that the video is from the High Definition Earth Viewing experiment aboard the International Space Station. He said the experiment is on automatic controls to cycle through various cameras, meaning no one is actually monitoring the feed.

Read: Aliens in Austin? A collection of ATX UFO ‘sightings’

“The station regularly passes out of range of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS) used to send and receive video, voice and telemetry from the station,” Huot said. “For video, whenever we lose signal (video comes down on our higher bandwidth, called KU) the cameras will show a blue screen (indicating no signal) or a preset video slate.”

As for what the object was, Huot said “it’s very common for thing like the moon, space debris, reflection from station windows, the spacecraft structure itself or light from Earth to appear as artifacts in photos and videos from the orbiting laboratory.”

 

NASA wants you to apply for its open astronaut positions before it’s too late

STS-54 Mission Specialist Greg Harbaugh (red stripe) and Mission Specialist Mario Runco, both wearing their space suits, pose with Mission Specialist Susan Helms as they emerge from the mid-deck airlock with Helms' assistance. Harbaugh and Runco returned from a series of EVA tasks designed to increase NASA's knowledge of working in space. They tested their abilities to move about freely in the cargo bay, climb into foot restraints without using their hands, and to carry large objects in microgravity. Photo via NASA
STS-54 Mission Specialist Greg Harbaugh (red stripe) and Mission Specialist Mario Runco, both wearing their space suits, pose with Mission Specialist Susan Helms as they emerge from the mid-deck airlock with Helms’ assistance on Jan. 18, 1993. Harbaugh and Runco returned from a series of EVA tasks designed to increase NASA’s knowledge of working in space. They tested their abilities to move about freely in the cargo bay, climb into foot restraints without using their hands, and to carry large objects in microgravity. Photo via NASA

Looking for a dream job? NASA has an application out for aspiring astronauts, but today is the last day you can apply.

The position, which is listed as full-time, pays $66,026.00 to $144,566.00 per year, according to the application. There are a few spots open for astronaut candidates at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston. The job description includes extensive training (it takes two to three years to prepare for a three to six month mission on the International Space Station) long periods of travel in other countries, and being the public face of NASA.

NASA requires applicants bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science, or mathematics. NASA will not consider degrees from other fields, such as technology, nursing or social sciences.

You also need to have a lot of flying time or an advanced degree.

A rating panel (made up of “discipline experts”) will read the applications and rate applications as “qualified” or “highly qualified.” If your application is “highly qualified,” you move on to the next round.

Congratulations-You-Did-It-GIF-2015

NASA will then ensure you are medically qualified (you need 20/20 vision, but also are allowed to wear glasses) and put you through interviews and orientation. The panel looks for things such as mental/emotional stability, performance under stressful conditions and teamwork skill, and then selects the “best qualified” applicants. Those people are ranked on a combination of the panel’s evaluations and their interviews.

A slide from a presentation presented at the 122nd Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association on August 8, 2014, in Washington, D.C. Photo via NASA
This  slide from a presentation explains the demographics of astronauts selected over the years, and was presented at the 122nd Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association on August 8, 2014, in Washington, D.C. Photo via NASA

NASA wants the best of the best to continue their legacy.

“The next class of astronauts may fly on any of four different U.S. spacecraft during their careers: the International Space Station (ISS), two new commercial spacecraft being built by U.S. companies, and NASA’s Orion deep-space exploration vehicle,” the application reads. “NASA is in the midst of an unprecedented transition to using commercial spacecraft for its scheduled crew and cargo transport to the ISS. For the last 15 years, humans have been living continuously aboard the orbiting laboratory, expanding scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies. Future crewmembers will continue this work.”

Expedition 46 Flight Engineer Tim Kopra on a Dec. 21, 2015 spacewalk, in which Kopra and Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly successfully moved the International Space Station's mobile transporter rail car ahead of Wednesday's docking of a Russian cargo supply spacecraft. Photo via NASA
Expedition 46 Flight Engineer Tim Kopra on a Dec. 21, 2015 spacewalk, in which Kopra and Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly successfully moved the International Space Station’s mobile transporter rail car ahead of Wednesday’s docking of a Russian cargo supply spacecraft. Photo via NASA

“Additionally, the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, now in development, will launch astronauts on missions to the proving ground of lunar orbit where NASA will learn to conduct complex operations in a deep space environment before moving on to longer duration missions on the journey to Mars.”

excited-baby

That’s right, Mars.

What are you waiting for? Apply now!

Astronaut Scott Kelly tweets photo of San Antonio from space

In this photo provided by NASA, astronaut Scott Kelly sits inside a Soyuz simulator at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC), Wednesday, March 4, 2015 in Star City, Russia. On Saturday, March 28, 2015, Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will travel to the International Space Station to begin a year-long mission living in orbit. (AP Photo/NASA, Bill Ingalls)
Astronaut Scott Kelly sits inside a Soyuz simulator at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, March 4, 2015 in Star City, Russia. (AP Photo/NASA, Bill Ingalls)

An astronaut currently spending a calendar year aboard the International Space Station has captured some great images from his view drifting above the earth on his mission. Early this morning, one Texas city got a special shoutout from Scott Kelly with an incredible shot.

While passing over San Antonio, Kelly snapped a photo of the Alamo City still covered in darkness and shared it on his Twitter account.

The tweet was captioned:

#GoodMorning #SanAntonio! Looking good down there. #Texas #YearInSpace

According to this European Space Agency page, the International Space Station takes about an hour and half to “complete a circuit of Earth.”

While I am no expert in geography or flyover routes for massive man-made space stations, San Antonio is my hometown and I just had to figure out how the image compared to a map of the city.

My guess: The photo contains a lighted outline of Interstate 410, more commonly known as Loop 410. For reference, here’s what it looks like on Google Maps:

san antonio

And here’s what the loop looks like upside-down:

san antonio upside down

So maybe the photo didn’t upload with north being north. Perhaps Kelly just snapped the photo facing generally south, since north in this photo is more like southeast. Either way, Texas looks pretty cool from space.

 

NASA looking for Texas-based flag football referee

(AP Photo/The Houston Chronicle, Nick de la Torre)
(AP Photo/The Houston Chronicle, Nick de la Torre)

Ever wanted to work for NASA?

Screenshot: Indeed
Screenshot: Indeed

Now might be your chance, as long as you have one year of football refereeing or flag football experience under your belt.

This week, NASA put out the call for two different jobs: astronauts, and a flag football referee.

Related reads: Want to be an astronaut? NASA is looking for applicants

For those without a piloting license or a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field (like this writer), the Indeed posting for the Clear Lake City reffing gig might be worth checking out.

Pay starts at $12 an hour and all that’s needed is some experience and the gumption to enforce “NASA’s flag football rules, policies, and procedures.”

The job posting gave no clue as to whether or not the reffing outfit comes with the iconic NASA patch.

[h/t Deadspin]

Want to be an astronaut? NASA is looking for applicants

(AP Photo/NASA, Bill Ingalls)
(AP Photo/NASA, Bill Ingalls)

Were you an astronaut for Halloween? Want to be one for real? NASA is looking for applicants, as evidenced in a new social media campaign tagged with the hashtag #BeAnAstronaut:

“In anticipation of returning human spaceflight launches to American soil, and in preparation for the agency’s journey to Mars, NASA announced it will soon begin accepting applications for the next class of astronaut candidates,” reads a statement posted to their website today.

NASA has turned to its 448,000-plus Twitter followers and 13 million Facebook fans to pique application interest and fight off myths that becoming an astronaut is out of reach.

No need for an advance degree, perfect vision, military experience or piloting experience, according to a GIF-heavy post on NASA’s Tumblr today. (Yes, NASA has its own Tumblr)

NASA social media posts have boasted that there are actually only three “straightforward” base requirements:

The above checklist seems simple enough as long as you know what “related experience” is in this case (we don’t) or you have “at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft.”

Still don’t believe that NASA is waiting on you to apply? Then maybe consider tuning into their live chat today in which they suggest that they are going to dispel whatever remaining fears stand between you and applying:

If you’re convinced, remember to bookmark Dec. 14, the date applications open. Also, get ready to be patient: the astronaut class of 2015 won’t be announced until June 2017.