Author Archives: Michael Zand

Inside SLS: Outfitting The World’s Most Powerful Rocket

Find out why NASA’s new deep-space rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS) is more than just big and beautiful. For the world’s most powerful rocket, it takes a lot of “guts.” Engineers have built all the giant structures that will be assembled to form the first SLS rocket, and now they are busy installing and outfitting the rocket’s insides with sensors, cables and other equipment. The rocket’s insides including its incredible flight computers and batteries will ensure SLS can do the job of sending the Orion spacecraft out beyond the Moon farther than any human-rated space vehicle as ever ventured. Learn how the SLS core stage components are being outfitted for the first SLS mission, Exploration Mission-1. Find out more at

Camp Century: Put on Ice, But Only for So Long

When the builders of Camp Century began storing waste in Greenland’s ice sheet, they had every reason to rest easy. Snow and ice would continue to accumulate, sealing the Cold War military base in an icy tomb—or so they thought. But the builders failed to foresee that one day, those frigid layers could instead start melting.

A 2016 study published in Geophysical Research Letters suggests that by the end of the 21st Century, the scale could tilt in the favor of ice loss instead of buildup. The crust of snow and ice above the former base could begin to melt away by the end of the century, eventually leading to the exposure of waste that has been buried for decades. If net ablation—the thinning of ice due to evaporation, melting, and wind—occurs, the ice will cease to be a reliable repository.

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