Even The Fancy NuSTAR Telescope Needs A Conventional Plane

NASA's NuSTAR is a subject we've covered before; an X-Ray telescope that will — if it all works properly — provide up to 100 times better clarity than existing ground based telescopes. It's due to take off next week via a more conventional means than you might think; strapped to the bottom of a plane. The NuSTAR does use some rocketry — the shot in the image above shows the Pegasus XL rocket that will carry the NuSTAR to the stars — but first it's got to get off the ground, and that's the job of the L-1011 carrier aircraft above the rocket. All things being well with both takeoff and deployment within a very short time we'll have an expanded capacity to search out black holes, study cosmic rays and find out more about the universe in general. Or, in simpler terms: Yay science! [NASA via Geekosystem]

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