Posts tagged nasa

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NASA spacecraft healthy after comet encounter.

Photos: The shuttle Endeavour.

I was lucky enough to get to see this in LA recently, where it’s on display at the California Science Center. The cargo bay doors were open while they installed a new payload inside.

Read more space stories at 8 Bit Future.

NASA preparing for comet encounter this weekend
Comet Siding Spring will be making its closest pass to Mars this Sunday, bringing with it a wealth of information about the formation of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago.
Siding Spring - named after the Australian observatory which first identified it - comes from the Oort Cloud, material left over from the formation of the solar system. It’s thought that the comet has come straight from the Oort cloud, making it the first time it has passed this close to the sun, giving scientists a unique opportunity to observe it and gather data as it passes only 87,000 miles (139,500km) from the surface of Mars. That’s less than half the distance between the Earth and the Moon, and close enough for NASA to decide to ‘hide’ satellites currently orbiting Mars to avoid the trail of debris. Their orbits have been altered just enough to ensure they will all be passing behind Mars at the time the worst of the comet dust is passing, while allowing them to still observe as much of the comet encounter as possible.
NASA has been hard at work repurposing a wide range of spacecraft for this comet encounter, with Mars satellites like the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) - which normally faces down towards Mars - being turned skywards to capture the event. Instruments on Martian soil are also being used to gather data, with cameras on the Opportunity and Curiosity rovers being adjusted to observe the comet.
Images of the comet will be posted in the days and weeks to come, at mars.nasa.gov/comets/sidingspring.
Read more space stories at 8 Bit Future.

NASA preparing for comet encounter this weekend

Comet Siding Spring will be making its closest pass to Mars this Sunday, bringing with it a wealth of information about the formation of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago.

Siding Spring - named after the Australian observatory which first identified it - comes from the Oort Cloud, material left over from the formation of the solar system. It’s thought that the comet has come straight from the Oort cloud, making it the first time it has passed this close to the sun, giving scientists a unique opportunity to observe it and gather data as it passes only 87,000 miles (139,500km) from the surface of Mars. That’s less than half the distance between the Earth and the Moon, and close enough for NASA to decide to ‘hide’ satellites currently orbiting Mars to avoid the trail of debris. Their orbits have been altered just enough to ensure they will all be passing behind Mars at the time the worst of the comet dust is passing, while allowing them to still observe as much of the comet encounter as possible.

NASA has been hard at work repurposing a wide range of spacecraft for this comet encounter, with Mars satellites like the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) - which normally faces down towards Mars - being turned skywards to capture the event. Instruments on Martian soil are also being used to gather data, with cameras on the Opportunity and Curiosity rovers being adjusted to observe the comet.

Images of the comet will be posted in the days and weeks to come, at mars.nasa.gov/comets/sidingspring.

Read more space stories at 8 Bit Future.

Saturn’s moon may hide an ocean.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has returned data showing that Mimas may contain either a liquid water ocean, or a frozen core shaped like a football. Because the moon formed over four billion years ago, the expectation was that its core would have relaxed into a more or less spherical shape by now. So if Mimas’ core is oblong in shape, it likely represents a record of the moon’s formation, frozen in time.

If Mimas possesses an ocean, it would join an exclusive club of “ocean worlds” that includes several moons of Jupiter and two other Saturn moons, Enceladus and Titan. A global ocean would be surprising, said Tajeddine, as the surface of Mimas does not display signs of geologic activity.

Saturn’s moon may hide an ocean.

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has returned data showing that Mimas may contain either a liquid water ocean, or a frozen core shaped like a football. Because the moon formed over four billion years ago, the expectation was that its core would have relaxed into a more or less spherical shape by now. So if Mimas’ core is oblong in shape, it likely represents a record of the moon’s formation, frozen in time.

If Mimas possesses an ocean, it would join an exclusive club of “ocean worlds” that includes several moons of Jupiter and two other Saturn moons, Enceladus and Titan. A global ocean would be surprising, said Tajeddine, as the surface of Mimas does not display signs of geologic activity.

I’m in mission control at NASA/JPL as part of a #NASASocial ! There’s a live stream coming up at 2pm, check it out at www.upstream.tv/nasajpl2
Edit: Predictive text fail! It’s http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2

I’m in mission control at NASA/JPL as part of a #NASASocial ! There’s a live stream coming up at 2pm, check it out at www.upstream.tv/nasajpl2

Edit: Predictive text fail! It’s http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2

SDO captures images of million mile long filament on the sun.
NASA;s Solar Dynamics Observatory has observed this filament of solar material snaking across the sun for several days now. The length of the filament is about 1 million miles, or about 100 times the size of Earth.

SDO captured images of the filament in numerous wavelengths, each of which helps highlight material of different temperatures on the sun. By looking at any solar feature in different wavelengths and temperatures, scientists can learn more about what causes such structures, as well as what catalyzes their occasional giant eruptions out into space.

Look at the images to see how the filament appears in different wavelengths. The brownish combination image was produced by blending two wavelengths of extreme UV light with a wavelength of 193 and 335 Angstroms. The red image shows the 304 Angstrom wavelength of extreme UV light.

SDO captures images of million mile long filament on the sun.

NASA;s Solar Dynamics Observatory has observed this filament of solar material snaking across the sun for several days now. The length of the filament is about 1 million miles, or about 100 times the size of Earth.

SDO captured images of the filament in numerous wavelengths, each of which helps highlight material of different temperatures on the sun. By looking at any solar feature in different wavelengths and temperatures, scientists can learn more about what causes such structures, as well as what catalyzes their occasional giant eruptions out into space.

Look at the images to see how the filament appears in different wavelengths. The brownish combination image was produced by blending two wavelengths of extreme UV light with a wavelength of 193 and 335 Angstroms. The red image shows the 304 Angstrom wavelength of extreme UV light.

Photo: ‘Metamorphosis’ sculpture.
The interactive sculpture has been on display in Pasadena as part of the AxS festival, which runs until October 5.
From AxS:

The installation is a celebration of the Rosetta Mission (an international mission spearheaded by the European Space Agency (ESA), with key support and instruments from NASA), whose spacecraft has been conducting research on organic matter of the 67P/C-G comet. Rosetta started its mission 10 years ago, making its ambitious journey towards C-G, a comet the size of Central Park.
The installation was created by architect Jason Klimoski of Studio KCA and designers David Delgado and Dan Goods of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Using a combination of water, electricity, and steel, every element of this installation, down to the tiniest detail, is meant to replicate outer space.

Mist and glow exude from this 1:1000 scale model like the bursting particles from the comet’s surface. The fine mist surrounding the installation acts as the comet’s tail, while the entire comet sits in a reflection pool, calling to mind the theory that comets like C-G were the ones that originally brought water to a very young planet Earth.

Photo: ‘Metamorphosis’ sculpture.

The interactive sculpture has been on display in Pasadena as part of the AxS festival, which runs until October 5.

From AxS:

The installation is a celebration of the Rosetta Mission (an international mission spearheaded by the European Space Agency (ESA), with key support and instruments from NASA), whose spacecraft has been conducting research on organic matter of the 67P/C-G comet. Rosetta started its mission 10 years ago, making its ambitious journey towards C-G, a comet the size of Central Park.

The installation was created by architect Jason Klimoski of Studio KCA and designers David Delgado and Dan Goods of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Using a combination of water, electricity, and steel, every element of this installation, down to the tiniest detail, is meant to replicate outer space.

Mist and glow exude from this 1:1000 scale model like the bursting particles from the comet’s surface. The fine mist surrounding the installation acts as the comet’s tail, while the entire comet sits in a reflection pool, calling to mind the theory that comets like C-G were the ones that originally brought water to a very young planet Earth.

Photos: Jets coming from comet 67P.
The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft took this montage on September 26, when the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was seen producing jets of gases escaping from several locations on the comets surface.
The four images are slightly out of line due to the comet rotating relative to the spacecraft during this ‘photoshoot’, which was taken at a distance of about 16 miles (26 km) from the center of the comet.

Photos: Jets coming from comet 67P.

The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft took this montage on September 26, when the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was seen producing jets of gases escaping from several locations on the comets surface.

The four images are slightly out of line due to the comet rotating relative to the spacecraft during this ‘photoshoot’, which was taken at a distance of about 16 miles (26 km) from the center of the comet.

Photo: Dragon capsule approaching the ISS.
The SpaceX Dragon capsule about to dock with the International Space Station, on September 23. The capsule was filled with cargo, including 20 rodents to be live in a facility on the station to allow a study on the loong-term impact of weightlessness on their bodies.
There’s a bunch of neat photos in the album from Alexander Gerst - check it out here on Flickr.

Photo: Dragon capsule approaching the ISS.

The SpaceX Dragon capsule about to dock with the International Space Station, on September 23. The capsule was filled with cargo, including 20 rodents to be live in a facility on the station to allow a study on the loong-term impact of weightlessness on their bodies.

There’s a bunch of neat photos in the album from Alexander Gerst - check it out here on Flickr.

Image: Coronal Mass Ejection from the sun.
An older image but still interesting - NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, or STEREO, shows the eruption from its base out into space.
Coronal mass ejections are giant, expanding clouds of solar material that take one to three days to reach Earth.
The base of the CME near the sun is seen in extreme ultraviolet light emitted directly from the solar material; the growing loop is seen in visible light.

Image: Coronal Mass Ejection from the sun.

An older image but still interesting - NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, or STEREO, shows the eruption from its base out into space.

Coronal mass ejections are giant, expanding clouds of solar material that take one to three days to reach Earth.

The base of the CME near the sun is seen in extreme ultraviolet light emitted directly from the solar material; the growing loop is seen in visible light.