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NASA begins Study into Rapid Climate Change in Alaska and Northwestern Canada

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – As part of a broad effort to study the environmental and societal effects of climate change, NASA has begun a multi-year field campaign to investigate ecological impacts of the rapidly changing climate in Alaska and northwestern Canada, such as the thawing of permafrost, wildfires and changes to wildlife habitats.

The Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) will bring together on-the-ground research in Alaska and northwestern Canada with data collected by NASA airborne instruments, satellites and other agency programs, including the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP), Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2), and upcoming Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) and NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) missions.

NASA's ABoVE campaign will combine field work, airborne surveys, satellite data and computer modeling to study the effects of climate change on Arctic and boreal ecosystems, such as this region at the base of the Alaska Range south of Fairbanks. (NASA/Ross Nelson)

NASA’s ABoVE campaign will combine field work, airborne surveys, satellite data and computer modeling to study the effects of climate change on Arctic and boreal ecosystems, such as this region at the base of the Alaska Range south of Fairbanks. (NASA/Ross Nelson)

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NASA researches Surface Melting in Greenland that’s contributing to Sea Level Rise

 

Written by Maria-José Viñas
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – On Greenland’s ice sheet, a vast icy landscape crisscrossed by turquoise rivers and dotted with meltwater lakes, a small cluster of orange camping tents popped up in late July. The camp, home for a week to a team of researchers, sat by a large, fast-flowing river.

Just half a mile (a kilometer) downstream, the river dropped into a seemingly bottomless moulin, or sinkhole in the ice. The low rumble of the waters, the shouted instructions from scientists taking measurements, and the chop of the blades of a helicopter delivering personnel and gear were all that was heard in the frozen landscape.

Laurence Smith (University of California, Los Angeles) deploys an autonomous drift boat equipped with several sensors in a meltwater river on the Greenland ice sheet. (NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Jefferson Beck)

Laurence Smith (University of California, Los Angeles) deploys an autonomous drift boat equipped with several sensors in a meltwater river on the Greenland ice sheet. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Jefferson Beck)

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NASA is developing 3-D Camera that can take images inside the Brain

 

Written by Elizabeth Landau
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – To operate on the brain, doctors need to see fine details on a small scale. A tiny camera that could produce 3-D images from inside the brain would help surgeons see more intricacies of the tissue they are handling and lead to faster, safer procedures.

An endoscope with such a camera is being developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. MARVEL, which stands for Multi Angle Rear Viewing Endoscopic tooL, has been honored this week with the Outstanding Technology Development award from the Federal Laboratory Consortium. An endoscope is a device that examines the interior of a body part.

A laboratory prototype of MARVEL, one of the world's smallest 3-D cameras. MARVEL is in the center foreground. On the display is a 3-D image of the interior of a walnut, taken by MARVEL previously, which has characteristics similar to that of a brain. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Skull Base Institute)

A laboratory prototype of MARVEL, one of the world’s smallest 3-D cameras. MARVEL is in the center foreground. On the display is a 3-D image of the interior of a walnut, taken by MARVEL previously, which has characteristics similar to that of a brain. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Skull Base Institute)

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NASA’s New Horizons Team eyes new target for flyby in Kuiper Belt

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA has selected the potential next destination for the New Horizons mission to visit after its historic July 14th flyby of the Pluto system. The destination is a small Kuiper Belt object (KBO) known as 2014 MU69 that orbits nearly a billion miles beyond Pluto.

This remote KBO was one of two identified as potential destinations and the one recommended to NASA by the New Horizons team.  Although NASA has selected 2014 MU69 as the target, as part of its normal review process the agency will conduct a detailed assessment before officially approving the mission extension to conduct additional science.

Artist's impression of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft encountering a Pluto-like object in the distant Kuiper Belt. (NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Alex Parker)

Artist’s impression of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft encountering a Pluto-like object in the distant Kuiper Belt. (NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Alex Parker)

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope discovers two Black Holes powering nearby Quasar

 

Written by Robert Gutro
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have found that Markarian 231 (Mrk 231), the nearest galaxy to Earth that hosts a quasar, is powered by two central black holes furiously whirling about each other.

The finding suggests that quasars—the brilliant cores of active galaxies – may commonly host two central supermassive black holes, which fall into orbit about one another as a result of the merger between two galaxies.

This artistic illustration is of a binary black hole found in the center of the nearest quasar to Earth, Markarian 231. (NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI))

This artistic illustration is of a binary black hole found in the center of the nearest quasar to Earth, Markarian 231.
(NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI))

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NASA studies the Oceans looking for answers to how fast they will rise in the future

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Seas around the world have risen an average of nearly 3 inches (8 centimeters) since 1992, with some locations rising more than 9 inches (25 centimeters) due to natural variation, according to the latest satellite measurements from NASA and its partners.

An intensive research effort now underway, aided by NASA observations and analysis, points to an unavoidable rise of several feet in the future.

The question scientists are grappling with is how quickly will seas rise?

Waves crash against rocks. (Franklin O'Donnell)

Waves crash against rocks. (Franklin O’Donnell)

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NASA’s Dawn spacecraft captures clearest photos yet of Dwarf Planet Ceres

 

Written by Elizabeth Landau
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The closest-yet views of Ceres, delivered by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, show the small world’s features in unprecedented detail, including Ceres’ tall, conical mountain; crater formation features and narrow, braided fractures.

“Dawn is performing flawlessly in this new orbit as it conducts its ambitious exploration. The spacecraft’s view is now three times as sharp as in its previous mapping orbit, revealing exciting new details of this intriguing dwarf planet,” said Marc Rayman, Dawn’s chief engineer and mission director, based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

NASA's Dawn spacecraft spotted this tall, conical mountain on Ceres from a distance of 915 miles (1,470 kilometers). The mountain, located in the southern hemisphere, stands 4 miles (6 kilometers) high. Its perimeter is sharply defined, with almost no accumulated debris at the base of the brightly streaked slope. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft spotted this tall, conical mountain on Ceres from a distance of 915 miles (1,470 kilometers). The mountain, located in the southern hemisphere, stands 4 miles (6 kilometers) high. Its perimeter is sharply defined, with almost no accumulated debris at the base of the brightly streaked slope. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

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NASA and University Researchers may have found strong Link between Amazon Fires and Devastating Hurricanes

 

Written by Brian Bell
University of California at Irvine

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationIrvine, CA – Researchers from the University of California, Irvine and NASA have uncovered a remarkably strong link between high wildfire risk in the Amazon basin and the devastating hurricanes that ravage North Atlantic shorelines.

The climate scientists’ findings are appearing in the journal Geophysical Research Letters near the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s calamitous August 2005 landfall at New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

This map of ocean surface temperatures shows how warm waters in the North Atlantic fueled Hurricane Katrina. NASA and UCI researchers have found that the same conditions heighten fire risk in the Amazon basin. (Scientific Visualization Studio, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

This map of ocean surface temperatures shows how warm waters in the North Atlantic fueled Hurricane Katrina. NASA and UCI researchers have found that the same conditions heighten fire risk in the Amazon basin. (Scientific Visualization Studio, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

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NASA improves Storm Models and Forecasting since hurricane Katrina

 

Written by Kasha Patel
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – On August 28th, 2005, the National Hurricane Center issued a public notice warning people in New Orleans of “devastating damage expected…power outages will last for weeks…persons…pets…and livestock left exposed to the winds will be killed,” from the ensuing Hurricane Katrina.

The storm had formed near the Bahamas and south Florida before becoming a Category 2 hurricane over the Gulf region northwest of Key West. Then, in two days, the hurricane’s winds almost doubled to 175 mph, creating Category 5 Hurricane Katrina— the most intense hurricane in the past 36 years.

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NASA reports Valley Land in California sinking due to Drought

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – As Californians continue pumping groundwater in response to the historic drought, the California Department of Water Resources today released a new NASA report showing land in the San Joaquin Valley is sinking faster than ever before, nearly 2 inches (5 centimeters) per month in some locations.

“Because of increased pumping, groundwater levels are reaching record lows — up to 100 feet (30 meters) lower than previous records,” said Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin. “As extensive groundwater pumping continues, the land is sinking more rapidly and this puts nearby infrastructure at greater risk of costly damage.”

Total subsidence in California's San Joaquin Valley for the period May 3, 2014 to Jan. 22, 2015, as measured by Canada's Radarsat-2 satellite. Two large subsidence bowls are evident, centered on Corcoran and south of El Nido. (Canadian Space Agency/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Total subsidence in California’s San Joaquin Valley for the period May 3, 2014 to Jan. 22, 2015, as measured by Canada’s Radarsat-2 satellite. Two large subsidence bowls are evident, centered on Corcoran and south of El Nido. (Canadian Space Agency/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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