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NASA announces Video to be Beamed by Laser back to Earth from International Space Station

 

Written by David Israel and Mark Whalen
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A team of about 20 working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, through the lab’s Phaeton early-career-hire program, led the development of the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) investigation, which is preparing for an April 14th launch to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX-3 mission.

The goal? NASA’s first optical communication experiment on the orbital laboratory.

This artist's concept shows how the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) laser will beam data to Earth from the International Space Station. (NASA)

This artist’s concept shows how the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) laser will beam data to Earth from the International Space Station. (NASA)

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NASA to conduct long term space flight experiment on Twins

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Consider a pair of brothers, identical twins. One gets a job as an astronaut and rockets into space. The other gets a job as an astronaut, too, but on this occasion he decides to stay home. After a year in space, the traveling twin returns home and they reunite.

Are the identical twins still … identical?

NASA is about to find out.

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NASA researchers finds signs of Exomoon

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Titan, Europa, Io and Phobos are just a few members of our solar system’s pantheon of moons. Are there other moons out there, orbiting planets beyond our sun?

NASA-funded researchers have spotted the first signs of an “exomoon,” and though they say it’s impossible to confirm its presence, the finding is a tantalizing first step toward locating others. The discovery was made by watching a chance encounter of objects in our galaxy, which can be witnessed only once.

Researchers have detected the first "exomoon" candidate -- a moon orbiting a planet that lies outside our solar system. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Researchers have detected the first “exomoon” candidate — a moon orbiting a planet that lies outside our solar system. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA says researchers use Microgravity Environment aboard International Space Station to better understand Fungi

 

Written by Laura Niles
International Space Station Program Science Office and Public Affairs Office

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – You may not recognize it by name, but if you have ever had a child with a diaper rash, that child was likely a host to Candida albicans (C. albicans). This unwelcome “guest” can be hard to control, as it can potentially lead to serious illness in humans with weakened immune systems.

During an investigation dubbed “Microbe,” using the unique microgravity environment aboard space shuttle Atlantis on an International Space Station mission, researchers at the Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe gained a better understanding of these prevalent fungi.

Group Activation Pack cylinders similar to these, pictured within the Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus, were used to study the fungal pathogen C. albicans aboard space shuttle Atlantis. (NASA)

Group Activation Pack cylinders similar to these, pictured within the Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus, were used to study the fungal pathogen C. albicans aboard space shuttle Atlantis. (NASA)

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NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity captures image of something reflecting on Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Images taken by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover on April 2nd and April 3rd include bright spots, which might be due to the sun glinting off a rock or cosmic rays striking the camera’s detector.

The rover took the image just after arriving at a waypoint called “the Kimberley.” The bright spot appears on a horizon, in the same west-northwest direction from the rover as the afternoon sun.

This image from the Navigation Camera (Navcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover includes a bright spot near the upper left corner. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This image from the Navigation Camera (Navcam) on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover includes a bright spot near the upper left corner. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory uses new Radar Instrument to montior Levees in California

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – One morning in 2008, research scientist Cathleen Jones of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, was flying over the San Andreas fault near San Francisco, testing a new radar instrument built at JPL.

As the plane banked to make a turn, she looked down to see the Sacramento River delta, a patchwork of low-lying lands crisscrossed by levees.

Jones was using an instrument that can measure tiny movements of the ground on the scale of less than half an inch (less than a centimeter). It’s called the Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR).

This 2004 levee break, caused by a burrowing beaver, did $90 million worth of damage. NASA's UAVSAR is monitoring levees for early signs of stress that could lead to failure. (Calif. DWR)

This 2004 levee break, caused by a burrowing beaver, did $90 million worth of damage. NASA’s UAVSAR is monitoring levees for early signs of stress that could lead to failure. (Calif. DWR)

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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft data reveals Saturn’s moon Enceladus has underground Ocean

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. -  Evidence that Saturn’s moon Enceladus harbors a large underground ocean has been uncovered by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft and Deep Space Network, furthering scientific interest in the moon as a potential home to extraterrestrial microbes.

Researchers theorized the presence of an interior reservoir of liquid water in 2005 when Cassini discovered water vapor and ice spewing from vents near the moon’s south pole. New data on the moon’s gravity field reported in the April 4th, 2014, edition of the journal Science strengthen the case for an ocean hidden inside Enceladus.

This diagram illustrates the possible interior of Saturn's moon Enceladus based on a gravity investigation by NASA's Cassini spacecraft and NASA's Deep Space Network, reported in April 2014.

This diagram illustrates the possible interior of Saturn’s moon Enceladus based on a gravity investigation by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft and NASA’s Deep Space Network, reported in April 2014.

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NASA says Earth and Mars moving closer together, converging for an “Opposition of Mars” in April

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – By the time you finish reading this story, you’ll be about 1,000 km closer to the planet Mars.

Earth and Mars are converging for a close encounter. As March gives way to April, the distance between the two planets is shrinking by about 300 km every minute. When the convergence ends in mid-April, the gulf between Earth and Mars will have narrowed to only 92 million km–a small number on the vast scale of the solar system.

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NASA creates 3D Image of Los Angeles Earthquake Zone

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – On March 28th, residents of Greater Los Angeles experienced the largest earthquake to strike the region since 2008. The magnitude 5.1 quake was centered near La Habra in northwestern Orange County about 21 miles (33 kilometers) east-southeast of Los Angeles, and was widely felt throughout Southern California.

There have been hundreds of aftershocks, including one of magnitude 4.1.

JPL scientists modeled the March 28, 2014 magnitude 5.1 quake near Los Angeles based on USGS seismic data. This model image shows how the quake may appear to airborne radar, such as NASA's UAVSAR, which will survey the area soon. Blue shades indicate the greatest surface displacement. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/USGS/Google Earth)

JPL scientists modeled the March 28, 2014 magnitude 5.1 quake near Los Angeles based on USGS seismic data. This model image shows how the quake may appear to airborne radar, such as NASA’s UAVSAR, which will survey the area soon. Blue shades indicate the greatest surface displacement. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/USGS/Google Earth)

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NASA researchers and National Snow and Ice Data Center reports Melting Season in Arctic lasting longer

 

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

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – The length of the melt season for Arctic sea ice is growing by several days each decade, and an earlier start to the melt season is allowing the Arctic Ocean to absorb enough additional solar radiation in some places to melt as much as four feet of the Arctic ice cap’s thickness, according to a new study by National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and NASA researchers.

Arctic sea ice has been in sharp decline during the last four decades. The sea ice cover is shrinking and thinning, making scientists think an ice-free Arctic Ocean during the summer might be reached this century. The seven lowest September sea ice extents in the satellite record have all occurred in the past seven years.

An image mosaic of sea ice in the Canadian Basin, taken by Operation IceBridge's Digital Mapping System on Mar. 28th, 2014. (Digital Mapping System/NASA Ames)

An image mosaic of sea ice in the Canadian Basin, taken by Operation IceBridge’s Digital Mapping System on Mar. 28th, 2014. (Digital Mapping System/NASA Ames)

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