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Topic: Atmosphere

NASA reports Solar Wind heats up Jupiter’s Atmosphere

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – New Earth-based telescope observations show that auroras at Jupiter’s poles are heating the planet’s atmosphere to a greater depth than previously thought – and that it is a rapid response to the solar wind.

“The solar wind impact at Jupiter is an extreme example of space weather,” said James Sinclair of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who led new research published April 8th in Nature Astronomy. “We’re seeing the solar wind having an effect deeper than is normally seen.”

Scientists used red, blue and yellow to infuse this infrared image of Jupiter's atmosphere (red and yellow indicate the hotter regions), which was recorded by the Cooled Mid-Infrared Camera and Spectrograph (COMICS) at the Subaru Telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii on Jan. 12, 2017. (NAOJ and NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Scientists used red, blue and yellow to infuse this infrared image of Jupiter’s atmosphere (red and yellow indicate the hotter regions), which was recorded by the Cooled Mid-Infrared Camera and Spectrograph (COMICS) at the Subaru Telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii on Jan. 12, 2017. (NAOJ and NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Helicopter Completes Flight Tests

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Since the Wright brothers first took to the skies of Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, December 17th, 1903, first flights have been important milestones in the life of any vehicle designed for air travel. After all, it’s one thing to design an aircraft and make it fly on paper – or computer. It is quite another to put all the pieces together and watch them get off the ground.

In late January 2019, all the pieces making up the flight model (actual vehicle going to the Red Planet) of NASA’s Mars Helicopter were put to the test.

Members of the NASA Mars Helicopter team attach a thermal film to the exterior of the flight model of the Mars Helicopter. The image was taken on February 1st, 2019 inside the Space Simulator, a 25-foot-wide (7.62-meter-wide) vacuum chamber at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Members of the NASA Mars Helicopter team attach a thermal film to the exterior of the flight model of the Mars Helicopter. The image was taken on February 1st, 2019 inside the Space Simulator, a 25-foot-wide (7.62-meter-wide) vacuum chamber at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft discovers tiny Moons coated from Saturn’s Rings

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – New findings have emerged about five tiny moons nestled in and near Saturn’s rings. The closest-ever flybys by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft reveal that the surfaces of these unusual moons are covered with material from the planet’s rings – and from icy particles blasting out of Saturn’s larger moon Enceladus. The work paints a picture of the competing processes shaping these mini-moons.

“The daring, close flybys of these odd little moons let us peer into how they interact with Saturn’s rings,” said Bonnie Buratti of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Buratti led a team of 35 co-authors that published their work in the journal Science on March 28th. “We’re seeing more evidence of how extremely active and dynamic the Saturn ring and moon system is.”

This graphic shows the ring moons inspected by NASA's Cassini spacecraft in super-close flybys. The rings and moons depicted are not to scale. (NASA-JPL/Caltech)

This graphic shows the ring moons inspected by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft in super-close flybys. The rings and moons depicted are not to scale. (NASA-JPL/Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover data shows Asteroids, Hydrogen Atmosphere could have produced ingredients for Life

 

Written by Timothy Childers
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – A new study reveals asteroid impacts on ancient Mars could have produced key ingredients for life if the Martian atmosphere was rich in hydrogen. An early hydrogen-rich atmosphere on Mars could also explain how the planet remained habitable after its atmosphere thinned.

The study used data from NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars and was conducted by researchers on Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument team and international colleagues.

Data from NASA's Curiosity Mars rover were used in a new paper studying how asteroids impacting the ancient Martian atmosphere could have produced key ingredients to life. Those data were provided by Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars instrument. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

Data from NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover were used in a new paper studying how asteroids impacting the ancient Martian atmosphere could have produced key ingredients to life. Those data were provided by Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars instrument. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Terra Satellite takes images of Meteor “Fireball” over Bering Sea

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – On December 18th, 2018, a large “fireball” – the term used for exceptionally bright meteors that are visible over a wide area – exploded about 16 miles (26 kilometers) above the Bering Sea.

The explosion unleashed an estimated 173 kilotons of energy, or more than 10 times the energy of the atomic bomb blast over Hiroshima during World War II.

Two NASA instruments aboard the Terra satellite captured images of the remnants of the large meteor.

NASA's MODIS instrument, aboard the Terra satellite, captured this true-color image showing the remnants of a meteor's passage, seen as a dark shadow cast on thick, white clouds on Dec. 18, 2018. (NASA GSFC)

NASA’s MODIS instrument, aboard the Terra satellite, captured this true-color image showing the remnants of a meteor’s passage, seen as a dark shadow cast on thick, white clouds on Dec. 18, 2018. (NASA GSFC)

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NASA Researchers are creating Alien Atmospheres on Earth

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, are cooking up an alien atmosphere right here on Earth. In a new study, JPL scientists used a high-temperature “oven” to heat a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide to more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,100 Celsius), about the temperature of molten lava.

The aim was to simulate conditions that might be found in the atmospheres of a special class of exoplanets (planets outside our solar system) called “hot Jupiters.”

This artist's concept shows planet KELT-9b, an example of a "hot Jupiter," or a gas giant planet orbiting very close to its parent star. KELT-9b is an extreme example of a hot Jupiter, with dayside temperatures reaching 7,800 degrees Fahrenheit (4,300 Celcius). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This artist’s concept shows planet KELT-9b, an example of a “hot Jupiter,” or a gas giant planet orbiting very close to its parent star. KELT-9b is an extreme example of a hot Jupiter, with dayside temperatures reaching 7,800 degrees Fahrenheit (4,300 Celcius). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA study shows K Stars more likely to host Habitable Planets

 

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA says scientists looking for signs of life beyond our solar system face major challenges, one of which is that there are hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy alone to consider. To narrow the search, they must figure out: What kinds of stars are most likely to host habitable planets?

A new study finds a particular class of stars called K stars, which are dimmer than the Sun but brighter than the faintest stars, may be particularly promising targets for searching for signs of life.

This is an artist's concept of a planet orbiting in the habitable zone of a K star. (NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/Tim Pyle)

This is an artist’s concept of a planet orbiting in the habitable zone of a K star. (NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/Tim Pyle)

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NASA’s ARTEMIS mission data suggests Moon Swirls created by Solar Wind, Magnetic Field

 

Written by Sarah Frazier
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Every object, planet or person traveling through space has to contend with the Sun’s damaging radiation — and the Moon has the scars to prove it.

Research using data from NASA’s ARTEMIS mission — short for Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence and Electrodynamics of the Moon’s Interaction with the Sun — suggests how the solar wind and the Moon’s crustal magnetic fields work together to give the Moon a distinctive pattern of darker and lighter swirls.

Research using data from NASA's ARTEMIS mission suggests that lunar swirls, like the Reiner Gamma lunar swirl imaged here by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, could be the result of solar wind interactions with the Moon's isolated pockets of magnetic field. (NASA LRO WAC science team)

Research using data from NASA’s ARTEMIS mission suggests that lunar swirls, like the Reiner Gamma lunar swirl imaged here by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, could be the result of solar wind interactions with the Moon’s isolated pockets of magnetic field. (NASA LRO WAC science team)

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NASA to Study Space Weather around Earth from International Space Station

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA has selected a new mission that will help scientists understand and, ultimately, forecast the vast space weather system around our planet. Space weather is important  because it can have profound impacts – affecting technology and astronauts in space, disrupting radio communications and, at its most severe, overwhelming power grids.

The new experiment will, for the first time, obtain global observations of an important driver of space weather in a dynamic region of Earth’s upper atmosphere that can cause interference with radio and GPS communications.

An image taken from the International Space Station shows orange swaths of airglow hovering in Earth’s atmosphere. NASA’s new Atmospheric Waves Experiment will observe this airglow from a perch on the space station to help scientists understand, and ultimately improve forecasts of, space weather changes in the upper atmosphere. (NASA)

An image taken from the International Space Station shows orange swaths of airglow hovering in Earth’s atmosphere. NASA’s new Atmospheric Waves Experiment will observe this airglow from a perch on the space station to help scientists understand, and ultimately improve forecasts of, space weather changes in the upper atmosphere. (NASA)

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NASA Insight Lander sets up Weather Station on Mars

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – No matter how cold your winter has been, it’s probably not as chilly as Mars. Check for yourself: Starting today, the public can get a daily weather report from NASA’s InSight lander.

This public tool includes stats on temperature, wind and air pressure recorded by InSight. Sunday’s weather was typical for the lander’s location during late northern winter: a high of 2 degrees Fahrenheit (-17 degrees Celsius) and low of -138 degrees Fahrenheit (-95 degrees Celsius), with a top wind speed of 37.8 mph (16.9 m/s) in a southwest direction.

The white east- and west-facing booms - called Temperature and Wind for InSight, or TWINS - on the deck of NASA's InSight lander belong to its suite of weather sensors. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The white east- and west-facing booms – called Temperature and Wind for InSight, or TWINS – on the deck of NASA’s InSight lander belong to its suite of weather sensors. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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