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NASA announces New Year’s Fireworks from a Shattered Comet coming January 3rd

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – 2017 is beginning with fireworks.

No, not those fireworks…

We’re talking about a lightshow from shattered comet 2003 EH1.

According to the International Meteor Organization and other forecasters, Earth will pass through a stream of debris from the comet on January 3rd, 2017, producing a shower of meteors known as the Quadrantids.

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NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory to move Master Clock up One Second

 

Written by Karen C. Fox
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – On December 31st, 2016, official clocks around the world will add a leap second just before midnight Coordinated Universal Time — which corresponds to 6:59:59pm EST. NASA missions will also have to make the switch, including the Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, which watches the sun 24/7.

Clocks do this to keep in sync with Earth’s rotation, which gradually slows down over time. When the dinosaurs roamed Earth, for example, our globe took only 23 hours to make a complete rotation. In space, millisecond accuracy is crucial to understanding how satellites orbit.

Images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory — such as this one showing the sun as it appears in wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light — have a time stamp showing Universal Time on it. To maintain accuracy, SDO will join official clocks around the world in adding a leap second on Dec. 31, 2016. (NASA/SDO)

Images from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory — such as this one showing the sun as it appears in wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light — have a time stamp showing Universal Time on it. To maintain accuracy, SDO will join official clocks around the world in adding a leap second on Dec. 31, 2016. (NASA/SDO)

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NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer discovers one or two Comets

 

Written by DC Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s NEOWISE mission has recently discovered some celestial objects traveling through our neighborhood, including one on the blurry line between asteroid and comet. Another–definitely a comet–might be seen with binoculars through next week.

An object called 2016 WF9 was detected by the NEOWISE project on November 27th, 2016. It’s in an orbit that takes it on a scenic tour of our solar system. At its farthest distance from the sun, it approaches Jupiter’s orbit.

An artist's rendition of 2016 WF9 as it passes Jupiter's orbit inbound toward the sun. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

An artist’s rendition of 2016 WF9 as it passes Jupiter’s orbit inbound toward the sun. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter recovering from Protective Status

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter, which has been in service at Mars since October 2001, put itself into safe mode — a protective standby status — on December 26th, while remaining in communication with Earth.

The Odyssey project team has diagnosed the cause — an uncertainty aboard the spacecraft about its orientation with regard to Earth and the sun — and is restoring the orbiter to full operations.

Artist's concept of NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Artist’s concept of NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Journey to Mars builds ground work for missions beyond our Solar System

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Humanity’s great leap into the space between the stars has, in a sense, already begun. NASA’s Voyager 1 probe broke through the sun’s magnetic bubble to touch the interstellar wind. Voyager 2 isn’t far behind. New Horizons shot past Pluto on its way to encounters with more distant dwarf worlds, the rubble at the solar system’s edge.

Closer to home, we’re working on techniques to help us cross greater distances. Astronauts feast on romaine lettuce grown aboard the International Space Station, perhaps a preview of future banquets en route to Mars, or to deep space.

A selfie taken by Curiosity the Mars rover in the Murray Buttes area. NASA’s Journey to Mars, a plan aimed at building on robotic missions to send humans to the red planet, could be helping lay the groundwork. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

A selfie taken by Curiosity the Mars rover in the Murray Buttes area. NASA’s Journey to Mars, a plan aimed at building on robotic missions to send humans to the red planet, could be helping lay the groundwork. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NORAD tracks Santa Claus’ route across the Globe on Christmas Eve

 

Norad Tracks SantaPeterson Air Force Base, CO – For more than 50 years, NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) have tracked Santa’s flight across the world.

The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement misprinted the telephone number for children to call Santa. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations “hotline.”

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NASA’s Global Land Ice Velocity Extraction project provides near real time view of Glacier movement

 

Written by Kate Ramsayer
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Glaciers and ice sheets move in unique and sometimes surprising patterns, as evidenced by a new capability that uses satellite images to map the speed of flowing ice in Greenland, Antarctica and mountain ranges around the world.

With imagery and data from Landsat 8, a joint mission of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey, scientists are providing a near-real-time view of every large glacier and ice sheet on Earth.

The NASA-funded Global Land Ice Velocity Extraction project, called GoLIVE, is a collaboration between scientists from the University of Colorado, the University of Alaska, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

The texture on the surface of flowing ice, such as Heimdal Glacier in southern Greenland, allows Landsat 8 to map nearly all the flowing ice in the world. (NASA/John Sonntag)

The texture on the surface of flowing ice, such as Heimdal Glacier in southern Greenland, allows Landsat 8 to map nearly all the flowing ice in the world. (NASA/John Sonntag)

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NASA’s BIG Idea Challenge Finalists develop ideas for Spacecraft Assembly in Orbit

 

Written by Joe Atkinson
NASA’s Langley Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHampton, VA – It’s a complex and daunting thing, dreaming up ways to assemble spacecraft in space.

But don’t tell that to a few whip-smart college students — they’re up for the challenge.

In fact, five university teams will soon get the chance to make the case for their in-space spacecraft assembly concepts as part of the 2017 Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge.

NASA’s Game Changing Development Program, managed by the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, and the National Institute of Aerospace have selected five university teams to develop their concepts for in-space spacecraft assembly. (Analytical Mechanics Associates)

NASA’s Game Changing Development Program, managed by the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, and the National Institute of Aerospace have selected five university teams to develop their concepts for in-space spacecraft assembly. (Analytical Mechanics Associates)

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NASA’s Space Exploration could discover planets similar to ones in “Star Wars: Rogue One”

 

Written by Arielle Samuelson
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – In the “Star Wars” universe, ice, ocean and desert planets burst from the darkness as your ship drops out of light speed. But these worlds might be more than just science fiction.

Some of the planets discovered around stars in our own galaxy could be very similar to arid Tatooine, watery Scarif and even frozen Hoth, according to NASA scientists.

Stormtroopers in the new Star Wars film "Rogue One" wade through the water of an alien ocean world. NASA scientists believe ocean worlds exist in our own galaxy, along with many other environments. (Disney/Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM.)

Stormtroopers in the new Star Wars film “Rogue One” wade through the water of an alien ocean world. NASA scientists believe ocean worlds exist in our own galaxy, along with many other environments. (Disney/Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM.)

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NASA looks to use Satellite Observations of Earth’s Magnetic Fields to Measure Ocean Heat

 

Written by Kate Ramsayer
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – As Earth warms, much of the extra heat is stored in the planet’s ocean — but monitoring the magnitude of that heat content is a difficult task.

A surprising feature of the tides could help, however. Scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, are developing a new way to use satellite observations of magnetic fields to measure heat stored in the ocean.

NASA scientists are developing a new way to use satellite observations of magnetic fields to measure heat stored in the ocean. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

NASA scientists are developing a new way to use satellite observations of magnetic fields to measure heat stored in the ocean. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

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