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Topic: International Space Station

NASA develops Flying Robots to help with work in Space

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMountain View, CA – Bees are known to be both busy and hard-working, and NASA’s new free-flying space robots, called Astrobee, will soon have the same reputation. Unlike bees that live on Earth, the robots will do their work flying alongside astronauts inside the International Space Station and will play a critical role in supporting innovative and sustainable exploration of the Moon, Mars and beyond.

Astrobee is a free-flying robot system that will provide a research platform for the orbiting laboratory. The system includes three robots—named Honey, Queen and Bumble— as well as a docking station for recharging.

Astrobee flight units and docking unit in granite table lab at the Atomated Science Research Facility N-269 NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field in Silicon Valley California. (NASA)

Astrobee flight units and docking unit in granite table lab at the Atomated Science Research Facility N-269 NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field in Silicon Valley California. (NASA)

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NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3 will study Earth’s Carbon Cycle from International Space Station

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says that when the Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3, OCO-3, heads to the International Space Station, it will bring a new view – literally – to studies of Earth’s carbon cycle.

OCO-3 will observe near-global measurements of carbon dioxide on land and sea, from just after sunrise to just before sunset from its perch on the space station. That makes it far more versatile and powerful than its predecessor, OCO-2.

“OCO-2 revisits areas on Earth at roughly the same time of day due to its sun-synchronous orbit,” said Matt Bennett, OCO-3’s project systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “OCO-3 will expand the time period of that coverage and observe the presence of carbon dioxide at varying times of day.”

OCO-3 sits on the large vibration table (known as the "shaker") in the Environmental Test Lab at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

OCO-3 sits on the large vibration table (known as the “shaker”) in the Environmental Test Lab at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Team works to get handle on Lunar Dust

 

Written by Jim Cawley 
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationFlorida – Dust can be a nuisance — on Earth and the Moon. Astronauts exploring the Moon’s South Pole will need a way to help keep pesky lunar dust out of hard to reach places.

A team at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida may have the solution. The technology launched to the International Space Station April 17th, 2019, from Wallops Flight Facility on the eastern shore of Virginia as part of the Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE)-11 mission.

“This is the first flight of the Electrodynamic Dust Shield (EDS) and the first exposure to the space environment,” said Kennedy scientist Dr. Carlos Calle. “It is a big deal, and we are very excited. We’ve been working on this for a long time.”

Dr. Carlos Calle has worked on the Electrostatic Dust Shield (EDS) for 15 years. He leads a team of about eight researchers striving to perfect the technology that uses dynamic electric fields to remove dust from surfaces. Calle is hopeful that the EDS will play a major role in NASA’s plans to send humans back to the Moon and on to Mars. (NASA)

Dr. Carlos Calle has worked on the Electrostatic Dust Shield (EDS) for 15 years. He leads a team of about eight researchers striving to perfect the technology that uses dynamic electric fields to remove dust from surfaces. Calle is hopeful that the EDS will play a major role in NASA’s plans to send humans back to the Moon and on to Mars. (NASA)

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NASA reports Cygnus Cargo Craft brings Research, Supplies to International Space Station

 

NASA Headquarters 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA says that after its capture on April 19th, 2019 at 4:28am CDT, the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft was bolted into place on the International Space Station’s Earth-facing port of the Unity module at 6:31am At the time of installation, Cygnus was flying 255 miles above the Indian Ocean just south of Singapore.

Cygnus will remain at the space station until July 23rd, when the spacecraft will depart the station, deploy NanoRacks customer CubeSats, then have an extended mission of nine months before it will dispose of several tons of trash during a fiery reentry into Earth’s atmosphere.

International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are docked at the space station including Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter and Russia’s Progress 71 and 72 resupply ships and the Soyuz MS-11 and MS-12 crew ships. (NASA)

International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are docked at the space station including Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter and Russia’s Progress 71 and 72 resupply ships and the Soyuz MS-11 and MS-12 crew ships. (NASA)

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NASA says network of Telescopes captures historic Black Hole image

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – A black hole and its shadow have been captured in an image for the first time, a historic feat by an international network of radio telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). EHT is an international collaboration whose support in the U.S. includes the National Science Foundation.

A black hole is an extremely dense object from which no light can escape. Anything that comes within a black hole’s “event horizon,” its point of no return, will be consumed, never to re-emerge, because of the black hole’s unimaginably strong gravity.

Scientists have obtained the first image of a black hole, using Event Horizon Telescope observations of the center of the galaxy M87. The image shows a bright ring formed as light bends in the intense gravity around a black hole that is 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun. (Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration)

Scientists have obtained the first image of a black hole, using Event Horizon Telescope observations of the center of the galaxy M87. The image shows a bright ring formed as light bends in the intense gravity around a black hole that is 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun. (Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration)

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NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3 (OCO-3) will study plant growth

 

Written by Carol Rasmussen
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA says when plants take in too much energy, they don’t get fat – they lighten up. They absorb more sunlight than they need to power photosynthesis, and they get rid of the excess solar energy by emitting it as a very faint glow.

The light is far too dim for us to notice under normal circumstances, but it can be measured with a spectrometer. Called solar-induced fluorescence (SIF), it’s the most accurate signal of photosynthesis that can be observed from space.

That’s important because, as Earth’s climate changes, growing seasons worldwide are also changing in both timing and length.

This honeysuckle is glowing in response to a high-energy ultraviolet light rather than to the Sun, but its shine is similar to the solar-induced fluorescence that OCO-3 will measure. (©Craig P. Burrows)

This honeysuckle is glowing in response to a high-energy ultraviolet light rather than to the Sun, but its shine is similar to the solar-induced fluorescence that OCO-3 will measure. (©Craig P. Burrows)

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NASA announces Boeing Starliner Crew Flight Test to International Space Station to have time extended

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA and Boeing have agreed to extend the duration of the company’s first crewed flight test to the International Space Station after completing an in-depth technical assessment of the CST-100 Starliner systems. NASA found the long-duration flight to be technically feasible and in the best interest of the agency’s needs to ensure continued access and better utilization of the orbiting laboratory.

The extended duration test flight offers NASA the opportunity to complete additional microgravity research, maintenance, and other activities while the company’s Starliner is docked to station. The mission duration will be determined at a later date.

Boeing's Starliner prepares for acoustic testing at Boeing's spacecraft test facilities in El Segundo, California. This vehicle, known as Spacecraft 2, will fly Starliner's Crew Flight Test after it returns to Florida from environmental testing. (Boeing)

Boeing’s Starliner prepares for acoustic testing at Boeing’s spacecraft test facilities in El Segundo, California. This vehicle, known as Spacecraft 2, will fly Starliner’s Crew Flight Test after it returns to Florida from environmental testing. (Boeing)

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NASA’s OCO-3 instrument brings new techniques, technologies to study Carbon Dioxide on Earth to International Space Station

 

Written by Carol Rasmussen
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA is ready to launch a new space instrument that will use the vantage point of the International Space Station to monitor Earth’s carbon cycle.

A follow-on to the still-active OCO-2 mission, OCO-3 will bring not only a new vantage point but new techniques and new technologies to NASA’s carbon dioxide observations.

Why are we launching a new carbon observatory? Read on.

Illustration of NASA's OCO-3 mounted on the underside of the International Space Station. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Illustration of NASA’s OCO-3 mounted on the underside of the International Space Station. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Goddard Technologists and Scientists Prepare for a New Era of Human Exploration

 

Written by Lori Keesey
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA scientists, engineers, and technologists are preparing for a new era of human exploration at the Moon, which includes a new launch system, capsule, and lunar-orbiting outpost that will serve as the jumping-off point for human spaceflight deeper into the Solar System.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is playing a vital role in these initiatives, particularly in the areas of communications and instrument development as evidenced by the recent award of five proposals under NASA’s Development and Advancement of Lunar Instrumentation (DALI) to advance spacecraft-based instrument for use in lunar-landing missions.

The technologies needed for sustainable exploration at the Moon will have to be powerful, multipurpose, and fast, said Jake Bleacher, Chief Scientist for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

Goddard will provide laser communications services to NASA’s Orion vehicle, shown in this artist concept. (NASA)

Goddard will provide laser communications services to NASA’s Orion vehicle, shown in this artist concept. (NASA)

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NASA reports SpaceX Crew Dragon Splashes down, Marks Success of First Commercial Crew Flight Test

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA passed a major milestone Friday in its goal to restore America’s human spaceflight capability when SpaceX’s Crew Dragon returned to Earth after a five-day mission docked to the International Space Station.

About 6 hours after departing the space station, Crew Dragon splashed down at 7:45am CST approximately 230 miles off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida. SpaceX retrieved the spacecraft from the Atlantic Ocean and is transporting it back to port on the company’s recovery ship.

Completing an end-to-end uncrewed flight test, Demo-1, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon departed the International Space Station at 1:32am CST Friday, March 8, 2019, and splashed down at 8:45 a.m. in the Atlantic Ocean about 200 nautical miles off the Florida coast. (NASA Television)

Completing an end-to-end uncrewed flight test, Demo-1, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon departed the International Space Station at 1:32am CST Friday, March 8, 2019, and splashed down at 8:45 a.m. in the Atlantic Ocean about 200 nautical miles off the Florida coast. (NASA Television)

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