Topic: Magnetic Field
Written Dr. Tony Phillips
Washington, D.C. – If you have a smartphone, take it out and run your fingers along the glass surface. It’s cool to the touch, incredibly thin and strong, and almost impervious to scratching. You’re now in contact with a “smart material.”
Smart materials don’t occur naturally. Instead, they are designed by human engineers working at the molecular level to produce substances made-to-order for futuristic applications.
Written by Tony Phillips
Washington, D.C. – Scifi movies are sometimes criticized when explosions in the void make noise. As the old saying goes, “in space, no one can hear you scream.” Without air there is no sound.
But if that’s true, what was space physicist Don Gurnett talking about when he stated at a NASA press conference in September 2013 that he had heard “the sounds of interstellar space?”
It turns out that space can make music … if you know how to listen.
Washington, D.C. – Something big is about to happen on the sun. According to measurements from NASA-supported observatories, the sun’s vast magnetic field is about to flip.
“It looks like we’re no more than 3 to 4 months away from a complete field reversal,” says solar physicist Todd Hoeksema of Stanford University. “This change will have ripple effects throughout the solar system.”
Washington, D.C. – Like a comet, the solar system has a tail. NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) has for the first time mapped out the structure of this tail, which is shaped like a four-leaf clover.
Scientists describe the tail, called the heliotail, based on the first three years of IBEX imagery in a paper published in the July 10th edition of the Astrophysical Journal.
Pasadena, CA – Data from NASA’s Voyager 1, now more than 11 billion miles (18 billion kilometers) from the sun, suggest the spacecraft is closer to becoming the first human-made object to reach interstellar space.
Research using Voyager 1 data and published in the journal Science today provides new detail on the last region the spacecraft will cross before it leaves the heliosphere, or the bubble around our sun, and enters interstellar space.
Written by Guy Webster
Pasadena, CA – The surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa exposes material churned up from inside the moon and also material resulting from matter and energy coming from above.
If you want to learn about the deep saltwater ocean beneath this unusual world’s icy shell — as many people do who are interested in possible extraterrestrial life — you might target your investigation of the surface somewhere that has more of the up-from-below stuff and less of the down-from-above stuff.
Written by Jia-Rui C. Cook
Pasadena, CA – A new paper led by a NASA researcher shows that hydrogen peroxide is abundant across much of the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa. The authors argue that if the peroxide on the surface of Europa mixes into the ocean below, it could be an important energy supply for simple forms of life, if life were to exist there.
The paper was published online recently in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Washington, D.C. – Over the years, the spacefaring nations of Earth have sent dozens of probes and rovers to explore Mars. Today there are three active satellites circling the red planet while two rovers, Opportunity and Curiosity, wheel across the red sands below. Mars is dry, barren, and apparently lifeless.
Soon, those assets could find themselves exploring a very different kind of world.
Written by Claire De Saravia
Greenbelt, MD – When the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission begins its journey to the Red Planet in 2013, it will carry a sensitive magnetic-field instrument built and tested by a team at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD.
Scheduled for launch in late 2013, MAVEN will be the first mission devoted to understanding the Martian upper atmosphere.
The goal of MAVEN is to determine the history of the loss of atmospheric gases to space through time, providing answers about Mars’ climate evolution.
Written by Jia-Rui C. Cook
Pasadena, CA – During a chance encounter with what appears to be an unusually strong blast of solar wind at Saturn, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft detected particles being accelerated to ultra-high energies. This is similar to the acceleration that takes place around distant supernovas.
Since we can’t travel out to the far-off stellar explosions right now, the shockwave that forms from the flow of solar wind around Saturn’s magnetic field provides a rare laboratory for scientists with the Cassini mission — a partnership involving NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency — to observe this phenomenon up-close.
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