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Topic: Moon

NASA looks to Advance Human Moon Landers with help from 11 American Companies

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA looks to put American astronauts, the first woman and next man, on the Moon’s south pole by 2024 and establish sustainable missions by 2028. In order to do so, NASA has picked 11 companies to conduct studies and produce prototypes of human landers for its Artemis lunar exploration program.

“To accelerate our return to the Moon, we are challenging our traditional ways of doing business. We will streamline everything from procurement to partnerships to hardware development and even operations,” said Marshall Smith, director for human lunar exploration programs at NASA Headquarters.

Illustration of a human landing system. (NASA)

Illustration of a human landing system. (NASA)

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NASA study reveals Earth’s Moon has active, changing surface

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says the Earth’s Moon formed vast basins called “mare” (pronounced MAR-ay) over a billions of years ago. Scientists have long assumed these basins were dead, still places where the last geologic activity occurred long before dinosaurs roamed Earth.

But a survey of more than 12,000 images reveals that at least one lunar mare has been cracking and shifting as much as other parts of the Moon – and may even be doing so today. The study adds to a growing understanding that the Moon is an actively changing world.

New surface features of the Moon have been discovered in a region called Mare Frigoris, outlined here in teal. This image is a mosaic composed of many images taken by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). (NASA)

New surface features of the Moon have been discovered in a region called Mare Frigoris, outlined here in teal. This image is a mosaic composed of many images taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). (NASA)

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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 Mars Odyssey orbiter takes photos of Mars’ moon Phobos at full moon

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter has captured Mar’s moon Phobos during a full moon phase for the first time. Each color in this new image represents a temperature range detected by Odyssey’s infrared camera, which has been studying the Martian moon since September of 2017.

Looking like a rainbow-colored jawbreaker, these latest observations could help scientists understand what materials make up Phobos, the larger of Mars’ two moons.

These three views of the Martian moon Phobos were taken by NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter using its infrared camera, THEMIS. Each color represents a different temperature range. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/SSI)

These three views of the Martian moon Phobos were taken by NASA’s 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter using its infrared camera, THEMIS. Each color represents a different temperature range. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/SSI)

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NASA excited about Apophis Asteroid passing by Earth in 2029

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says that a speck of light will streak across the sky, getting brighter and faster on April 13th, 2029. At one point it will travel more than the width of the full Moon within a minute and it will get as bright as the stars in the Little Dipper.

But it won’t be a satellite or an airplane – it will be a 1,100-foot-wide (340-meter-wide) near-Earth asteroid called 99942 Apophis that will cruise harmlessly by Earth, about 19,000 miles (31,000 kilometers) above the surface. That’s within the distance that some of our spacecraft that orbit Earth.

The international asteroid research community couldn’t be more excited.

This illustration shows the distance between the Apophis asteroid and Earth at the time of the asteroid's closest approach. The blue dots are the many man-made satellites that orbit our planet, and the pink represents the International Space Station. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This illustration shows the distance between the Apophis asteroid and Earth at the time of the asteroid’s closest approach. The blue dots are the many man-made satellites that orbit our planet, and the pink represents the International Space Station. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars InSight Lander records first ever likely Marsquake

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars InSight lander has measured and recorded for the first time ever a likely “marsquake.”

The faint seismic signal, detected by the lander’s Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) instrument, was recorded on April 6th, 2019 the lander’s 128th Martian day, or sol. This is the first recorded trembling that appears to have come from inside the planet, as opposed to being caused by forces above the surface, such as wind. Scientists still are examining the data to determine the exact cause of the signal.

This image of InSight's seismometer was taken on the 110th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. The seismometer is called Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, or SEIS. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This image of InSight’s seismometer was taken on the 110th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. The seismometer is called Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, or SEIS. (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 picks New Technologies to Invest in

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Smart spacesuits and solar surfing may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but they are just two of the technology concepts NASA has selected for further research as part of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program. The program will fund 18 studies to determine the feasibility of early-stage technologies that could go on to change what’s possible in space.

The funded technologies have the potential to transform human and robotic exploration of other worlds, including the Moon and Mars.

NASA has selected two new concepts from JPL for future mission ideas, including a small satellite that could fly to the outer edges of the solar system. In this photo, a set of Earth-observing CubeSats launch from the International Space Station in 2014. (NASA)

NASA has selected two new concepts from JPL for future mission ideas, including a small satellite that could fly to the outer edges of the solar system. In this photo, a set of Earth-observing CubeSats launch from the International Space Station in 2014. (NASA)

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NASA ready to take on Challenges of going back to the Moon

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA says space exploration brings humanity some of its greatest challenges and opportunities. We faced this hard fact on April 11th when the Beresheet spacecraft developed by Israel’s SpaceIL failed to successfully land on the Moon’s surface.

While the Beresheet spacecraft can claim many accomplishments, including being the first privately funded lunar spacecraft, we can learn many things from its failures. These are lessons we, too, must consider as NASA tries to conquer similar challenges as we move forward to the Moon with commercial and international partners.

NASA will send landers and robots to the Moon before sending Astronauts to explore. (NASA)

NASA will send landers and robots to the Moon before sending Astronauts to explore. (NASA)

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