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Topic: NASA

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 data shows Arctic Sea Ice 2019 Wintertime Extent Is Seventh Lowest

 

Written by Maria-Jose Vinas
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Sea ice in the Arctic appears to have hit its annual maximum extent after growing through the fall and winter. The 2019 wintertime extent reached on March 13th ties with 2007’s as the 7th smallest extent of winter sea ice in the satellite record, according to scientists at the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center and NASA.

This year’s maximum extent peaked at 5.71 million square miles (14.78 million square kilometers) and is 332,000 square miles (860,000 square kilometers) below the 1981 to 2010 average maximum – equivalent to missing an area of ice larger than the state of Texas.

A big lead, or opening in the sea ice pack, in the eastern Beaufort Sea, as seen from a NASA Operation IceBridge survey flight on Apr. 14, 2018. (NASA/Linette Boisvert)

A big lead, or opening in the sea ice pack, in the eastern Beaufort Sea, as seen from a NASA Operation IceBridge survey flight on Apr. 14, 2018. (NASA/Linette Boisvert)

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NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft discovers plumes erupting on asteroid Bennu

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – A NASA spacecraft that will return a sample of a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu to Earth in 2023 made the first-ever close-up observations of particle plumes erupting from an asteroid’s surface. Bennu also revealed itself to be more rugged than expected, challenging the mission team to alter its flight and sample collection plans, due to the rough terrain. 

Bennu is the target of NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission, which began orbiting the asteroid on December 31st. Bennu, which is only slightly wider than the height of the Empire State Building, may contain unaltered material from the very beginning of our solar system.

This view of asteroid Bennu ejecting particles from its surface on January 19 was created by combining two images taken on board NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. Other image processing techniques were also applied, such as cropping and adjusting the brightness and contrast of each image. (NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona/Lockheed Martin)

This view of asteroid Bennu ejecting particles from its surface on January 19 was created by combining two images taken on board NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. Other image processing techniques were also applied, such as cropping and adjusting the brightness and contrast of each image. (NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona/Lockheed Martin)

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NASA takes Mars 2020 Rover out for a Test Drive

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – In a little more than seven minutes in the early afternoon of February 18th, 2021, NASA’s Mars 2020 rover will execute about 27,000 actions and calculations as it speeds through the hazardous transition from the edge of space to Mars’ Jezero Crater.

While that will be the first time the wheels of the 2,314-pound (1,050-kilogram) rover touch the Red Planet, the vehicle’s network of processors, sensors and transmitters will, by then, have successfully simulated touchdown at Jezero many times before.

Technicians working Mars 2020's System's Test 1 approach their workstation in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Technicians working Mars 2020’s System’s Test 1 approach their workstation in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA studies Dust in our Solar System

 

Written by Lina Tran
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Just as dust gathers in corners and along bookshelves in our homes, dust piles up in space too. But when the dust settles in the solar system, it’s often in rings. Several dust rings circle the Sun. The rings trace the orbits of planets, whose gravity tugs dust into place around the Sun, as it drifts by on its way to the center of the solar system.

The dust consists of crushed-up remains from the formation of the solar system, some 4.6 billion years ago — rubble from asteroid collisions or crumbs from blazing comets.

In this illustration, several dust rings circle the Sun. These rings form when planets’ gravities tug dust grains into orbit around the Sun. Recently, scientists have detected a dust ring at Mercury’s orbit. Others hypothesize the source of Venus’ dust ring is a group of never-before-detected co-orbital asteroids. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Mary Pat Hrybyk-Keith)

In this illustration, several dust rings circle the Sun. These rings form when planets’ gravities tug dust grains into orbit around the Sun. Recently, scientists have detected a dust ring at Mercury’s orbit. Others hypothesize the source of Venus’ dust ring is a group of never-before-detected co-orbital asteroids. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Mary Pat Hrybyk-Keith)

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NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft takes close up image of asteroid Bennu

 

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – This trio of images acquired by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft shows a wide shot and two close-ups of a region in asteroid Bennu’s northern hemisphere.

The wide-angle image (left), obtained by the spacecraft’s MapCam camera, shows a 590-foot (180-meter) wide area with many rocks, including some large boulders, and a “pond” of regolith that is mostly devoid of large rocks.

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft was able to capture a region of asteroid Bennu’s Northern Hemisphere close up uisng it's MapCam camera and PolyCam camera. (NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona)

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft was able to capture a region of asteroid Bennu’s Northern Hemisphere close up uisng it’s MapCam camera and PolyCam camera. (NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona)

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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’s Oceans Melting Greenland mission still making discoveries

 

Written by Carol Rasmussen
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Only seven months after NASA’s Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) mission wrapped its last field campaign on the world’s largest island, an OMG crew is back in Greenland to collect more data.

With two or three field projects a year since 2016, no wonder OMG has made the most comprehensive measurements yet of how ocean water lapping at the undersides of Greenland’s melting glaciers affects them. All that data has answered a lot of existing questions – and it’s raised plenty of new ones.

Cracks in the front of a glacier as it reaches the ocean. (NASA/Adam Klein)

Cracks in the front of a glacier as it reaches the ocean. (NASA/Adam Klein)

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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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Last Photos from NASA’s Opportunity Rover on Mars

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Over 29 days last spring, NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity documented this 360-degree panorama from multiple images taken at what would become its final resting spot in Perseverance Valley. Located on the inner slope of the western rim of Endurance Crater, Perseverance Valley is a system of shallow troughs descending eastward about the length of two football fields from the crest of Endeavor’s rim to its floor.

“This final panorama embodies what made our Opportunity rover such a remarkable mission of exploration and discovery,” said Opportunity project manager John Callas of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

This image is a cropped version of the last 360-degree panorama taken by the Opportunity rover's Panoramic Camera (Pancam) from May 13 through June 10, 2018. The view is presented in false color to make some differences between materials easier to see. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU)

This image is a cropped version of the last 360-degree panorama taken by the Opportunity rover’s Panoramic Camera (Pancam) from May 13 through June 10, 2018. The view is presented in false color to make some differences between materials easier to see. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU)

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