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Topic: NASA’s Langley Research Center

NASA’s ECOSTRESS instrument on International Space Station to study Plant Water usage

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Doctors learn a lot about their patients’ health by taking their temperature. An elevated temperature, or fever, can be a sign of illness. The same goes for plants, but their temperatures on a global scale are harder to measure than the temperatures of individual people.

That’s about to change, thanks to a new NASA instrument that soon will be installed on the International Space Station called ECOSTRESS, or ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station. ECOSTRESS will measure the temperature of plants from space. This will enable researchers to determine plant water use and to study how drought conditions affect plant health.

ECOSTRESS will measure the temperature of plants from space. Scientists will be able to use that temperature data to better understand how much water plants need and how they respond to water shortages. (USDA)

ECOSTRESS will measure the temperature of plants from space. Scientists will be able to use that temperature data to better understand how much water plants need and how they respond to water shortages. (USDA)

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NASA makes break through in Additive Manufacturing for Rocket Propulsion

 

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHuntsville, AL – NASA is breaking ground in the world of additive manufacturing with the Low Cost Upper Stage-Class Propulsion project. Recently, the agency successfully hot-fire tested a combustion chamber at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama made using a new combination of 3-D printing techniques.

“NASA continues to break barriers in advanced manufacturing by reducing time and costs involved in building rocket engine parts through additive manufacturing,“ said John Fikes, project manager for the Low Cost Upper Stage-Class Propulsion Project. “We are excited about the progress of this project. We demonstrated that the E-Beam Free Form Fabrication produced combustion chamber jacket can protect the chamber liner from the pressures found in the combustion chamber.”  

A new study involving long-term monitoring of Alpha Centauri by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory indicates that any planets orbiting the two brightest stars are likely not being pummeled by large amounts of X-ray radiation from their host stars. This is important for the viability of life in the nearest star system outside the Solar System. (Optical: Zdenek Bardon; X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Colorado/T. Ayres et al.)

A new study involving long-term monitoring of Alpha Centauri by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory indicates that any planets orbiting the two brightest stars are likely not being pummeled by large amounts of X-ray radiation from their host stars. This is important for the viability of life in the nearest star system outside the Solar System. (Optical: Zdenek Bardon; X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Colorado/T. Ayres et al.)

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NASA studies how seasonal changes affect Plankton

 

Written by Denise Lineberry
NASA’s Langley Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHampton, VA – Each new season brings change. Seasonal change on land is something that we’re familiar with and adjust to regularly. But what happens to billions of plankton in the ocean each season? How do they adjust to changing sunlight patterns and mixing of the water column? And what impact do these tiny critters have on us, so far away on land?

To answer those questions and others, NASA’s North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study (NAAMES) mission began its fourth and final deployment, making it the first research mission to conduct an integrated study of all four distinct phases of the world’s largest phytoplankton bloom in the North Atlantic and how they impact the atmosphere.

A view of the Atlantis, seaborne research vessel for the North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study. (Nicole Estaphan)

A view of the Atlantis, seaborne research vessel for the North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study. (Nicole Estaphan)

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NASA successfully tests lightweight, Aircraft Wings that fold during Flight

 

Written by Matt Kamlet
NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationEdwards, CA – NASA has successfully applied a new technology in flight that allows aircraft to fold their wings to different angles while in the air.

The recent flight series, which took place at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, was part of the Spanwise Adaptive Wing project, or SAW. This project aims to validate the use of a cutting-edge, lightweight material to be able to fold the outer portions of aircraft wings and their control surfaces to optimal angles in flight.

SAW, which is a joint effort between Armstrong, NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, or GRC, Langley Research Center in Virginia, Boeing Research & Technology in St. Louis and Seattle, and Area-I Inc. in Kennesaw, Georgia, may produce multiple in-flight benefits to aircraft in the future, both subsonic and supersonic.

The subscale testbed PTERA flies over NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center in California with the outer portions of its wings folded 70 degrees upwards. The aircraft took off with its wings zero degrees deflection, keeping them level during takeoff. The wings were folded during the flight using a thermally-triggered shape memory alloy, developed at Glenn Research Center and integrated into an actuator at Boeing Research & Technology. (Area-I Inc.)

The subscale testbed PTERA flies over NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center in California with the outer portions of its wings folded 70 degrees upwards. The aircraft took off with its wings zero degrees deflection, keeping them level during takeoff. The wings were folded during the flight using a thermally-triggered shape memory alloy, developed at Glenn Research Center and integrated into an actuator at Boeing Research & Technology. (Area-I Inc.)

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A Look Back at NASA’s efforts to send Astronauts into Deep Space from 2017

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Below are the top images from 2017 that tell the story of building and testing the systems that will send astronauts to deep space destinations including the Moon, Mars and beyond.

Construction Completed for Stand to Test SLS’s Largest Fuel Tank

Major construction is complete on NASA’s structural test stand that will ensure SLS’s liquid hydrogen tank can withstand the extreme forces of launch and ascent. Together, the SLS liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen tanks will feed 733,000 gallons (nearly 3 million liters) of super-cooled propellant to four RS-25 engines, producing a total of 2 million pounds of thrust at the base of the core stage.

The 215-foot-tall structural test stand for NASA's Space Launch System is seen Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The 215-foot-tall structural test stand for NASA’s Space Launch System is seen Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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NASA’s ER-2 High-Altitude Aircraft takes Prototype Space Sensors for a Test Ride

 

Written by Kate Squires
NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationEdwards, CA – Scientists recently completed test flights with prototypes of potential satellite sensors – including two from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California — over the Western United States, probing basic science questions about aerosols, clouds, air quality and global ocean ecosystems.

The flight campaign, called Aerosol Characterization from Polarimeter and Lidar (ACEPOL), sought to test capabilities of several proposed instruments for the Aerosol-Cloud-Ecosystem (ACE) pre-formulation study.

The view from NASA's ER-2 flying at approximately 65,000 feet (19,812 meters) near a controlled fire burning near Flagstaff, Arizona, during the Aerosol Characterization from Polarimeter and Lidar (ACEPOL) airborne campaign on Nov. 7, 2017. (NASA/Stu Broce)

The view from NASA’s ER-2 flying at approximately 65,000 feet (19,812 meters) near a controlled fire burning near Flagstaff, Arizona, during the Aerosol Characterization from Polarimeter and Lidar (ACEPOL) airborne campaign on Nov. 7, 2017. (NASA/Stu Broce)

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NASA 2017 Highlights

 

Written by Jen Rae Wang / Allard Beutel
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – The Moon became a key focus point for NASA in 2017, whether it was blocking out the Sun during one of the most-viewed events in U.S. history, or reinvigorating the agency’s human space exploration plans.

One of the numerous NASA-related activities and actions the Trump Administration did in 2017 was to reconstitute the National Space Council. During its first meeting on October 5th, Vice President Mike Pence directed NASA to develop a plan to help extend human exploration across our solar system, and return astronauts to the Moon in preparation for human missions to Mars and other destinations.

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NASA’s 2020 Mars Rover Mission tests Parachute Opening at Supersonic Speed

 

Written by Dwayne Brown / Laurie Cantillo
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Landing on Mars is difficult and not always successful. Well-designed advance testing helps. An ambitious NASA Mars rover mission set to launch in 2020 will rely on a special parachute to slow the spacecraft down as it enters the Martian atmosphere at over 12,000 mph (5.4 kilometers per second).

Preparations for this mission have provided, for the first time, dramatic video of the parachute opening at supersonic speed.

The Mars 2020 mission will seek signs of ancient Martian life by investigating evidence in place and by caching drilled samples of Martian rocks for potential future return to Earth.

A 58-foot-tall Black Brant IX sounding rocket launches from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Oct. 4. This was the first test of the Mars 2020 mission's parachute-testing series, the Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment, or ASPIRE. (NASA/Wallops)

A 58-foot-tall Black Brant IX sounding rocket launches from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Oct. 4. This was the first test of the Mars 2020 mission’s parachute-testing series, the Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment, or ASPIRE. (NASA/Wallops)

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NASA’s Orion spacecraft to undergo design test of Launch Abort System in April 2019

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s Orion spacecraft is scheduled to undergo a design test in April 2019 of the capsule’s launch abort system (LAS), which is a rocket-powered tower on top of the crew module built to very quickly get astronauts safely away from their launch vehicle if there is a problem during ascent.

This full-stress test of the LAS, called Ascent Abort Test 2 (AA-2), will see a booster, provided by Orbital ATK, launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, carrying a fully functional LAS and a 22,000 pound Orion test vehicle to an altitude of 32,000 feet at Mach 1.3 (over 1,000 miles an hour).

NASA will test Orion’s launch abort system in high-stress ascent conditions during an April 2019 test called Ascent Abort-2. (NASA)

NASA will test Orion’s launch abort system in high-stress ascent conditions during an April 2019 test called Ascent Abort-2. (NASA)

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NASA’s CERES Flight Model 6 instrument to help study Earth’s Energy Budget

 

Written by Eric Gillard
NASA Langley Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHampton, VA – The Earth and its interconnected systems have always been a fascination for Norman Loeb.

“It’s quite an interesting thing when you think about how energy is distributed and exchanged in various forms amongst Earth’s atmosphere, ocean, land and snow surfaces,” he said.

As the principal investigator of NASA’s Radiaton Budget Science Project, Loeb oversees a series of space-borne instruments that measure reflected sunlight and thermal radiation emitted by the Earth. It gives him a chance to satisfy his curiosity about our home planet from NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

Earth’s energy budget describes the balance between the radiant energy that reaches Earth from the sun and the energy that flows from Earth back out to space. (NASA)

Earth’s energy budget describes the balance between the radiant energy that reaches Earth from the sun and the energy that flows from Earth back out to space.
(NASA)

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