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Topic: North America

NASA to use Spacecraft Orbiting Earth to track Air Pollution

 

Written by Steve Cole
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – For more than three decades NASA has focused its space-faring skills and science chops CSI-like on an elusive global killer. Later this month, that pursuit takes us to East Asia. In a few years, part way to the moon.

We are getting close.

Air pollution causes an estimated 152,000 deaths a year across the Americas and more than 2 million deaths in the Western Pacific, according to the United Nations. Some parts of the world have a detailed view of local air quality from ground sensor networks and forecast models that generate public alerts. But for much of the world this type of information and warning are not available.

Satellites have documented that human-produced and natural air pollution can travel a long way. This 2014 NASA satellite image shows a long river of dust from western Africa (bottom of image) push across the Atlantic Ocean. (NASA)

Satellites have documented that human-produced and natural air pollution can travel a long way. This 2014 NASA satellite image shows a long river of dust from western Africa (bottom of image) push across the Atlantic Ocean. (NASA)

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NASA uses satellite data to solve questions about Earth’s rotational wobbles

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Using satellite data on how water moves around Earth, NASA scientists have solved two mysteries about wobbles in the planet’s rotation — one new and one more than a century old. The research may help improve our knowledge of past and future climate.

Although a desktop globe always spins smoothly around the axis running through its north and south poles, a real planet wobbles. Earth’s spin axis drifts slowly around the poles; the farthest away it has wobbled since observations began is 37 feet (12 meters).

Earth does not always spin on an axis running through its poles. Instead, it wobbles irregularly over time, drifting toward North America throughout most of the 20th Century (green arrow). That direction has changed drastically due to changes in water mass on Earth. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Earth does not always spin on an axis running through its poles. Instead, it wobbles irregularly over time, drifting toward North America throughout most of the 20th Century (green arrow). That direction has changed drastically due to changes in water mass on Earth. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA researchers explore growing Food Crops during long Deep Space Missions

 

Written by Linda Herridge
NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationKennedy Space Center, FL – NASA plant physiologist Ray Wheeler, Ph.D., and fictional astronaut Mark Watney from the movie “The Martian” have something in common — they are both botanists. But that’s where the similarities end. While Watney is a movie character who gets stranded on Mars, Wheeler is the lead for Advanced Life Support Research activities in the Exploration Research and Technology Program at Kennedy Space Center, working on real plant research.

“The Martian movie and book conveyed a lot of issues regarding growing food and surviving on a planet far from the Earth,” Wheeler said. “It’s brought plants back into the equation.”

An artist concept depicts a greenhouse on the surface of Mars. Plants are growing with the help of red, blue and green LED light bars and a hydroponic cultivation approach. (SAIC)

An artist concept depicts a greenhouse on the surface of Mars. Plants are growing with the help of red, blue and green LED light bars and a hydroponic cultivation approach. (SAIC)

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NASA reports a strong, growing El Niño head to United States

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The current strong El Niño brewing in the Pacific Ocean shows no signs of waning, as seen in the latest satellite image from the U.S./European Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM)/Jason-2 mission.

El Niño 2015 has already created weather chaos around the world. Over the next few months, forecasters expect the United States to feel its impacts as well.

The latest Jason-2 image bears a striking resemblance to one from December 1997, by Jason-2’s predecessor, the NASA/Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) Topex/Poseidon mission, during the last large El Niño event. Both reflect the classic pattern of a fully developed El Niño. The images can be viewed at:
http://sealevel.jpl.nasa.gov/elnino2015/index.html

The latest satellite image of Pacific sea surface heights from Jason-2 (left) differs slightly from one 18 years ago from Topex/Poseidon (right). In Dec. 1997, sea surface height was more intense and peaked in November. This year the area of high sea levels is less intense but considerably broader. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The latest satellite image of Pacific sea surface heights from Jason-2 (left) differs slightly from one 18 years ago from Topex/Poseidon (right). In Dec. 1997, sea surface height was more intense and peaked in November. This year the area of high sea levels is less intense but considerably broader. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA examines Carbon emissions across the Earth to better understand our warming climate

 

Written by Kate Ramsayer, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
and Carol Rasmussen, NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Earth’s oceans and land cover are doing us a favor. As people burn fossil fuels and clear forests, only half of the carbon dioxide released stays in the atmosphere, warming and altering Earth’s climate. The other half is removed from the air by the planet’s vegetation ecosystems and oceans.

As carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere continue their rapid, human-made rise past levels not seen for hundreds of thousands of years, NASA scientists and others are confronted with an important question for the future of our planet: How long can this balancing act continue? And if forests, other vegetation and the ocean cannot continue to absorb as much or more of our carbon emissions, what does that mean for the pace of climate change in the coming century?

NASA is advancing new tools like the supercomputer model that created this simulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to better understand what will happen to Earth's climate if the land and ocean can no longer absorb nearly half of all climate-warming CO2 emissions. (NASA/GSFC)

NASA is advancing new tools like the supercomputer model that created this simulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to better understand what will happen to Earth’s climate if the land and ocean can no longer absorb nearly half of all climate-warming CO2 emissions. (NASA/GSFC)

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NASA sets the stage for upcoming Super Harvest Moon Eclipse

 

Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – In the days before light bulbs, farmers relied on moonlight to help them harvest their crops. Many crops ripen all at once in late summer and early autumn so farmers found themselves extremely busy at this time of year. They had to work after sundown. Moonlight became an essential part of farming, and thus, the Harvest Moon was born.

According to folklore, the Harvest Moon is the full Moon that falls closest to the autumnal equinox, the hectic beginning of northern autumn. In 2015, the Moon is full on September 28th, less than a week after the equinox of September 23rd. The coincidence sets the stage for a nice display of harvest moonlight.

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NASA answers questions about upcoming Supermoon/Lunar Eclipse

 

Written by Ashley Morrow
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Coming soon for the first time in more than 30 years: you’ll be able to witness a supermoon in combination with a lunar eclipse.

Late on September 27th, 2015, in the U.S. and much of the world, a total lunar eclipse will mask the moon’s larger-than-life face for more than an hour.

But what is this behemoth of the night sky? Not a bird, not a plane, it’s a supermoon! Although this incarnation of the moon comes around only once every year, it’s not as mysterious as you might think.

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NASA and University Researchers may have found strong Link between Amazon Fires and Devastating Hurricanes

 

Written by Brian Bell
University of California at Irvine

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationIrvine, CA – Researchers from the University of California, Irvine and NASA have uncovered a remarkably strong link between high wildfire risk in the Amazon basin and the devastating hurricanes that ravage North Atlantic shorelines.

The climate scientists’ findings are appearing in the journal Geophysical Research Letters near the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s calamitous August 2005 landfall at New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

This map of ocean surface temperatures shows how warm waters in the North Atlantic fueled Hurricane Katrina. NASA and UCI researchers have found that the same conditions heighten fire risk in the Amazon basin. (Scientific Visualization Studio, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

This map of ocean surface temperatures shows how warm waters in the North Atlantic fueled Hurricane Katrina. NASA and UCI researchers have found that the same conditions heighten fire risk in the Amazon basin. (Scientific Visualization Studio, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

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Nashville Zoo Mourns Loss of Cougar

 

Jackson had been at Nashville Zoo since 1996

Nashville ZooNashville, TN – Due to declining health issues, Nashville Zoo has euthanized Jackson, an 18-year old cougar. Jackson passed away on May 7th.

“This is a very sad day for all of us at Nashville Zoo,” said Dr. Heather Robertson, director of veterinary services at Nashville Zoo. “Jackson had been battling renal (kidney) disease for the last few years. He had done well with medical support until recently when his condition began to rapidly decline. Due to this decline, the veterinary and keeper staff believed humane euthanasia was the best option.”

Nashville Zoo Cougar, Jackson. (Christian Sperka)

Nashville Zoo Cougar, Jackson. (Christian Sperka)

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Austin Peay State University’s Osvaldo Di Paolo explores blending of Hispanic literary genres in new book

 

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – Fictional literature has long shined a light on the times in which we live. In North America, genres like dystopia and science fiction have served as mirrors for the ills plaguing modern day society.

In Spanish literature, the genres of hardboiled, or “novela negra,” and Gothic literature have played a similarly important role – each symbolically exploring, among other things, the criminal and societal dangers in rapidly growing major South American cities such as Mexico City, Bogota and Buenos Aires.

APSU Associate Professor Dr. Osvaldo Di Paolo.

APSU Associate Professor Dr. Osvaldo Di Paolo.

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