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Topic: Orbit

NASA instrument to measure Greenhouse Gas to orbit Earth on Mini-Carb CubeSat Mission

 

Written by Lori Keesey
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD –  A novel instrument that has already proven its mettle on field campaigns will attempt to measure atmospheric greenhouse gases from an occultation-viewing, low-Earth-orbiting CubeSat mission called Mini-Carb early next year — marking the first time this type of instrument has flown in space.

Emily Wilson, a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is teaming with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, or LLNL, to fly a smaller, more ruggedized version of her patented mini-Laser Heterodyne Radiometer, or mini-LHR, on an LLNL-built CubeSat platform early next year.

Technologists integrate a Goddard-developed instrument into Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) CubeSat bus. Those pictured include LLNL’s Lance Simms (front) and from left to right: Vincent Riot (LLNL), A.J. DiGregorio (Goddard), Jennifer Young (Goddard), and Guru Ramu (Goddard). (Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, LLNL-PHOTO-753023)

Technologists integrate a Goddard-developed instrument into Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) CubeSat bus. Those pictured include LLNL’s Lance Simms (front) and from left to right: Vincent Riot (LLNL), A.J. DiGregorio (Goddard), Jennifer Young (Goddard), and Guru Ramu (Goddard). (Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, LLNL-PHOTO-753023)

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NASA’s Parker Solar Probe launched Sunday on it’s way to the Sun

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Hours before the rise of the very star it will study, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe launched from Florida Sunday to begin its journey to the Sun, where it will undertake a landmark mission. The spacecraft will transmit its first science observations in December, beginning a revolution in our understanding of the star that makes life on Earth possible.

Roughly the size of a small car, the spacecraft lifted off at 2:31am CDT on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. At 4:33am, the mission operations manager reported that the spacecraft was healthy and operating normally.

The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launches NASA's Parker Solar Probe to touch the Sun, Sunday, August 12th, 2018, from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanity’s first-ever mission into a part of the Sun’s atmosphere called the corona. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launches NASA’s Parker Solar Probe to touch the Sun, Sunday, August 12th, 2018, from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanity’s first-ever mission into a part of the Sun’s atmosphere called the corona. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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NASA halts Parker Solar Probe Launch, New Launch Date is Sunday, August 12th

 

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – The launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft was scrubbed today due to a violation of a launch limit, resulting in a hold. There was not enough time remaining in the window to recycle.

The launch is planned for Sunday, August 12th, 2018 from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The forecast shows a 60 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for launch. The launch time is 2:31am CDT.

NASA scrubs Saturday morning launch of the Parker Solar Probe due to a glitch with the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy Rocket. (NASA)

NASA scrubs Saturday morning launch of the Parker Solar Probe due to a glitch with the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy Rocket. (NASA)

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NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) captures Comet images

 

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Before NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) started science operations on July 25th, 2018, the planet hunter sent back a stunning sequence of serendipitous images showing the motion of a comet.

Taken over the course of 17 hours on July 25th, these TESS images helped demonstrate the satellite’s ability to collect a prolonged set of stable periodic images covering a broad region of the sky — all critical factors in finding transiting planets orbiting nearby stars.

These three images are from a sequence compiled from a series of images taken on July 25th by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. The angular extent of the widest field of view is six degrees. Visible in the images are the comet C/2018 N1, asteroids, variable stars, asteroids and reflected light from Mars. TESS is expected to find thousands of planets around other nearby stars. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology/NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

These three images are from a sequence compiled from a series of images taken on July 25th by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. The angular extent of the widest field of view is six degrees. Visible in the images are the comet C/2018 N1, asteroids, variable stars, asteroids and reflected light from Mars. TESS is expected to find thousands of planets around other nearby stars. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology/NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

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NASA lists Five Technologies Needed for Orion Spacecraft to travel in Deep Space

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – When a spacecraft built for humans ventures into deep space, it requires an array of features to keep it and a crew inside safe.

Both distance and duration demand that spacecraft must have systems that can reliably operate far from home, be capable of keeping astronauts alive in case of emergencies and still be light enough that a rocket can launch it.

Missions near the Moon will start when NASA’s Orion spacecraft leaves Earth atop the world’s most powerful rocket, NASA’s Space Launch System.

Artist rendering of NASA’s Orion spacecraft as it travels 40,000 miles past the Moon during Exploration Mission-1, its first integrated flight with the Space Launch System rocket. (NASA)

Artist rendering of NASA’s Orion spacecraft as it travels 40,000 miles past the Moon during Exploration Mission-1, its first integrated flight with the Space Launch System rocket. (NASA)

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NASA says Mars will be closest it has been to Earth in 15 years, July 31st

 

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHuntsville, AL – 35.8 million miles is definitely not what most of us would consider “close.” But in planetary terms, close is definitely relative! On July 31st, Mars will be 35.8 million miles from Earth, which is the closest it has been to Earth in 15 years. What does this mean for sky watchers?

It means the Red Planet will appear super bright, and with its orange-red color, will be hard to miss in the nighttime sky. From July 27th-30th, the point in Mars’ orbit will come closest to Earth, and will be closest to Earth before sunrise Eastern Time on July 31st.

Mars is the fourth planet from the sun. (NASA)

Mars is the fourth planet from the sun. (NASA)

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NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) begins operations

 

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite has started its search for planets around nearby stars, officially beginning science operations on July 25th, 2018. TESS is expected to transmit its first series of science data back to Earth in August, and thereafter periodically every 13.5 days, once per orbit, as the spacecraft makes it closest approach to Earth.

The TESS Science Team will begin searching the data for new planets immediately after the first series arrives.

An artist’s illustration of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. (NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)

An artist’s illustration of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

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NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, 20 years of mapping Asteroids and Comets

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies enters Third Decade.

On March 11th, 1998, asteroid astronomers around the world received an ominous message: new observational data on the recently discovered asteroid 1997 XF11 suggested there was a chance that the half-mile-wide (nearly one kilometer) object could hit Earth in 2028.

The message came from the Minor Planet Center, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the worldwide repository for such observations and initial determination of asteroid orbits. And although it was intended to alert only the very small astronomical community that hunts and tracks asteroids to call for more observations, the news spread quickly.

The chart depicts the cumulative number of known Near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) versus time. The area in red depicts the number of known NEAs larger than 0.6 miles (1 kilometer). The area in orange depicts the quantity of known NEAs larger than 460 feet (140 meters). The area in blue depicts the number of known NEAs in all sizes. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The chart depicts the cumulative number of known Near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) versus time. The area in red depicts the number of known NEAs larger than 0.6 miles (1 kilometer). The area in orange depicts the quantity of known NEAs larger than 460 feet (140 meters). The area in blue depicts the number of known NEAs in all sizes. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA believes collision caused Uranus to rotate on it’s side

 

NASA’s Ames Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMountain View, CA – Scientists have always wondered how Uranus got tilted so much that it spins on its side, and now research on the planet’s early formation gives us new insight. Four billion years ago, scientists believe a young proto-planet of rock and ice collided with Uranus, causing its extreme tilt. Instead of rotating like a top spinning nearly upright, as Earth does, the planet “rolls” on its side as it circles the sun.

The research team, led by Durham University, UK, in collaboration with scientists at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, used advanced computing techniques to create the most detailed simulation to date of the suspected impact.

Uranus tilts so much that it spins on its side. (NASA)

Uranus tilts so much that it spins on its side. (NASA)

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NASA’s Orbiters observe Dust Storm on Mars

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Storm chasing takes luck and patience on Earth — and even more so on Mars.

For scientists watching the Red Planet from data gathered by NASA’s orbiters, the past month has been a windfall. “Global” dust storms, where a runaway series of storms creates a dust cloud so large it envelops the planet, only appear every six to eight years (that’s three to four Mars years). Scientists still don’t understand why or how exactly these storms form and evolve.

In June, one of these dust events rapidly engulfed the planet. Scientists first observed a smaller-scale dust storm on May 30th. By June 20th, it had gone global.

Side-by-side movies shows how dust has enveloped the Red Planet, courtesy of the Mars Color Imager (MARCI) wide-angle camera onboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

Side-by-side movies shows how dust has enveloped the Red Planet, courtesy of the Mars Color Imager (MARCI) wide-angle camera onboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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