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Topic: Satellites

NORAD now tracking Santa Claus this Christmas Eve

 

Norad Tracks SantaPeterson Air Force Base, CO – For more than 50 years, NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) have tracked Santa’s flight.

The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement misprinted the telephone number for children to call Santa. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations “hotline.”

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NASA to investigate Climate change with Airborne Campaigns

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Five new NASA airborne field campaigns, including one managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, will take to the skies starting in 2015 to investigate how long-range air pollution, warming ocean waters and fires in Africa affect our climate.

These studies into several incompletely understood Earth system processes were competitively selected as part of NASA’s Earth Venture-class projects. Each project is funded at a total cost of no more than $30 million over five years. This funding includes initial development, field campaigns and analysis of data.

The tide coming in over ice in Greenland. (National Snow and Ice Data Center/Andy Mahoney)

The tide coming in over ice in Greenland. (National Snow and Ice Data Center/Andy Mahoney)

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NASA developing ECOSTRESS instrument to analyze plant reactions to heat and water stress

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new space-based instrument to study how effectively plants use water is being developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. The instrument, called the ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS), will monitor one of the most basic processes in living plants: the loss of water through the tiny pores in leaves.

When people lose water through their pores, the process is called sweating. The related process in plants is known as transpiration. Because water that evaporates from soil around plants also affects the amount of water that plants can use, ECOSTRESS will measure combined evaporation and transpiration, known as evapotranspiration.

NASA's ECOSTRESS will monitor how plants react to heat and water stress. (Wikimedia Commons)

NASA’s ECOSTRESS will monitor how plants react to heat and water stress. (Wikimedia Commons)

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NASA reports Small Asteroid 2014 RC to Pass Close, but Safely past Earth

 

Written by DC Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A small asteroid, designated 2014 RC, will safely pass very close to Earth on Sunday, September 7th, 2014.

At the time of closest approach, based on current calculations to be about 2:18pm EDT (11:18am PDT / 18:18 UTC), the asteroid will be roughly over New Zealand.

From its reflected brightness, astronomers estimate that the asteroid is about 60 feet (20 meters) in size.

This graphic depicts the passage of asteroid 2014 RC past Earth on September 7, 2014. At time of closest approach, the space rock will be about one-tenth the distance from Earth to the moon. Times indicated on the graphic are Universal Time. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This graphic depicts the passage of asteroid 2014 RC past Earth on September 7, 2014. At time of closest approach, the space rock will be about one-tenth the distance from Earth to the moon. Times indicated on the graphic are Universal Time. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA successfully launches Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 spacecraft from Vandenberg Air Force Base

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA successfully launched its first spacecraft dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide at 2:56am PDT (6:56am CDT) Wednesday.

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) raced skyward from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket. Approximately 56 minutes after the launch, the observatory separated from the rocket’s second stage into an initial 429-mile (690-kilometer) orbit.

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NASA uses satellites, aircraft, and high-altitude balloons to investigate California’s extreme drought

 

Written by Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – California is supposed to be the Golden State.  Make that golden brown.

The entire west coast of the United States is changing color as the deepest drought in more than a century unfolds.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and NOAA, dry conditions have become extreme across more than 62% of California’s land area—and there is little relief in sight.

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NORAD begins tracking Santa Claus Christmas Eve

 

Norad Tracks SantaPeterson Air Force Base, CO – For more than 50 years, NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) have tracked Santa’s flight.

The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement misprinted the telephone number for children to call Santa. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations “hotline.”

The North American Aerospace Defense Command based at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., will again track Santa Claus on his annual Christmas Eve flight to deliver presents to children around the globe. (Courtesy graphic)

The North American Aerospace Defense Command based at Peterson Air Force Base, CO., will again track Santa Claus on his annual Christmas Eve flight to deliver presents to children around the globe. (Courtesy graphic)

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NASA reports Comet ISON to pass by Mars on October 1st

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – According to NASA, the Comet ISON will flyby Mars on October 1st as continues toward our Sun.

Around the world, astronomers are buzzing with anticipation over the approach of Comet ISON.  On Thanksgiving Day 2013, the icy visitor from the outer solar system will skim the sun’s outer atmosphere and, if it survives, could emerge as one of the brightest comets in years.

First, though, it has to fly by Mars.

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NASA’s Cassini and Messenger Spacecrafts take pictures of Earth

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Color and black-and-white images of Earth taken by two NASA interplanetary spacecraft on July 19th show our planet and its moon as bright beacons from millions of miles away in space.

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft captured the color images of Earth and the moon from its perch in the Saturn system nearly 900 million miles (1.5 billion kilometers) away. MESSENGER, the first probe to orbit Mercury, took a black-and-white image from a distance of 61 million miles (98 million kilometers) as part of a campaign to search for natural satellites of the planet.

In this rare image taken on July 19th, 2013, the wide-angle camera on NASA's Cassini spacecraft has captured Saturn's rings and Earth in the same frame. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

In this rare image taken on July 19th, 2013, the wide-angle camera on NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has captured Saturn’s rings and Earth in the same frame. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

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NASA Astronaut Don Pettit helps invent low-gravity Coffee Cup

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – High above our planet in the realm of satellites and space stations, the familiar rules of Earth do not apply. The midday sky is as black as night. There is no up and no down. Dropped objects do not fall, and hot air does not rise.

Of all the strange things that happen up there, however, it is possible that the strangest happens to coffee.

Physics professor Mark Weislogel of Portland State University has given a lot of thought to coffee (and other fluids) in space, and he describes what happens.

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