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Topic: Science at NASA

NASA to conduct one year study on the effects of Space Travel on the Human Body

 

Written by Ferris Molina
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Washington, D.C. – The human body is incredibly complex. Every part of us—from our bones to our blood cells—is subject to a host of chemical reactions and molecular interactions that, without our conscious effort, keep us alive.

But what happens to these processes when we leave the planet?

In Earth orbit and beyond, where gravity is counteracted by a constant state of freefall and cosmic radiation intensifies, the molecular inner-workings of the human body may change. To find out how, NASA has entered a realm of bio-research known as “-omics.”

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NASA Astronauts practice using Graphical Interface Controls on iPad in Space

 

Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – When the Space Age began, there was no such thing as a “graphical user interface.”  Astronauts interacted with their electronics using only knobs and toggle switches. It was a different time.

Fast forward to 2015.

The knobs and switches of the 1950s have been replaced by a glass cockpit, where the majority of commanding is done through software controls. Old-fashioned twisting and flipping may soon be replaced by a complex combination of taps, swipes, and finger-tip swirls.

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope discovers atmosphere evaporating from Neptune sized Planet

 

Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. But what about planets?

Take Neptune for example. For many years, especially since 1989 when Voyager 2 flew past Neptune and measured its gravity field, astronomers have known that the blue giant harbors a secret world inside. Hidden deep below the azure cloud tops lies a rocky core not much larger than Earth. Uranus has one, too! These “worlds within worlds” could have exotic properties including scorching hot oceans and diamond rain.

If only researchers could peel back the clouds for a closer look….

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NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory sees Thousands of Comets Disintegrate

 

Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – For an astronomer, discovering a comet can be the highlight of a lifetime. Great comets carry the names of their discoverers into history. Comet Halley, Comet Lovejoy, Comet Hale-Bopp are just a few examples….

Imagine the frustration, though, if every time you discovered a comet, it was rapidly destroyed.

Believe it or not, this is what happens almost every day to the most prolific comet hunter of all time.

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NASA reports Venus, Jupiter and Mars to form Triangle of Planets this month

 

Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Winter is approaching. The early, wakeful sunbeams of summer are a fading memory as October mornings grow dark and cold. Frankly, waking up isn’t as easy as it used to be…..

Except this week.

In the days ahead, if you find yourself yawning over your morning coffee before sunrise, longing for repose, just take a look out the window. Three bright planets are converging in the eastern sky–and the view is an eye opener.

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NASA reports on the Hidden Melting of Greenland’s Glaciers

 

Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – More than 90 percent of our planet’s freshwater ice is bound in the massive ice sheets and glaciers of the Antarctic and Greenland. As temperatures around the world slowly climb, melt waters from these vast stores of ice add to rising sea levels.

All by itself, Greenland could bump sea levels by 7 meters (23 feet) if its ice melted completely.

And … it’s melting.

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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 uses new GPS Navigation System on Magnetospheric Multiscale mission spacecrafts

 

Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – As any back country hiker knows, Global Positioning System, or GPS, trackers are crucial for navigation. But they can also be a little finicky. Units sometimes lose lock when you walk into the shadow of a canyon wall, when you point the units at the ground, or even when you make a sharp turn.

Now imagine a GPS system flying through the vacuum of space at 22,000 mph, rapidly spinning 43,000 miles above the surface of the blue planet below. Would it work?

Turns out, the answer is yes. NASA has developed a GPS navigation system for the newly-launched MMS satellites that operates under these incredible conditions.

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NASA says June is month for Stargazing

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – If you love stargazing, there’s a date you need to mark on your calendar. It’s June.

That’s right, the whole month!

Throughout the month of June 2015, the two brightest planets in the night sky, Venus and Jupiter, are going to converge for a jaw-dropping close encounter. You don’t want to miss any of the action.

When the sun goes down, step outside and look west. You don’t have to wait until the sky fades to black. Venus and Jupiter are so bright, you can see then shining through the twilight.

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NASA says Roundworms to be used to study Microgravity effects on the Human Body

 

Written by Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Humans have long been fascinated by the cosmos. Ancient cave paintings show that we’ve been thinking about space for much of the history of our species.  The popularity of recent sci-fi movies suggest that the human mind just might be coming to grips with the harsh environment “out there.”

The human body is another matter.

When gravity is greatly reduced—as in spaceflight—we no longer use our muscles to resist the usual pull of a planetary mass, and, without additional exercise astronauts lose both bone and muscle.

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