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NASA looks back at Huygens probe’s descent to the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan

 

Written by Preston Dyches
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – After a two-and-a-half-hour descent, the metallic, saucer-shaped spacecraft came to rest with a thud on a dark floodplain covered in cobbles of water ice, in temperatures hundreds of degrees below freezing.

The alien probe worked frantically to collect and transmit images and data about its environs — in mere minutes its mothership would drop below the local horizon, cutting off its link to the home world and silencing its voice forever.

Although it may seem the stuff of science fiction, this scene played out 12 years ago on the surface of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. The “aliens” who built the probe were us. This was the triumphant landing of ESA’s Huygens probe.

Images taken by Huygens were used to create this view, which shows the probe's perspective from an altitude of about 6 miles (10 kilometers). (ESA/NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)

Images taken by Huygens were used to create this view, which shows the probe’s perspective from an altitude of about 6 miles (10 kilometers). (ESA/NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope discovers shadow moving across Young Star

 

Written by Felicia Chou
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Searching for planets around other stars is a tricky business. They’re so small and faint that it’s hard to spot them. But a possible planet in a nearby stellar system may be betraying its presence in a unique way: by a shadow that is sweeping across the face of a vast pancake-shaped gas-and-dust disk surrounding a young star.

The planet itself is not casting the shadow. But it is doing some heavy lifting by gravitationally pulling on material near the star and warping the inner part of the disk. The twisted, misaligned inner disk is casting its shadow across the surface of the outer disk.

These images, taken a year apart by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, reveal a shadow moving counterclockwise around a gas-and-dust disk encircling the young star TW Hydrae. The two images at the top, taken by the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph, show an uneven brightness across the disk. Through enhanced image processing (images at bottom), the darkening becomes even more apparent. These enhanced images allowed astronomers to determine the reason for the changes in brightness. The dimmer areas of the disk, at top left, are caused by a shadow spreading across the outer disk. (NASA, ESA, and J. Debes (STScI))

These images, taken a year apart by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, reveal a shadow moving counterclockwise around a gas-and-dust disk encircling the young star TW Hydrae. The two images at the top, taken by the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph, show an uneven brightness across the disk. Through enhanced image processing (images at bottom), the darkening becomes even more apparent. These enhanced images allowed astronomers to determine the reason for the changes in brightness. The dimmer areas of the disk, at top left, are caused by a shadow spreading across the outer disk. (NASA, ESA, and J. Debes (STScI))

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American Heart Association Praises USDA for Moving Sodium Standards Forward

 

American Heart AssociationWashington, D.C. – American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following comments today on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) memo to state agencies responsible for school meal programs.

The memo outlines the next phase of lowering sodium and sets target two for school year 2017-2018:

CARDIAC ARREST occurs when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly. Cardiac arrest is an "ELECTRICAL" problem. A HEART ATTACK occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked. A heart attack is a “CIRCULATION” problem. A blocked artery prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching a section of the heart. If the blocked artery is not reopened quickly, the part of the heart normally nourished by that artery begins to die. (American Heart Association)

CARDIAC ARREST occurs when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly. Cardiac arrest is an “ELECTRICAL” problem. A HEART ATTACK occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked. A heart attack is a “CIRCULATION” problem. A blocked artery prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching a section of the heart. If the blocked artery is not reopened quickly, the part of the heart normally nourished by that artery begins to die. (American Heart Association)

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CPSC reports Toshiba Expands Laptop Computer Battery Packs Recall Due to Burn and Fire Hazards

 

U.S. Consumer Product Safety CommissionWashington, D.C. – This expanded recall involves Panasonic lithium-ion battery packs installed in 41 models of Toshiba Satellite laptops, including the Satellite models affected by the March 2016 recall.  

Toshiba has expanded the number of battery packs to include those sold between June 2011 and November 2016. The battery packs also were sold separately and installed by Toshiba as part of a repair.

Battery packs included in this recall have part numbers that begin with G71C (G71C*******). Part numbers are printed on the battery pack. A complete list of battery pack part numbers included in this recall can be found on the firm’s website at http://go.toshiba.com/battery.

Toshiba Battery packs included in this recall have part numbers that begin with G71C (G71C*******)

Toshiba Battery packs included in this recall have part numbers that begin with G71C (G71C*******)

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NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database contains information on over 100 million Galaxies

 

Written by Elizabeth Landau
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A team of researchers has compiled a special catalog to help astronomers figure out the true distances to tens of thousands of galaxies beyond our own Milky Way.

The catalog, called NED-D, is a critical resource, not only for studying these galaxies, but also for determining the distances to billions of other galaxies strewn throughout the universe.

As the catalog continues to grow, astronomers can increasingly rely on it for ever-greater precision in calculating both how big the universe is and how fast it is expanding.

This graphic shows all the cosmic light sources in the sky that are included in the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED), an online repository containing information on over 100 million galaxies. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This graphic shows all the cosmic light sources in the sky that are included in the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED), an online repository containing information on over 100 million galaxies. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Discovery Program to send missions to Jupiter’s Trojan Asteroids and Metal Asteroid

 

Written by DC Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA has selected two missions that have the potential to open new windows on one of the earliest eras in the history of our solar system – a time less than 10 million years after the birth of our sun. The missions, known as Lucy and Psyche, were chosen from five finalists and will proceed to mission formulation, with the goal of launching in 2021 and 2023, respectively.

“Lucy will visit a target-rich environment of Jupiter’s mysterious Trojan asteroids, while Psyche will study a unique metal asteroid that’s never been visited before,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “This is what Discovery Program missions are all about – boldly going to places we’ve never been to enable groundbreaking science.”

Artist's concept of the Psyche spacecraft, which will conduct a direct exploration of an asteroid thought to be a stripped planetary core. (SSL/ASU/P. Rubin/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Artist’s concept of the Psyche spacecraft, which will conduct a direct exploration of an asteroid thought to be a stripped planetary core. (SSL/ASU/P. Rubin/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Astrophysics Explorers Program to explore Exotic Astronomical Objects

 

Written by Felicia Chou
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA has selected a science mission that will allow astronomers to explore, for the first time, the hidden details of some of the most extreme and exotic astronomical objects, such as stellar and supermassive black holes, neutron stars and pulsars.

Objects such as black holes can heat surrounding gases to more than a million degrees. The high-energy X-ray radiation from this gas can be polarized – vibrating in a particular direction.

NASA Selects Mission to Study Black Holes, Cosmic X-ray Mysteries

NASA Selects Mission to Study Black Holes, Cosmic X-ray Mysteries

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AAA reports Drivers Paying Highest New Year’s Gas Prices Since 2014

 

AAATampa, FL – The New Year began with increased gas prices reaching today’s average of $2.34 per gallon. The national average has moved higher for 34 of the past 35 days, largely due to market reactions to last fall’s OPEC deal. Pump prices increased by five cents on the week, by 18 cents per gallon on the month, and are up by 34 cents on the year.

Moving into 2017, retail prices will continue to hinge on the ability of cartel countries to successfully implement production cuts, but retail averages are likely to increase leading up to the summer driving season as seasonal refinery maintenance gets underway this spring.

National Average Gas Price has gone up for the last 35 days due to OPEC Deal.

National Average Gas Price has gone up for the last 35 days due to OPEC Deal.

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NASA’s Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory to monitor Plant Health from Space

 

Written by Steve Cole
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA has selected a first-of-its-kind Earth science mission that will extend our nation’s lead in measuring key greenhouse gases and vegetation health from space to advance our understanding of Earth’s natural exchanges of carbon among the land, atmosphere and ocean.

The primary goals of the Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory (GeoCARB), led by Berrien Moore of the University of Oklahoma in Norman, are to monitor plant health and vegetation stress throughout the Americas, and to probe, in unprecedented detail, the natural sources, sinks and exchange processes that control carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane in the atmosphere.

From an orbit 22,000 miles above the Americas, the Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory will monitor plant health and vegetation stress and probe the natural sources, sinks and exchange processes of key greenhouse gases. (NASA)

From an orbit 22,000 miles above the Americas, the Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory will monitor plant health and vegetation stress and probe the natural sources, sinks and exchange processes of key greenhouse gases. (NASA)

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NASA advances Exploration Objectives in 2016

 

Written by Bob Jacobs / Allard Beutel
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – In 2016, NASA drove advances in technology, science, aeronautics and space exploration that enhanced the world’s knowledge, innovation, and stewardship of Earth.

“This past year marked record-breaking progress in our exploration objectives,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “We advanced the capabilities we’ll need to travel farther into the solar system while increasing observations of our home and the universe, learning more about how to continuously live and work in space, and, of course, inspiring the next generation of leaders to take up our Journey to Mars and make their own discoveries.”

This illustration depicts NASA's Juno spacecraft at Jupiter, with its solar arrays and main antenna pointed toward the distant sun and Earth. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This illustration depicts NASA’s Juno spacecraft at Jupiter, with its solar arrays and main antenna pointed toward the distant sun and Earth. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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