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NASA Completes Review of First SLS, Orion Deep Space Exploration Mission

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA is providing an update on the first integrated launch of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft after completing a comprehensive review of the launch schedule.
 
This uncrewed mission, known as Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) is a critical flight test for the agency’s human deep space exploration goals. EM-1 lays the foundation for the first crewed flight of SLS and Orion, as well as a regular cadence of missions thereafter near the Moon and beyond.

NASA plans December 2019 launch date for the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion spacecraft. (NASA)

NASA plans December 2019 launch date for the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion spacecraft. (NASA)

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NASA Study finds evidence of Geothermal Heat Source under West Antarctica

 

Written by Carol Rasmussen
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – A new NASA study adds evidence that a geothermal heat source called a mantle plume lies deep below Antarctica’s Marie Byrd Land, explaining some of the melting that creates lakes and rivers under the ice sheet.

Although the heat source isn’t a new or increasing threat to the West Antarctic ice sheet, it may help explain why the ice sheet collapsed rapidly in an earlier era of rapid climate change, and why it is so unstable today.

The stability of an ice sheet is closely related to how much water lubricates it from below, allowing glaciers to slide more easily.

Illustration of flowing water under the Antarctic ice sheet. Blue dots indicate lakes, lines show rivers. Marie Byrd Land is part of the bulging "elbow" leading to the Antarctic Peninsula, left center. (NSF/Zina Deretsky)

Illustration of flowing water under the Antarctic ice sheet. Blue dots indicate lakes, lines show rivers. Marie Byrd Land is part of the bulging “elbow” leading to the Antarctic Peninsula, left center. (NSF/Zina Deretsky)

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New Study using NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft data reveals heat from friction may power Hydrothermal Activity on Saturn’s Moon Enceladus

 

Written by Preston Dyches
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Heat from friction could power hydrothermal activity on Saturn’s moon Enceladus for billions of years if the moon has a highly porous core, according to a new modeling study by European and U.S. researchers working on NASA’s Cassini mission.

The study, published today in the journal Nature Astronomy, helps resolve a question scientists have grappled with for a decade: Where does the energy to power the extraordinary geologic activity on Enceladus come from?

This graphic from ESA (the European Space Agency) illustrates how water might be heated inside Saturn's moon Enceladus. (ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/LPG-CNRS/U. Nantes/U. Angers)

This graphic from ESA (the European Space Agency) illustrates how water might be heated inside Saturn’s moon Enceladus. (ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/LPG-CNRS/U. Nantes/U. Angers)

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NASA Scientists lead International Team in Global Asteroid Tracking Test

 

Written by Dwayne Brown / Laurie Cantillo
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – An international team of astronomers led by NASA scientists successfully completed the first global exercise using a real asteroid to test global response capabilities.

Planning for the so-called “TC4 Observation Campaign” started in April, under the sponsorship of NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office. The exercise commenced in earnest in late July, when the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope recovered the asteroid. The finale was a close approach to Earth in mid-October.

2012 TC4's heliocentric orbit has changed due to the 2012 and 2017 close encounters with Earth. The cyan color shows the trajectory before the 2012 flyby, the magenta shows the trajectory after the 2012 flyby, and yellow shows the trajectory after the 2017 flyby. The orbital changes were primarily in semi-major axis and eccentricity, although there were also slight changes in the inclination. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

2012 TC4’s heliocentric orbit has changed due to the 2012 and 2017 close encounters with Earth. The cyan color shows the trajectory before the 2012 flyby, the magenta shows the trajectory after the 2012 flyby, and yellow shows the trajectory after the 2017 flyby. The orbital changes were primarily in semi-major axis and eccentricity, although there were also slight changes in the inclination. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA reports newest Greenland Maps Show more Glaciers at Risk of Accelerated Melting

 

Written by Carol Rasmussen
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – New maps of Greenland’s coastal seafloor and bedrock beneath its massive ice sheet show that two to four times as many coastal glaciers are at risk of accelerated melting as previously thought.

Researchers at the University of California at Irvine (UCI), NASA and 30 other institutions have published the most comprehensive, accurate and high-resolution relief maps ever made of Greenland’s bedrock and coastal seafloor. Among the many data sources incorporated into the new maps are data from NASA’s Ocean Melting Greenland (OMG) campaign.

Left: Greenland topography color coded color-coded from 4,900 feet (1,500 meters) below sea level (dark blue) to 4,900 feet above (brown). Right: Regions below sea level connected to the ocean; darker colors are deeper. The thin white line shows the current extent of the ice sheet. (UCI)

Left: Greenland topography color coded color-coded from 4,900 feet (1,500 meters) below sea level (dark blue) to 4,900 feet above (brown). Right: Regions below sea level connected to the ocean; darker colors are deeper. The thin white line shows the current extent of the ice sheet. (UCI)

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NASA’s Curiosity Rover uses Mast Camera to Scout Terrain on Mars

 

Written by Laurie Cantillo / Dwayne Brown
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Color-discerning capabilities that NASA’s Curiosity rover has been using on Mars since 2012 are proving particularly helpful on a mountainside ridge the rover is now climbing.

These capabilities go beyond the thousands of full-color images Curiosity takes every year: The rover can look at Mars with special filters helpful for identifying some minerals, and also with a spectrometer that sorts light into thousands of wavelengths, extending beyond visible-light colors into infrared and ultraviolet. These observations aid decisions about where to drive and investigations of chosen targets.

This pair of images from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Curiosity rover illustrates how special filters are used to scout terrain ahead for variations in the local bedrock. (NASA)

This pair of images from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA’s Curiosity rover illustrates how special filters are used to scout terrain ahead for variations in the local bedrock. (NASA)

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NASA’s NuSTAR Space Telescope examines Black Hole Plasma Jet

 

Written by Elizabeth Landau
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Black holes are famous for being ravenous eaters, but they do not eat everything that falls toward them. A small portion of material gets shot back out in powerful jets of hot gas, called plasma, that can wreak havoc on their surroundings.

Along the way, this plasma somehow gets energized enough to strongly radiate light, forming two bright columns along the black hole’s axis of rotation. Scientists have long debated where and how this happens in the jet.

Astronomers have new clues to this mystery.

This artist's concept shows a black hole with an accretion disk -- a flat structure of material orbiting the black hole - and a jet of hot gas, called plasma. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This artist’s concept shows a black hole with an accretion disk — a flat structure of material orbiting the black hole – and a jet of hot gas, called plasma. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s GRACE-1 and GRACE-2 satellites end operations

 

Written by Steve Cole
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – After more than 15 productive years in orbit, the U.S./German GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) satellite mission has ended science operations. During their mission, the twin GRACE satellites have provided unprecedented insights into how our planet is changing by tracking the continuous movement of liquid water, ice and the solid Earth.

GRACE made science measurements by precisely measuring the distance between its twin satellites, GRACE-1 and GRACE-2, which required that both spacecraft and their instruments be fully functional.

Illustration of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) twin satellites in orbit. (NASA-JPL/Caltech)

Illustration of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) twin satellites in orbit. (NASA-JPL/Caltech)

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Clarksville Police Department holds retirement ceremony for Cheryl Anderson and Timothy Saunders

 

Saunders, Anderson applauded for decades of service

Clarksville Police Department - CPDClarksville, TN – Amid a boisterous crowd of police officers and family members, Clarksville Police proudly celebrated the retirement Friday of two long-serving and respected members of the City’s law enforcement team.

Clarksville Police Chief Al Ansley and Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan presented Certificates of Retirement to Sgt. Cheryl Anderson, who served the department for 30 years, and Sgt. Timothy Saunders, who served for 28 years. They both are retiring effective November 1st, 2017.

Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan and Clarksville Police Chief Al Ansley congratulate CPD Sgt. Timothy Saunders, who is retiring after 28 years with the department.

Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan and Clarksville Police Chief Al Ansley congratulate CPD Sgt. Timothy Saunders, who is retiring after 28 years with the department.

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NASA’s Dawn mission study shows Dwarf Planet Ceres could have had an Ocean

 

Written by Elyssia Widjaja
NASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratory News Office

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Minerals containing water are widespread on Ceres, suggesting the dwarf planet may have had a global ocean in the past. What became of that ocean? Could Ceres still have liquid today? Two new studies from NASA’s Dawn mission shed light on these questions.

The Dawn team found that Ceres’ crust is a mixture of ice, salts and hydrated materials that were subjected to past and possibly recent geologic activity, and that this crust represents most of that ancient ocean.

This photo shows dwarf planet Ceres as seen by NASA's Dawn. The map overlaid at right gives scientists hints about Ceres' internal structure from gravity measurements. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

This photo shows dwarf planet Ceres as seen by NASA’s Dawn. The map overlaid at right gives scientists hints about Ceres’ internal structure from gravity measurements. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

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