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NASA’s James Webb Telescope to peer into the Center of Milky Way Galaxy

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – The center of our galaxy is a crowded place: A black hole weighing 4 million times as much as our Sun is surrounded by millions of stars whipping around it at breakneck speeds. This extreme environment is bathed in intense ultraviolet light and X-ray radiation. Yet much of this activity is hidden from our view, obscured by vast swaths of interstellar dust.

NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope is designed to view the universe in infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye, but is very important for looking at astronomical objects hidden by dust.

The center of our Milky Way galaxy is hidden from the prying eyes of optical telescopes by clouds of obscuring dust and gas. But in this stunning vista, the Spitzer Space Telescope's infrared cameras penetrate much of the dust, revealing the stars of the crowded galactic center region. The upcoming Webb telescope will offer a much-improved infrared view, teasing out fainter stars and sharper details. (NASA, JPL-Caltech, Susan Stolovy (SSC/Caltech) et al.)

The center of our Milky Way galaxy is hidden from the prying eyes of optical telescopes by clouds of obscuring dust and gas. But in this stunning vista, the Spitzer Space Telescope’s infrared cameras penetrate much of the dust, revealing the stars of the crowded galactic center region. The upcoming Webb telescope will offer a much-improved infrared view, teasing out fainter stars and sharper details. (NASA, JPL-Caltech, Susan Stolovy (SSC/Caltech) et al.)

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NASA engineers Next Generation Spacesuit for the Artemis Generation of Astronauts

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – At first glance, NASA’s new spacesuit that will be worn on Artemis missions might look like the suits that astronauts use for spacewalks outside the International Space Station today.

However, 21st century moonwalkers will be able to accomplish much more complex tasks than their predecessors, thanks to strides in technological advances that started even before the Apollo program.

NASA's Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or xEMU spacesuit design provides greater mobility for the Artemis astronauts who will be working on the Moon. (NASA)

NASA’s Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or xEMU spacesuit design provides greater mobility for the Artemis astronauts who will be working on the Moon. (NASA)

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NASA launches Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) spacecraft

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – After a successful Thursday night, October 10th, 2019 launch, NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) spacecraft is in orbit for a first-of-its-kind mission to study a region of space where changes can disrupt communications and satellite orbits, and even increase radiation risks to astronauts.

A Northrop Grumman Stargazer L-1011 aircraft took off at 7:31pm CDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida carrying ICON, on a Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket, to launch altitude of about 39,000 feet.

Northrop Grumman’s L-1011 aircraft, Stargazer, prepares for takeoff at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Skid Strip in Florida on Oct. 10, 2019. Attached beneath the aircraft is the company’s Pegasus XL rocket, carrying NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON). (NASA)

Northrop Grumman’s L-1011 aircraft, Stargazer, prepares for takeoff at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Skid Strip in Florida on Oct. 10, 2019. Attached beneath the aircraft is the company’s Pegasus XL rocket, carrying NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON). (NASA)

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NASA Hubble Space Telescope data reveals more Gas flowing into the Milky Way, than out

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA says our Milky Way is a frugal galaxy. Supernovas and violent stellar winds blow gas out of the galactic disk, but that gas falls back onto the galaxy to form new generations of stars. In an ambitious effort to conduct a full accounting of this recycling process, astronomers were surprised to find a surplus of incoming gas.

“We expected to find the Milky Way’s books balanced, with an equilibrium of gas inflow and outflow, but 10 years of Hubble ultraviolet data has shown there is more coming in than going out,” said astronomer Andrew Fox of the Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland, lead author of the study to be published in The Astrophysical Journal.

This illustration envisions the Milky Way galaxy's gas recycling above and below its stellar disk. Hubble observes the invisible gas clouds rising and falling with its sensitive Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) instrument. The spectroscopic signature of the light from background quasars shining through the clouds gives information about their motion. (NASA, ESA and D. Player (STScI))

This illustration envisions the Milky Way galaxy’s gas recycling above and below its stellar disk. Hubble observes the invisible gas clouds rising and falling with its sensitive Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) instrument. The spectroscopic signature of the light from background quasars shining through the clouds gives information about their motion. (NASA, ESA and D. Player (STScI))

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NASA says Pressure Runs High at Edge of Solar System

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA says that out at the boundary of our solar system, pressure runs high. This pressure, the force plasma, magnetic fields and particles like ions, cosmic rays and electrons exert on one another when they flow and collide, was recently measured by scientists in totality for the first time — and it was found to be greater than expected.

Using observations of galactic cosmic rays — a type of highly energetic particle — from NASA’s Voyager spacecraft scientists calculated the total pressure from particles in the outer region of the solar system, known as the heliosheath.

An illustration depicting the layers of the heliosphere. (NASA/IBEX/Adler Planetarium)

An illustration depicting the layers of the heliosphere. (NASA/IBEX/Adler Planetarium)

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NASA’s original Artemis Mission studied interaction of Moon, Sun

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – By 2024, NASA will land astronauts, including the first woman and next man, on the Moon as part of the Artemis lunar exploration program. This won’t be the first time NASA takes the name Artemis to the Moon though.

Two robotic spacecraft orbiting the Moon today were initially known as ARTEMIS — short for Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence and Electrodynamics of the Moon’s Interaction with the Sun. Since 2011, these spacecraft have been sending scientists valuable information about the lunar environment, and laying groundwork critical to returning humans to the Moon.

NASA’s twin ARTEMIS spacecraft have studied the solar wind's interaction with the Moon, including the lunar wake that distorts nearby magnetic fields. (E. Masongsong, UCLA EPSS)

NASA’s twin ARTEMIS spacecraft have studied the solar wind’s interaction with the Moon, including the lunar wake that distorts nearby magnetic fields. (E. Masongsong, UCLA EPSS)

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NASA CYGNSS Satellites use GPS to measure Hurricane Winds

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Eight briefcase-size satellites flying in a row may be key to improving forecasts of a hurricane’s wind speed – detecting whether it will make landfall as a Category 1 or a Category 5. NASA’s Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) fleet, launched in 2016, was designed to show whether the same GPS signals your phone uses for navigation can be used to measure winds deep within a hurricane or typhoon. The answer appears to be a resounding yes.

Weather forecasting models have gotten much better at predicting the future track of a hurricane or typhoon, but they haven’t improved at predicting its maximum wind speed, which scientists call intensity.

Illustration of one of the eight CYGNSS satellites in orbit above a hurricane. (NASA)

Illustration of one of the eight CYGNSS satellites in orbit above a hurricane. (NASA)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover discover Ancient Oasis

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – If you could travel back in time 3.5 billion years, what would Mars look like? The picture is evolving among scientists working with NASA’s Curiosity rover.

Imagine ponds dotting the floor of Gale Crater, the 100-mile-wide (150-kilometer-wide) ancient basin that Curiosity is exploring. Streams might have laced the crater’s walls, running toward its base. Watch history in fast forward, and you’d see these waterways overflow then dry up, a cycle that probably repeated itself numerous times over millions of years.

The network of cracks in this Martian rock slab called "Old Soaker" may have formed from the drying of a mud layer more than 3 billion years ago. The view spans about 3 feet (90 centimeters) left-to-right and combines three images taken by the MAHLI camera on the arm of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

The network of cracks in this Martian rock slab called “Old Soaker” may have formed from the drying of a mud layer more than 3 billion years ago. The view spans about 3 feet (90 centimeters) left-to-right and combines three images taken by the MAHLI camera on the arm of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA receives X-57 Maxwell, All-Electric Experimental Aircraft

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – The first all-electric configuration of NASA’s X-57 Maxwell now is at the agency’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California.

The X-57, NASA’s first all-electric experimental aircraft, or X-plane – and the first crewed X-plane in two decades – was delivered by Empirical Systems Aerospace (ESAero) of San Luis Obispo, California on Wednesday, October 2nd, in the first of three configurations as an all-electric aircraft, known as Modification II, or Mod II.

NASA’s X-57 Maxwell, the agency’s first all-electric X-plane and first crewed X-planed in two decades, is delivered to NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, in its Mod II configuration. The first of three primary modifications for the project, Mod II involves testing of the aircraft’s cruise electric propulsion system. (NASA)

NASA’s X-57 Maxwell, the agency’s first all-electric X-plane and first crewed X-planed in two decades, is delivered to NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, in its Mod II configuration. The first of three primary modifications for the project, Mod II involves testing of the aircraft’s cruise electric propulsion system. (NASA)

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NASA to help Mars InSight Lander’s Heat Probe dig

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s InSight lander, which is on a mission to explore the deep interior of Mars, positioned its robotic arm this past weekend to assist the spacecraft’s self-hammering heat probe. Known as “the mole,” the probe has been unable to dig more than about 14 inches (35 centimeters) since it began burying itself into the ground on February 28th, 2019.

The maneuver is in preparation for a tactic, to be tried over several weeks, called “pinning.”

NASA InSight's robotic arm will use its scoop to pin the spacecraft's heat probe, or "mole," against the wall of its hole. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA InSight’s robotic arm will use its scoop to pin the spacecraft’s heat probe, or “mole,” against the wall of its hole. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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