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NASA lays out concept for Lunar Surface Activities

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – When NASA sends astronauts to the surface of the Moon in 2024, it will be the first time outside of watching historical footage most people witness humans walking on another planetary body. Building on these footsteps, future robotic and human explorers will put in place infrastructure for a long-term sustainable presence on the Moon.

NASA recently proposed a plan to go from limited, short-term Apollo-era exploration of the 1960s, to a 21st Century plan in a report to the National Space Council. With the Artemis program, we will explore more of the Moon than ever before to make the next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars.

Infographic showing the evolution of lunar activities on the surface and in orbit. (NASA)

Infographic showing the evolution of lunar activities on the surface and in orbit. (NASA)

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NASA Lunar Lander Thrusters hold up to Over 60 Hot-Fire Tests

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHuntsville, AL – Future NASA Artemis lunar landers could use next-generation thrusters, the small rocket engines used to make alterations in a spacecraft’s flight path or altitude, to enter lunar orbit and descend to the surface. Before the engines make the trip to the Moon, helping deliver new science instruments and technology demonstrations, they’re being tested here on Earth.

NASA and Frontier Aerospace of Simi Valley, California, performed roughly 60 hot-fire tests on two thruster prototypes over the course of 10 days.

NASA and Frontier Aerospace are developing next-generation thrusters for use on Astrobotic's Peregrine lunar lander. In March 2020, thruster prototypes performed over 60 hot-fire tests in a vacuum chamber. (Frontier Aerospace)

NASA and Frontier Aerospace are developing next-generation thrusters for use on Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander. In March 2020, thruster prototypes performed over 60 hot-fire tests in a vacuum chamber. (Frontier Aerospace)

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NASA releases First Names for Features on Asteroid Bennu

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA says Asteroid Bennu’s most prominent boulder, a rock chunk jutting out 71 ft (21.7 m) from the asteroid’s southern hemisphere, finally has a name. The boulder – which is so large that it was initially detected from Earth – is officially designated Benben Saxum after the primordial hill that first arose from the dark waters in an ancient Egyptian creation myth.

Benben Saxum and 11 other features on the asteroid are the first to receive official Bennu feature names approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the internationally recognized authority for naming celestial bodies and their surface features.

This flat projection mosaic of asteroid Bennu shows the locations of the first 12 surface features to receive official names from the International Astronomical Union. The accepted names were proposed by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx team members, who have been mapping the asteroid in detail over the last year. Bennu’s surface features are named after birds and bird-like creatures in mythology, and the places associated with them. (NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona)

This flat projection mosaic of asteroid Bennu shows the locations of the first 12 surface features to receive official names from the International Astronomical Union. The accepted names were proposed by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx team members, who have been mapping the asteroid in detail over the last year. Bennu’s surface features are named after birds and bird-like creatures in mythology, and the places associated with them. (NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona)

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NASA’s Spinoff Publication to feature examples of NASA Technology that make Life better on Earth

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – As NASA pushes the frontiers of science and human exploration, the agency also advances technology to modernize life on Earth, including drones, self-driving cars and other innovations.

NASA’s diverse missions spur the creation and improvement of thousands of new products that make life better for people around the world. Dozens of the latest examples are featured in the newest edition of NASA’s Spinoff publication, including several from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, and many illustrating how NASA is working to shape the coming revolution of autonomous vehicles on the roads and in the air.

The technology behind the Mars Helicopter's 4-foot-wide (1.2-meter-wide) rotor blades is also used in the construction of a rugged drone that helps farmers survey their land. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The technology behind the Mars Helicopter’s 4-foot-wide (1.2-meter-wide) rotor blades is also used in the construction of a rugged drone that helps farmers survey their land. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Voyager 2 Communications to be affected by Deep Space Antenna Upgrades

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Starting in early March, NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft will quietly coast through interstellar space without receiving commands from Earth. That’s because the Voyager’s primary means of communication, the Deep Space Network’s 70-meter-wide (230-feet-wide) radio antenna in Canberra, Australia, will be undergoing critical upgrades for about 11 months.

During this time, the Voyager team will still be able to receive science data from Voyager 2 on its mission to explore the outermost edge of the Sun’s domain and beyond.

DSS43 is a 70-meter-wide (230-feet-wide) radio antenna at the Deep Space Network's Canberra facility in Australia. It is the only antenna that can send commands to the Voyager 2 spacecraft. (NASA/Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex)

DSS43 is a 70-meter-wide (230-feet-wide) radio antenna at the Deep Space Network’s Canberra facility in Australia. It is the only antenna that can send commands to the Voyager 2 spacecraft. (NASA/Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex)

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NASA to create concept design for Venus Atmosphere Probe

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – A proposed mission called DAVINCI+ could one day fly the first U.S. spacecraft since 1978 to study the atmosphere of Venus.

On February 13th, NASA announced that DAVINCI+, named after the visionary Renaissance artist and scientist Leonardo da Vinci, is one of four teams selected under the agency’s Discovery Program to develop concept studies for new missions in this decade to various intriguing destinations in the solar system.

Maat Mons is displayed in this computer-generated, three-dimensional perspective of the surface of Venus. The viewpoint is located 634 kilometers (393 miles) north of Maat Mons at an elevation of 3 kilometers (2 miles) above the terrain. Lava flows extend for hundreds of kilometers across the fractured plains shown in the foreground to the base of Maat Mons. (NASA/JPL)

Maat Mons is displayed in this computer-generated, three-dimensional perspective of the surface of Venus. The viewpoint is located 634 kilometers (393 miles) north of Maat Mons at an elevation of 3 kilometers (2 miles) above the terrain. Lava flows extend for hundreds of kilometers across the fractured plains shown in the foreground to the base of Maat Mons. (NASA/JPL)

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NASA to send equipment to International Space Station to research Improving Shoes, Showers, 3D Printing

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHouston, TX – A variety of science investigations, along with supplies and equipment, launch to the International Space Station on the 20th SpaceX commercial resupply services mission.

The Dragon cargo spacecraft is scheduled to leave Earth March 2nd from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Its cargo includes research on particle foam manufacturing, water droplet formation, the human intestine and other cutting-edge investigations.

Airbus workers unpack the Bartolomeo platform at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in preparation for its launch to the International Space Station. The platform, manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space, hosts multiple external payloads in low-Earth orbit. (NASA)

Airbus workers unpack the Bartolomeo platform at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in preparation for its launch to the International Space Station. The platform, manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space, hosts multiple external payloads in low-Earth orbit. (NASA)

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NASA picks Four Possible Missions to Study the Secrets of the Solar System

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA has selected four Discovery Program investigations to develop concept studies for new missions. Although they’re not official missions yet and some ultimately may not be chosen to move forward, the selections focus on compelling targets and science that are not covered by NASA’s active missions or recent selections. Final selections will be made next year.

NASA’s Discovery Program invites scientists and engineers to assemble a team to design exciting planetary science missions that deepen what we know about the solar system and our place in it.

The proposed Trident mission would explore Neptune's moon Triton, seen here in a global color mosaic with an artist's concept of an ionosphere. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The proposed Trident mission would explore Neptune’s moon Triton, seen here in a global color mosaic with an artist’s concept of an ionosphere. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Astronaut Christina Kock, Crewmates return to Earth from International Space Station

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – After setting a record for the longest single spaceflight in history by a woman, NASA astronaut Christina Koch returned to Earth Thursday, along with Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency).

The trio departed the International Space Station at 11:50pm CST and made a safe, parachute-assisted landing at 3:12am (3:12pm Kazakhstan time) southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.

NASA astronaut Christina Koch is helped out of the Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft just minutes after she, Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, and ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano, landed their Soyuz MS-13 capsule in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

NASA astronaut Christina Koch is helped out of the Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft just minutes after she, Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, and ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano, landed their Soyuz MS-13 capsule in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft studies Mars’ Atmosphere for causes of unpredictable Radio Communications disruptions

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA’s MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) spacecraft has discovered “layers” and “rifts” in the electrically charged part of the upper atmosphere (the ionosphere) of Mars. The phenomenon is very common at Earth and causes unpredictable disruptions to radio communications.

However, we do not fully understand them because they form at altitudes that are very difficult to explore at Earth. The unexpected discovery by MAVEN shows that Mars is a unique laboratory to explore and better understand this highly disruptive phenomenon.

Graphic illustrating radio signals from a remote station (bent purple line) interfering with a local station (black tower) after being reflected off a plasma layer in the ionosphere. (NASA Goddard/CI lab)

Graphic illustrating radio signals from a remote station (bent purple line) interfering with a local station (black tower) after being reflected off a plasma layer in the ionosphere. (NASA Goddard/CI lab)

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