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Topic: NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center

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 says new data suggests Earth’s Water came from Comets

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – According to NASA, the mystery of why Earth has so much water, allowing our “blue marble” to support an astounding array of life, is clearer with new research into comets.

Comets are like snowballs of rock, dust, ice, and other frozen chemicals that vaporize as they get closer to the Sun, producing the tails seen in images.

A new study reveals that the water in many comets may share a common origin with Earth’s oceans, reinforcing the idea that comets played a key role in bringing water to our planet billions of years ago.

Illustration of a comet, ice grains and Earth's oceans. SOFIA found clues in Comet Wirtanen's ice grains that suggest water in comets and Earth's oceans may share a common origin. (NASA/SOFIA/L. Cook/L. Proudfit)

Illustration of a comet, ice grains and Earth’s oceans. SOFIA found clues in Comet Wirtanen’s ice grains that suggest water in comets and Earth’s oceans may share a common origin. (NASA/SOFIA/L. Cook/L. Proudfit)

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NASA’s SOFIA airborne observatory discovers First Type of Molecule that ever formed in the Universe

 

Written by Kassandra Bell and Alison Hawkes
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA says the first type of molecule that ever formed in the universe has been detected in space for the first time, after decades of searching. Scientists discovered its signature in our own galaxy using the world’s largest airborne observatory, NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, as the aircraft flew high above the Earth’s surface and pointed its sensitive instruments out into the cosmos.

When the universe was still very young, only a few kinds of atoms existed. Scientists believe that around 100,000 years after the big bang, helium and hydrogen combined to make a molecule called helium hydride for the first time.

Illustration of planetary nebula NGC 7027 and helium hydride molecules. In this planetary nebula, SOFIA detected helium hydride, a combination of helium (red) and hydrogen (blue), which was the first type of molecule to ever form in the early universe. This is the first time helium hydride has been found in the modern universe. (NASA/SOFIA/L. Proudfit/D.Rutter)

Illustration of planetary nebula NGC 7027 and helium hydride molecules. In this planetary nebula, SOFIA detected helium hydride, a combination of helium (red) and hydrogen (blue), which was the first type of molecule to ever form in the early universe. This is the first time helium hydride has been found in the modern universe. (NASA/SOFIA/L. Proudfit/D.Rutter)

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NASA reports Galactic Wind Provides Clues to Evolution of Galaxies

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The Cigar Galaxy (also known as M82) is famous for its extraordinary speed in making new stars, with stars being born 10 times faster than in the Milky Way. Now, data from the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, have been used to study this galaxy in greater detail, revealing how material that affects the evolution of galaxies may get into intergalactic space.

Researchers found, for the first time, that the galactic wind flowing from the center of the Cigar Galaxy (M82) is aligned along a magnetic field and transports a very large mass of gas and dust – the equivalent mass of 50 million to 60 million Suns.

The magnetic field lines of the the Cigar Galaxy (also called M82) appear in this composite image. The lines follow the bipolar outflows (red) generated by exceptionally high rates of star formation. (NASA/SOFIA/E. Lopez-Rodiguez; NASA/Spitzer/J. Moustakas et al)

The magnetic field lines of the the Cigar Galaxy (also called M82) appear in this composite image. The lines follow the bipolar outflows (red) generated by exceptionally high rates of star formation. (NASA/SOFIA/E. Lopez-Rodiguez; NASA/Spitzer/J. Moustakas et al)

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NASA’s SOFIA telescope observes Supernova Explosion

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Dust particles form as dying red giant stars throw off material and become part of interstellar clouds of various sizes, densities and temperatures. This cosmic dust is then destroyed by supernova blast waves, which propagate through space at more than 6,000 miles per second (10,000 km/sec)!

Supernova explosions are among the most powerful events in the universe, with a peak brightness equivalent to the light from billions of individual stars. The explosion also produces a blast wave that destroys almost everything in its path, including dust in the surrounding interstellar medium, the space between the stars.

Artist's concept illustrating Supernova 1987A as the powerful blast wave passes through its outer ring and destroys most of its dust, before the dust re-forms or grows rapidly. SOFIA observations reveal that dust — a building block of stars and planets — can re-form or grow immediately after the catastrophic damage caused by the supernova's blast wave. (NASA/SOFIA/Symbolic Pictures/The Casadonte Group)

Artist’s concept illustrating Supernova 1987A as the powerful blast wave passes through its outer ring and destroys most of its dust, before the dust re-forms or grows rapidly. SOFIA observations reveal that dust — a building block of stars and planets — can re-form or grow immediately after the catastrophic damage caused by the supernova’s blast wave. (NASA/SOFIA/Symbolic Pictures/The Casadonte Group)

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NASA maps California Fires to help agencies on the ground

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – For the past two weeks NASA scientists and satellite data analysts have been working every day producing maps and damage assessments that can be used by disaster managers battling the Woolsey Fire near Los Angeles and the Camp Fire in Northern California.

The agency-wide effort also deployed a research aircraft over the Woolsey Fire on November 15th to identify burned areas at risk of mudslides in advance of winter rains expected in the area.

Spearheaded by NASA’s Disasters Program in the Earth Science Division, the team produces a variety of data products largely derived from satellite observations, including maps showing the locations of active fires, damage caused by fires, and burned areas that are susceptible to landslides and mudslides.

An image of the Camp Fire on November 8th from the Landsat 8 satellite. (USGS/NASA/Joshua Stevens)

An image of the Camp Fire on November 8th from the Landsat 8 satellite. (USGS/NASA/Joshua Stevens)

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NASA SOFIA telescope helps scientists unravel Star Cluster Formation Mystery

 

NASA Ames Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMoffett Field, CA – The sun, like all stars, was born in a giant cold cloud of molecular gas and dust. It may have had dozens or even hundreds of stellar siblings – a star cluster – but these early companions are now scattered throughout our Milky Way galaxy.

Although the remnants of this particular creation event have long since dispersed, the process of star birth continues today within our galaxy and beyond. Star clusters are conceived in the hearts of optically dark clouds where the early phases of formation have historically been hidden from view.

Illustration of a star cluster forming from the collision of turbulent molecular clouds, which appear as dark shadows in front of the background galactic star field. (NASA/SOFIA/Lynette Cook)

Illustration of a star cluster forming from the collision of turbulent molecular clouds, which appear as dark shadows in front of the background galactic star field. (NASA/SOFIA/Lynette Cook)

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NASA announces Successful Test of Sample Return Technology

 

Written by Leslie Williams
NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationEdwards, CA – Just a sample will do.

Honeybee Robotics in Pasadena, California, flight tested its pneumatic sampler collection system, PlanetVac, on Masten Space Systems’ Xodiac rocket on May 24th, launching from Mojave, California, and landing to collect a sample of more than 320 grams of top soil from the surface of the desert floor.

“The opportunity to test a technology on Earth before it is destined for another planet allows researchers and mission planners to have confidence that once the technology arrives to its space destination it will work,” said Ryan Dibley, NASA Flight Opportunities program campaign manager. Flight Opportunities program funded the test flight.

Masten Space Systems’ Xodiac rocket flight tests Honeybee Robotics pneumatic sampler collection system, PlanetVac, in Mojave Desert. (NASA Photo / Lauren Hughes)

Masten Space Systems’ Xodiac rocket flight tests Honeybee Robotics pneumatic sampler collection system, PlanetVac, in Mojave Desert. (NASA Photo / Lauren Hughes)

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NASA Flies Large Unmanned Aircraft in Public Airspace Without Chase Plane for First Time

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s remotely-piloted Ikhana aircraft, based at the agency’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, successfully flew its first mission in the National Airspace System without a safety chase aircraft on Tuesday. This historic flight moves the United States one step closer to normalizing unmanned aircraft operations in the airspace used by commercial and private pilots.

Flying these large remotely-piloted aircraft over the United States opens the doors to all types of services, from monitoring and fighting forest fires, to providing new emergency search and rescue operations. The technology in this aircraft could, at some point, be scaled down for use in other general aviation aircraft.

NASA’s remotely-piloted Ikhana aircraft, based at the agency’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, is flown in preparation for its first mission in public airspace without a safety chase aircraft. (NASA/Carla Thomas)

NASA’s remotely-piloted Ikhana aircraft, based at the agency’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, is flown in preparation for its first mission in public airspace without a safety chase aircraft. (NASA/Carla Thomas)

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NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center rolls out miniature aircraft MicroCub

 

Written by Rebecca Richardson
NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationEdwards, CA – The Subscale Research Lab at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California recently introduced a new addition to their fleet of miniature aircraft. The not-so-small MicroCub is a Bill Hempel 60-percent-scale super cub, modified by Armstrong to support engineering campaigns focused on the integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System (NAS).

Through cutting-edge engineering and expert piloting of small, unmanned aircraft NASA is leading a critical phase for UAS integration into the NAS by educating engineers and validating key technologies that will directly apply to the next generation of large-scale unmanned vehicles.

Crew members of the Subscale Research Lab at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in California perform a series of preflight system checks of the MicroCub to ensure the aircraft is ready for its maiden flight. (NASA Photo / Lauren Hughes)

Crew members of the Subscale Research Lab at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California perform a series of preflight system checks of the MicroCub to ensure the aircraft is ready for its maiden flight. (NASA Photo / Lauren Hughes)

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