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NASA to launch Two Satellites focused on studying Earth’s Frozen Areas

 

Written by Patrick Lynch
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – In 2018, NASA will intensify its focus on one of the most critical but remote parts of our changing planet with the launch of two new satellite missions and an array of airborne campaigns.

The space agency is launching these missions at a time when decades of observations from the ground, air, and space have revealed signs of change in Earth’s ice sheets, sea ice, glaciers, snow cover and permafrost. Collectively, scientists call these frozen regions of our planet the “cryosphere.”

In 2018, NASA is scheduled to launch two new satellite missions and conduct an array of field research that will enhance our view of Earth's ice sheets, glaciers, sea ice, snow cover, and permafrost. Collectively, these frozen regions are known as the "cryosphere." (NASA)

In 2018, NASA is scheduled to launch two new satellite missions and conduct an array of field research that will enhance our view of Earth’s ice sheets, glaciers, sea ice, snow cover, and permafrost. Collectively, these frozen regions are known as the “cryosphere.” (NASA)

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Dinosaur Footprints found at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

 

Written by Ashley Hume and Patrick Lynch
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – A slab of sandstone discovered at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center contains at least 70 mammal and dinosaur tracks from more than 100 million years ago, according to a new paper published January 31st in the journal Scientific Reports. The find provides a rare glimpse of mammals and dinosaurs interacting.

The tracks were discovered by Ray Stanford — a local dinosaur track expert whose wife, Sheila, works at Goddard. After dropping off Sheila at work one day in 2012, Stanford spotted an intriguing rock outcropping behind Shelia’s building on a hillside. Stanford parked his car, investigated, and found a 12-inch-wide dinosaur track on the exposed rock.

A model of a Nodosaur dinosaur sits inside what is believed to be the fossil of a Nodosaur footprint. The footprint was found by Ray Stanford a local dinosaur hunter. (NASA/Goddard/Rebecca Roth)

A model of a Nodosaur dinosaur sits inside what is believed to be the fossil of a Nodosaur footprint. The footprint was found by Ray Stanford a local dinosaur hunter. (NASA/Goddard/Rebecca Roth)

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NASA measurements show Ethanol Refineries Emissions may be higher than Estimated

 

Written by Patrick Lynch
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Ethanol fuel refineries could be releasing much larger amounts of ozone-forming compounds into the atmosphere than current assessments suggest, according to a new study based on a field campaign that included a NASA sensor.

Airborne measurements made downwind from an ethanol fuel refinery in Decatur, Illinois, in 2013 found ethanol emissions 30 times higher than government estimates.

The measurements also showed emissions of all volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which include ethanol, were five times higher than government numbers, which estimate emissions based on manufacturing information.

Air-quality readings over the Midwest were made from an aircraft in 2013 at three different distances downwind from an ethanol refining plant in Decatur, Illinois. The measurements were used to calculate emissions of various gases, including VOCs, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide. (Joost de Gouw)

Air-quality readings over the Midwest were made from an aircraft in 2013 at three different distances downwind from an ethanol refining plant in Decatur, Illinois. The measurements were used to calculate emissions of various gases, including VOCs, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide. (Joost de Gouw)

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West Antarctic Ice Sheet unstoppable loss not unexpected by NASA Scientists

 

Written by Patrick Lynch
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The new finding that the eventual loss of a major section of West Antarctica’s ice sheet “appears unstoppable” was not completely unexpected by scientists who study this area.

The study, led by glaciologist Eric Rignot at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, and the University of California, Irvine, follows decades of research and theory suggesting the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is inherently vulnerable to change.

Although the Amundsen Sea region is only a fraction of the whole West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the region contains enough ice to raise global sea levels by 4 feet (1.2 meters). (NASA/GSFC/SVS)

Although the Amundsen Sea region is only a fraction of the whole West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the region contains enough ice to raise global sea levels by 4 feet (1.2 meters). (NASA/GSFC/SVS)

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Watching the Birth of an Iceberg

 

Written by Patrick Lynch
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPunta Arenas, Chile – After discovering an emerging crack that cuts across the floating ice shelf of Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica, NASA’s Operation IceBridge has flown a follow-up mission and made the first-ever detailed airborne measurements of a major iceberg calving in progress.

NASA’s Operation IceEarth Bridge, the largest airborne survey of Earth’s polar ice ever flown, is in the midst of its third field campaign from Punta Arenas, Chile. The six-year mission will yield an unprecedented three-dimensional view of Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets, ice shelves and sea ice.

NASA's Operation Ice Bridge discovers an emerging crack that cuts across the ice shelf of Pine Island Glacier. (Credit: NASA/Goddard/Jefferson Beck)

NASA's Operation Ice Bridge discovers an emerging crack that cuts across the ice shelf of Pine Island Glacier. (Credit: NASA/Goddard/Jefferson Beck)

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NASA Continues Critical Survey of Antarctica’s Changing Ice

 

Steve Cole – Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
Patrick Lynch – NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Scientists with NASA’s Operation IceBridge airborne research campaign began the mission’s third year of surveys this week over the changing ice of Antarctica.

Researchers are flying a suite of scientific instruments on two planes from a base of operations in Punta Arenas, Chile: a DC-8 operated by NASA and a Gulfstream V (G-V) operated by the National Science Foundation and the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The G-V will fly through early November. The DC-8, which completed its first science flight October 12th, will fly through mid-November.

NASA’s Operation IceBridge mission comprises the largest airborne research campaign ever flown over Earth’s polar region. The mission is designed to continue critical ice sheet measurements in a period between active satellite missions and help scientists understand how much the major ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica could contribute to sea level rise. (Credit: Michael Studinger/NASA)

NASA’s Operation IceBridge mission comprises the largest airborne research campaign ever flown over Earth’s polar region. The mission is designed to continue critical ice sheet measurements in a period between active satellite missions and help scientists understand how much the major ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica could contribute to sea level rise. (Credit: Michael Studinger/NASA)

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