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Topic: Silicon Valley CA

NASA may have discovered a Planet orbiting a White Dwarf

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – An international team of astronomers using NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and retired Spitzer Space Telescope has reported what may be the first intact planet found closely orbiting a white dwarf, the dense leftover of a Sun-like star, only 40% larger than Earth.

The Jupiter-size object, called WD 1856 b, is about seven times larger than the white dwarf, named WD 1856+534. It circles this stellar cinder every 34 hours, more than 60 times faster than Mercury orbits our Sun.

WD 1856 b, a potential planet the size of Jupiter, orbits its dim white dwarf star every 36 hours and is about seven times larger. (NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)

WD 1856 b, a potential planet the size of Jupiter, orbits its dim white dwarf star every 36 hours and is about seven times larger. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

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NASA says Rocket Engines may soon be produced by 3D Printing

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHuntsville, AL – As part of the Artemis program, NASA is returning astronauts to the Moon where we will prepare for human exploration of Mars. Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, experts from NASA, industry, and academia are pioneering methods to print the rocket parts that could power those journeys.

NASA’s Rapid Analysis and Manufacturing Propulsion Technology project, or RAMPT, is advancing development of an additive manufacturing technique to 3D print rocket engine parts using metal powder and lasers.

Blown powder directed energy deposition can produce large structures – such as these engine nozzles – cheaper and quicker than traditional fabrication techniques. (NASA)

Blown powder directed energy deposition can produce large structures – such as these engine nozzles – cheaper and quicker than traditional fabrication techniques. (NASA)

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NASA’s SOFIA telescope discovers Pulsing Stars ejecting Carbon Gas, Dust into Interstellar Space

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationSilicon Valley, CA – As Carl Sagan famously said, “We’re made of star stuff” — but how do stars distribute their essential “stuff” for life into space?  NASA’s telescope on an airplane, SOFIA, is finding some answers by watching pulsating stars as they expand and contract, almost like beating hearts. 

The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, examined several types of pulsating stars in our Milky Way galaxy, watching as some spewed carbon, a key ingredient of life as we know it, into interstellar space. 

Image of a carbon star known as CW Leonis or IRC+10216 taken by the Herschel Space Observatory. SOFIA found that some carbon stars with especially strong pulsations, called Mira variables, distribute large amounts of carbon to interstellar space where it can be used as a building block for life and other complex structures. (ESA/PACS/SPIRE/ Consortia)

Image of a carbon star known as CW Leonis or IRC+10216 taken by the Herschel Space Observatory. SOFIA found that some carbon stars with especially strong pulsations, called Mira variables, distribute large amounts of carbon to interstellar space where it can be used as a building block for life and other complex structures. (ESA/PACS/SPIRE/ Consortia)

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NASA’s planet hunting TESS Satellite discovers Black Hole ripping apart a Star

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – For the first time, NASA’s planet-hunting Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) watched a black hole tear apart a star in a cataclysmic phenomenon called a tidal disruption event. Follow-up observations by NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory and other facilities have produced the most detailed look yet at the early moments of one of these star-destroying occurrences.

“TESS data let us see exactly when this destructive event, named ASASSN-19bt, started to get brighter, which we’ve never been able to do before,” said Thomas Holoien, a Carnegie Fellow at the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California.

This illustration shows a tidal disruption, which occurs when a passing star gets too close to a black hole and is torn apart into a stream of gas. Some of the gas eventually settles into a structure around the black hole called an accretion disk. (NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)

This illustration shows a tidal disruption, which occurs when a passing star gets too close to a black hole and is torn apart into a stream of gas. Some of the gas eventually settles into a structure around the black hole called an accretion disk. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

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NASA’s CaveR rover helps scientists explore Underground Life

 

NASA Scientists test out new methods of discovering life in California lava tubes that could one day be used on other worlds.

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationSilicon Valley, CA – NASA says imagine descending into a cave carved out by lava to work alongside a rover about the size of Spirit and Opportunity on Mars, watching the pristine wilderness of a national park transition into tall pillars and stalactites, all in a search for subterranean microbes.

That was a typical day for NASA’s Biologic and Resource Analog Investigations in Low Light Environments project, also known as BRAILLE, while on deployment. Operated out of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, the BRAILLE team is developing the capability to detect life on the walls of volcanic caves from afar.

The CaveR rover preparing to search for life on the walls of a lava tube in Lava Beds National Monument in northeastern California. The rover's instrumentation can be seen in the box on its right side. (NASA)

The CaveR rover preparing to search for life on the walls of a lava tube in Lava Beds National Monument in northeastern California. The rover’s instrumentation can be seen in the box on its right side. (NASA)

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NASA Scientists use “Pulsar in a Box” to gain better understanding of Neutron Stars

 

Written by Francis Reddy
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – An international team of scientists studying what amounts to a computer-simulated “pulsar in a box” are gaining a more detailed understanding of the complex, high-energy environment around spinning neutron stars, also called pulsars.

The model traces the paths of charged particles in magnetic and electric fields near the neutron star, revealing behaviors that may help explain how pulsars emit gamma-ray and radio pulses with ultraprecise timing.

Electrons (blue) and positrons (red) from a computer-simulated pulsar. These particles become accerlated to extreme energies in a pulsar's powerful magnetic and electric fields; lighter tracks show particles with higher energies. Each particle seen here actually represents trillions of electrons or positrons. (NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)

Electrons (blue) and positrons (red) from a computer-simulated pulsar. These particles become accerlated to extreme energies in a pulsar’s powerful magnetic and electric fields; lighter tracks show particles with higher energies. Each particle seen here actually represents trillions of electrons or positrons. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

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NASA confirms Ice on Moon’s Poles

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – In the darkest and coldest parts of its polar regions, a team of NASA scientists has directly observed definitive evidence of water ice on the Moon’s surface. These ice deposits are patchily distributed and could possibly be ancient. At the southern pole, most of the ice is concentrated at lunar craters, while the northern pole’s ice is more widely, but sparsely spread.

A team of scientists, led by Shuai Li of the University of Hawaii and Brown University and including Richard Elphic from NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, used data from NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument to identify three specific signatures that definitively prove there is water ice at the surface of the Moon.

The image shows the distribution of surface ice at the Moon's south pole (left) and north pole (right), detected by NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument. Blue represents the ice locations, plotted over an image of the lunar surface, where the gray scale corresponds to surface temperature (darker representing colder areas and lighter shades indicating warmer zones). (NASA)

The image shows the distribution of surface ice at the Moon’s south pole (left) and north pole (right), detected by NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument. Blue represents the ice locations, plotted over an image of the lunar surface, where the gray scale corresponds to surface temperature (darker representing colder areas and lighter shades indicating warmer zones). (NASA)

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NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble Space Telescopes observations used to discover why Water Vapor is missing from Ultrahot Jupiters

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Imagine a place where the weather forecast is always the same: scorching temperatures, relentlessly sunny, and with absolutely zero chance of rain. This hellish scenario exists on the permanent daysides of a type of planet found outside our solar system dubbed an “ultrahot Jupiter.” These worlds orbit extremely close to their stars, with one side of the planet permanently facing the star.

What has puzzled scientists is why water vapor appears to be missing from the toasty worlds’ atmospheres, when it is abundant in similar but slightly cooler planets. Observations of ultrahot Jupiters by NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes, combined with computer simulations, have served as a springboard for a new theoretical study that may have solved this mystery.

These simulated views of the ultrahot Jupiter WASP-121b show what the planet might look like to the human eye from five different vantage points, illuminated to different degrees by its parent star. The images were created using a computer simulation being used to help scientists understand the atmospheres of these ultra-hot planets. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Vivien Parmentier/Aix-Marseille University (AMU))

These simulated views of the ultrahot Jupiter WASP-121b show what the planet might look like to the human eye from five different vantage points, illuminated to different degrees by its parent star. The images were created using a computer simulation being used to help scientists understand the atmospheres of these ultra-hot planets. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Vivien Parmentier/Aix-Marseille University (AMU))

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NASA’s Kepler Spacecraft Downloads Science Data before beginning next campaign

 

NASA’s Ames Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationSilicon Valley, CA – Earlier this week, NASA’s Kepler team received an indication that the spacecraft fuel tank is running very low. NASA has placed the spacecraft in a hibernation-like state in preparation to download the science data collected in its latest observation campaign. Once the data has been downloaded, the expectation is to start observations for the next campaign with any remaining fuel. 

Since May 12th, Kepler has been on its 18th observation campaign, staring at a patch of sky towards the constellation of Cancer it previously studied in 2015.

NASA’s Kepler Spacecraft. (NASA)

NASA’s Kepler Spacecraft. (NASA)

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NASA’s Nexus for Exoplanet System Science to create groundwork to Search for Life on other Planets

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – In the last decade, we have discovered thousands of planets outside our solar system and have learned that rocky, temperate worlds are numerous in our galaxy. The next step will involve asking even bigger questions. Could some of these planets host life? And if so, will we be able to recognize life elsewhere if we see it?

A group of leading researchers in astronomy, biology and geology has come together under NASA’s Nexus for Exoplanet System Science, or NExSS, to take stock of our knowledge in the search for life on distant planets and to lay the groundwork for moving the related sciences forward.

This image is an artist's conception of what life could look like on the surface of a distant planet. (NASA)

This image is an artist’s conception of what life could look like on the surface of a distant planet. (NASA)

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