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NASA’s MAVEN Spacecraft Continues to Advance Mars Science, Telecommunications Relay Efforts

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – With a suite of new national and international spacecraft primed to explore the Red Planet after their arrival next month, NASA’s MAVEN mission is ready to provide support and continue its study of the Martian atmosphere.

MAVEN launched in November 2013 and entered the Martian atmosphere roughly a year later. Since that time, MAVEN has made fundamental contributions to understanding the history of the Martian atmosphere and climate.

This illustration shows NASA's MAVEN spacecraft and the limb of Mars.  (NASA/Goddard)

This illustration shows NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft and the limb of Mars. (NASA/Goddard)

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NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory sees First Nanoflare on the Sun

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA reports that researchers may have found the long-sought “nanoflares” thought to heat the solar corona to its incredible temperatures.

A new study published in Nature Astronomy marks the first time researchers have captured the full lifecycle of a putative nanoflare – from bright origins to blistering demise.

Nanoflares are tiny eruptions on the Sun, one-billionth the size of normal solar flares. Eugene Parker – of Parker Solar Probe fame – first predicted them in 1972 to solve a major puzzle: the coronal heating problem.

A close-up of one of the loop brightenings studied in the article. Each inset frame zooms in to the selected region in the frame to its left. The frame on the far right is the most zoomed in, showing the putative nanoflare. (NASA/SDO/IRIS/Shah Bahauddin)

A close-up of one of the loop brightenings studied in the article. Each inset frame zooms in to the selected region in the frame to its left. The frame on the far right is the most zoomed in, showing the putative nanoflare. (NASA/SDO/IRIS/Shah Bahauddin)

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NASA works to control Rocket Fuel movement in Spacecrafts

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationEdwards, CA – Rocket off course? NASA says it could be a slosh problem.

Propellant slosh, to be exact. The motion of propellant inside a rocket-based launch vehicle or spacecraft tank is an ever-present, vexing problem for spaceflight. Not only can it make gauging the amount of available propellant difficult, but the volatile waves of liquid can literally throw a rocket off its trajectory.

“To understand why it’s such a critical issue, it’s important to realize that for most launch vehicles, liquid propellant initially makes up nearly 90% of the vehicle mass,” explained Kevin Crosby of Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

With support from NASA’s Flight Opportunities program, Carthage College and its partner Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University are testing a new method of suppressing propellant slosh by using magnetic forces. Students Taylor Peterson (left) and Celestine Ananda are shown here with the flight experiment on a parabolic flight with ZERO-G in November 2019. (Carthage College)

With support from NASA’s Flight Opportunities program, Carthage College and its partner Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University are testing a new method of suppressing propellant slosh by using magnetic forces. Students Taylor Peterson (left) and Celestine Ananda are shown here with the flight experiment on a parabolic flight with ZERO-G in November 2019. (Carthage College)

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NASA Research Projects examine impacts of COVID-19

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic has touched most aspects of human life. In recent months, NASA has initiated research projects focused on how the human response to the pandemic has affected our environment, like how air quality has improved in the wake of reduced vehicular traffic in many places. But the tentacles of the pandemic extend well beyond that.

How have production disruptions affected agriculture and food supply? What about our ability to forecast water availability in coming months? How do changes in activity levels affect environmental conditions?

Mount Rainier in Washington is home to one of hundreds of snow-monitoring stations positioned throughout the western U.S. (Vladi Braun/Unsplash)

Mount Rainier in Washington is home to one of hundreds of snow-monitoring stations positioned throughout the western U.S. (Vladi Braun/Unsplash)

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NASA to use CubeSat with Infrared Lasers to search the Moon’s Craters for Ice

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – As astronauts explore the Moon during the Artemis program, they may need to make use of the resources that already exist on the lunar surface. Take water, for instance: Because it’s a heavy and therefore expensive resource to launch from Earth, our future explorers might have to seek out ice to mine.

Once excavated, it can be melted and purified for drinking and used for rocket fuel. But how much water is there on the Moon, and where might we find it?

This artist's concept shows the briefcase-sized Lunar Flashlight spacecraft using its near-infrared lasers to shine light into shaded polar regions on the Moon to look for water ice. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This artist’s concept shows the briefcase-sized Lunar Flashlight spacecraft using its near-infrared lasers to shine light into shaded polar regions on the Moon to look for water ice. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Search for Life

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA says in the hunt for life on other worlds, astronomers scour over planets that are light-years away. They need ways to identify life from afar — but what counts as good evidence?

Our own planet provides some inspiration. Microbes fill the air with methane; photosynthesizing plants expel oxygen. Perhaps these gases might be found wherever life has taken hold.

An artist's conception of an Earth-like exoplanet. (NASA/GSFC/C. Meaney/B. Monroe/S. Wiessinger)

An artist’s conception of an Earth-like exoplanet. (NASA/GSFC/C. Meaney/B. Monroe/S. Wiessinger)

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NASA selects Three Finalists for Future Small Satellites

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Three finalists have been selected by NASA from among a dozen concepts for future small satellites.

The finalists include a 2022 robotic mission to study two asteroid systems, twin spacecraft to study the effects of energetic particles around Mars, and a lunar orbiter managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, to study water on the Moon.

One of three finalists selected by NASA for future small satellites, Lunar Trailblazer will detect and map water on the lunar surface to study how its form, abundance and location relate to geology. The principal investigator is Caltech's Bethany Ehlmann. JPL will provide project management. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

One of three finalists selected by NASA for future small satellites, Lunar Trailblazer will detect and map water on the lunar surface to study how its form, abundance and location relate to geology. The principal investigator is Caltech’s Bethany Ehlmann. JPL will provide project management. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope mission ends

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – On Thursday evening, NASA’s Kepler space telescope received its final set of commands to disconnect communications with Earth. The “goodnight” commands finalize the spacecraft’s transition into retirement, which began on October 30th, 2018 with NASA’s announcement that Kepler had run out of fuel and could no longer conduct science.

Coincidentally, Kepler’s “goodnight” coincides with the anniversary of the death of its namesake, German astronomer Johannes Kepler, who discovered the laws of planetary motion and died 388 years ago on November 15th, 1630.

This artist's concept shows NASA's Kepler Space Telescope on its K2 mission. In July 2016, an international team of astronomers announced they had discovered more than 100 new planets using this telescope. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This artist’s concept shows NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope on its K2 mission. In July 2016, an international team of astronomers announced they had discovered more than 100 new planets using this telescope. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s TSOS-1 Instrument installed on International Space Station turned on

 

Written by Kasha Patel
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – The instrument was launched from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on December 15th, 2017. After a two-week pause, TSIS-1 was extracted from the trunk of the SpaceX Dragon capsule and integrated onto its permanent home on the space station.

For over two months, the operations team at the University of Colorado Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) in Boulder, Colorado have been testing TSIS-1. First, the team tested the all-important pointing platform that directs the solar instruments at the Sun.

Follow NASA's TSIS-1 from its launch to its installation aboard the International Space Station to its collection of science data. (NASA Goddard)

Follow NASA’s TSIS-1 from its launch to its installation aboard the International Space Station to its collection of science data. (NASA Goddard)

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NASA reports New Study shows Global Sea Level Rise has Accelerated over past 25 years

 

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – The rate of global sea level rise has been accelerating in recent decades, rather than increasing steadily, according to a new study based on 25 years of NASA and European satellite data.

This acceleration, driven mainly by increased melting in Greenland and Antarctica, has the potential to double the total sea level rise projected by 2100 when compared to projections that assume a constant rate of sea level rise, according to lead author Steve Nerem. Nerem is a professor of Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder, a fellow at Colorado’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), and a member of NASA’s Sea Level Change team.

Global sea level rise is accelerating incrementally over time rather than increasing at a steady rate, as previously thought, according to a new study based on 25 years of NASA and European satellite data. (NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Kathryn Mersmann)

Global sea level rise is accelerating incrementally over time rather than increasing at a steady rate, as previously thought, according to a new study based on 25 years of NASA and European satellite data. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Kathryn Mersmann)

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