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Topic: Volcanoes

NASA looks at returning to Venus

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Sue Smrekar really wants to go back to Venus. In her office at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the planetary scientist displays a 30-year-old image of Venus’ surface taken by the Magellan spacecraft, a reminder of how much time has passed since an American mission orbited the planet.

The image reveals a hellish landscape: a young surface with more volcanoes than any other body in the solar system, gigantic rifts, towering mountain belts and temperatures hot enough to melt lead.

Venus hides a wealth of information that could help us better understand Earth and exoplanets. NASA's JPL is designing mission concepts to survive the planet's extreme temperatures and atmospheric pressure. This image is a composite of data from NASA's Magellan spacecraft and Pioneer Venus Orbiter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Venus hides a wealth of information that could help us better understand Earth and exoplanets. NASA’s JPL is designing mission concepts to survive the planet’s extreme temperatures and atmospheric pressure. This image is a composite of data from NASA’s Magellan spacecraft and Pioneer Venus Orbiter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA says Mars, Earth can teach us a lot about Life

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says Mars and Earth are like two siblings who have grown apart.

There was a time when their resemblance was uncanny: Both were warm, wet and shrouded in thick atmospheres. But 3 or 4 billion years ago, these two worlds took different paths.

We may soon know why they went their separate ways. NASA’s InSight spacecraft will arrive at the Red Planet on Monday, November 26th, 2018 and will allow scientists to compare Earth to its rusty sibling like never before.

This composite image of Earth and Mars was created to allow viewers to gain a better understanding of the relative sizes of the two planets. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This composite image of Earth and Mars was created to allow viewers to gain a better understanding of the relative sizes of the two planets. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA lists Four Uses for ECOSTRESS measurements

 

Written by Carol Rasmussen
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s Ecosystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) is designed to study how plants respond to heat and water stress by measuring the temperature of Earth’s vegetation at all times of day with an accuracy of a few tenths of a degree.

Unusual heat can be a warning sign of important changes and concerns in many fields of research besides botany. Here are four other areas where ECOSTRESS’s precise temperature measurements could make a difference.

ECOSTRESS's precise temperature measurements could be helpful for other things besides studying plants' heat stress, such as spotting new volcanic fissures and hotspots during an eruption. (USGS)

ECOSTRESS’s precise temperature measurements could be helpful for other things besides studying plants’ heat stress, such as spotting new volcanic fissures and hotspots during an eruption. (USGS)

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NASA’s Mars InSight Lander will study the Deep Interior of Mars

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars InSight lander team is preparing to ship the spacecraft from Lockheed Martin Space in Denver, where it was built and tested, to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, where it will become the first interplanetary mission to launch from the West Coast. The project is led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

NASA has a long and successful track record at Mars. Since 1965, it has flown by, orbited, landed and roved across the surface of the Red Planet. What can InSight — planned for launch in May — do that hasn’t been done before?

An artist's rendition of the InSight lander operating on the surface of Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

An artist’s rendition of the InSight lander operating on the surface of Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA prepares for future Satellite by studying Coral Reefs of Hawaii

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA pulled off a scientific double play in Hawaii this winter, using the same instruments and aircraft to study both volcanoes and coral reefs. Besides helping scientists understand these two unique environments better, the data will be used to evaluate the possibility of preparing a potential future NASA satellite that would monitor ecosystem changes and natural hazards.

The advantages of studying active volcanoes from the air rather than the ground are obvious. Coral reefs may not offer the same risks in a close encounter that volcanoes do, but there’s another good reason to study them by remote sensing: they’re dotted across thousands of square miles of the globe.

NASA coral reef studies in Hawaii this winter will help scientists understand this unique environment. (NOAA)

NASA coral reef studies in Hawaii this winter will help scientists understand this unique environment. (NOAA)

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NASA looks back at years of Jupiter Observations

 

Written by Ashley Morrow
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Launched five years ago on August 5th, 2011, NASA’s Juno mission maneuvered into orbit around Jupiter on July 4th, 2016, joining a long tradition of discovery at the gas giant.

One of the brightest objects in the night sky, Jupiter has enthralled humans since ancient times. Today, scientists believe that learning more about the planet may be the key to discovering our solar system’s origins and formation.

An artist's concept of the Pioneer 10 spacecraft. (NASA)

An artist’s concept of the Pioneer 10 spacecraft. (NASA)

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NASA research shows moon Io’s atmosphere collapsing when in Jupiter’s Shadow

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io has a thin atmosphere that collapses in the shadow of Jupiter, condensing as ice, according to a new study by NASA-funded researchers. The study reveals the freezing effects of Jupiter’s shadow during daily eclipses on the moon’s volcanic gases.

“This research is the first time scientists have observed this remarkable phenomenon directly, improving our understanding of this geologically active moon,” said Constantine Tsang, a scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. The study was published August 2nd in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

Artist’s concept of the atmospheric collapse of Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io, which is eclipsed by Jupiter for two hours of each day (1.7 Earth days). The resulting temperature drop freezes sulfur dioxide gas, causing the atmosphere to “deflate,” as seen in the shadowed area on the left. (SwRI/Andrew Blanchard)

Artist’s concept of the atmospheric collapse of Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io, which is eclipsed by Jupiter for two hours of each day (1.7 Earth days). The resulting temperature drop freezes sulfur dioxide gas, causing the atmosphere to “deflate,” as seen in the shadowed area on the left. (SwRI/Andrew Blanchard)

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter discovers evidence of Ancient Volcanoes on Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Volcanoes erupted beneath an ice sheet on Mars billions of years ago, far from any ice sheet on the Red Planet today, new evidence from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter suggests.

The research about these volcanoes helps show there was extensive ice on ancient Mars. It also adds information about an environment combining heat and moisture, which could have provided favorable conditions for microbial life.

Sheridan Ackiss of Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, and collaborators used the orbiter’s mineral-mapping spectrometer to investigate surface composition in an oddly textured region of southern Mars called “Sisyphi Montes.”

This graphic illustrates where Mars mineral-mapping from orbit has detected minerals that can indicate where a volcano erupted beneath an ice sheet. The site is far from any ice sheet on modern Mars, in an area where unusual shapes have been interpreted as a possible result of volcanism under ice. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/JHUAPL/ASU)

This graphic illustrates where Mars mineral-mapping from orbit has detected minerals that can indicate where a volcano erupted beneath an ice sheet. The site is far from any ice sheet on modern Mars, in an area where unusual shapes have been interpreted as a possible result of volcanism under ice. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/JHUAPL/ASU)

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NASA Spacecrafts orbiting Mars make revealing Gravity Map of the Red Planet

 

Written by William Steigerwald / Nancy Neal Jones

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – A new map of Mars’ gravity made with three NASA spacecraft is the most detailed to date, providing a revealing glimpse into the hidden interior of the Red Planet.

“Gravity maps allow us to see inside a planet, just as a doctor uses an X-ray to see inside a patient,” said Antonio Genova of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge. “The new gravity map will be helpful for future Mars exploration, because better knowledge of the planet’s gravity anomalies helps mission controllers insert spacecraft more precisely into orbit about Mars”

This Mars map shows variations in thickness of the planet's crust, the relatively thin surface layer overlying the mantle of the planet. It shows unprecedented detail derived from new mapping of variations in Mars' gravitational pull on orbiters. (NASA/GSFC/Scientific Visualization Studio)

This Mars map shows variations in thickness of the planet’s crust, the relatively thin surface layer overlying the mantle of the planet. It shows unprecedented detail derived from new mapping of variations in Mars’ gravitational pull on orbiters. (NASA/GSFC/Scientific Visualization Studio)

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NASA helps maintain International Terrestrial Reference Frame

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The surface of Earth is constantly being reshaped by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, floods, changes in sea level and ice sheets, and other processes.

Since some of these changes amount to only millimeters per year, scientists must make very precise measurements of the landscape and ocean in space and time in order to study their evolution and help mitigate their impacts.

The foundation for these precision measurements is the terrestrial reference frame, which serves the same purpose as landmarks along a trail. Earth-orbiting satellites and ground-based instruments use this reference system to pinpoint their own locations and, in turn, those of the features they are tracking.

Sites around the world (yellow dots) contributed data and serve as "landmarks along a trail" for the newest update to a global standard called the International Terrestrial Reference Frame. Each site conducts precision measurements using at least one and up to four geodetic techniques. (NASA/Earth Observatory/GSFC)

Sites around the world (yellow dots) contributed data and serve as “landmarks along a trail” for the newest update to a global standard called the International Terrestrial Reference Frame. Each site conducts precision measurements using at least one and up to four geodetic techniques. (NASA/Earth Observatory/GSFC)

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