Tagged: Asteroid Science Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 8:21 am on August 5, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Lucy", Asteroid Science, , , , , , NASA’s Lucy mission is the first spacecraft launched to explore the Trojan asteroids-a population of primitive asteroids orbiting in tandem with Jupiter.,   

    From NASA : “Lucy” 

    From NASA

    8.5.22

    What is Lucy?

    NASA’s Lucy mission is the first spacecraft launched to explore the Trojan asteroids-a population of primitive asteroids orbiting in tandem with Jupiter.

    NASA’s Lucy mission will explore a record-breaking number of asteroids, flying by one asteroid in the solar system’s main asteroid belt, and by seven Trojan asteroids.

    About Lucy

    Lucy is the first space mission launched to study the Trojan asteroids. Trojans are small bodies that are remnants of our early solar system. They orbit the Sun in two loose groups: one group leading ahead of Jupiter in its orbit, the other trailing behind.

    During its 12-year primary mission, Lucy will explore a record-breaking number of asteroids, flying by one main belt asteroid, and seven Trojans.

    No other space mission in history has been launched to as many different destinations in independent orbits around our Sun.

    2
    This diagram illustrates Lucy’s orbital path. The spacecraft’s path (green) is shown in a frame of reference where Jupiter remains stationary, giving the trajectory its pretzel-like shape. Credit: Southwest Research Institute.

    Lucy launched at 5:34 a.m. EDT on Oct. 16, 2021, on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The spacecraft sent its first signal to Earth from its own antenna to NASA’s Deep Space Network at 6:40 a.m. EDT.

    “Lucy embodies NASA’s enduring quest to push out into the cosmos for the sake of exploration and science, to better understand the universe and our place within it,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “I can’t wait to see what mysteries the mission uncovers!”

    NASA troubleshoots Lucy after launch

    Following the successful launch of NASA’s Lucy spacecraft on October 16, 2021, engineers huddled around a long conference table in Titusville, Florida. Lucy was only starting its 12-year flight, but an unexpected challenge surfaced for the first-ever Trojan asteroids mission.

    Data indicated that one of Lucy’s solar arrays powering the spacecraft’s systems — designed to unfurl like a hand fan — hadn’t fully opened and latched. So the team had to figure out what to do next.

    Teams from NASA and Lucy mission partners quickly came together to troubleshoot. On the phone were team members at Lockheed Martin’s Mission Support Area outside of Denver. They were in direct contact with the spacecraft.

    The conversation was quiet, yet intense. At one end of the room, an engineer sat, folding and unfolding a paper plate in the same manner that Lucy’s huge circular solar arrays operate.

    There were so many questions. What happened? Was the array open at all? Was there a way to fix it? Would Lucy be able to safely perform the maneuvers needed to accomplish its science mission without a fully deployed array?

    With Lucy already speeding on its way through space, the stakes were high.

    NASA troubleshoots Lucy from the ground

    Within hours, NASA pulled together Lucy’s anomaly response team, comprising members from science mission lead Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Austin, Texas; mission operations lead NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland; spacecraft builder Lockheed Martin; and Northrop Grumman in San Diego, the solar array system designer and builder.

    United in their pursuit to ensure Lucy would reach its fullest potential, the team began an exhaustive deep dive to determine the cause of the issue and develop the best path forward. Given that the spacecraft was otherwise perfectly healthy, the team wasn’t rushing into anything.

    A jammed lanyard

    Staying focused during many long days and nights, the team worked through options. To evaluate Lucy’s solar array configuration in real time, the team fired thrusters on the spacecraft and gathered data on how those forces made the solar array vibrate. Next, they fed the data into a detailed model of the array’s motor assembly to infer how rigid Lucy’s array was. That helped uncover the source of the issue.

    At last, they closed in on the root cause: a lanyard designed to pull Lucy’s massive solar array open was likely snarled on its bobbin-like spool.

    After months of further brainstorming and testing, Lucy’s team settled on two potential paths forward.

    In one, they would pull harder on the lanyard by running the array’s back-up deployment motor at the same time as its primary motor. The power from two motors should allow the jammed lanyard to wind in further and engage the array’s latching mechanism. While both motors were never originally intended to operate at the same time, the team used models to ensure the concept would work.

    The second option: use the array as it was, nearly fully deployed and generating more than 90% of its expected power.

    Testing the options

    The team mapped out and tested possible outcomes for both options. They analyzed hours of the array’s test footage and constructed a ground-based replica of the array’s motor assembly. Then they tested the replica past its limits to better understand risks of further deployment attempts. They also developed special, high-fidelity software to simulate Lucy in space. Plus, it would gauge any potential ripple effects a redeployment attempt could have on the spacecraft.

    After months of simulations and testing, NASA decided to move forward with the first option, using a multi-step attempt to fully redeploy the solar array. On seven occasions in May and June, the team commanded the spacecraft to simultaneously run the primary and backup solar array deployment motors. The effort succeeded, pulling in the lanyard, and further opening and tensioning the array.

    The mission continues as planned

    The mission now estimates that Lucy’s solar array is between 353 degrees and 357 degrees open (out of 360 total degrees for a fully deployed array). While the array is not fully latched, it is under substantially more tension, making it stable enough for the spacecraft to operate as needed for mission operations.

    The spacecraft is now ready and able to complete the next big mission milestone: an Earth-gravity assist in October 2022. Lucy should arrive at its first asteroid target in 2025. During its 12-year journey, the spacecraft will visit seven different asteroids – a main belt asteroid and six Trojans. Lucy will study the geology, surface composition and bulk physical properties of these bodies at close range.

    “We started working on the Lucy mission concept early in 2014, so this launch has been long in the making,” said Hal Levison, Lucy principal investigator, based out of the Boulder, Colorado, branch of Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), which is headquartered in San Antonio. “It will still be several years before we get to the first Trojan asteroid, but these objects are worth the wait and all the effort because of their immense scientific value. They are like diamonds in the sky.”

    The spacecraft is traveling at roughly 67,000 mph (108,000 kph) on a trajectory that will orbit the Sun and bring it back toward Earth in October 2022 for the spacecraft’s first gravity assist. That maneuver will accelerate and direct Lucy’s trajectory beyond the orbit of Mars. The spacecraft will then swing back toward Earth for another gravity assist in 2024, which will propel Lucy toward the Donaldjohanson asteroid – located within the solar system’s main asteroid belt – in 2025.

    Lucy will then journey toward its first Trojan asteroid encounter in the swarm ahead of Jupiter for a 2027 arrival. After completing its first four targeted flybys, the spacecraft will travel back to Earth for a third gravity boost in 2031, which will catapult it to the trailing swarm of Trojans for a 2033 encounter.

    “Today we celebrate this incredible milestone and look forward to the new discoveries that Lucy will uncover,” Donya Douglas-Bradshaw, Lucy project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said after the launch.

    The Lucy mission is named after the fossilized skeleton of an early hominin (pre-human ancestor) discovered in Ethiopia in 1974 and named “Lucy” by the team of paleoanthropologists who discovered it.

    Just as the Lucy fossil provided unique insights into humanity’s evolution, the Lucy mission promises to revolutionize our knowledge of planetary origins and the formation of the solar system, including Earth.

    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center provides overall mission management, systems engineering, plus safety and mission assurance. Lockheed Martin Space in Littleton, Colorado, built the spacecraft. Lucy is the 13th mission in NASA’s Discovery Program. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Discovery Program for the agency.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation’s civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research.

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science. The National Aeronautics and Space Act was passed on July 29, 1958, disestablishing NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency became operational on October 1, 1958.

    Since that time, most U.S. space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. Currently, NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program (LSP) which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches. Most recently, NASA announced a new Space Launch System that it said would take the agency’s astronauts farther into space than ever before and lay the cornerstone for future human space exploration efforts by the U.S.

    NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System, advancing heliophysics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate’s Heliophysics Research Program, exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic missions such as New Horizons, and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang, through the Great Observatories [NASA/ESA Hubble, NASA Chandra, NASA Spitzer, and associated programs.] NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from [JAXA]Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:14 am on June 16, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New maps of asteroid Psyche reveal an ancient world of metal and rock", , Asteroid Science, , , , ,   

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “New maps of asteroid Psyche reveal an ancient world of metal and rock” 

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    June 15, 2022
    Jennifer Chu

    The varied surface suggests a dynamic history, which could include metallic eruptions, asteroid-shaking impacts, and a lost rocky mantle.


    Maps of the asteroid Psyche
    On the left, this map shows surface properties on Psyche, from sandy areas (purple/low) to rocky areas (yellow/high). The map on the right shows metal abundances on Psyche, from low (purple) to high (yellow).

    1
    Astronomers at MIT and elsewhere have mapped the composition of asteroid Psyche, revealing a surface of metal, sand, and rock. Credit: Screenshot courtesy of NASA.

    Later this year, NASA is set to launch a probe the size of a tennis court to the asteroid belt, a region between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter where remnants of the early solar system circle the sun. Once inside the asteroid belt, the spacecraft will zero in on Psyche, a large, metal-rich asteroid that is thought to be the ancient core of an early planet. The probe, named after its asteroid target, will then spend close to two years orbiting and analyzing Psyche’s surface for clues to how early planetary bodies evolved.

    Ahead of the mission, which is led by principal investigator Lindy Elkins-Tanton ’87, SM ’87, PhD ’02, planetary scientists at MIT and elsewhere have now provided a sneak peak of what the Psyche spacecraft might see when it reaches its destination.

    In a paper appearing today in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, the team presents the most detailed maps of the asteroid’s surface properties to date, based on observations taken by a large array of ground telescopes in northern Chile. The maps reveal vast metal-rich regions sweeping across the asteroid’s surface, along with a large depression that appears to have a different surface texture between the interior and its rim; this difference could reflect a crater filled with finer sand and rimmed with rockier materials.

    Overall, Psyche’s surface was found to be surprisingly varied in its properties.

    The new maps hint at the asteroid’s history. Its rocky regions could be vestiges of an ancient mantle — similar in composition to the rocky outermost layer of Earth, Mars, and the asteroid Vesta — or the imprint of past impacts by space rocks. Finally, craters that contain metallic material support the idea proposed by previous studies that the asteroid may have experienced early eruptions of metallic lava as its ancient core cooled.

    “Psyche’s surface is very heterogeneous,” says lead author Saverio Cambioni, the Crosby Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS). “It’s an evolved surface, and these maps confirm that metal-rich asteroids are interesting, enigmatic worlds. It’s another reason to look forward to the Psyche mission going to the asteroid.”

    Cambioni’s co-authors are Katherine de Kleer, assistant professor of planetary science and astronomy at Caltech, and Michael Shepard, professor of environmental, geographical, and geological sciences at Bloomsburg University.
    ===
    Telescope Power

    The surface of Psyche has been a focus of numerous previous mapping efforts. Researchers have observed the asteroid using various telescopes to measure light emitted from the asteroid at infrared wavelengths, which carry information about Psyche’s surface composition. However, these studies could not spatially resolve variations in composition over the surface.

    Cambioni and his colleagues instead were able to see Psyche in finer detail, at a resolution of about 20 miles per pixel, using the combined power of the 66 radio antennas of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in northern Chile.

    Each antenna of ALMA measures light emitted from an object at millimeter wavelengths, within a range that is sensitive to temperature and certain electrical properties of surface materials.

    “The signals of the ALMA antennas can be combined into a synthetic signal that’s equivalent to a telescope with a diameter of 16 kilometers (10 miles),” de Kleer says. “The larger the telescope, the higher the resolution.”

    On June 19, 2019, ALMA focused its entire array on Psyche as it orbited and rotated within the asteroid belt. De Kleer collected data during this period and converted it into a map of thermal emissions across the asteroid’s surface, which the team reported in a 2021 study. Those same data were used by Shepard to produce the most recent high-resolution 3D shape model of Psyche, also published in 2021.

    To catch a match

    In the new study, Cambioni ran simulations of Psyche to see which surface properties might best match and explain the measured thermal emissions. In each of hundreds of simulated scenarios, he set the asteroid’s surface with different combinations of materials, such as areas of different metal abundances. He modeled the asteroid’s rotation and measured how simulated materials on the asteroid would give off thermal emissions. Cambioni then looked for the simulated emissions that best matched the actual emissions measured by ALMA. That scenario, he reasoned, would reveal the likeliest map of the asteroid’s surface materials.

    “We ran these simulations area by area so we could catch differences in surface properties,” Cambioni says.

    The study produced detailed maps of Psyche’s surface properties, showing that the asteroid’s façade is likely covered in a large diversity of materials. The researchers confirmed that, overall, Psyche’s surface is rich in metals, but the abundance of metals and silicates varies across its surface. This may be a further hint that, early in its formation, the asteroid may have had a silicate-rich mantle that has since disappeared.

    They also found that, as the asteroid rotates, the material at the bottom of a large depression — likely a crater — changes temperature much faster than material along the rim. This suggests that the crater bottom is covered in “ponds” of fine-grained material, like sand on Earth, which heats up quickly, whereas the crater rims are composed of rockier, slower-to-warm materials.

    “Ponds of fine-grained materials have been seen on small asteroids, whose gravity is low enough for impacts to shake the surface and cause finer materials to pool,” Cambioni says. “But Psyche is a large body, so if fine-grained materials accumulated on the bottom of the depression, this is interesting and somewhat mysterious.”

    “These data show that Psyche’s surface is heterogeneous, with possible remarkable variations in composition,” says Simone Marchi, staff scientist at the Southwest Research Institute and a co-investigator on NASA’s Psyche mission, who was not involved in the current study. “One of the primary goals of the Psyche mission is to study the composition of the asteroid surface using its gamma rays and neutron spectrometer and a color imager. So, the possible presence of compositional heterogeneties is something that the Psyche Science Team is eager to study more.”

    This research was supported by the EAPS Crosby Distinguished Postodoctoral Fellowship, and in part by the Heising-Simons Foundation.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    MIT Seal

    USPS “Forever” postage stamps celebrating Innovation at MIT.

    MIT Campus

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private land-grant research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The institute has an urban campus that extends more than a mile (1.6 km) alongside the Charles River. The institute also encompasses a number of major off-campus facilities such as the MIT Lincoln Laboratory , the MIT Bates Research and Engineering Center , and the Haystack Observatory , as well as affiliated laboratories such as the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Whitehead Institute.

    Massachusettes Institute of Technology-Haystack Observatory Westford, Massachusetts, USA, Altitude 131 m (430 ft).

    Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, Massachusetts Institute of Technology adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. It has since played a key role in the development of many aspects of modern science, engineering, mathematics, and technology, and is widely known for its innovation and academic strength. It is frequently regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

    As of December 2020, 97 Nobel laureates, 26 Turing Award winners, and 8 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with MIT as alumni, faculty members, or researchers. In addition, 58 National Medal of Science recipients, 29 National Medals of Technology and Innovation recipients, 50 MacArthur Fellows, 80 Marshall Scholars, 3 Mitchell Scholars, 22 Schwarzman Scholars, 41 astronauts, and 16 Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force have been affiliated with The Massachusetts Institute of Technology . The university also has a strong entrepreneurial culture and MIT alumni have founded or co-founded many notable companies. Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU).

    Foundation and vision

    In 1859, a proposal was submitted to the Massachusetts General Court to use newly filled lands in Back Bay, Boston for a “Conservatory of Art and Science”, but the proposal failed. A charter for the incorporation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, proposed by William Barton Rogers, was signed by John Albion Andrew, the governor of Massachusetts, on April 10, 1861.

    Rogers, a professor from the University of Virginia , wanted to establish an institution to address rapid scientific and technological advances. He did not wish to found a professional school, but a combination with elements of both professional and liberal education, proposing that:

    “The true and only practicable object of a polytechnic school is, as I conceive, the teaching, not of the minute details and manipulations of the arts, which can be done only in the workshop, but the inculcation of those scientific principles which form the basis and explanation of them, and along with this, a full and methodical review of all their leading processes and operations in connection with physical laws.”

    The Rogers Plan reflected the German research university model, emphasizing an independent faculty engaged in research, as well as instruction oriented around seminars and laboratories.

    Early developments

    Two days after The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was chartered, the first battle of the Civil War broke out. After a long delay through the war years, MIT’s first classes were held in the Mercantile Building in Boston in 1865. The new institute was founded as part of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act to fund institutions “to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes” and was a land-grant school. In 1863 under the same act, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts founded the Massachusetts Agricultural College, which developed as the University of Massachusetts Amherst ). In 1866, the proceeds from land sales went toward new buildings in the Back Bay.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was informally called “Boston Tech”. The institute adopted the European polytechnic university model and emphasized laboratory instruction from an early date. Despite chronic financial problems, the institute saw growth in the last two decades of the 19th century under President Francis Amasa Walker. Programs in electrical, chemical, marine, and sanitary engineering were introduced, new buildings were built, and the size of the student body increased to more than one thousand.

    The curriculum drifted to a vocational emphasis, with less focus on theoretical science. The fledgling school still suffered from chronic financial shortages which diverted the attention of the MIT leadership. During these “Boston Tech” years, Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty and alumni rebuffed Harvard University president (and former MIT faculty) Charles W. Eliot’s repeated attempts to merge MIT with Harvard College’s Lawrence Scientific School. There would be at least six attempts to absorb MIT into Harvard. In its cramped Back Bay location, MIT could not afford to expand its overcrowded facilities, driving a desperate search for a new campus and funding. Eventually, the MIT Corporation approved a formal agreement to merge with Harvard, over the vehement objections of MIT faculty, students, and alumni. However, a 1917 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court effectively put an end to the merger scheme.

    In 1916, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology administration and the MIT charter crossed the Charles River on the ceremonial barge Bucentaur built for the occasion, to signify MIT’s move to a spacious new campus largely consisting of filled land on a one-mile-long (1.6 km) tract along the Cambridge side of the Charles River. The neoclassical “New Technology” campus was designed by William W. Bosworth and had been funded largely by anonymous donations from a mysterious “Mr. Smith”, starting in 1912. In January 1920, the donor was revealed to be the industrialist George Eastman of Rochester, New York, who had invented methods of film production and processing, and founded Eastman Kodak. Between 1912 and 1920, Eastman donated $20 million ($236.6 million in 2015 dollars) in cash and Kodak stock to MIT.

    Curricular reforms

    In the 1930s, President Karl Taylor Compton and Vice-President (effectively Provost) Vannevar Bush emphasized the importance of pure sciences like physics and chemistry and reduced the vocational practice required in shops and drafting studios. The Compton reforms “renewed confidence in the ability of the Institute to develop leadership in science as well as in engineering”. Unlike Ivy League schools, Massachusetts Institute of Technology catered more to middle-class families, and depended more on tuition than on endowments or grants for its funding. The school was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1934.

    Still, as late as 1949, the Lewis Committee lamented in its report on the state of education at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology that “the Institute is widely conceived as basically a vocational school”, a “partly unjustified” perception the committee sought to change. The report comprehensively reviewed the undergraduate curriculum, recommended offering a broader education, and warned against letting engineering and government-sponsored research detract from the sciences and humanities. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the MIT Sloan School of Management were formed in 1950 to compete with the powerful Schools of Science and Engineering. Previously marginalized faculties in the areas of economics, management, political science, and linguistics emerged into cohesive and assertive departments by attracting respected professors and launching competitive graduate programs. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences continued to develop under the successive terms of the more humanistically oriented presidents Howard W. Johnson and Jerome Wiesner between 1966 and 1980.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology‘s involvement in military science surged during World War II. In 1941, Vannevar Bush was appointed head of the federal Office of Scientific Research and Development and directed funding to only a select group of universities, including MIT. Engineers and scientists from across the country gathered at Massachusetts Institute of Technology ‘s Radiation Laboratory, established in 1940 to assist the British military in developing microwave radar. The work done there significantly affected both the war and subsequent research in the area. Other defense projects included gyroscope-based and other complex control systems for gunsight, bombsight, and inertial navigation under Charles Stark Draper’s Instrumentation Laboratory; the development of a digital computer for flight simulations under Project Whirlwind; and high-speed and high-altitude photography under Harold Edgerton. By the end of the war, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology became the nation’s largest wartime R&D contractor (attracting some criticism of Bush), employing nearly 4000 in the Radiation Laboratory alone and receiving in excess of $100 million ($1.2 billion in 2015 dollars) before 1946. Work on defense projects continued even after then. Post-war government-sponsored research at MIT included SAGE and guidance systems for ballistic missiles and Project Apollo.

    These activities affected The Massachusetts Institute of Technology profoundly. A 1949 report noted the lack of “any great slackening in the pace of life at the Institute” to match the return to peacetime, remembering the “academic tranquility of the prewar years”, though acknowledging the significant contributions of military research to the increased emphasis on graduate education and rapid growth of personnel and facilities. The faculty doubled and the graduate student body quintupled during the terms of Karl Taylor Compton, president of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology between 1930 and 1948; James Rhyne Killian, president from 1948 to 1957; and Julius Adams Stratton, chancellor from 1952 to 1957, whose institution-building strategies shaped the expanding university. By the 1950s, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology no longer simply benefited the industries with which it had worked for three decades, and it had developed closer working relationships with new patrons, philanthropic foundations and the federal government.

    In late 1960s and early 1970s, student and faculty activists protested against the Vietnam War and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology ‘s defense research. In this period Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s various departments were researching helicopters, smart bombs and counterinsurgency techniques for the war in Vietnam as well as guidance systems for nuclear missiles. The Union of Concerned Scientists was founded on March 4, 1969 during a meeting of faculty members and students seeking to shift the emphasis on military research toward environmental and social problems. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology ultimately divested itself from the Instrumentation Laboratory and moved all classified research off-campus to the MIT Lincoln Laboratory facility in 1973 in response to the protests. The student body, faculty, and administration remained comparatively unpolarized during what was a tumultuous time for many other universities. Johnson was seen to be highly successful in leading his institution to “greater strength and unity” after these times of turmoil. However six Massachusetts Institute of Technology students were sentenced to prison terms at this time and some former student leaders, such as Michael Albert and George Katsiaficas, are still indignant about MIT’s role in military research and its suppression of these protests. (Richard Leacock’s film, November Actions, records some of these tumultuous events.)

    In the 1980s, there was more controversy at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology over its involvement in SDI (space weaponry) and CBW (chemical and biological warfare) research. More recently, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s research for the military has included work on robots, drones and ‘battle suits’.

    Recent history

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has kept pace with and helped to advance the digital age. In addition to developing the predecessors to modern computing and networking technologies, students, staff, and faculty members at Project MAC, the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and the Tech Model Railroad Club wrote some of the earliest interactive computer video games like Spacewar! and created much of modern hacker slang and culture. Several major computer-related organizations have originated at MIT since the 1980s: Richard Stallman’s GNU Project and the subsequent Free Software Foundation were founded in the mid-1980s at the AI Lab; the MIT Media Lab was founded in 1985 by Nicholas Negroponte and Jerome Wiesner to promote research into novel uses of computer technology; the World Wide Web Consortium standards organization was founded at the Laboratory for Computer Science in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee; the MIT OpenCourseWare project has made course materials for over 2,000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology classes available online free of charge since 2002; and the One Laptop per Child initiative to expand computer education and connectivity to children worldwide was launched in 2005.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was named a sea-grant college in 1976 to support its programs in oceanography and marine sciences and was named a space-grant college in 1989 to support its aeronautics and astronautics programs. Despite diminishing government financial support over the past quarter century, MIT launched several successful development campaigns to significantly expand the campus: new dormitories and athletics buildings on west campus; the Tang Center for Management Education; several buildings in the northeast corner of campus supporting research into biology, brain and cognitive sciences, genomics, biotechnology, and cancer research; and a number of new “backlot” buildings on Vassar Street including the Stata Center. Construction on campus in the 2000s included expansions of the Media Lab, the Sloan School’s eastern campus, and graduate residences in the northwest. In 2006, President Hockfield launched the MIT Energy Research Council to investigate the interdisciplinary challenges posed by increasing global energy consumption.

    In 2001, inspired by the open source and open access movements, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched OpenCourseWare to make the lecture notes, problem sets, syllabi, exams, and lectures from the great majority of its courses available online for no charge, though without any formal accreditation for coursework completed. While the cost of supporting and hosting the project is high, OCW expanded in 2005 to include other universities as a part of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, which currently includes more than 250 academic institutions with content available in at least six languages. In 2011, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced it would offer formal certification (but not credits or degrees) to online participants completing coursework in its “MITx” program, for a modest fee. The “edX” online platform supporting MITx was initially developed in partnership with Harvard and its analogous “Harvardx” initiative. The courseware platform is open source, and other universities have already joined and added their own course content. In March 2009 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty adopted an open-access policy to make its scholarship publicly accessible online.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has its own police force. Three days after the Boston Marathon bombing of April 2013, MIT Police patrol officer Sean Collier was fatally shot by the suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, setting off a violent manhunt that shut down the campus and much of the Boston metropolitan area for a day. One week later, Collier’s memorial service was attended by more than 10,000 people, in a ceremony hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology community with thousands of police officers from the New England region and Canada. On November 25, 2013, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced the creation of the Collier Medal, to be awarded annually to “an individual or group that embodies the character and qualities that Officer Collier exhibited as a member of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology community and in all aspects of his life”. The announcement further stated that “Future recipients of the award will include those whose contributions exceed the boundaries of their profession, those who have contributed to building bridges across the community, and those who consistently and selflessly perform acts of kindness”.

    In September 2017, the school announced the creation of an artificial intelligence research lab called the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab. IBM will spend $240 million over the next decade, and the lab will be staffed by MIT and IBM scientists. In October 2018 MIT announced that it would open a new Schwarzman College of Computing dedicated to the study of artificial intelligence, named after lead donor and The Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman. The focus of the new college is to study not just AI, but interdisciplinary AI education, and how AI can be used in fields as diverse as history and biology. The cost of buildings and new faculty for the new college is expected to be $1 billion upon completion.

    The Caltech/MIT Advanced aLIGO was designed and constructed by a team of scientists from California Institute of Technology , Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and industrial contractors, and funded by the National Science Foundation .

    Caltech /MIT Advanced aLigo

    It was designed to open the field of gravitational-wave astronomy through the detection of gravitational waves predicted by general relativity. Gravitational waves were detected for the first time by the LIGO detector in 2015. For contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves, two Caltech physicists, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist Rainer Weiss won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2017. Weiss, who is also a Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate, designed the laser interferometric technique, which served as the essential blueprint for the LIGO.

    The mission of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the twenty-first century. We seek to develop in each member of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:58 am on June 2, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Planetary defense exercise uses Apophis as hazardous asteroid stand-in", Asteroid Science, , , ,   

    From The University of Arizona and NASA JPL-Caltech: “Planetary defense exercise uses Apophis as hazardous asteroid stand-in” 

    From The University of Arizona

    and

    NASA JPL-Caltech

    5.31.22

    Media contact
    Mikayla Mace Kelley
    Science Writer, University Communications
    mikaylamace@arizona.edu
    520-621-1878

    Researcher contact(s)
    Vishnu Reddy
    Lunar and Planetary Laboratory
    reddy@lpl.arizona.edu
    808-342-8932

    Amy Mainzer
    Lunar and Planetary Laboratory
    amainzer@email.arizona.edu
    520-621-4676

    Over 100 participants from 18 countries – including UArizona scientists and NASA’s UArizona-led NEOWISE mission – took part in the international exercise.

    1
    This image shows the distance between the Apophis asteroid and Earth at the time of the asteroid’s closest approach. The blue dots are the many human-made satellites that orbit our planet, and the pink represents the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

    Watching the skies for large asteroids that could pose a hazard to the Earth is a global endeavor. So, to test their operational readiness, the international planetary defense community will sometimes use a real asteroid’s close approach as a mock encounter with a “new” potentially hazardous asteroid. The lessons learned could limit, or even prevent, global devastation should the scenario play out for real in the future.

    To that end, more than 100 astronomers from around the world, including scientists at the University of Arizona, participated in an exercise last year in which a large, known, and potentially hazardous asteroid was essentially removed from the planetary defense-monitoring database to see whether it could be properly detected anew. Not only was the object “discovered” during the exercise, its chances of hitting Earth were continually reassessed as it was tracked, and the possibility of impact was ruled out.

    Coordinated by the International Asteroid Warning Network and NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office, the exercise confirmed that, from initial detection to follow-up characterization, the international planetary defense community can act swiftly to identify and assess the hazard posed by a new near-Earth asteroid discovery. The results of the exercise are detailed in a study published Tuesday in the Planetary Science Journal.

    The exercise focused on the real asteroid Apophis.

    1
    Apophis depiction. Credit: Universe Today.

    For a short while after its discovery in 2004, Apophis was assessed to have a significant chance of impacting Earth in 2029 or later. But based on tracking measurements taken during several close approaches since the asteroid’s discovery, astronomers have refined Apophis’ orbit and now know that it poses no impact hazard whatsoever for 100 years or more. Scientific observations of Apophis’ most recent close approach, which occurred between December 2020 and March 2021, were used by the planetary defense community for this exercise.

    “This real-world scientific input stress-tested the entire planetary defense response chain, from initial detection to orbit determination to measuring the asteroid’s physical characteristics, and even determining if, and where, it might hit Earth,” said Vishnu Reddy, associate professor in the UArizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, who led the campaign.

    Tracking a ‘new’ target

    Astronomers knew Apophis would approach Earth in early December 2020. But to make the exercise more realistic, the Minor Planet Center – the internationally recognized clearinghouse for the position measurements of small celestial bodies – pretended that it was an unknown asteroid by preventing the new observations of Apophis from being connected with previous observations of it. When the asteroid approached, astronomical surveys had no prior record of Apophis.

    On Dec. 4, 2020, as the asteroid started to brighten, the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey, based at UArizona, made the first detection and reported the object’s astrometry – its position in the sky – to the Minor Planet Center.

    Because there was no prior record of Apophis for the purpose of this exercise, the asteroid was logged as a brand-new detection. Other detections followed from the Hawaii-based, NASA-funded Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System and Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System.

    As Apophis drifted into the field of view of NASA’s UArizona-led Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or NEOWISE, mission, the Minor Planet Center linked its observations with those made by ground-based survey telescopes to show the asteroid’s motion through the sky. On Dec. 23, the Minor Planet Center announced the discovery of a “new” near-Earth asteroid. Exercise participants quickly gathered additional measurements to assess its orbit and whether it could impact Earth.

    “Even though we knew that, in reality, Apophis was not impacting Earth in 2029, starting from square one – with only a few days of astrometric data from survey telescopes – there were large uncertainties in the object’s orbit that theoretically allowed an impact that year,” said Davide Farnocchia, a navigation engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, who led the orbital determination calculations for JPL’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies.

    During the asteroid’s March 2021 close approach, JPL astronomers used NASA’s 230-foot Goldstone Solar System Radar in California [below] to image and precisely measure the asteroid’s velocity and distance. These observations, combined with measurements from other observatories, allowed astronomers to refine Apophis’ orbit and rule out a 2029 impact for the purpose of the exercise. Beyond the exercise, they also were able to rule out any chance of impact for 100 years or more.
    ===
    NEOWISE homes in

    Orbiting far above Earth’s atmosphere, NEOWISE provided infrared observations of Apophis that would be not possible from the ground because moisture in the Earth’s atmosphere absorbs light at these wavelengths.

    “The independent infrared data collected from space greatly benefited the results from this exercise,” said Akash Satpathy, a UArizona graduate student who led a second paper [The Planetary Science Journal], with NEOWISE Principal Investigator Amy Mainzer, a UArizona professor of planetary sciences, describing the results with inclusion of their data in the exercise. “NEOWISE was able to confirm Apophis’ rediscovery while also rapidly gathering valuable information that could be used in planetary defense assessments, such as its size, shape and even clues as to its composition and surface properties.”

    By better understanding the asteroid’s size, participating scientists at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California, could also estimate the impact energy that an asteroid like Apophis would deliver. And the participants simulated a swath of realistic impact locations on Earth’s surface that, in a real situation, would help disaster agencies with possible evacuation efforts.

    “Seeing the planetary defense community come together during the latest close approach of Apophis was impressive,” said Michael Kelley, a program scientist with the Planetary Defense Coordination Office in NASA’s Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., who provided guidance to the exercise participants. “Even during a pandemic, when many of the exercise participants were forced to work remotely, we were able to detect, track and learn more about a potential hazard with great efficiency. The exercise was a resounding success.”

    Additional key planetary defense exercise working group leads included Jessie Dotson at NASA Ames; Nicholas Erasmus at the South African Astronomical Observatory; David Polishook at the Weizmann Institute in Israel; Joseph Masiero at Caltech-IPAC in Pasadena, California; and Lance Benner at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, or JPL, a division of Caltech.

    NEOWISE’s successor, the next-generation NEO Surveyor, also led by Mainzer, is scheduled to launch no earlier than 2026 and will greatly expand the knowledge NEOWISE has amassed about the near-Earth asteroids that populate our solar system.

    More information about the Center for Near Earth Object, asteroids and near-Earth objects can be found on the JPL website. For asteroid and comet news and updates, follow @AsteroidWatch on Twitter.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NASA JPL-Caltech is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles County, California, United States. Although the facility has a Pasadena postal address, it is actually headquartered in the city of La Cañada Flintridge, on the northwest border of Pasadena. JPL is managed by the nearby California Institute of Technology for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Laboratory’s primary function is the construction and operation of robotic planetary spacecraft, though it also conducts Earth-orbit and astronomy missions. It is also responsible for operating NASA’s Deep Space Network.

    NASA Deep Space Network. Credit: NASA.

    NASA Deep Space Network Station 56 Madrid Spain added in early 2021.

    NASA Deep Space Network Station 14 at Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex in California

    NASA Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, AU, Deep Space Network. Credit: NASA

    NASA Deep Space Network Madrid Spain. Credit: NASA.

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation’s civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research.

    As of 2019, the The University of Arizona enrolled 45,918 students in 19 separate colleges/schools, including The University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson and Phoenix and the James E. Rogers College of Law, and is affiliated with two academic medical centers (Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix). The University of Arizona is one of three universities governed by the Arizona Board of Regents. The university is part of the Association of American Universities and is the only member from Arizona, and also part of the Universities Research Association . The university is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”.

    Known as the Arizona Wildcats (often shortened to “Cats”), The University of Arizona’s intercollegiate athletic teams are members of the Pac-12 Conference of the NCAA. The University of Arizona athletes have won national titles in several sports, most notably men’s basketball, baseball, and softball. The official colors of the university and its athletic teams are cardinal red and navy blue.

    After the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862, the push for a university in Arizona grew. The Arizona Territory’s “Thieving Thirteenth” Legislature approved The University of Arizona in 1885 and selected the city of Tucson to receive the appropriation to build the university. Tucson hoped to receive the appropriation for the territory’s mental hospital, which carried a $100,000 allocation instead of the $25,000 allotted to the territory’s only university Arizona State University was also chartered in 1885, but it was created as Arizona’s normal school, and not a university). Flooding on the Salt River delayed Tucson’s legislators, and by the time they reached Prescott, back-room deals allocating the most desirable territorial institutions had been made. Tucson was largely disappointed with receiving what was viewed as an inferior prize.

    With no parties willing to provide land for the new institution, the citizens of Tucson prepared to return the money to the Territorial Legislature until two gamblers and a saloon keeper decided to donate the land to build the school. Construction of Old Main, the first building on campus, began on October 27, 1887, and classes met for the first time in 1891 with 32 students in Old Main, which is still in use today. Because there were no high schools in Arizona Territory, the university maintained separate preparatory classes for the first 23 years of operation.

    Research

    The University of Arizona is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. UArizona is the fourth most awarded public university by National Aeronautics and Space Administration for research. The University of Arizona was awarded over $325 million for its Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) to lead NASA’s 2007–08 mission to Mars to explore the Martian Arctic, and $800 million for its OSIRIS-REx mission, the first in U.S. history to sample an asteroid.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft.

    The LPL’s work in the Cassini spacecraft orbit around Saturn is larger than any other university globally.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration/European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea][Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/ASI Italian Space Agency [Agenzia Spaziale Italiana](IT) Cassini Spacecraft.

    The University of Arizona laboratory designed and operated the atmospheric radiation investigations and imaging on the probe. The University of Arizona operates the HiRISE camera, a part of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

    U Arizona NASA Mars Reconnaisance HiRISE Camera.

    NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

    While using the HiRISE camera in 2011, University of Arizona alumnus Lujendra Ojha and his team discovered proof of liquid water on the surface of Mars—a discovery confirmed by NASA in 2015. The University of Arizona receives more NASA grants annually than the next nine top NASA/JPL-Caltech-funded universities combined. As of March 2016, The University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory is actively involved in ten spacecraft missions: Cassini VIMS; Grail; the HiRISE camera orbiting Mars; the Juno mission orbiting Jupiter; Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO); Maven, which will explore Mars’ upper atmosphere and interactions with the sun; Solar Probe Plus, a historic mission into the Sun’s atmosphere for the first time; Rosetta’s VIRTIS; WISE; and OSIRIS-REx, the first U.S. sample-return mission to a near-earth asteroid, which launched on September 8, 2016.

    3
    NASA – GRAIL Flying in Formation (Artist’s Concept). Credit: NASA.
    National Aeronautics Space Agency Juno at Jupiter.

    NASA/Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

    NASA/Mars MAVEN

    NASA Parker Solar Probe Plus named to honor Pioneering Physicist Eugene Parker. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab.
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration Wise/NEOWISE Telescope.

    The University of Arizona students have been selected as Truman, Rhodes, Goldwater, and Fulbright Scholars. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, UArizona is among the top 25 producers of Fulbright awards in the U.S.

    The University of Arizona is a member of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy , a consortium of institutions pursuing research in astronomy. The association operates observatories and telescopes, notably Kitt Peak National Observatory just outside Tucson.

    National Science Foundation NOIRLab National Optical Astronomy Observatory Kitt Peak National Observatory on Kitt Peak of the Quinlan Mountains in the Arizona-Sonoran Desert on the Tohono O’odham Nation, 88 kilometers (55 mi) west-southwest of Tucson, Arizona, Altitude 2,096 m (6,877 ft). annotated.

    Led by Roger Angel, researchers in the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab at The University of Arizona are working in concert to build the world’s most advanced telescope. Known as the Giant Magellan Telescope (CL), it will produce images 10 times sharper than those from the Earth-orbiting Hubble Telescope.

    GMT Giant Magellan Telescope(CL) 21 meters, to be at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s NOIRLab NOAO Las Campanas Observatory(CL), some 115 km (71 mi) north-northeast of La Serena, Chile, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high.

    The telescope is set to be completed in 2021. GMT will ultimately cost $1 billion. Researchers from at least nine institutions are working to secure the funding for the project. The telescope will include seven 18-ton mirrors capable of providing clear images of volcanoes and riverbeds on Mars and mountains on the moon at a rate 40 times faster than the world’s current large telescopes. The mirrors of the Giant Magellan Telescope will be built at The University of Arizona and transported to a permanent mountaintop site in the Chilean Andes where the telescope will be constructed.

    Reaching Mars in March 2006, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter contained the HiRISE camera, with Principal Investigator Alfred McEwen as the lead on the project. This National Aeronautics and Space Agency mission to Mars carrying the UArizona-designed camera is capturing the highest-resolution images of the planet ever seen. The journey of the orbiter was 300 million miles. In August 2007, The University of Arizona, under the charge of Scientist Peter Smith, led the Phoenix Mars Mission, the first mission completely controlled by a university. Reaching the planet’s surface in May 2008, the mission’s purpose was to improve knowledge of the Martian Arctic. The Arizona Radio Observatory , a part of The University of Arizona Department of Astronomy Steward Observatory , operates the Submillimeter Telescope on Mount Graham.

    University of Arizona Radio Observatory at NOAO Kitt Peak National Observatory, AZ USA, U Arizona Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory at altitude 2,096 m (6,877 ft).

    Kitt Peak National Observatory in the Arizona-Sonoran Desert 88 kilometers 55 mi west-southwest of Tucson, Arizona in the Quinlan Mountains of the Tohono O’odham Nation, altitude 2,096 m (6,877 ft)

    The National Science Foundation funded the iPlant Collaborative in 2008 with a $50 million grant. In 2013, iPlant Collaborative received a $50 million renewal grant. Rebranded in late 2015 as “CyVerse”, the collaborative cloud-based data management platform is moving beyond life sciences to provide cloud-computing access across all scientific disciplines.

    In June 2011, the university announced it would assume full ownership of the Biosphere 2 scientific research facility in Oracle, Arizona, north of Tucson, effective July 1. Biosphere 2 was constructed by private developers (funded mainly by Texas businessman and philanthropist Ed Bass) with its first closed system experiment commencing in 1991. The university had been the official management partner of the facility for research purposes since 2007.

    U Arizona mirror lab-Where else in the world can you find an astronomical observatory mirror lab under a football stadium?

    University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2, located in the Sonoran desert. An entire ecosystem under a glass dome? Visit our campus, just once, and you’ll quickly understand why The University of Arizona is a university unlike any other.

    University of Arizona Landscape Evolution Observatory at Biosphere 2.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:26 am on February 24, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The rise and fall of the riskiest asteroid in a decade", , Asteroid 2022 AE1, Asteroid Science,   

    From The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU): “The rise and fall of the riskiest asteroid in a decade” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    European Space Agency – United Space in Europe (EU)

    From The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)

    2.24.22

    1

    Asteroid 2022 AE1 observed with the Calar Alto Schmidt telescope in Spain


    Asteroid 2022 AE1 observed with the Calar Alto Schmidt telescope in Spain on the evening of 19 January 2022. The image is a composite of 124 frames, each one minute long, combined on the motion of the asteroid, and processed in order to remove the background stars. The asteroid is visible as the dot at the center of the image, inside the red box. Stack produced using Tycho. © ESA/NEOCC.

    __________________________________________________________________________

    In brief

    For a few tense days this January, a roughly 70-metre asteroid became the riskiest observed in over a decade. Despite the Moon’s attempt to scupper observations, the asteroid is now known to be entirely safe.

    *Join ESA, NASA and Asteroid Day LIVE from 19:00 CET this evening in “Killing asteroids – with the experts”, to find out more*.

    In-depth

    Initial observations of an asteroid dubbed ‘2022 AE1’ showed a potential Earth impact on 4 July 2023 – not enough time to attempt deflection and large enough to do real damage to a local area should it strike.

    Worryingly, the chance of impact appeared to increase based on the first seven days of observations, followed by a dramatic week ‘in the dark’ as the full Moon outshone the potential impactor, ruling out further observations. As the Moon moved aside, the skies dimmed and ESA’s Near-Earth Object Coordination Centre (NEOCC) took another look, only to find the chance of impact was dramatically falling.

    It has since been confirmed that 2022 AE1 will not impact Earth and has been removed from ESA’s risk list. So, what’s the story behind the excitement, and how can we trust this seemingly ‘meandering’ impact risk?

    Never seen anything like it

    “In January this year, we became aware of an asteroid with the highest ranking on the Palermo scale that we’ve seen in more than a decade, reaching -1.5” explains Marco Micheli, astronomer at ESA’s NEOCC.

    “In my almost ten years at ESA I’ve never seen such a risky object. It was a thrill to track 2022 AE1 and refine its trajectory until we had enough data to say for certain, this asteroid will not strike”.

    2
    The Torino Scale used to quantify the impact hazard of a certain NEO.
    The Torino scale is a simplified version of the Palermo scale, used as a communication tool to illustrate the impact hazard of asteroids from a combination of their probability of impact and the energy they could strike with.

    The Palermo scale is used by planetary defenders to categorise and prioritise the impact risk from near-Earth objects (NEOs) by combining the potential date of impact, the energy they would strike with and the impact probability.

    There are asteroids out there that will certainly hit Earth but are so small they are almost imperceptible as they burn up in our atmosphere. Others might be giant, extinction-level event asteroids which could do immense damage but are travelling in orbits around the Sun that are entirely safe.

    Values less than -2 on the Palermo Scale reflect events with no likely consequences; those between -2 and 0 indicate situations that merit careful monitoring, and positive values generally indicate situations that merit some level of concern.

    Planetary defenders – always alert

    On 7 January, one day after its discovery, asteroid 2022 AE1 was flagged for a potential future impact by the Asteroid Orbit Determination (AstOD) automated system that makes up part of the NEOCC’s suite of tools to assess the asteroid risk.

    Every day, the system automatically calculates the orbits from asteroid observation data provided by telescopes and observatories around the world. It then computes the Palermo Scale values, immediately publishing the results on the NEOCC web portal.

    More risky cases – when asteroids are categorized as -2 or above on the Palermo Scale – are first cross-referenced with analysis from JPL/Caltech-NASA(US), to be extra certain of calculations before they’re published on the public page.

    “I was surprised at first when I heard about the -1.50 rated asteroid, as it is very rare to have such high Palermo scale. Yet, I wasn’t too concerned as we get notifications like this – though at a lower level – few times per year,” explains Luca Conversi, Manager of the NEOCC.

    “As it is custom in these cases, we activated our global network of telescopes to immediately get more observations and it soon seemed this asteroid was unlike any other we’d seen.”

    The Sun never rises on ESA’s eyes on the sky …

    On the evening of Saturday 8 January, Marco ‘the impactor killer’ Micheli got hold of the 80 cm Schmidt telescope in Calar Alto [above], which the Coordination Centre has nearly continuous access to (weather permitting), to get more data.

    “There’s no waiting till Monday when you’re back in the Office with this job,” explains Marco, whose role is to gather enough data on asteroids in ESA’s ‘risk list’ such that they can be deemed safe, at which point they are removed.

    4
    ESA NEOCC has near-real-time access to a global network of telescopes.

    “But I love it, it’s part of the challenge. What makes this ‘detective work’ so much easier is that we have a network of telescopes on every continent that we can access in near real-time. It’s actually a unique capability of ESA which means it’s always night-time somewhere in our network, necessary to make asteroid observations”.

    ESA continued to monitor the asteroid, verifying results with NASA JPL which confirmed a worrying increase in the large rock’s chance of impact. Unfortunately, as the probability of impact peaked, observations became impossible.

    … until the Moon gets in the way

    During a tense week over 12-19 January, 2022 AE1 couldn’t be seen as the Moon outshone the dim potential impactor. On top of this, the asteroid was moving further away in its current orbit and getting fainter at the same time.

    “We just had to wait,” says Marco.

    Another one bites the dust

    5
    Asteroid 2022 AE1 topped ESA’s risk list before being removed entirely.

    As soon as the Moon was dim enough, the NEOCC team pointed the Schmidt telescope at where 2022 AE1 was expected to be. With one single observation, the risk level crashed – getting close to zero – and with that, the team moved on.

    “The data was clear, confirmed the next morning by our counterparts at NASA – asteroid 2022 AE1 poses no impact risk,” explains Laura Faggioli, near-Earth object dynamicist in the NEOCC who computed the orbit of 2022 AE1 throughout the observation period.

    “Had 2022 AE1’s path remained uncertain we would have used any means possible to keep watching it with the biggest telescopes we have. As it was removed from our risk list, we didn’t need to follow it anymore – time to move onto the next.”

    Although some keen observers have continued to monitor the asteroid, confirming results from ESA, we now know that in early July 2023, asteroid 2022 AE1 will fly by Earth at a distance of about ten million kilometres (+/- one million km) – more than 20 times the distance of the Moon.

    Asteroids often look risky before they’re proven safe


    How asteroids go from threat to no sweat

    It’s a funny thing about homing in on an asteroid and calculating its path, future position, and probability of impacting Earth – it will often appear risky during initial observations, get riskier, and then suddenly become entirely safe.

    In the case of an asteroid on a definite collision course, the risk would keep growing until it reaches 100%. Fortunately, in most cases, the risk of impact ultimately flattens before rapidly getting down to zero – but why? Does this suggest our results are uncertain? Can we really be sure asteroid removed from ESA’s ‘risk list’ are safe?

    The very first observation of an asteroid is ‘just’ a single dot of light in the sky. At this point, it’s not clear what it is or where it’s going. A second observation is needed to reveal an object in motion, and it is generally agreed that at least three are needed to determine an orbit – how quickly our asteroid is going and where it is headed. Further observations refine the orbit a little more, reducing uncertainties until we can be sure of where it won’t go: to Earth.

    At first, the future position of an asteroid is uncertain and so the “risk corridor” is a wide tunnel through which the asteroid could fly at any point. When any part of the corridor overlaps with Earth, the asteroid is considered a threat.

    As is often the case, the overlap with Earth remains even while the potential corridor gets smaller due to more observations and a more accurate understanding of the asteroid’s path – and so the risk appears to increase.

    More often than not, as the hazard zone narrows with more observations, the corridor moves off Earth and the risk suddenly drops. Even if some uncertainty remains about the path of an asteroid, we can know for sure it doesn’t pose a risk.

    © ESA – European Space Agency.

    6
    2022 AE1’s most risky risk corridor.

    The very first observation of an asteroid is ‘just’ a single dot of light in the sky. At this point, it’s not clear what it is or where it’s going. A second observation is needed to reveal an object in motion, at least three are needed to determine an orbit – how quickly our asteroid is going and where it is headed. Further observations refine the orbit a little more, reducing uncertainties until we can be sure of where it won’t go: primarily to Earth.

    As is often the case, the overlap with Earth remains even while the risk corridor gets smaller due to further observations – and so the risk appears to increase.

    More often than not, as the hazard zone narrows, the small potential corridor moves off Earth and the risk suddenly drops. Even if some uncertainty remains about the path of an asteroid, we can know for sure it doesn’t pose a risk.

    ESA’s Planetary Defence Office and Near-Earth Object Coordination Centre are now focussing on the next space rocks that could pose a threat, working with the international community to ensure that when an asteroid’s risk doesn’t drop, and an Earth impact looks likely, we are ready.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC (NL) in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the
    European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

    ESA’s space flight programme includes human spaceflight (mainly through participation in the International Space Station program); the launch and operation of uncrewed exploration missions to other planets and the Moon; Earth observation, science and telecommunication; designing launch vehicles; and maintaining a major spaceport, the The Guiana Space Centre [Centre Spatial Guyanais; CSG also called Europe’s Spaceport) at Kourou, French Guiana. The main European launch vehicle Ariane 5 is operated through Arianespace with ESA sharing in the costs of launching and further developing this launch vehicle. The agency is also working with NASA to manufacture the Orion Spacecraft service module that will fly on the Space Launch System.

    The agency’s facilities are distributed among the following centres:

    ESA European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) (NL)in Noordwijk, Netherlands;
    ESA Centre for Earth Observation [ESRIN] (IT) in Frascati, Italy;
    ESA Mission Control ESA European Space Operations Center [ESOC](DE) is in Darmstadt, Germany;
    ESA -European Astronaut Centre [EAC] trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany;
    European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT) (UK), a research institute created in 2009, is located in Harwell, England;
    ESA – European Space Astronomy Centre [ESAC] (ES) is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid, Spain.
    European Space Agency Science Programme is a long-term programme of space science and space exploration missions.

    Foundation

    After World War II, many European scientists left Western Europe in order to work with the United States. Although the 1950s boom made it possible for Western European countries to invest in research and specifically in space-related activities, Western European scientists realized solely national projects would not be able to compete with the two main superpowers. In 1958, only months after the Sputnik shock, Edoardo Amaldi (Italy) and Pierre Auger (France), two prominent members of the Western European scientific community, met to discuss the foundation of a common Western European space agency. The meeting was attended by scientific representatives from eight countries, including Harrie Massey (United Kingdom).

    The Western European nations decided to have two agencies: one concerned with developing a launch system, ELDO (European Launch Development Organization), and the other the precursor of the European Space Agency, ESRO (European Space Research Organisation). The latter was established on 20 March 1964 by an agreement signed on 14 June 1962. From 1968 to 1972, ESRO launched seven research satellites.

    ESA in its current form was founded with the ESA Convention in 1975, when ESRO was merged with ELDO. ESA had ten founding member states: Belgium, Denmark, France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. These signed the ESA Convention in 1975 and deposited the instruments of ratification by 1980, when the convention came into force. During this interval the agency functioned in a de facto fashion. ESA launched its first major scientific mission in 1975, Cos-B, a space probe monitoring gamma-ray emissions in the universe, which was first worked on by ESRO.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Later activities

    ESA collaborated with National Aeronautics Space Agency on the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE), the world’s first high-orbit telescope, which was launched in 1978 and operated successfully for 18 years.

    ESA Infrared Space Observatory.

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US) Solar Orbiter annotated.

    A number of successful Earth-orbit projects followed, and in 1986 ESA began Giotto, its first deep-space mission, to study the comets Halley and Grigg–Skjellerup. Hipparcos, a star-mapping mission, was launched in 1989 and in the 1990s SOHO, Ulysses and the Hubble Space Telescope were all jointly carried out with NASA. Later scientific missions in cooperation with NASA include the Cassini–Huygens space probe, to which ESA contributed by building the Titan landing module Huygens.

    ESA/Huygens Probe from Cassini landed on Titan.

    As the successor of ELDO, ESA has also constructed rockets for scientific and commercial payloads. Ariane 1, launched in 1979, carried mostly commercial payloads into orbit from 1984 onward. The next two versions of the Ariane rocket were intermediate stages in the development of a more advanced launch system, the Ariane 4, which operated between 1988 and 2003 and established ESA as the world leader in commercial space launches in the 1990s. Although the succeeding Ariane 5 experienced a failure on its first flight, it has since firmly established itself within the heavily competitive commercial space launch market with 82 successful launches until 2018. The successor launch vehicle of Ariane 5, the Ariane 6, is under development and is envisioned to enter service in the 2020s.

    The beginning of the new millennium saw ESA become, along with agencies like National Aeronautics Space Agency(US), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Indian Space Research Organisation, the Canadian Space Agency(CA) and Roscosmos(RU), one of the major participants in scientific space research. Although ESA had relied on co-operation with NASA in previous decades, especially the 1990s, changed circumstances (such as tough legal restrictions on information sharing by the United States military) led to decisions to rely more on itself and on co-operation with Russia. A 2011 press issue thus stated:

    “Russia is ESA’s first partner in its efforts to ensure long-term access to space. There is a framework agreement between ESA and the government of the Russian Federation on cooperation and partnership in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, and cooperation is already underway in two different areas of launcher activity that will bring benefits to both partners.”

    Notable ESA programmes include SMART-1, a probe testing cutting-edge space propulsion technology, the Mars Express and Venus Express missions, as well as the development of the Ariane 5 rocket and its role in the ISS partnership. ESA maintains its scientific and research projects mainly for astronomy-space missions such as Corot, launched on 27 December 2006, a milestone in the search for exoplanets.

    On 21 January 2019, ArianeGroup and Arianespace announced a one-year contract with ESA to study and prepare for a mission to mine the Moon for lunar regolith.

    Mission

    The treaty establishing the European Space Agency reads:

    The purpose of the Agency shall be to provide for and to promote, for exclusively peaceful purposes, cooperation among European States in space research and technology and their space applications, with a view to their being used for scientific purposes and for operational space applications systems…

    ESA is responsible for setting a unified space and related industrial policy, recommending space objectives to the member states, and integrating national programs like satellite development, into the European program as much as possible.

    Jean-Jacques Dordain – ESA’s Director General (2003–2015) – outlined the European Space Agency’s mission in a 2003 interview:

    “Today space activities have pursued the benefit of citizens, and citizens are asking for a better quality of life on Earth. They want greater security and economic wealth, but they also want to pursue their dreams, to increase their knowledge, and they want younger people to be attracted to the pursuit of science and technology. I think that space can do all of this: it can produce a higher quality of life, better security, more economic wealth, and also fulfill our citizens’ dreams and thirst for knowledge, and attract the young generation. This is the reason space exploration is an integral part of overall space activities. It has always been so, and it will be even more important in the future.”

    Activities

    According to the ESA website, the activities are:

    Observing the Earth
    Human Spaceflight
    Launchers
    Navigation
    Space Science
    Space Engineering & Technology
    Operations
    Telecommunications & Integrated Applications
    Preparing for the Future
    Space for Climate

    Programmes

    Copernicus Programme
    Cosmic Vision
    ExoMars
    FAST20XX
    Galileo
    Horizon 2000
    Living Planet Programme

    Mandatory

    Every member country must contribute to these programmes:

    Technology Development Element Programme
    Science Core Technology Programme
    General Study Programme
    European Component Initiative

    Optional

    Depending on their individual choices the countries can contribute to the following programmes, listed according to:

    Launchers
    Earth Observation
    Human Spaceflight and Exploration
    Telecommunications
    Navigation
    Space Situational Awareness
    Technology

    ESA_LAB@

    ESA has formed partnerships with universities. ESA_LAB@ refers to research laboratories at universities. Currently there are ESA_LAB@

    Technische Universität Darmstadt (DE)
    École des hautes études commerciales de Paris (HEC Paris) (FR)
    Université de recherche Paris Sciences et Lettres (FR)
    The University of Central Lancashire (UK)

    Membership and contribution to ESA

    By 2015, ESA was an intergovernmental organisation of 22 member states. Member states participate to varying degrees in the mandatory (25% of total expenditures in 2008) and optional space programmes (75% of total expenditures in 2008). The 2008 budget amounted to €3.0 billion whilst the 2009 budget amounted to €3.6 billion. The total budget amounted to about €3.7 billion in 2010, €3.99 billion in 2011, €4.02 billion in 2012, €4.28 billion in 2013, €4.10 billion in 2014 and €4.33 billion in 2015. English is the main language within ESA. Additionally, official documents are also provided in German and documents regarding the Spacelab are also provided in Italian. If found appropriate, the agency may conduct its correspondence in any language of a member state.

    Non-full member states
    Slovenia
    Since 2016, Slovenia has been an associated member of the ESA.

    Latvia
    Latvia became the second current associated member on 30 June 2020, when the Association Agreement was signed by ESA Director Jan Wörner and the Minister of Education and Science of Latvia, Ilga Šuplinska in Riga. The Saeima ratified it on July 27. Previously associated members were Austria, Norway and Finland, all of which later joined ESA as full members.

    Canada
    Since 1 January 1979, Canada has had the special status of a Cooperating State within ESA. By virtue of this accord, the Canadian Space Agency takes part in ESA’s deliberative bodies and decision-making and also in ESA’s programmes and activities. Canadian firms can bid for and receive contracts to work on programmes. The accord has a provision ensuring a fair industrial return to Canada. The most recent Cooperation Agreement was signed on 15 December 2010 with a term extending to 2020. For 2014, Canada’s annual assessed contribution to the ESA general budget was €6,059,449 (CAD$8,559,050). For 2017, Canada has increased its annual contribution to €21,600,000 (CAD$30,000,000).

    Enlargement

    After the decision of the ESA Council of 21/22 March 2001, the procedure for accession of the European states was detailed as described the document titled The Plan for European Co-operating States (PECS). Nations that want to become a full member of ESA do so in 3 stages. First a Cooperation Agreement is signed between the country and ESA. In this stage, the country has very limited financial responsibilities. If a country wants to co-operate more fully with ESA, it signs a European Cooperating State (ECS) Agreement. The ECS Agreement makes companies based in the country eligible for participation in ESA procurements. The country can also participate in all ESA programmes, except for the Basic Technology Research Programme. While the financial contribution of the country concerned increases, it is still much lower than that of a full member state. The agreement is normally followed by a Plan For European Cooperating State (or PECS Charter). This is a 5-year programme of basic research and development activities aimed at improving the nation’s space industry capacity. At the end of the 5-year period, the country can either begin negotiations to become a full member state or an associated state or sign a new PECS Charter.

    During the Ministerial Meeting in December 2014, ESA ministers approved a resolution calling for discussions to begin with Israel, Australia and South Africa on future association agreements. The ministers noted that “concrete cooperation is at an advanced stage” with these nations and that “prospects for mutual benefits are existing”.

    A separate space exploration strategy resolution calls for further co-operation with the United States, Russia and China on “LEO exploration, including a continuation of ISS cooperation and the development of a robust plan for the coordinated use of space transportation vehicles and systems for exploration purposes, participation in robotic missions for the exploration of the Moon, the robotic exploration of Mars, leading to a broad Mars Sample Return mission in which Europe should be involved as a full partner, and human missions beyond LEO in the longer term.”

    Relationship with the European Union

    The political perspective of the European Union (EU) was to make ESA an agency of the EU by 2014, although this date was not met. The EU member states provide most of ESA’s funding, and they are all either full ESA members or observers.

    History

    At the time ESA was formed, its main goals did not encompass human space flight; rather it considered itself to be primarily a scientific research organisation for uncrewed space exploration in contrast to its American and Soviet counterparts. It is therefore not surprising that the first non-Soviet European in space was not an ESA astronaut on a European space craft; it was Czechoslovak Vladimír Remek who in 1978 became the first non-Soviet or American in space (the first man in space being Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union) – on a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft, followed by the Pole Mirosław Hermaszewski and East German Sigmund Jähn in the same year. This Soviet co-operation programme, known as Intercosmos, primarily involved the participation of Eastern bloc countries. In 1982, however, Jean-Loup Chrétien became the first non-Communist Bloc astronaut on a flight to the Soviet Salyut 7 space station.

    Because Chrétien did not officially fly into space as an ESA astronaut, but rather as a member of the French CNES astronaut corps, the German Ulf Merbold is considered the first ESA astronaut to fly into space. He participated in the STS-9 Space Shuttle mission that included the first use of the European-built Spacelab in 1983. STS-9 marked the beginning of an extensive ESA/NASA joint partnership that included dozens of space flights of ESA astronauts in the following years. Some of these missions with Spacelab were fully funded and organizationally and scientifically controlled by ESA (such as two missions by Germany and one by Japan) with European astronauts as full crew members rather than guests on board. Beside paying for Spacelab flights and seats on the shuttles, ESA continued its human space flight co-operation with the Soviet Union and later Russia, including numerous visits to Mir.

    During the latter half of the 1980s, European human space flights changed from being the exception to routine and therefore, in 1990, the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany was established. It selects and trains prospective astronauts and is responsible for the co-ordination with international partners, especially with regard to the International Space Station. As of 2006, the ESA astronaut corps officially included twelve members, including nationals from most large European countries except the United Kingdom.

    In the summer of 2008, ESA started to recruit new astronauts so that final selection would be due in spring 2009. Almost 10,000 people registered as astronaut candidates before registration ended in June 2008. 8,413 fulfilled the initial application criteria. Of the applicants, 918 were chosen to take part in the first stage of psychological testing, which narrowed down the field to 192. After two-stage psychological tests and medical evaluation in early 2009, as well as formal interviews, six new members of the European Astronaut Corps were selected – five men and one woman.

    Cooperation with other countries and organisations

    ESA has signed co-operation agreements with the following states that currently neither plan to integrate as tightly with ESA institutions as Canada, nor envision future membership of ESA: Argentina, Brazil, China, India (for the Chandrayan mission), Russia and Turkey.

    Additionally, ESA has joint projects with the European Union, NASA of the United States and is participating in the International Space Station together with the United States (NASA), Russia and Japan (JAXA).

    European Union
    ESA and EU member states
    ESA-only members
    EU-only members

    ESA is not an agency or body of the European Union (EU), and has non-EU countries (Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom) as members. There are however ties between the two, with various agreements in place and being worked on, to define the legal status of ESA with regard to the EU.

    There are common goals between ESA and the EU. ESA has an EU liaison office in Brussels. On certain projects, the EU and ESA co-operate, such as the upcoming Galileo satellite navigation system. Space policy has since December 2009 been an area for voting in the European Council. Under the European Space Policy of 2007, the EU, ESA and its Member States committed themselves to increasing co-ordination of their activities and programmes and to organising their respective roles relating to space.

    The Lisbon Treaty of 2009 reinforces the case for space in Europe and strengthens the role of ESA as an R&D space agency. Article 189 of the Treaty gives the EU a mandate to elaborate a European space policy and take related measures, and provides that the EU should establish appropriate relations with ESA.

    Former Italian astronaut Umberto Guidoni, during his tenure as a Member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2009, stressed the importance of the European Union as a driving force for space exploration, “…since other players are coming up such as India and China it is becoming ever more important that Europeans can have an independent access to space. We have to invest more into space research and technology in order to have an industry capable of competing with other international players.”

    The first EU-ESA International Conference on Human Space Exploration took place in Prague on 22 and 23 October 2009. A road map which would lead to a common vision and strategic planning in the area of space exploration was discussed. Ministers from all 29 EU and ESA members as well as members of parliament were in attendance.

    National space organisations of member states:

    The Centre National d’Études Spatiales(FR) (CNES) (National Centre for Space Study) is the French government space agency (administratively, a “public establishment of industrial and commercial character”). Its headquarters are in central Paris. CNES is the main participant on the Ariane project. Indeed, CNES designed and tested all Ariane family rockets (mainly from its centre in Évry near Paris).
    The UK Space Agency is a partnership of the UK government departments which are active in space. Through the UK Space Agency, the partners provide delegates to represent the UK on the various ESA governing bodies. Each partner funds its own programme.
    The Italian Space Agency A.S.I. – Agenzia Spaziale Italiana was founded in 1988 to promote, co-ordinate and conduct space activities in Italy. Operating under the Ministry of the Universities and of Scientific and Technological Research, the agency cooperates with numerous entities active in space technology and with the president of the Council of Ministers. Internationally, the ASI provides Italy’s delegation to the Council of the European Space Agency and to its subordinate bodies.
    The German Aerospace Center (DLR)[Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V.] is the national research centre for aviation and space flight of the Federal Republic of Germany and of other member states in the Helmholtz Association. Its extensive research and development projects are included in national and international cooperative programmes. In addition to its research projects, the centre is the assigned space agency of Germany bestowing headquarters of German space flight activities and its associates.
    The Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA)(ES) (National Institute for Aerospace Technique) is a Public Research Organization specialised in aerospace research and technology development in Spain. Among other functions, it serves as a platform for space research and acts as a significant testing facility for the aeronautic and space sector in the country.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency(US)

    ESA has a long history of collaboration with NASA. Since ESA’s astronaut corps was formed, the Space Shuttle has been the primary launch vehicle used by ESA’s astronauts to get into space through partnership programmes with NASA. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Spacelab programme was an ESA-NASA joint research programme that had ESA develop and manufacture orbital labs for the Space Shuttle for several flights on which ESA participate with astronauts in experiments.

    In robotic science mission and exploration missions, NASA has been ESA’s main partner. Cassini–Huygens was a joint NASA-ESA mission, along with the Infrared Space Observatory, INTEGRAL, SOHO, and others.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US)/European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/ASI Italian Space Agency [Agenzia Spaziale Italiana](IT) Cassini Spacecraft.

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) Integral spacecraft.

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation] (EU)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US) SOHO satellite. Launched in 1995.

    Also, the Hubble Space Telescope is a joint project of NASA and ESA.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US)/European Space Agency[La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) Hubble Space Telescope.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency(USA)/European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation]Canadian Space Agency [Agence Spatiale Canadienne](CA) James Webb Space Telescope annotated. Launched December 25, 2021 ten years late.

    Gravity is talking. Lisa will listen. Dialogos of Eide.

    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US) eLISA space based, the future of gravitational wave research.

    NASA has committed to provide support to ESA’s proposed MarcoPolo-R mission to return an asteroid sample to Earth for further analysis. NASA and ESA will also likely join together for a Mars Sample Return Mission. In October 2020 the ESA entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NASA to work together on the Artemis program, which will provide an orbiting lunar gateway and also accomplish the first manned lunar landing in 50 years, whose team will include the first woman on the Moon.

    NASA ARTEMIS spacecraft depiction.
    Cooperation with other space agencies

    Since China has started to invest more money into space activities, the Chinese Space Agency(CN) has sought international partnerships. ESA is, beside the Russian Space Agency, one of its most important partners. Two space agencies cooperated in the development of the Double Star Mission. In 2017, ESA sent two astronauts to China for two weeks sea survival training with Chinese astronauts in Yantai, Shandong.

    ESA entered into a major joint venture with Russia in the form of the CSTS, the preparation of French Guiana spaceport for launches of Soyuz-2 rockets and other projects. With India, ESA agreed to send instruments into space aboard the ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 in 2008. ESA is also co-operating with Japan, the most notable current project in collaboration with JAXA is the BepiColombo mission to Mercury.

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency [国立研究開発法人宇宙航空研究開発機構](JP) Bepicolumbo in flight illustration. Artist’s impression of BepiColombo – ESA’s first mission to Mercury. ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) will be operated from ESA European Space Operations Center [ESOC](DE).

    Speaking to reporters at an air show near Moscow in August 2011, ESA head Jean-Jacques Dordain said ESA and Russia’s Roskosmos space agency would “carry out the first flight to Mars together.”

     
  • richardmitnick 12:38 pm on February 1, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Data from NSF’s NOIRLab Show Earth Trojan Asteroid Is the Largest Found", Asteroid Science, , , , ,   

    From The National Science Foundation (US)’ NOIRLab (National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory) (US): “Data from NSF’s NOIRLab Show Earth Trojan Asteroid Is the Largest Found” 

    From The National Science Foundation (US)’ NOIRLab (National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory) (US).

    1 February 2022

    Toni Santana-Ros
    Planetary Scientist
    University of Alicante [Universitat d’Alacant [univeɾsiˈtad dalaˈkant](ES) and Institute of Cosmos Sciences, University of Barcelona [Universidad de Barcelona](ES)
    Email: tsantanaros@icc.ub.edu

    Cesar Briceño
    SOAR Telescope Scientist
    NSF’s NOIRLab
    Tel: +56 51 2205 294
    Email: cesar.briceno@noirlab.edu

    Vanessa Thomas
    Public Information Officer
    NSF’s NOIRLab
    Tel: +1 520 318 8132
    Email: vanessa.thomas@noirlab.edu

    The SOAR Telescope [below], part of NOIRLab’s Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory [below], has helped astronomers refine the size and orbit of the largest known Earth Trojan companion.

    1
    By scanning the sky very close to the horizon at sunrise, the SOAR Telescope in Chile, part of Cerro-Tololo Inter-American Observatory, a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab, has helped astronomers confirm the existence of only the second-known Earth Trojan asteroid and reveals that it is over a kilometer wide — about three times larger than the first.

    Using the 4.1-meter SOAR (Southern Astrophysical Research) Telescope on Cerro Pachón in Chile, astronomers led by Toni Santana-Ros of the University of Alicante and the Institute of Cosmos Sciences of the University of Barcelona observed the recently discovered asteroid 2020 XL5 to constrain its orbit and size. Their results confirm that 2020 XL5 is an Earth Trojan — an asteroid companion to Earth that orbits the Sun along the same path as our planet does — and that it is the largest one yet found.

    “Trojans are objects sharing an orbit with a planet, clustered around one of two special gravitationally balanced areas along the orbit of the planet known as Lagrange points,” [1] says Cesar Briceño of NSF’s NOIRLab, who is one of the authors of a paper published today in Nature Communications reporting the results, and who helped make the observations with the SOAR Telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab, in March 2021.

    Several planets in the Solar System are known to have Trojan asteroids, but 2020 XL5 is only the second known Trojan asteroid found near Earth [2].

    Observations of 2020 XL5 were also made with the 4.3-meter Lowell Discovery Telescope at Lowell Observatory in Arizona and by the European Space Agency’s 1-meter Optical Ground Station in Tenerife in the Canary Islands.

    ESA Optical Ground Station, on the premises of the Instituto Astro- física de Canarias (IAC) at the Observatorio del Teide, Tenerife

    Discovery Channel Telescope(US), operated by the Lowell Observatory(US) in partnership with The University of Maryland(US), Boston University(US), The University of Toledo(US) and The Northern Arizona University (US) at The Lowell Observatory(US), Happy Jack AZ, USA, Altitude 2,360 m (7,740 ft)

    Discovered on 12 December 2020 by the Pan-STARRS1 survey telescope in Hawai‘i, 2020 XL5 is much larger than the first Earth Trojan discovered, called 2010 TK7.

    U Hawaii (US) Pan-STARRS1 (PS1) Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System is a 1.8-meter diameter telescope situated at Haleakala Observatories near the summit of Haleakala, altitude 10,023 ft (3,055 m) on the Island of Maui, Hawaii, USA. It is equipped with the world’s largest digital camera, with almost 1.4 billion pixels.

    The researchers found that 2020 XL5 is about 1.2 kilometers (0.73 miles) in diameter, about three times as wide as the first (2010 TK7 is estimated to be less than 400 meters or yards across).

    When 2020 XL5 was discovered, its orbit around the Sun was not known well enough to say whether it was merely a near-Earth asteroid crossing our orbit, or whether it was a true Trojan. SOAR’s measurements were so accurate that Santana-Ros’s team was then able to go back and search for 2020 XL5 in archival images from 2012 to 2019 taken as part of the Dark Energy Survey using the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) on the Víctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope located at CTIO in Chile. With almost 10 years of data on hand, the team was able to vastly improve our understanding of the asteroid’s orbit.

    Dark Energy Camera [DECam] built at DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory(US).

    NSF NOIRLab NOAO (US) Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory(CL) Victor M Blanco 4m Telescope which houses the Dark-Energy-Camera – DECam at Cerro Tololo, Chile at an altitude of 7200 feet.

    Although other studies have supported the Trojan asteroid’s identification [3], the new results make that determination far more robust and provide estimates of the size of 2020 XL5 and what type of asteroid it is.

    “SOAR’s data allowed us to make a first photometric analysis of the object, revealing that 2020 XL5 is likely a C-type asteroid, with a size larger than one kilometer,” says Santana-Ros. A C-type asteroid is dark, contains a lot of carbon, and is the most common type of asteroid in the Solar System.

    The findings also showed that 2020 XL5 will not remain a Trojan asteroid forever. It will remain stable in its position for at least another 4000 years, but eventually it will be gravitationally perturbed and escape to wander through space.

    2020 XL5 and 2010 TK7 may not be alone — there could be many more Earth Trojans that have so far gone undetected as they appear close to the Sun in the sky. This means that searches for, and observations of, Earth Trojans must be performed close to sunrise or sunset, with the telescope pointing near the horizon, through the thickest part of the atmosphere, which results in poor seeing conditions. SOAR was able to point down to 16 degrees above the horizon, while many 4-meter (and larger) telescopes are not able to aim that low [4].

    “These were very challenging observations, requiring the telescope to track correctly at its lowest elevation limit, as the object was very low on the western horizon at dawn,” says Briceño.

    Nevertheless, the prize of discovering Earth Trojans is worth the effort of finding them. Because they are made of primitive material dating back to the birth of the Solar System and could represent some of the building blocks that formed our planet, they are attractive targets for future space missions.

    “If we are able to discover more Earth Trojans, and if some of them can have orbits with lower inclinations, they might become cheaper to reach than our Moon,” says Briceño. “So they might become ideal bases for an advanced exploration of the Solar System, or they could even be a source of resources.”

    Notes:

    [1] Lagrange points are gravitationally balanced regions around two massive bodies, such as the Sun and a planet.

    LaGrange Points map. NASA.

    The Earth-Sun system has five Lagrange points: L1 is between Earth and the Sun; L2 is on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun; L3 is on the opposite side of the Sun from Earth; and L4 and L5 are along Earth’s orbit, one 60 degrees ahead of our planet along its orbit and the other 60 degrees behind it. (This image illustrates their positions.) Trojan asteroids are found at L4 and L5. The two Earth Trojans found so far are at L4.

    [2] Jupiter has over 5000 known Trojan asteroids, and a NASA spacecraft called Lucy has recently launched on a mission to explore them. Venus, Mars, Uranus, and Neptune are also known to have Trojan asteroids.

    Right NASA Lucy; Left PSYCHE. NASA.

    NASA depiction of Lucy Mission to Jupiter’s Trojans.

    [3] Man-To Hui (Macau University of Science and Technology [澳門科技大學](CN)) and collaborators published observations in The Astrophysical Journal Letters in December 2021 supporting the Trojan nature of 2020 XL5.

    [4] These kinds of observations low in the sky are also the ones that will be most affected by the increasing number of satellite constellations.

    More information

    This research is presented in a paper published on 1 February 2022 in Nature Communications.

    The team is composed of T. Santana-Ros (Departamento de Fisica, Ingeniería de Sistemas y Teoría de la Señal, Universidad de Alicante; Institut de Ciències del Cosmos, Universitat de Barcelona), M. Micheli (ESA NEO Coordination Centre), L. Faggioli (ESA NEO Coordination Centre), R. Cennamo (ESA NEO Coordination Centre), M. Devogèle (Arecibo Observatory; University of Central Florida), A. Alvarez-Candal (Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, CSIC; Instituto de Física Aplicada a las Ciencias y las Tecnologías, Universidad de Alicante; Observatório Nacional / MCTIC), D. Oszkiewicz (Faculty of Physics, Astronomical Observatory Institute), O. Ramírez (Solenix Deutschland), P.-Y. Liu (Instituto de Física Aplicada a las Ciencias y las Tecnologías, Universidad de Alicante), P.G. Benavidez (Departamento de Fisica, Ingeniería de Sistemas y Teoría de la Señal, Universidad de Alicante; Instituto de Física Aplicada a las Ciencias y las Tecnologías, Universidad de Alicante), A. Campo Bagatin (Departamento de Física, Ingeniería de Sistemas y Teoría de la Señal, Universidad de Alicante; Instituto de Física Aplicada a las Ciencias y las Tecnologías, Universidad de Alicante), E.J. Christensen (Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona,), R. J. Wainscoat (Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii), R. Weryk (Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Western Ontario), L. Fraga (Laboratório Nacional de Astrofísica LNA/MCTI), C. Briceño (Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory/NSF’s NOIRLab), and L. Conversi (ESA NEO Coordination Centre; ESA ESRIN).

    The Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) Telescope is a joint project of The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation [Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovações] (BR), NSF’s NOIRLab, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (US), and The Michigan State University(US).

    This work is supported in part by The Department of Energy (US) Office of Science.


    The Dark Energy Survey is a collaboration of more than 400 scientists from 26 institutions in seven countries. Funding for the DES Projects has been provided by the US Department of Energy Office of Science, The National Science Foundation (US), Ministry of Science and Education of Spain, The Science & Technology Facilities Council (UK), Higher Education Funding Council (UK),The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zürich [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich)](CH), National Center for Supercomputing Applications at The University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign (US), Kavli Institute of Cosmological Physics at The University of Chicago (US), Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics at The Ohio State University (US), Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy at The Texas A&M University (US), Brazil Funding Authority for Studies and Projects for Scientific and Technological Development [Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos ](BR), Carlos Chagas Filho Foundation for Research Support of the State of Rio de Janeiro [Fundação Carlos Chagas Filho de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro](BR), The Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development [Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico](BR), The German Research Foundation [Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft](DE), and the collaborating institutions in the Dark Energy Survey.

    See the full article here.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    What is NOIRLab?

    NSF’s NOIRLab (National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory) (US), the US center for ground-based optical-infrared astronomy, operates the international Gemini Observatory (US) (a facility of National Science Foundation (US), NRC–Canada, ANID–Chile, MCTIC–Brazil, MINCyT–Argentina, and Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute [한국천문연구원] (KR)), NOAO Kitt Peak National Observatory(US) (KPNO), Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory(CL) (CTIO), the Community Science and Data Center (CSDC), and Vera C. Rubin Observatory (in cooperation with DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (US)). It is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) (US) under a cooperative agreement with NSF and is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona. The astronomical community is honored to have the opportunity to conduct astronomical research on Iolkam Du’ag (Kitt Peak) in Arizona, on Maunakea in Hawaiʻi, and on Cerro Tololo and Cerro Pachón in Chile. We recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that these sites have to the Tohono O’odham Nation, to the Native Hawaiian community, and to the local communities in Chile, respectively.

    National Science Foundation(US) NOIRLab’s Gemini North Frederick C Gillett telescope at Mauna Kea Observatory Hawai’i (US) Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft).

    The National Science Foundation (US) NOIRLab(US) National Optical Astronomy Observatory (US) Gemini South telescope (US) on the summit of Cerro Pachón at an altitude of 7200 feet. There are currently two telescopes commissioned on Cerro Pachón, Gemini South and the SOAR Telescope — Southern Astrophysics Research Telescope. A third, the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, is under construction.

    The National Science Foundation (US) NOIRLab (US) National Optical Astronomy Observatory (US) Vera C. Rubin Observatory [LSST] Telescope currently under construction on the El Peñón peak at Cerro Pachón Chile, a 2,682-meter-high mountain in Coquimbo Region, in northern Chile, alongside the existing NSF (US) NOIRLab (US) NOAO (US) The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA)(US) Gemini South Telescope and Southern Astrophysical Research Telescope.

    Carnegie Institution for Science (US)’s Las Campanas Observatory on Cerro Pachón in the southern Atacama Desert of Chile in the Atacama Region approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) northeast of the city of La Serena,near the southern end and over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high.

    National Science Foundation(US) NOIRLab (US) National Optical Astronomy Observatory (US) Kitt Peak National Observatory (US) on Kitt Peak of the Quinlan Mountains in the Arizona-Sonoran Desert on the Tohono O’odham Nation, 88 kilometers (55 mi) west-southwest of Tucson, Arizona, Altitude 2,096 m (6,877 ft). annotated.

    NSF NOIRLab NOAO (US) Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory(CL) approximately 80 km to the East of La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 2200 meters.

    The NOAO-Community Science and Data Center(US)

    The NSF NOIRLab Vera C. Rubin Observatory. It is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy(US) under a cooperative agreement with NSF and is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona. The astronomical community is honored to have the opportunity to conduct astronomical research on Iolkam Du’ag (Kitt Peak) in Arizona, on Maunakea in Hawaiʻi, and on Cerro Tololo and Cerro Pachón in Chile. We recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that these sites have to the Tohono O’odham Nation, to the Native Hawaiian community, and to the local communities in Chile, respectively.

    This work is supported in part by The Department of Energy (US) Office of Science (US). The Dark Energy Survey is a collaboration of more than 400 scientists from 26 institutions in seven countries. Funding for the DES Projects has been provided by the US Department of Energy Office of Science, The National Science Foundation (US), Ministry of Science and Education of Spain, The Science and Technology Facilities Council (UK), The Higher Education Funding Council for England (UK), The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zürich [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich)](CH), The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (US) at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (US), The Kavli Institute of Cosmological Physics (US) at The University of Chicago (US), Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics at The Ohio State University (US), Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy at The Texas A&M University (US), Brazil Funding Authority for Studies and Projects for Scientific and Technological Development [Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos ] (BR) , Carlos Chagas Filho Foundation for Research Support of the State of Rio de Janeiro [Fundação Carlos Chagas Filho de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro](BR), The Ministry of Science and Technology [Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico and Ministério da Ciência e Tecnologia(BR), German Research Foundation [Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft](DE), and the collaborating institutions in the Dark Energy Survey.

    The National Center for Supercomputing Applications(US) at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (US) provides supercomputing and advanced digital resources for the nation’s science enterprise. At NCSA, The University of Illinois (US) faculty, staff, students, and collaborators from around the globe use advanced digital resources to address research grand challenges for the benefit of science and society. NCSA has been advancing one-third of the Fortune 50® for more than 30 years by bringing industry, researchers, and students together to solve grand challenges at rapid speed and scale.

    DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (US) is America’s premier national laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research. A Department of Energy (US) Office of Science laboratory, Fermilab is located near Chicago, Illinois, and operated under contract by the Fermi Research Alliance LLC, a joint partnership between The University of Chicago (US) and The Universities Research Association, Inc (US).

    The DOE Office of Science (US) is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:03 pm on December 21, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "We Finally Have The First-Ever Analysis of Stardust Retrieved From The Ryugu Asteroid", , Asteroid Science, , , , , , JAXA- The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JP), Samplings from Asteroid Ryugu, , , We already know Ryugu is what we call a C-type asteroid-the most common type of asteroid in the Solar System.   

    From JAXA- The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JP) via Science Alert (US) : “We Finally Have The First-Ever Analysis of Stardust Retrieved From The Ryugu Asteroid” 

    From JAXA-The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JP)

    via

    ScienceAlert

    Science Alert (US)

    20 DECEMBER 2021
    MICHELLE STARR

    1
    Samples from Asteroid Ryugu. (Yada et. al., Nat. Astron., 2021)

    It’s been over a year since the Hayabusa2 probe delivered its precious cargo of dust from an alien space rock, and we’re finally getting a more detailed glimpse of what makes up asteroid Ryugu.

    Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) (国立研究開発法人宇宙航空研究開発機構](JP) Hayabusa2

    In two papers published today in Nature Astronomy [links to papers are below], international teams of scientists have revealed that, in accordance with analyses conducted by the probe while at the asteroid, Ryugu is very dark, very porous, and some of the most primitive Solar System material we’ve ever had access to here on Earth.

    Although not unexpected, the results are very cool. Since the asteroid has remained more or less unchanged since the formation of the Solar System 4.5 billion years ago, the sample is one of our best tools yet for understanding the composition of the dust from which the inner Solar System objects coalesced.

    “The Hayabusa2 returned samples … appear to be among the most primordial materials available in our laboratories,” wrote one of the teams in their paper. “The samples constitute a uniquely precious collection, which may contribute to revisiting the paradigms of Solar System origin and evolution.”

    Asteroid Ryugu, formerly known as 1999 JU3, is only the second asteroid from which a sample return mission has been conducted. The first was Itokawa, whose sample return mechanism failed, resulting in only a minute amount of dust finally reaching Earth in 2010.

    Ryugu is about a kilometer (0.62 miles) across, with a ridge around its equator; it travels an elliptical orbit that carries it just inside Earth’s orbital path around the Sun, then out almost as far as Mars’s orbit. The mission to get to the asteroid, touch down on it twice, then return any dust retrieved to Earth took a deeply impressive level of skill and planning.

    But it worked, and 5.4 grams of precious asteroid dust were returned and duly analyzed, while Hayabusa2 sailed off for a series of rendezvous with other asteroids over the coming years.

    2
    Ryugu samples returned by the Hayabusa2 probe. (Yada et. al., Nat. Astron., 2021)

    Based on remote sensing and on-asteroid measurements, we already know Ryugu is what we call a C-type asteroid- the most common type of asteroid in the Solar System. These rocks are rich in carbon, which makes them very dark; they also have lots of volatile elements.

    In the first paper, led by astronomer Toru Yada of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), an analysis of a Ryugu sample reveals that the asteroid is extremely dark. Typically, C-type asteroids have an albedo (that’s the measure of how much solar radiation a body reflects) of 0.03 to 0.09. Asphalt has an albedo of 0.04. Ryugu’s albedo is 0.02. That means it reflects just 2 percent of the solar radiation that hits it.

    The asteroid is also, the researchers determined, extremely porous. According to their measurements, Ryugu has a porosity of 46 percent. That’s more porous than any carbonaceous meteorite we’ve ever had the opportunity to study, although we have seen more porous asteroids. This is consistent with the asteroid’s porosity as measured by remote thermal imaging, and measurements conducted on the asteroid itself.

    In the second paper, a team led by astronomer Cédric Pilorget of The Paris-Saclay University[Université Paris-Saclay](FR) analyzed the composition of the dust. They detected that the asteroid seems to consist of an extremely dark matrix, possibly dominated by phyllosilicates, or clay-like minerals, although there was a lack of a clear hydration signature.

    In this matrix, they identified inclusions of other minerals, such as carbonates, iron, and volatile compounds.

    Both of these papers agree that, in porosity and composition, Ryugu seems most similar to a type of meteorite classed as “CI chondrites”. That means the meteorite is carbonaceous, and similar to the Ivuna meteorite. These meteorites have, compared to other meteorites, a composition very similar to that of the solar photosphere, suggesting they are the most primitive of all known space rocks.

    More in-depth analyses will no doubt be on the way to try to discover more – not just about Ryugu, but what our Solar System was like as it was forming from the Sun’s leftover dust.

    “Our initial observations in the laboratory for the entire set of returned samples demonstrate that Hayabusa2 retrieved a representative and unprocessed (albeit slightly fragmented) sample from Ryugu,” Yada’s team wrote in their paper.

    “Our data support and extend remote-sensing observations that suggested that Ryugu is dominated by hydrous carbonaceous chondrite-like materials, similar to CI chondrites, but with a darker, more porous and more fragile nature. This inference should be further corroborated by in-depth investigations hereafter by state-of-the-art analytical methods with higher resolution and precision.”

    The two papers have been published in Nature Astronomy:

    Nature Astronomy

    Nature Astronomy

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) (JP) was born through the merger of three institutions, namely the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL) and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA). It was designated as a core performance agency to support the Japanese government’s overall aerospace development and utilization. JAXA, therefore, can conduct integrated operations from basic research and development, to utilization.

    In 2013, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of its founding, JAXA created the corporate slogan, “Explore to Realize,” which reflects its management philosophy of utilizing space and the sky to achieve a safe and affluent society.

    JAXA became a National Research and Development Agency in April 2015, and took a new step forward to achieve optimal R&D achievements for Japan, according to the government’s purpose of establishing a national R&D agency.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:24 pm on November 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "NASA’s DART Spacecraft Launches in World’s First Planetary Defense Test Mission", As just one part of NASA’s larger planetary defense strategy DART will send a spacecraft to impact a known asteroid to slightly change its motion., Asteroid Science, DART from JHUAPL is the world’s first full-scale mission to test technology for defending the planet against potential asteroid or comet hazards., DART will intercept the Didymos system in late September of 2022., Hera from ESA,   

    From The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab : “NASA’s DART Spacecraft Launches in World’s First Planetary Defense Test Mission” 

    The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab

    From The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab

    National Aeronautics Space Agency(US) DART in space depiction.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US) NASA Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission (US) schematic

    Lighting up the California coastline early in the morning of Nov. 24, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carried NASA’s Double Asteroid Direction Test (DART) spacecraft off the planet to begin its one-way trip to crash into an asteroid.

    DART — a mission designed, developed and managed by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, for NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office — is the world’s first full-scale mission to test technology for defending the planet against potential asteroid or comet hazards. The spacecraft launched Wednesday morning at 1:21 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

    As just one part of NASA’s larger planetary defense strategy DART will send a spacecraft to impact a known asteroid that is not a threat to Earth, to slightly change its motion in a way that can be accurately measured via ground-based telescopic observations. DART will show that a spacecraft can autonomously navigate to a target asteroid and intentionally collide with it. It’s a method called kinetic impact, and the test will provide important data to help humankind better prepare for an asteroid that might post an impact hazard to Earth, should one ever be discovered.

    “The Double Asteroid Redirection Test represents the best of APL’s approach to space science and engineering: identify the challenge, devise an innovative and cost-effective technical solution to address it, and work relentlessly to solve it,” said APL Director Ralph Semmel. “We are honored that NASA has entrusted APL with this critical mission, where the fate of the world really could rest on our success.”

    At 2:17 a.m. EST, DART separated from the second stage of its launch vehicle. Minutes later, mission operators at APL received the first spacecraft telemetry data and started the process of orienting the spacecraft to a safe position for deploying its solar arrays. Almost two hours later, the spacecraft successfully unfurled its two 28-foot-long roll-out solar arrays. They will power both the spacecraft and NASA’s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster – Commercial (NEXT-C) ion engine, one of several technologies being tested on DART for future application on space missions.

    “The DART team overcame the technical, logistical and personal challenges of a global pandemic to deliver this spacecraft to the launch pad, and I’m confident that its next step — actually deflecting an asteroid — will be just as successful,” said Mike Ryschkewitsch, head of APL’s Space Exploration Sector. “It gives me a lot of assurance that if we ever have to embark on an urgent planetary defense mission, we have the people and the playbook to make it happen.”

    DART’s one-way trip is to the Didymos asteroid system, which comprises a pair of asteroids — one small, the other large — that orbit a common center of gravity. DART’s target is the asteroid moonlet Dimorphos, which is approximately 530 feet (160 meters) in diameter and orbits Didymos, which is approximately 2,560 feet (780 meters) in diameter. Since Dimorphos orbits the larger asteroid Didymos at a much slower relative speed than the pair orbits the Sun, the slight orbit change resulting from DART’s kinetic impact within the binary system can be measured much more easily than a change in the orbit of a single asteroid around the Sun.

    The spacecraft will intercept the Didymos system in late September of 2022, intentionally slamming into Dimorphos at roughly 4 miles per second (6 kilometers per second) so that the spacecraft alters the asteroid’s path around Didymos. Scientists estimate the kinetic impact will shorten Dimorphos’ orbit by several minutes, and they will precisely measure that change using telescopes on Earth. The results will be used to both validate and improve scientific computer models that are critical to predicting the effectiveness of kinetic impact as a reliable method for asteroid deflection.

    “It is an indescribable feeling to see something you’ve been involved with since the ‘words on paper’ stage become real and launched into space,” said Andy Cheng, one of the DART investigation leads at APL and the individual who came up with the idea of DART. “This is just the end of the first act, and the DART investigation and engineering teams have much work to do over the next year preparing for the main event — DART’s kinetic impact on Dimorphos. But tonight we celebrate!”

    DART’s single instrument, the camera DRACO (Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation), will turn on a week from now and provide the first images from the spacecraft. DART will continue to travel just outside of Earth’s orbit around the Sun for the next 10 months until Didymos and Dimorphos will be a relatively close 6.8 million miles (11 million kilometers) from Earth.

    A sophisticated guidance, navigation and control (GNC) system, working with algorithms developed at APL called SMART Nav (Small-body Maneuvering Autonomous Real Time Navigation) will enable the DART spacecraft to identify and distinguish between the two asteroids and then, working in concert with the other GNC elements, direct the spacecraft toward Dimorphos, all within roughly an hour of impact.

    Provided by the Italian Space Agency A.S.I. – [Agenzia Spaziale Italiana] (IT), the Light Italian CubeSat for Imaging of Asteroids (LICIACube) will ride along with DART and be released prior to impact. LICIACube will then capture images of the DART impact, the resulting ejecta cloud and possibly a glimpse of the impact crater on the surface of Dimorphos. It will also look at the back side of Dimorphos, which DRACO will never have a chance to see, gathering further data to enhance the kinetic models.

    8
    DART team engineers lift and inspect the LICIACube CubeSat after it arrived at Johns Hopkins APL in August. The miniaturized satellite will deploy 10 days before DART’s asteroid impact, providing essential footage of the collision and subsequent plume of materials. Here, one of the solar panel arrays on the satellite’s wings is visible. Credit: Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman.

    9
    DART team members from Johns Hopkins APL and the company Argotec, which sent members on behalf of the Italian Space Agency, carefully maneuver LICIACube into place on the DART spacecraft in a clean room at APL. LICIACube’s full integration was in early September. Credit: Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman.

    10
    Engineers Alessandro di Paola (left) and Silvio Patruno from the company Argotec came to help install LICIACube on behalf of the Italian Space Agency. Here, they stand with the DART spacecraft and the fully installed box containing LICIACube (center) in a clean room at APL. Credit: Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman.

    2
    APL, which manages and is building NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), led the installation of NEXT-C onto the spacecraft on Nov. 10, with team members from Aerojet Rocketdyne on hand to support the process. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman.

    3
    The DART team lifted the thruster bracket assembly off of the assembly table and positioned it at the top of the spacecraft, a delicate and challenging move that required several team members to ensure everything went smoothly. “This took some care as the thruster’s propellant lines extended below the bottom of the bracket ring and could have been damaged if the lift was not performed properly,” said APL’s Jeremy John, lead propulsion engineer on DART. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman.

    4
    Once the NEXT-C thruster was safely lowered atop the spacecraft’s central cylinder, fasteners were installed to secure the thruster to the DART spacecraft. The team then connected the electrical harnesses and propellant lines between the thruster bracket assembly and the spacecraft. With DART successfully outfitted with NEXT-C, both propulsion systems are now fully installed on the spacecraft, and the next step will be to put the systems through environmental testing at APL. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman.

    5
    NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft sets off to collide with an asteroid in the world’s first full-scale planetary defense test mission. Riding atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, DART took off Wednesday, Nov. 24, from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

    6
    Andy Cheng, a Johns Hopkins APL planetary scientist and one of the DART investigation leads, reacts after the successful launch of the DART spacecraft. Cheng was the individual who came up with the idea of DART. He watched the launch from the Mission Operations Center at APL’s Laurel, Maryland, campus. Credit: Johns Hopkins APL/Craig Weiman.

    DART will be followed by Hera from The European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) in 2024

    6

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)’s Hera spacecraft depiction.

    For more information about the DART mission, visit https://dart.jhuapl.edu.

    See the full article here.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Johns Hopkins University campus

    JHUAPL campus

    Founded on March 10, 1942—just three months after the United States entered World War II— The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab (US) -was created as part of a federal government effort to mobilize scientific resources to address wartime challenges.

    The Applied Physics Lab was assigned the task of finding a more effective way for ships to defend themselves against enemy air attacks. The Laboratory designed, built, and tested a radar proximity fuze (known as the VT fuze) that significantly increased the effectiveness of anti-aircraft shells in the Pacific—and, later, ground artillery during the invasion of Europe. The product of the Laboratory’s intense development effort was later judged to be, along with the atomic bomb and radar, one of the three most valuable technology developments of the war.

    On the basis of that successful collaboration, the government, The Johns Hopkins University, and APL made a commitment to continue their strategic relationship. The Laboratory rapidly became a major contributor to advances in guided missiles and submarine technologies. Today, more than seven decades later, the Laboratory’s numerous and diverse achievements continue to strengthen our nation.

    The Applied Physics Lab continues to relentlessly pursue the mission it has followed since its first day: to make critical contributions to critical challenges for our nation.

    Johns Hopkins University opened in 1876, with the inauguration of its first president, Daniel Coit Gilman. “What are we aiming at?” Gilman asked in his installation address. “The encouragement of research … and the advancement of individual scholars, who by their excellence will advance the sciences they pursue, and the society where they dwell.”

    The mission laid out by Gilman remains the university’s mission today, summed up in a simple but powerful restatement of Gilman’s own words: “Knowledge for the world.”

    What Gilman created was a research university, dedicated to advancing both students’ knowledge and the state of human knowledge through research and scholarship. Gilman believed that teaching and research are interdependent, that success in one depends on success in the other. A modern university, he believed, must do both well. The realization of Gilman’s philosophy at Johns Hopkins, and at other institutions that later attracted Johns Hopkins-trained scholars, revolutionized higher education in America, leading to the research university system as it exists today.

    The Johns Hopkins University (US) is a private research university in Baltimore, Maryland. Founded in 1876, the university was named for its first benefactor, the American entrepreneur and philanthropist Johns Hopkins. His $7 million bequest (approximately $147.5 million in today’s currency)—of which half financed the establishment of the Johns Hopkins Hospital—was the largest philanthropic gift in the history of the United States up to that time. Daniel Coit Gilman, who was inaugurated as the institution’s first president on February 22, 1876, led the university to revolutionize higher education in the U.S. by integrating teaching and research. Adopting the concept of a graduate school from Germany’s historic Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg, [Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg] (DE), Johns Hopkins University is considered the first research university in the United States. Over the course of several decades, the university has led all U.S. universities in annual research and development expenditures. In fiscal year 2016, Johns Hopkins spent nearly $2.5 billion on research. The university has graduate campuses in Italy, China, and Washington, D.C., in addition to its main campus in Baltimore.

    Johns Hopkins is organized into 10 divisions on campuses in Maryland and Washington, D.C., with international centers in Italy and China. The two undergraduate divisions, the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and the Whiting School of Engineering, are located on the Homewood campus in Baltimore’s Charles Village neighborhood. The medical school, nursing school, and Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Johns Hopkins Children’s Center are located on the Medical Institutions campus in East Baltimore. The university also consists of the Peabody Institute, Applied Physics Laboratory, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, School of Education, Carey Business School, and various other facilities.

    Johns Hopkins was a founding member of the American Association of Universities (US). As of October 2019, 39 Nobel laureates and 1 Fields Medalist have been affiliated with Johns Hopkins. Founded in 1883, the Blue Jays men’s lacrosse team has captured 44 national titles and plays in the Big Ten Conference as an affiliate member as of 2014.

    Research

    The opportunity to participate in important research is one of the distinguishing characteristics of Hopkins’ undergraduate education. About 80 percent of undergraduates perform independent research, often alongside top researchers. In FY 2013, Johns Hopkins received $2.2 billion in federal research grants—more than any other U.S. university for the 35th consecutive year. Johns Hopkins has had seventy-seven members of the Institute of Medicine, forty-three Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators, seventeen members of the National Academy of Engineering, and sixty-two members of the National Academy of Sciences. As of October 2019, 39 Nobel Prize winners have been affiliated with the university as alumni, faculty members or researchers, with the most recent winners being Gregg Semenza and William G. Kaelin.

    Between 1999 and 2009, Johns Hopkins was among the most cited institutions in the world. It attracted nearly 1,222,166 citations and produced 54,022 papers under its name, ranking No. 3 globally [after Harvard University (US) and the Max Planck Society (DE) in the number of total citations published in Thomson Reuters-indexed journals over 22 fields in America.

    In FY 2000, Johns Hopkins received $95.4 million in research grants from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US), making it the leading recipient of NASA research and development funding. In FY 2002, Hopkins became the first university to cross the $1 billion threshold on either list, recording $1.14 billion in total research and $1.023 billion in federally sponsored research. In FY 2008, Johns Hopkins University performed $1.68 billion in science, medical and engineering research, making it the leading U.S. academic institution in total R&D spending for the 30th year in a row, according to a National Science Foundation (US) ranking. These totals include grants and expenditures of JHU’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.

    The Johns Hopkins University also offers the “Center for Talented Youth” program—a nonprofit organization dedicated to identifying and developing the talents of the most promising K-12 grade students worldwide. As part of the Johns Hopkins University, the “Center for Talented Youth” or CTY helps fulfill the university’s mission of preparing students to make significant future contributions to the world. The Johns Hopkins Digital Media Center (DMC) is a multimedia lab space as well as an equipment, technology and knowledge resource for students interested in exploring creative uses of emerging media and use of technology.

    In 2013, the Bloomberg Distinguished Professorships program was established by a $250 million gift from Michael Bloomberg. This program enables the university to recruit fifty researchers from around the world to joint appointments throughout the nine divisions and research centers. Each professor must be a leader in interdisciplinary research and be active in undergraduate education. Directed by Vice Provost for Research Denis Wirtz, there are currently thirty two Bloomberg Distinguished Professors at the university, including three Nobel Laureates, eight fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (US), ten members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and thirteen members of the National Academies.

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel
%d bloggers like this: