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  • richardmitnick 8:17 am on January 14, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , NASA JPL - Caltech, , , The celestial object TOI 700 e   

    From NASA JPL-Caltech Via “Science Alert (AU)” : “NASA Just Discovered a Rare Earth-Sized Planet in a Habitable Zone” 

    From NASA JPL-Caltech

    Via

    ScienceAlert

    “Science Alert (AU)”

    1.14.23
    David Nield

    1
    Exoplanet TOI 700 e An illustration of how exoplanet TOI 700 e might look (Robert Hurt/NASA/JPL-Caltech.)

    When it comes to finding life outside of our Solar System, planets that closely resemble Earth seem like a good place to start. We can now welcome celestial object TOI 700 e to that group of promising leads.

    TOI 700 e has been confirmed orbiting inside the habitable zone of its star, TOI 700. That’s the region of space where significant quantities of water on its surface would be at a temperature suitable for a liquid form. Too warm for a blanket of ice, yet still cool enough for vapor to condense, these kinds of planets are considered ‘just right’ for life as we know it.

    We can thank NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, for finding TOI 700 e, and for giving it its name (TOI means TESS Object of Interest).

    It is the second planet in the habitable zone in this system, joining TOI 700 d that was spotted in 2020.

    “This is one of only a few systems with multiple, small, habitable-zone planets that we know of,” says planetary scientist Emily Gilbert, from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California.

    “That makes the TOI 700 system an exciting prospect for additional follow up. Planet e is about 10 percent smaller than planet d, so the system also shows how additional TESS observations help us find smaller and smaller worlds.”

    TOI 700 is a small, cool star (known as an M dwarf star), located around 100 light-years away from us in the Dorado constellation. These stars are nowhere near as big or as hot as our own Sun, so planets need to be closer to them for conditions to be warm enough for water to avoid freezing.

    As for TOI 700 e, it is believed to be 95 percent the size of Earth and mainly rocky. It sits in the ‘optimistic’ habitable zone – a zone where water may have existed at some point in time. TOI 700 d is in the narrower ‘conservative’ habitable zone, which is where astronomers think liquid water might exist for the majority of a planet’s existence.

    Telescopes see these exoplanets (planets outside our Solar System) as regular blips in the light of their parent stars as they pass in front of it, in what’s known as a transit. With more surface blocking the star’s light, larger planets present easier opportunities to be seen than small, rocky worlds, making Earth-like discoveries like this one a rare treat.

    TOI 700 e takes 28 days to do a single orbit, whereas TOI 700 d – which is a little further out than its neighbor – takes 37 days. As TOI 700 e is smaller than TOI 700 d, it took more data to confirm the silhouette really did represent a new planet.

    “If the star was a little closer or the planet a little bigger, we might have been able to spot TOI 700 e in the first year of TESS data,” says astrophysicist Ben Hord from the University of Maryland. “But the signal was so faint that we needed the additional year of transit observations to identify it.”

    TESS is monitoring around 100 million stars, and so any way we can find to narrow down the search for life is going to be useful. Finding exoplanets in their respective habitable zones is one of the best ways we’ve got of doing that.

    Both TOI 700 e and TOI 700 d are thought to be tidally locked: in other words, one side of the planet is always facing its star (in the same way that the same side of the Moon is always visible from Earth). Having one side of a planet constantly baking in the sunlight does reduce the likelihood of complex life getting off to a smooth start, admittedly.

    Even if these ‘just right’ planets aren’t exactly perfect for life, they do tell us a thing or two about finding solar systems that might be better suited for it. By studying star systems like the one we’re in, astronomers can also better understand the evolution of our home and how neighboring planets came to their current orbits.

    “Even with more than 5,000 exoplanets discovered to date, TOI 700 e is a key example that we have a lot more to learn,” says astronomer Joey Rodriguez from Michigan State University.

    The research has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letters [ https://arxiv.org/pdf/2301.03617.pdf ].

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    NASA JPL-Caltech Campus

    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.

    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 [Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, and associated programs.] NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from the[JAXA]Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:03 pm on December 31, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "HAARP to bounce signal off asteroid in NASA experiment", , , , , , High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program [HAARP], NASA JPL - Caltech,   

    From The University of Alaska-Fairbanks And NASA JPL-Caltech: “HAARP to bounce signal off asteroid in NASA experiment” 

    From The University of Alaska-Fairbanks

    And

    NASA JPL-Caltech

    12.22.22
    Rod Boyce
    rcboyce@alaska.edu
    907-474-7185

    ADDITIONAL CONTACT:
    Ian J. O’Neill
    NASA JPL/Caltech
    ian.j.oneill@jpl.nasa.gov

    An experiment to bounce a radio signal off an asteroid on Dec. 27 will serve as a test for probing a larger asteroid that in 2029 will pass closer to Earth than the many geostationary satellites that orbit our planet.

    The High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program [HAARP] research site in Gakona will transmit radio signals to asteroid 2010 XC15, which could be about 500 feet across. The University of New Mexico Long Wavelength Array near Socorro, New Mexico, and the Owens Valley Radio Observatory Long Wavelength Array near Bishop, California, will receive the signal.

    This will be the first use of HAARP to probe an asteroid.

    “What’s new and what we are trying to do is probe asteroid interiors with long wavelength radars and radio telescopes from the ground,” said Mark Haynes, lead investigator on the project and a radar systems engineer at NASA’s JPL-Caltech. “Longer wavelengths can penetrate the interior of an object much better than the radio wavelengths used for communication.”

    2
    This image from an animation shows the projected path of the asteroid 2010 XC15 as it passes by Earth. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

    Knowing more about an asteroid’s interior, especially of an asteroid large enough to cause major damage on Earth, is important for determining how to defend against it.

    “If you know the distribution of mass, you can make an impactor more effective, because you’ll know where to hit the asteroid a little better,” Haynes said.

    Many programs exist to quickly detect asteroids, determine their orbit and shape and image their surface, either with optical telescopes or the planetary radar of the Deep Space Network, NASA’s network of large and highly sensitive radio antennas in California, Spain and Australia.

    Those radar-imaging programs use signals of short wavelengths, which bounce off the surface and provide high-quality external images but don’t penetrate an object.

    HAARP will transmit a continually chirping signal to asteroid 2010 XC15 at slightly above and below 9.6 megahertz (9.6 million times per second). The chirp will repeat at two-second intervals. Distance will be a challenge, Haynes said, because the asteroid will be twice as far from Earth as the moon is.

    The University of Alaska Fairbanks operates HAARP under an agreement with the Air Force, which developed and owned HAARP but transferred the research instruments to UAF in August 2015. 

    The test on 2010 XC15 is yet another step toward the globally anticipated 2029 encounter with asteroid Apophis. It follows tests in January and October in which the moon was the target of a HAARP signal bounce.

    3
    With temperatures falling to 40 degrees below zero, a frosty landscape surrounds antennas at the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program site in Gakona, Alaska, on Dec. 20, 2022. HAARP conducted a run-through on that date to prepare for the Dec. 27 asteroid bounce experiment. Photo by JR Ancheta/UAF/GI .

    Apophis was discovered in 2004 and will make its closest approach to Earth on April 13, 2029, when it comes within 20,000 miles. Geostationary satellites orbit Earth at about 23,000 miles. The asteroid, which NASA estimated to be about 1,100 feet across, was initially thought to pose a risk to Earth in 2068, but its orbit has since been better projected by researchers.

    The test on 2010 XC15 and the 2029 Apophis encounter are of general interest to scientists who study near-Earth objects. But planetary defense is also a key research driver.

    “The more time there is before a potential impact, the more options there are to try to deflect it,” Haynes said.

    NASA says an automobile-sized asteroid hits Earth’s atmosphere about once a year, creating a fireball and burning up before reaching the surface.

    About every 2,000 years a meteoroid the size of a football field hits Earth. Those can cause a lot of damage. And as for wiping out civilization, NASA says an object large enough to do that strikes the planet once every few million years.

    NASA first successfully redirected an asteroid on Sept. 26, when its Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission, or DART, collided with Dimorphos. That asteroid is an orbiting moonlet of the larger Didymos asteroid.

    The DART collision altered the moonlet’s orbit time by 32 minutes.

    The Dec. 27 test could reveal great potential for the use of asteroid sensing by long wavelength radio signals. Approximately 80 known near-Earth asteroids passed between the moon and Earth in 2019, most of them small and discovered near closest approach.

    “If we can get the ground-based systems up and running, then that will give us a lot of chances to try to do interior sensing of these objects,” Haynes said.

    The National Science Foundation is funding the work through its award to the Geophysical Institute for establishing the Subauroral Geophysical Observatory for Space Physics and Radio Science in Gakona

    “HAARP is excited to partner with NASA and JPL to advance our knowledge of near-Earth objects,” said Jessica Matthews, HAARP’s program manager.

    About HAARP

    The High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program, or HAARP, is a scientific endeavor aimed at studying the properties and behavior of the ionosphere. “The ionosphere stretches roughly 50 to 400 miles above Earth’s surface, right at the edge of space. Along with the neutral upper atmosphere, the ionosphere forms the boundary between Earth’s lower atmosphere — where we live and breathe — and the vacuum of space.” (NASA)

    Operation of the research facility was transferred from the United States Air Force to the University of Alaska Fairbanks on Aug. 11, 2015, allowing HAARP to continue with exploration of ionospheric phenomenology via a land-use cooperative research and development agreement.

    HAARP is the world’s most capable high-power, high-frequency transmitter for study of the ionosphere. The HAARP program is committed to developing a world-class ionospheric research facility consisting of:

    The Ionospheric Research Instrument, a high power transmitter facility operating in the High Frequency range. The IRI can be used to temporarily excite a limited area of the ionosphere for scientific study.

    A sophisticated suite of scientific or diagnostic instruments that can be used to observe the physical processes that occur in the excited region.

    Observation of the processes resulting from the use of the IRI in a controlled manner will allow scientists to better understand processes that occur continuously under the natural stimulation of the sun.

    Scientific instruments installed at the HAARP Observatory can also be used for a variety of continuing research efforts which do not involve the use of the IRI but are strictly passive. These include ionospheric characterization using satellite beacons, telescopic observation of the fine structure in the aurora and documentation of long-term variations in the ozone layer.

    See the full article here.

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NASA JPL-Caltech Campus

    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.

    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 [Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, and associated programs.] NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from the[JAXA]Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.

    The The University of Alaska-Fairbanks is a public land-grant research university in College, Alaska; a suburb of Fairbanks. It is a flagship campus of the University of Alaska system. UAF was established in 1917 and opened for classes in 1922. Originally named the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines, it became the University of Alaska in 1935. Fairbanks-based programs became the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1975.

    University of Alaska-Fairbanks is classified among “R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity”. It is home to several major research units, including the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station; the Geophysical Institute, which operates the Poker Flat Research Range and several other scientific centers; the Alaska Center for Energy and Power; the International Arctic Research Center; the Institute of Arctic Biology; the Institute of Marine Science; and the Institute of Northern Engineering. Located just 200 miles (320 km) south of the Arctic Circle, the Fairbanks campus’ unique location favors Arctic and northern research. UAF’s research specialties are renowned worldwide, most notably Arctic biology, Arctic engineering, geophysics, supercomputing, Ethnobotany and Alaska Native studies. The University of Alaska Museum of the North is also on the Fairbanks campus.

    In addition to the Fairbanks campus, University of Alaska-Fairbanks encompasses six rural and urban campuses: Bristol Bay Campus in Dillingham; Chukchi Campus in Kotzebue; the Fairbanks-based Interior Alaska Campus, which serves the state’s rural Interior; Kuskokwim Campus in Bethel; Northwest Campus in Nome; and the UAF Community and Technical College, with headquarters in downtown Fairbanks. UAF is also the home of UAF eCampus, which offers fully online programs.

    In fall 2017, University of Alaska-Fairbanks enrolled 8,720 students. Of those students, 58% were female and 41% were male; 87.8% were undergraduates, and 12.2% were graduate students. As of May 2018, 1,352 students had graduated during the immediately preceding summer, fall and spring semesters.

    Research units

    University of Alaska-Fairbanks is Alaska’s primary research university, conducting more than 90% of University of Alaska system research. Research activities are organized into several institutes and centers:

    the Geophysical Institute, established in 1946 by an act of Congress, specializes in seismology, volcanology and aeronomy, among other fields.
    the International Arctic Research Center researches the circumpolar North and the causes and effects of climate change.
    the Institute of Northern Engineering, an arm of the College of Engineering and Mines, conducts research in many different areas of engineering.
    the Research Computing Systems unit, located within the Geophysical Institute, is the high-performance computing unit of UAF.
    the Alaska Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station conducts research focused on solving problems related to agriculture and forest sciences.
    the Institute of Arctic Biology conducts research focused on high-latitude biological systems.
    the Robert G. White Large Animal Research Station conducts long-term research with muskoxen, reindeer and cattle.
    the Institute of Marine Science, a branch of the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, investigates topics in oceanography, marine biology, and fisheries.
    the R/V Sikuliaq, a 261-foot ice-resistant ship outfitted with modern scientific equipment, is operated by the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences for the National Science Foundation.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:10 pm on December 31, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , "Venus may have Earth-like lithospheric thickness and heat flow", , , , , Earth and Venus have comparable heat flow and similar lithospheric thickness., Earth harbors conditions amenable to life. By contrast describing Venus as inhospitable is a hilarious understatement., Findings support a squishy-lid convective regime that relies on plumes and intrusive magmatism and delamination to increase heat flow., Geologists know that plate tectonics drive interior heat loss on Earth radiating heat at the sites where plates pull apart. But little is known about the interior dynamics of Venus., It's fair to say that while Earth and Venus are siblings with comparable size and composition they are vastly different in character., Models suggested Venus has either a "stagnant lid" lithosphere—basically an immobile cold lithosphere covering the entire planet—or an "episodic lid" with occasional bursts into tectonic activity., NASA JPL - Caltech, , Plume-induced subduction is believed by many researchers to be the origin of Earth's plate tectonics and Venus could thus be analogous to Earth during the Archaean Eon 4 to 2.5 billion years ago., Researchers at the JPL conducted an analysis of data gathered by the Magellan spacecraft in the 1990s to calculate the thickness of the crust on Venus., The JPL researchers computed the thickness of the lithosphere by measuring the flex within surface formations called coronae-quasi-circular features formed through geologic and volcanic activity., The JPL researchers suggest a "squishy-lid" model with active lithospheric flexure., Using Magellan altimetry data scientists determined the average thickness of the lithosphere from 75 locations within 65 coronae: 11±7 kilometers.   

    From NASA JPL-Caltech Via “phys.org” : “Venus may have Earth-like lithospheric thickness and heat flow” 

    From NASA JPL-Caltech

    Via

    “phys.org”

    12.30.22

    1
    Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

    Poor old Venera 9, the Soviet Union’s Venus lander, separated from its orbiter and made a hot, violent descent through the dense Venusian atmosphere on October 22, 1975, landing hard on a circular shield designed to crumple and absorb the impact.

    2
    Venera 9 Lander. https://www.russianspaceweb.com/venera75.html

    It only survived the intense surface conditions for 53 minutes, transmitting data regarding clouds, light irradiance, temperature and atmospheric chemistry, as well as the first image ever taken of the surface of another planet. And then it died. But its findings were significant because Venus and Earth are similar terrestrial planets believed to have formed through similar processes.

    It’s fair to say that while Earth and Venus are siblings with comparable size and composition they are vastly different in character, the Dennis and Randy Quaid of the inner solar system. (Venus is not Dennis in this analogy.) Earth harbors conditions amenable to life. By contrast describing Venus as inhospitable is a hilarious understatement.

    Venus’s atmosphere, the densest and hottest of the four terrestrial planets, consists primarily of carbon dioxide with pressure at the surface about 92 times the sea level atmospheric pressure on Earth. The mean planetary temperature hovers around 464 degrees Celsius (867 degrees Fahrenheit). Pretty bad! And while it does not have a moon, even if it did, the dense clouds of sulfuric acid that shroud the entire planet would obstruct any idyllic nighttime views.

    Another trait Venus shares with Earth, however, is that it sheds interior heat into space. Geologists know that plate tectonics drive interior heat loss on Earth, radiating heat at the sites where plates pull apart, but little is known about the interior dynamics of Venus.

    Now, researchers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, have conducted an analysis of data gathered by the Magellan spacecraft in the 1990s to calculate the thickness of the crust on Venus.

    Their results indicate that despite their vastly different personalities, Earth and Venus have comparable heat flow and similar lithospheric thickness; this places constraints on Venus’ evolution and interior dynamics. The results are published in Nature Geoscience [below].

    Earth has mobile tectonic plates that slide around, crash into each other and separate, facilitating efficient heat loss. Previous models suggested that Venus had either a “stagnant lid” lithospheric situation—basically an immobile, cold lithosphere covering the entire planet—or an “episodic lid,” in which an unstable stagnant lid occasionally bursts into tectonic activity. But more recent models and data analysis don’t support these proposals. Instead, the JPL researchers suggest a “squishy-lid” model with active lithospheric flexure.

    The researchers computed the thickness of the lithosphere by measuring the flex within surface formations called coronae, quasi-circular features formed through geologic and volcanic activity. Using Magellan altimetry data, they determined the average thickness of the lithosphere from 75 locations within 65 coronae: 11±7 kilometers; from this figure, they calculate an average heat flow from Venus higher than Earth’s average, but similar to the values measured at actively extending tectonic areas.

    The authors write, “Our analysis identifies likely areas of active extension and suggests that Venus has Earth-like lithospheric thickness and global heat flow ranges. Together with the planet’s geologic history, our findings support a squishy-lid convective regime that relies on plumes and intrusive magmatism and delamination to increase heat flow.”

    This is interesting because plume-induced subduction is believed by many researchers to be the origin of Earth’s plate tectonics and Venus could thus be analogous to Earth during the Archaean Eon 4 to 2.5 billion years ago. During the Archaeon, Earth’s heat flow was about three times as high as today, and though covered by water, the planet was much hotter.

    Overall, the authors present the squishy-lid model as a good fit with other observations, featuring limited surface mobility, intrusive magmatism, lithospheric delamination (in which a material fractures into layers) and formation of the coronae via uplifting and downwelling. And it comprises another mode of planetary geodynamics that differs interestingly from Earth’s.

    Another application of these findings: The determination of exoplanetary habitability would rely on information about heat flow on worlds orbiting other stars. But closer to home, if the group’s “squishy lid” proposal can be confirmed by any of this decade’s upcoming Venus observation missions, it will likely lead to a reappraisal of ideas surrounding Venus surface features as well as the evolution of the planet’s mantle, and could even have implications for the early formation of the solar system.

    Science papers:
    Nature Geoscience

    Also:
    Nature Geoscience

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NASA JPL-Caltech Campus

    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.

    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 [Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, and associated programs.] NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from the[JAXA]Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:43 am on December 29, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Io may have an underworld magma ocean or a hot metal heart", , , , , NASA JPL - Caltech, , ,   

    From NASA JPL-Caltech And The California Institute of Technology Via “Science News” : “Io may have an underworld magma ocean or a hot metal heart” 

    From NASA JPL-Caltech

    And

    Caltech Logo

    The California Institute of Technology

    Via

    “Science News”

    12.22.22
    Nikk Ogasa

    1
    A volcano erupts (blue) on Jupiter’s innermost moon, Io, in this picture from NASA’s Galileo spacecraft. Credit: NASA JPL-Caltech/ DLR.

    An entire ocean of liquid magma, or maybe a hot heart of solid metal, may lurk in Io’s underworld.

    The surface of Jupiter’s innermost moon is covered in scorching lava lakes and gored by hundreds of active volcanoes, some spitting molten rock dozens of kilometers high (SN: 8/6/14). Over the years, the moon’s restless, mesmerizing hellscape has attracted the attention of many planetary scientists (SN: 5/3/22).

    Now, researchers are digging into the nature of Io’s infernal interior to explain what is driving the spectacular volcanism on the moon’s fiery surface. “It’s the most volcanically active place in the solar system,” says planetary scientist Samuel Howell of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “But it’s not really clear where that energy comes from.”

    Researchers generally agree that Io gets most of its energy from a gravitational tug-of-war between its parent planet Jupiter and its sibling moon Europa. Those grand forces pull on Io’s rocky body, generating tremendous frictional heat in its interior. But how that heat is stored and moved around remains a mystery.

    One explanation is that Io’s netherworld may house an enormous ocean of liquid magma, planetary scientist David Stevenson of Caltech said December 15 at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting. Though the exact size of the proposed molten sea remains uncertain, it would need to be relatively large, he said. “The magma ocean could be, say, 100 kilometers thick.”

    In 2011, researchers reported that Io’s mantle couldn’t be completely solid. Magnetic measurements of Io from the Galileo spacecraft indicated there must be an electrically conductive layer inside the moon. A global underground layer containing molten rock, the scientists wrote [Science (below)], would fit the bill.

    2
    Hot spots speckle the surface of the volcanic moon Io in this infrared image captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft on July 5, 2022, when the spacecraft was about 80,000 kilometers from the moon.JPL-Caltech/NASA, SwRI, ASI, INAF, JIRAM.

    But the researchers couldn’t tell whether that layer would consist of a continuous sea of magma or many little pockets of molten rock dispersed throughout solid rock, resembling a soggy sponge.

    Building off that previous work, Stevenson and Caltech geophysicist Yoshinori Miyazaki calculated that a mixed layer of magma and solid rock beneath Io’s crust would be fundamentally unstable under the amount of heating they predict occurs inside the moon. The molten rock and solid rock would split into distinct layers, with the molten rock coalescing into a subsurface sea, Stevenson said. “The final conclusion is [that] Io has a magma ocean.”

    But there are other possibilities. “A lot of information is consistent with a large, global conductive layer that could be a magma ocean,” Howell says. “But I wouldn’t say there’s consensus on how to interpret that data.”

    Instead, the truth may lie within Io’s heart, where a core made of solid metal may lurk [AGU Fall Meeting (below)], Howell reported December 15 at the meeting. Previous research has suggested that Io has a core rich in metals [JGR Planets (below)]. Howell and colleagues calculate that a metal core that’s about as rigid as solid ice and a rocky mantle as viscous as Earth’s could fully dispense the immense quantities of heat that Io is estimated to emit. That would fulfill the energy-shedding role of a magma ocean.

    Future measurements collected by NASA’s ongoing Juno mission as well two future spacecraft — NASA’s Europa Clipper and the European Space Agency’s JUICE — may provide the data needed to determine whether either, or some combination, of the hypotheses is correct, Stevenson and Howell said (SN: 12/15/22). Until then, the mystery of what dwells in Io’s dark depths may have to remain in purgatory.



    Science paper:
    Science 2011
    AGU Fall Meeting
    JGR Planets 2020

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The California Institute of Technology is a private research university in Pasadena, California. The university is known for its strength in science and engineering, and is one among a small group of institutes of technology in the United States which is primarily devoted to the instruction of pure and applied sciences.

    The California Institute of Technology was founded as a preparatory and vocational school by Amos G. Throop in 1891 and began attracting influential scientists such as George Ellery Hale, Arthur Amos Noyes, and Robert Andrews Millikan in the early 20th century. The vocational and preparatory schools were disbanded and spun off in 1910 and the college assumed its present name in 1920. In 1934, The California Institute of Technology was elected to the Association of American Universities, and the antecedents of National Aeronautics and Space Administration ‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which The California Institute of Technology continues to manage and operate, were established between 1936 and 1943 under Theodore von Kármán.

    The California Institute of Technology has six academic divisions with strong emphasis on science and engineering. Its 124-acre (50 ha) primary campus is located approximately 11 mi (18 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. First-year students are required to live on campus, and 95% of undergraduates remain in the on-campus House System at The California Institute of Technology. Although The California Institute of Technology has a strong tradition of practical jokes and pranks, student life is governed by an honor code which allows faculty to assign take-home examinations. The The California Institute of Technology Beavers compete in 13 intercollegiate sports in the NCAA Division III’s Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC).

    As of October 2020, there are 76 Nobel laureates who have been affiliated with The California Institute of Technology, including 40 alumni and faculty members (41 prizes, with chemist Linus Pauling being the only individual in history to win two unshared prizes). In addition, 4 Fields Medalists and 6 Turing Award winners have been affiliated with The California Institute of Technology. There are 8 Crafoord Laureates and 56 non-emeritus faculty members (as well as many emeritus faculty members) who have been elected to one of the United States National Academies. Four Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force and 71 have won the United States National Medal of Science or Technology. Numerous faculty members are associated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as well as National Aeronautics and Space Administration. According to a 2015 Pomona College study, The California Institute of Technology ranked number one in the U.S. for the percentage of its graduates who go on to earn a PhD.

    Research

    The California Institute of Technology is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”. Caltech was elected to The Association of American Universities in 1934 and remains a research university with “very high” research activity, primarily in STEM fields. The largest federal agencies contributing to research are National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; Department of Health and Human Services; Department of Defense, and Department of Energy.

    In 2005, The California Institute of Technology had 739,000 square feet (68,700 m^2) dedicated to research: 330,000 square feet (30,700 m^2) to physical sciences, 163,000 square feet (15,100 m^2) to engineering, and 160,000 square feet (14,900 m^2) to biological sciences.

    In addition to managing NASA-JPL/Caltech , The California Institute of Technology also operates the Caltech Palomar Observatory; The Owens Valley Radio Observatory;the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory; the W. M. Keck Observatory at the Mauna Kea Observatory; the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory at Livingston, Louisiana and Hanford, Washington; and Kerckhoff Marine Laboratory in Corona del Mar, California. The Institute launched the Kavli Nanoscience Institute at The California Institute of Technology in 2006; the Keck Institute for Space Studies in 2008; and is also the current home for the Einstein Papers Project. The Spitzer Science Center, part of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center located on The California Institute of Technology campus, is the data analysis and community support center for NASA’s Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope [no longer in service].


    The California Institute of Technology partnered with University of California at Los Angeles to establish a Joint Center for Translational Medicine (UCLA-Caltech JCTM), which conducts experimental research into clinical applications, including the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer.

    The California Institute of Technology operates several Total Carbon Column Observing Network stations as part of an international collaborative effort of measuring greenhouse gases globally. One station is on campus.

    NASA JPL-Caltech Campus

    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.

    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 [Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, and associated programs.] NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from the[JAXA]Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:47 pm on December 20, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "NASA Gets Unusually Close Glimpse of Black Hole Snacking on Star", A single star being torn apart and consumed stands out. And from start to finish the process often takes only a matter of weeks or months., Astronomers saw a dramatic rise in high-energy X-ray light around the black hole Once the star had been thoroughly ruptured by the black hole’s gravity., , , , , Most black holes that scientists can study are surrounded by hot gas that has accumulated over millennia and formed disks billions of miles wide., NASA JPL - Caltech, Scientists were surprised when NuSTAR detected a corona since coronae usually appear with jets of gas that flow in opposite directions from a black hole., The focus of the new study is an event called AT2021ehb which took place in a galaxy with a central black hole about 10 million times the mass of our Sun., Tidal disruption events are a sort of cosmic laboratory. They are a window into the real-time feeding of a massive black hole lurking in the center of a galaxy.   

    From NASA JPL-Caltech: “NASA Gets Unusually Close Glimpse of Black Hole Snacking on Star” 

    From NASA JPL-Caltech

    12.20.22
    News Media Contact

    Calla Cofield
    Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
    626-808-2469
    calla.e.cofield@jpl.nasa.gov

    1
    A disk of hot gas swirls around a black hole in this illustration. The stream of gas stretching to the right is what remains of a star that was pulled apart by the black hole. A cloud of hot plasma (gas atoms with their electrons stripped away) above the black hole is known as a corona. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

    Recent observations of a black hole devouring a wandering star may help scientists understand more complex black hole feeding behaviors.

    Multiple NASA telescopes recently observed a massive black hole tearing apart an unlucky star that wandered too close. Located about 250 million light-years from Earth in the center of another galaxy, it was the fifth-closest example of a black hole destroying a star ever observed.

    Once the star had been thoroughly ruptured by the black hole’s gravity, astronomers saw a dramatic rise in high-energy X-ray light around the black hole. This indicated that as the stellar material was pulled toward its doom, it formed an extremely hot structure above the black hole called a corona. NASA’s NuSTAR (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescopic Array) satellite is the most sensitive space telescope capable of observing these wavelengths of light, and the event’s proximity provided an unprecedented view of the corona’s formation and evolution, according to a new study published in The Astrophysical Journal [below].

    The work demonstrates how the destruction of a star by a black hole – a process formally known as a tidal disruption event – could be used to better understand what happens to material that’s captured by one of these behemoths before it’s fully devoured.


    When a star wanders too close to a black hole, the intense gravity will stretch the star out until it becomes a long river of hot gas, as shown in this animation. The gas is then whipped around the black hole and is gradually pulled into orbit, forming a bright disk. Credit: Science Communication Lab/DESY.

    Most black holes that scientists can study are surrounded by hot gas that has accumulated over many years, sometimes millennia, and formed disks billions of miles wide. In some cases, these disks shine brighter than entire galaxies. Even around these bright sources, but especially around much less active black holes, a single star being torn apart and consumed stands out. And from start to finish, the process often takes only a matter of weeks or months. The observability and short duration of tidal disruption events make them especially attractive to astronomers, who can tease apart how the black hole’s gravity manipulates the material around it, creating incredible light shows and new physical features.

    “Tidal disruption events are a sort of cosmic laboratory,” said study co-author Suvi Gezari, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. “They are a window into the real-time feeding of a massive black hole lurking in the center of a galaxy.”

    A Surprising Signal

    The focus of the new study is an event called AT2021ehb, which took place in a galaxy with a central black hole about 10 million times the mass of our Sun (about the difference between a bowling ball and the Titanic). During this tidal disruption event, the side of the star nearest the black hole was pulled harder than the far side of the star, stretching the entire thing apart and leaving nothing but a long noodle of hot gas.

    Scientists think that the stream of gas gets whipped around a black hole during such events, colliding with itself. This is thought to create shock waves and outward flows of gas that generate visible light, as well as wavelengths not visible to the human eye, such as ultraviolet light and X-rays. The material then starts to settle into a disk rotating around the black hole like water circling a drain, with friction generating low-energy X-rays. In the case of AT2021ehb, this series of events took place over just 100 days.

    The event was first spotted on March 1, 2021, by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), located at the Palomar Observatory in Southern California. It was subsequently studied by NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory and Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) telescope (which observes longer X-ray wavelengths than Swift).

    Then, around 300 days after the event was first spotted, NASA’s NuSTAR began observing the system.

    Scientists were surprised when NuSTAR detected a corona – a cloud of hot plasma or gas atoms with their electrons stripped away – since coronae usually appear with jets of gas that flow in opposite directions from a black hole. However, with the AT2021ehb tidal event, there were no jets, which made the corona observation unexpected. Coronae emit higher-energy X-rays than any other part of a black hole, but scientists don’t know where the plasma comes from or exactly how it gets so hot.

    “We’ve never seen a tidal disruption event with X-ray emission like this without a jet present, and that’s really spectacular because it means we can potentially disentangle what causes jets and what causes coronae,” said Yuhan Yao, a graduate student at Caltech in Pasadena, California, and lead author of the new study. “Our observations of AT2021ehb are in agreement with the idea that magnetic fields have something to do with how the corona forms, and we want to know what’s causing that magnetic field to get so strong.”

    Yao is also leading an effort to look for more tidal disruption events identified by ZTF and to then observe them with telescopes like Swift, NICER, and NuSTAR. Each new observation offers the potential for new insights or opportunities to confirm what has been observed in AT2021ehb and other tidal disruption events. “We want to find as many as we can,” Yao said.

    More About the NuSTAR Mission

    A Small Explorer mission led by Caltech and managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, NuSTAR was developed in partnership with the Danish Technical University and the Italian Space Agency (ASI). The spacecraft was built by Orbital Sciences Corp. in Dulles, Virginia. NuSTAR’s mission operations center is at the University of California-Berkeley, and the official data archive is at NASA’s High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. ASI provides the mission’s ground station and a mirror data archive.

    For more information about the NuSTAR mission, visit:

    https://www.nustar.caltech.edu/

    Science paper:
    The Astrophysical Journal
    See the science paper for instructive material with images.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NASA JPL-Caltech Campus

    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.

    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 [Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, and associated programs.] NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from the[JAXA]Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:44 pm on December 14, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A Hunt For Voyager 1's Old Manuals Revealed The Source of Its Garbled Messages", After nearly 45 years in space both spacecraft are still functioning., , , , , During the first 12 years of the Voyager mission thousands of engineers worked on the project. As they retired in the '70s and '80s there wasn't a big push to have a project document library., For Voyager 1's recent telemetry glitch mission engineers had to specifically look for boxes under the name of engineers who helped design the attitude-control system., In 2012 Voyager 1 became the very first human-made object to venture beyond the boundary of our Sun's influence known as the heliopause and into interstellar space., In May 2022 NASA scientists said the Voyager 1 spacecraft was sending back inaccurate data from its attitude-control system [AACS]., In modern missions NASA keeps more robust records of documentation especially because most modern missions last much longer than their life design targets., It turns out the spacecraft was beaming information using a dead computer that was corrupting the data.., NASA JPL - Caltech, , Some important documents may have been lost or misplaced., Telemetry data is basically a status on the health of a system., The spacecraft's attitude-control system indicates Voyager 1's orientation in space and keeps the spacecraft's high-gain antenna pointed at Earth enabling it to beam data home., The spacecraft's attitude-control system was routing information through a dead computer., The spacecraft's handlers didn't know if the attitude-control system was working properly., The team is uncertain why the glitch occurred in the first place., The Voyager team solved the mysterious glitch in late August by digging through decades-old manuals., Voyager 1 along with its twin Voyager 2 launched in 1977 with a design lifetime of five years to study Jupiter and Saturn and Uranus and Neptune and their respective moons up close., Voyager 1's journey continues   

    From NASA JPL-Caltech Via “Science Alert (AU)” : “A Hunt For Voyager 1’s Old Manuals Revealed The Source of Its Garbled Messages” 

    From NASA JPL-Caltech

    Via

    ScienceAlert

    “Science Alert (AU)”

    12.14.22
    Paola Rosa-Aquino

    In May NASA scientists said the Voyager 1 spacecraft was sending back inaccurate data from its attitude-control system [AACS]. In order to find a fix, engineers dug through decades-old manuals.

    The Voyager team solved the mysterious glitch in late August, NASA officials wrote in an update. It turns out the spacecraft was beaming information using a dead computer that was corrupting the data.

    Voyager 1 along with its twin Voyager 2 launched in 1977 with a design lifetime of five years to study Jupiter and Saturn and Uranus and Neptune and their respective moons up close.

    After nearly 45 years in space both spacecraft are still functioning. In 2012 Voyager 1 became the very first human-made object to venture beyond the boundary of our Sun’s influence known as the heliopause and into interstellar space. It’s now around 23.8 billion kilometers (14.8 billion miles) from Earth and sending data back from beyond the Solar System.

    “Nobody thought it would last as long as it has,” Suzanne Dodd, project manager for the Voyager mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told Business Insider over the summer before the Voyager team found a fix, adding, “And here we are.”

    Unearthing old spacecraft documents

    Voyager 1 was designed and built in the early 1970s, complicating efforts to troubleshoot the spacecraft’s problems.

    Though current Voyager engineers have some documentation – or command media, the technical term for the paperwork containing details on the spacecraft’s design and procedures – from those early mission days, other important documents may have been lost or misplaced.

    2
    An engineer works on an instrument for one of NASA’s Voyager spacecraft, on 18 November 1976. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

    During the first 12 years of the Voyager mission thousands of engineers worked on the project, Dodd said.

    “As they retired in the ’70s and ’80s, there wasn’t a big push to have a project document library. People would take their boxes home to their garage,” Dodd added. In modern missions NASA keeps more robust records of documentation especially because most modern missions last much longer than their life design targets.

    There are some boxes with documents and schematics stored off-site from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Dodd and the rest of Voyager’s handlers can request access to these records. Still, it can be a challenge.

    “Getting that information requires you to figure out who works in that area on the project,” Dodd said.

    For Voyager 1’s recent telemetry glitch mission engineers had to specifically look for boxes under the name of engineers who helped design the attitude-control system – which was “a time-consuming process,” Dodd said.

    Source of the bug

    The spacecraft’s attitude-control system which sends telemetry data back to NASA indicates Voyager 1’s orientation in space and keeps the spacecraft’s high-gain antenna pointed at Earth enabling it to beam data home.

    “Telemetry data is basically a status on the health of the system,” Dodd said.

    But during this summer’s glitch, the telemetry readouts the spacecraft’s handlers were getting from the system were garbled, according to Dodd, which means they didn’t know if the attitude-control system was working properly.

    3
    An engineer works on the construction of a large, dish-shaped Voyager high-gain antenna, on 9 July 1976. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

    Dodd and her team had long suspected it was due to an aging part. “Not everything works forever, even in space,” she said over the summer.

    Engineers also thought Voyager’s glitch may be influenced by its location in interstellar space. According to Dodd, the spacecraft’s data suggests that high-energy charged particles are out in interstellar space.

    “It’s unlikely for one to hit the spacecraft, but if it were to occur, it could cause more damage to the electronics,” Dodd said, adding, “We can’t pinpoint that as the source of the anomaly, but it could be a factor.”

    In late August, Voyager engineers located the source of the garbled data: the spacecraft’s attitude-control system was routing information through a dead computer. They believe it was triggered by a faulty command from another onboard computer.

    “We’re happy to have the telemetry back,” Dodd said in a NASA statement released in August. Still, the team is uncertain why it occurred in the first place.

    “We’ll do a full memory readout of the AACS and look at everything it’s been doing. That will help us try to diagnose the problem that caused the telemetry issue in the first place. So we’re cautiously optimistic, but we still have more investigating to do,” Dodd said in the statement.

    Voyager 1’s journey continues

    As part of an ongoing power management effort that has ramped up in recent years, engineers have been powering down non-technical systems on board the Voyager probes, like its science instruments heaters, hoping to keep them going through 2030.

    3
    An image of Saturn, its rings, and two moons, Tethys and Dione, captured by Voyager 1 on 3 November 1980. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

    From discovering unknown moons and rings to the first direct evidence of the heliopause, the Voyager mission has helped scientists understand the cosmos.

    “We want the mission to last as long as possible, because the science data is so very valuable,” Dodd said.

    “It’s really remarkable that both spacecraft are still operating and operating well – little glitches, but operating extremely well and still sending back this valuable data,” Dodd said, adding, “They’re still talking to us.”

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct.

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NASA JPL-Caltech Campus

    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.

    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.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:15 pm on December 12, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "NASA’s Lunar Flashlight Has Launched – Follow the Mission in Real Time", , NASA JPL - Caltech   

    From NASA JPL-Caltech: “NASA’s Lunar Flashlight Has Launched – Follow the Mission in Real Time” 

    From NASA JPL-Caltech

    12.11.22
    Ian J. O’Neill
    Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
    818-354-2649
    ian.j.oneill@jpl.nasa.gov

    Sarah Frazier
    NASA Headquarters, Washington
    202-358-1600
    sarah.frazier@nasa.gov


    This illustration shows NASA’s Lunar Flashlight, with its four solar arrays deployed, shortly after launch. The small satellite, or SmallSat, will take about three months to reach its science orbit to seek out surface water ice in the darkest craters of the Moon’s South Pole. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

    NASA’s Lunar Flashlight has communicated with mission controllers and confirmed it is healthy after launching Sunday, Dec. 11, at 2:38 a.m. EST (Saturday, Dec. 10, at 11:38 p.m. PST) from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. About 53 minutes after launch, the small satellite, or SmallSat, was released from its dispenser to begin a four-month journey to the Moon to seek out surface water ice in permanently shadowed craters at the lunar South Pole.

    “It was a beautiful launch,” said John Baker, the Lunar Flashlight project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “The whole team is excited to see this small spacecraft do some big science in a few months’ time.”

    While Lunar Flashlight will never return to Earth, the world hasn’t missed its last chance to see the briefcase-size spacecraft. Rendered in crisp detail, a 3D digital version of the solar-powered SmallSat has made its debut in NASA’s Eyes on the Solar System, the agency’s recently revamped visualization tool.

    “As soon as the Lunar Flashlight mission reached space, Eyes began tracking it, just as it will throughout the SmallSat’s entire science mission,” said Jason Craig, visualization producer at JPL. “The system uses real trajectory data from the mission, so as Lunar Flashlight’s journey unfolds, you can see exactly where the SmallSat is.”

    The spacecraft’s avatar is an exact model of the real thing, down to its four solar arrays, science instrument, and thrusters. With the drag of a finger or mouse, users can change their perspective of the SmallSat and see where it is in space, whether on its long trek to lunar orbit or when it’s zooming above the lunar surface, collecting science data.

    To get close to the Moon’s surface, the SmallSat will employ what’s called a near-rectilinear halo orbit – designed for energy efficiency – that will take it within just 9 miles (15 kilometers) over the lunar South Pole and 43,000 miles (70,000 kilometers) away at its farthest point. Only one other spacecraft has employed this type of orbit: NASA’s Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) mission, which launched earlier this year and can also be viewed in NASA Eyes, including as it makes its closest passes over the lunar North Pole.

    Lunar Ice Science

    Lunar Flashlight will use a reflectometer equipped with four lasers that emit near-infrared light in wavelengths readily absorbed by surface water ice. This is the first time that multiple colored lasers will be used to seek out ice inside these dark regions on the Moon, which haven’t seen sunlight in billions of years. Should the lasers hit bare rock or regolith (broken rock and dust), the light will reflect back to the spacecraft. But if the target absorbs the light, that would indicate the presence of water ice. The greater the absorption, the more ice there may be.

    The science data collected by the mission will be compared with observations made by other lunar missions to help reveal the distribution of surface water ice on the Moon for potential use by future astronauts.

    Lunar Flashlight will use a new kind of “green” propellant that is safer to transport and store than the commonly used in-space propellants such as hydrazine. In fact, the SmallSat will be the first interplanetary spacecraft to use this propellant, and one of the mission’s primary goals is to demonstrate this technology for future use. The propellant was successfully tested on a previous NASA technology demonstration mission in Earth orbit.

    More About the Mission

    Lunar Flashlight launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as a rideshare with ispace’s HAKUTO-R Mission 1. Lunar Flashlight is managed for NASA by JPL. Barbara Cohen, the mission’s principal investigator, is based at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Lunar Flashlight will be operated by Georgia Tech, including graduate and undergraduate students. The Lunar Flashlight science team is distributed across multiple institutions, including Goddard, the University of California-Los Angeles, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, and the University of Colorado.

    The SmallSat’s propulsion system was developed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, with development and integration support from Georgia Tech. NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research program funded component development from small businesses including Plasma Processes Inc. (Rubicon) for thruster development, Flight Works for pump development, and Beehive Industries (formerly Volunteer Aerospace) for specific 3D printed components. The Air Force Research Laboratory also contributed financially to the development of the Lunar Flashlight propulsion system. Lunar Flashlight is funded by the Small Spacecraft Technology program within NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NASA JPL-Caltech Campus

    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.

    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 [Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, and associated programs.] NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from the[JAXA]Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:20 am on November 23, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "CNEOS": Center for Near Earth Object Studies, "MPC": Minor Planet Center, "NASA Program Predicted Impact of Small Asteroid Over Ontario in Canada", "PDCO": Planetary Defense Coordination Office, , , , , , Catalina Sky Survey headquartered at the University of Arizona., , NASA JPL - Caltech   

    From NASA JPL-Caltech: “NASA Program Predicted Impact of Small Asteroid Over Ontario in Canada” 

    From NASA JPL-Caltech

    11.22.22
    Ian J. O’Neill
    Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
    818-354-2649
    ian.j.oneill@jpl.nasa.gov

    Karen Fox
    Headquarters, Washington
    301-286-6284
    karen.c.fox@nasa.gov

    Josh Handal
    Headquarters, Washington
    joshua.a.handal@nasa.gov
    202-358-2307

    Alana Johnson
    Headquarters, Washington
    alana.r.johnson@nasa.gov
    202-358-1501

    NASA program predicted impact of small asteroid over Ontario Canada

    1
    This time-lapse photograph was taken by astronomer Robert Weryk from near his home in London, Ontario, Canada, after NASA’s Scout system forewarned him about the entry of 2022 WJ1 on Nov. 19, 2022. The resulting fireball streaked directly overhead and continued east until it broke up.
    Credit: Robert Weryk.

    2022 WJ1 was a tiny asteroid on a collision course with Earth. But astronomers saw it coming, and NASA’s Scout impact hazard assessment system calculated where it would hit.

    In the early hours of Saturday, Nov. 19, the skies over southern Ontario, Canada, lit up as a tiny asteroid harmlessly streaked across the sky high in Earth’s atmosphere, broke up, and likely scattered small meteorites over the southern coastline of Lake Ontario. The fireball wasn’t a surprise. Roughly 1 meter (3 feet) wide, the asteroid was detected 3 ½ hours before impact, making this event the sixth time in history a small asteroid has been tracked in space before impacting Earth’s atmosphere.

    NASA is tasked with the detection and tracking of much larger near-Earth objects that could survive passage through Earth’s atmosphere and cause damage on the ground, but those objects can also be detected much further in advance than small ones like the asteroid that disintegrated over southern Ontario. Such small asteroids are not a hazard to Earth, but they can be a useful test for NASA’s planetary defense capabilities for discovery, tracking, orbit determination, and impact prediction.

    “The planetary defense community really demonstrated their skill and readiness with their response to this short-warning event,” said Kelly Fast, Near-Earth Object Observations program manager for the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Such harmless impacts become spontaneous real-world exercises and give us confidence that NASA’s planetary defense systems are capable of informing the response to the potential for a serious impact by a larger object.”

    The asteroid was discovered by the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey, which is headquartered at the University of Arizona in Tucson, on the evening of Nov. 18 during routine search operations for near-Earth objects.

    The observations were quickly reported to the Minor Planet Center (MPC) – the internationally recognized clearinghouse for the position measurements of small celestial bodies – and the data was then automatically posted to the Near-Earth Object Confirmation Page.

    NASA’s Scout impact hazard assessment system, which is maintained by the Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, automatically fetched the new data from that page and began calculating the object’s possible trajectory and chances of impact. CNEOS calculates every known near-Earth asteroid orbit to provide assessments of potential impact hazards in support of NASA’s PDCO.

    3
    NASA’s ‘Eyes on Asteroids’ Reveals Our Near-Earth Object Neighborhood

    Seven minutes after the asteroid was posted on the confirmation page, Scout had determined it had a 25% probability of hitting Earth’s atmosphere, with possible impact locations stretching from the Atlantic Ocean off the East Coast of North America to Mexico. More observations were then provided by the astronomical community, including amateur astronomers in Kansas, to better refine the asteroid’s trajectory and possible impact location.

    “Small objects such as this one can only be detected when they are very close to Earth, so if they are headed for an impact, time is of the essence to collect as many observations as possible,” said Shantanu Naidu, navigation engineer and Scout operator at JPL. “This object was discovered early enough that the planetary defense community could provide more observations, which Scout then used to confirm the impact and predict where and when the asteroid was going to hit.”

    As Catalina continued to track the asteroid over the next few hours, Scout used this new data to continually update the asteroid’s trajectory and the system’s assessment of the chance of impact, posting those results on the hazard-assessment system’s webpage.

    Community Effort

    Many astronomers check the Scout webpage throughout the night to determine the most important asteroids to track. A group of amateur astronomers at Farpoint Observatory in Eskridge, Kansas, tracked the asteroid for more than an hour, providing critical additional data that enabled Scout to confirm a 100% impact probability and determine the expected location of atmospheric entry as being over southern Ontario at 3:27 a.m. EST (12:27 a.m. PST) Nov. 19. With more than two hours remaining before impact, there was time to alert scientists in southwestern Ontario of the bright fireball that would occur.

    A total of 46 observations of the asteroid’s position were ultimately collected, the final one being made only 32 minutes before impact by the University of Hawaii 88-inch (2.2-meter) telescope on Mauna Kea.

    As predicted, at 3:27 a.m. EST (12:27 a.m. PST), the asteroid streaked through Earth’s atmosphere at a shallow angle and broke up, likely producing a shower of small meteorites and leaving no reported damage on the surface. After this harmless disintegration, the Minor Planet Center designated the asteroid 2022 WJ1 to acknowledge its discovery while still in space.

    Dozens of sightings were reported to the American Meteor Society, and scientists who were alerted to the Scout prediction were able to photograph the asteroid’s atmospheric entry. Videos of the fireball collected by the public were also posted online. NASA’s Meteorite Falls website also reported weather radar detections of fragments of the fireball falling as meteorites at the predicted time over Lake Ontario. Small meteorites might be found east of the town of Grimsby while larger meteorites might be nearer the town of McNab.

    The first asteroid to be discovered and tracked well before hitting Earth was 2008 TC3, which entered the atmosphere over Sudan and broke up in October 2008. That 13-foot-wide (4-meter-sized) asteroid scattered hundreds of small meteorites over the Nubian Desert. Earlier this year, asteroid 2022 EB5 entered the atmosphere over the Norwegian Sea after Scout accurately predicted its location, becoming the fifth object to be detected before impact. As surveys become more sophisticated and sensitive, more of these harmless objects are being detected before entering the atmosphere, providing real exercises for NASA’s planetary defense program.

    More information about CNEOS, asteroids, and near-Earth objects can be found at:

    https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroid-watch

    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 Campus

    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.

    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.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:24 am on November 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Why NASA Is Trying to Crash Land on Mars", , NASA JPL - Caltech, The experimental SHIELD lander   

    From NASA JPL-Caltech: “Why NASA Is Trying to Crash Land on Mars” 

    From NASA JPL-Caltech

    10.20.22
    Andrew Good
    Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
    818-393-2433
    andrew.c.good@jpl.nasa.gov

    Karen Fox
    NASA Headquarters, Washington
    301-286-6284
    karen.c.fox@nasa.gov

    Alana Johnson
    NASA Headquarters, Washington
    202-358-1501
    alana.r.johnson@nasa.gov

    1
    An illustration of SHIELD, A Mars lander concept that would allow lower cost missions using a collapsible base to absorb the impact. Credit: California Academy of Sciences.

    2
    A prototype base for SHIELD. Credit: NASA JPL-Caltech.

    3
    Drop tower at JPL includes a bow launch system recreating the forces experienced during a Mars landing. Credit: NASA JPL-Caltech.

    Like a car’s crumple zone, the experimental SHIELD lander is designed to absorb a hard impact.

    NASA has successfully touched down on Mars nine times, relying on cutting-edge parachutes, massive airbags, and jetpacks to set spacecraft safely on the surface. Now engineers are testing whether or not the easiest way to get to the Martian surface is to crash.

    Rather than slow a spacecraft’s high-speed descent, an experimental lander design called SHIELD (Simplified High Impact Energy Landing Device) would use an accordion-like, collapsible base that acts like the crumple zone of a car and absorbs the energy of a hard impact.

    The new design could drastically reduce the cost of landing on Mars by simplifying the harrowing entry, descent, and landing process and expanding options for possible landing sites.


    NASA Tests Ways to Crash Land on Mars. Credit: NASA JPL-Caltech.

    “We think we could go to more treacherous areas, where we wouldn’t want to risk trying to place a billion-dollar rover with our current landing systems,” said SHIELD’s project manager, Lou Giersch of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “Maybe we could even land several of these at different difficult-to-access locations to build a network.”

    Car Crashes, Mars Landings

    Much of SHIELD’s design borrows from work done for NASA’s Mars Sample Return campaign. The first step in that campaign involves the Perseverance rover collecting rock samples in airtight metal tubes; a future spacecraft will carry those samples back to Earth in a small capsule and safely crash land in a deserted location.

    Studying approaches for that process led engineers to wonder if the general idea was reversible, said Velibor Ćormarković, SHIELD team member at JPL.

    “If you want to land something hard on Earth, why can’t you do it the other way around for Mars?” he said. “And if we can do a hard landing on Mars, we know SHIELD could work on planets or moons with denser atmospheres.”

    To test the theory, engineers needed to prove SHIELD can protect sensitive electronics during landing. The team used a drop tower at JPL to test how Perseverance’s sample tubes would hold up in a hard Earth landing. Standing nearly 90 feet (27 meters), it features a giant sling – called a bow launch system – that can hurl an object into the surface at the same speeds reached during a Mars landing.

    Ćormarković previously worked for the auto industry, testing cars that carried crash dummies. In some of those tests, the cars ride on sleds that are accelerated to high speeds and crashed into a wall or deformable barrier. There are a number of ways to accelerate the sleds, including using a sling akin to the bow launch system.

    “The tests we’ve done for SHIELD are kind of like a vertical version of the sled tests,” Ćormarković said. “But instead of a wall, the sudden stop is due to an impact into the ground.”

    Smashing Success

    On Aug. 12, the team gathered at the drop tower with a full-size prototype of SHIELD’s collapsible attenuator – an inverted pyramid of metal rings that absorb impact. They hung the attenuator on a grapple and inserted a smart phone, a radio, and an accelerometer to simulate the electronics a spacecraft would carry.

    Sweating in the summer heat, they watched SHIELD slowly rise to the top of the tower.

    “Hearing the countdown gave me goose bumps,” said Nathan Barba, another SHIELD project member at JPL. “The whole team was excited to see if the objects inside the prototype would survive the impact.”

    In just two seconds, the wait was over: The bow launcher slammed SHIELD into the ground at roughly 110 miles per hour (177 kilometers per hour). That’s the speed a Mars lander reaches near the surface after being slowed by atmospheric drag from its initial speed of 14,500 miles per hour (23,335 kilometers per hour) when it enters the Mars atmosphere.

    Previous SHIELD tests used a dirt “landing zone,” but for this test, the team laid a steel plate 2 inches (5 centimeters) thick on the ground to create a landing harder than a spacecraft would experience on Mars. The onboard accelerometer later revealed SHIELD impacted with a force of about 1 million newtons – comparable to 112 tons smashing against it.

    High-speed camera footage of the test shows that SHIELD impacted at a slight angle, then bounced about 3.5 feet (1 meter) into the air before flipping over. The team suspects the steel plate caused the bounce, since no bounce occurred in the earlier tests.

    Upon opening the prototype and retrieving the simulated electronic payload, the team found the onboard devices – even the smart phone – survived.

    “The only hardware that was damaged were some plastic components we weren’t worried about,” Giersch said. “Overall, this test was a success!”

    The next step? Designing the rest of a lander in 2023 and seeing just how far their concept can go.

    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 Campus

    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.

    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.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:22 am on November 3, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Methane ‘Super-Emitters’ Mapped by NASA’s New Earth Space Mission", , , , NASA JPL - Caltech, NASA’s Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT) mission   

    From NASA JPL-Caltech: “Methane ‘Super-Emitters’ Mapped by NASA’s New Earth Space Mission” 

    From NASA JPL-Caltech

    10.25.22
    Andrew Wang
    Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
    626-379-6874
    andrew.wang@jpl.nasa.gov

    Jane J. Lee
    Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
    818-354-0307
    jane.j.lee@jpl.nasa.gov

    1
    Methane plume near Carlsbad, New Mexico. Credit: NASA JPL-Caltech.

    2
    Methane plumes east of Hazar, Turkmanistan.

    3
    Methane plume south of Tehran, Iran.

    Built to help scientists understand how dust affects climate, the Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation can also pinpoint emissions of the potent greenhouse gas.

    NASA’s Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT) mission is mapping the prevalence of key minerals in the planet’s dust-producing deserts – information that will advance our understanding of airborne dust’s effects on climate. But EMIT has demonstrated another crucial capability: detecting the presence of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

    In the data EMIT has collected since being installed on the International Space Station in July, the science team has identified more than 50 “super-emitters” in Central Asia, the Middle East, and the Southwestern United States. Super-emitters are facilities, equipment, and other infrastructure, typically in the fossil-fuel, waste, or agriculture sectors, that emit methane at high rates.

    “Reining in methane emissions is key to limiting global warming. This exciting new development will not only help researchers better pinpoint where methane leaks are coming from, but also provide insight on how they can be addressed – quickly,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “The International Space Station and NASA’s more than two dozen satellites and instruments in space have long been invaluable in determining changes to the Earth’s climate. EMIT is proving to be a critical tool in our toolbox to measure this potent greenhouse gas – and stop it at the source.”

    Methane absorbs infrared light in a unique pattern – called a spectral fingerprint – that EMIT’s imaging spectrometer can discern with high accuracy and precision. The instrument can also measure carbon dioxide.

    2
    The cube (left) shows methane plumes (purple, orange, yellow) over Turkmenistan. The rainbow colors are the spectral fingerprints from corresponding spots in the front image. The blue line in the graph (right) shows the methane fingerprint EMIT detected; the red line is the expected fingerprint based on an atmospheric simulation. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

    The new observations stem from the broad coverage of the planet afforded by the space station’s orbit, as well as from EMIT’s ability to scan swaths of Earth’s surface dozens of miles wide while resolving areas as small as a soccer field.

    “These results are exceptional, and they demonstrate the value of pairing global-scale perspective with the resolution required to identify methane point sources, down to the facility scale,” said David Thompson, EMIT’s instrument scientist and a senior research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, which manages the mission. “It’s a unique capability that will raise the bar on efforts to attribute methane sources and mitigate emissions from human activities.”

    Relative to carbon dioxide, methane makes up a fraction of human-caused greenhouse-gas emissions, but it’s estimated to be 80 times more effective, ton for ton, at trapping heat in the atmosphere in the 20 years after release. Moreover, where carbon dioxide lingers for centuries, methane persists for about a decade, meaning that if emissions are reduced, the atmosphere will respond in a similar timeframe, leading to slower near-term warming.

    Identifying methane point sources can be a key step in the process. With knowledge of the locations of big emitters, operators of facilities, equipment, and infrastructure giving off the gas can quickly act to limit emissions.

    EMIT’s methane observations came as scientists verified the accuracy of the imaging spectrometer’s mineral data. Over its mission, EMIT will collect measurements of surface minerals in arid regions of Africa, Asia, North and South America, and Australia. The data will help researchers better understand airborne dust particles’ role in heating and cooling Earth’s atmosphere and surface.

    “We have been eager to see how EMIT’s mineral data will improve climate modeling,” said Kate Calvin, NASA’s chief scientist and senior climate advisor. “This additional methane-detecting capability offers a remarkable opportunity to measure and monitor greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.”

    Detecting Methane Plumes

    The mission’s study area coincides with known methane hotspots around the world, enabling researchers to look for the gas in those regions to test the capability of the imaging spectrometer.

    “Some of the plumes EMIT detected are among the largest ever seen – unlike anything that has ever been observed from space,” said Andrew Thorpe, a research technologist at JPL leading the EMIT methane effort. “What we’ve found in a just a short time already exceeds our expectations.”

    For example, the instrument detected a plume about 2 miles (3.3 kilometers) long southeast of Carlsbad, New Mexico, in the Permian Basin. One of the largest oilfields in the world, the Permian spans parts of southeastern New Mexico and western Texas.

    In Turkmenistan, EMIT identified 12 plumes from oil and gas infrastructure east of the Caspian Sea port city of Hazar. Blowing to the west, some plumes stretch more than 20 miles (32 kilometers).

    The team also identified a methane plume south of Tehran, Iran, at least 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) long, from a major waste-processing complex. Methane is a byproduct of decomposition, and landfills can be a major source.

    Scientists estimate flow rates of about 40,300 pounds (18,300 kilograms) per hour at the Permian site, 111,000 pounds (50,400 kilograms) per hour in total for the Turkmenistan sources, and 18,700 pounds (8,500 kilograms) per hour at the Iran site.

    The Turkmenistan sources together have a similar flow rate to the 2015 Aliso Canyon gas leak, which exceeded 110,000 pounds (50,000 kilograms) per hour at times. The Los Angeles-area disaster was among the largest methane releases in U.S. history.

    With wide, repeated coverage from its vantage point on the space station, EMIT will potentially find hundreds of super-emitters – some of them previously spotted through air-, space-, or ground-based measurement, and others that were unknown.

    “As it continues to survey the planet, EMIT will observe places in which no one thought to look for greenhouse-gas emitters before, and it will find plumes that no one expects,” said Robert Green, EMIT’s principal investigator at JPL.

    EMIT is the first of a new class of spaceborne imaging spectrometers to study Earth. One example is Carbon Plume Mapper (CPM), an instrument in development at JPL that’s designed to detect methane and carbon dioxide. JPL is working with a nonprofit, Carbon Mapper, along with other partners, to launch two satellites equipped with CPM in late 2023.

    More About the Mission

    EMIT was selected from the Earth Venture Instrument-4 solicitation under the Earth Science Division of NASA Science Mission Directorate and was developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is managed for the agency by Caltech in Pasadena, California. It launched aboard a SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 14, 2022. The instrument’s data will be delivered to the NASA Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) for use by other researchers and the public.

    The International Space Station hosts seven instruments for NASA Earth Science that are providing novel information for understanding our changing planet.

    To learn more about the mission, visit:

    https://earth.jpl.nasa.gov/emit/

    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 Campus

    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.

    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.

     
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