Tagged: NASA Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 8:35 am on November 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , JPSS-1 will be renamed NOAA-20 when it reaches its final orbit, NASA, , Observations of atmospheric temperature and moisture clouds sea-surface temperature ocean color sea ice cover volcanic ash and fire detection, The data will improve weather forecasting such as predicting a hurricane’s track   

    From NASA: “NASA Launches NOAA Weather Satellite Aboard United Launch Alliance Rocket to Improve Forecasts” 


    NASA

    Nov. 18, 2017

    Steve Cole
    Headquarters, Washington
    202-358-0918
    stephen.e.cole@nasa.gov

    John Leslie
    NOAA, Silver Spring, Md.
    202-527-3504
    john.leslie@noaa.gov

    NOAA Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS)

    NASA has successfully launched for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the first in a series of four highly advanced polar-orbiting satellites, equipped with next-generation technology and designed to improve the accuracy of U.S. weather forecasts out to seven days.

    The Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) lifted off on a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, at 1:47 a.m. PST Saturday.

    Approximately 63 minutes after launch the solar arrays on JPSS-1 deployed and the spacecraft was operating on its own power. JPSS-1 will be renamed NOAA-20 when it reaches its final orbit. Following a three-month checkout and validation of its five advanced instruments, the satellite will become operational.

    “Launching JPSS-1 underscores NOAA’s commitment to putting the best possible satellites into orbit, giving our forecasters — and the public — greater confidence in weather forecasts up to seven days in advance, including the potential for severe, or impactful weather,” said Stephen Volz, director of NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service.

    JPSS-1 will join the joint NOAA/NASA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite in the same orbit and provide meteorologists with observations of atmospheric temperature and moisture, clouds, sea-surface temperature, ocean color, sea ice cover, volcanic ash, and fire detection. The data will improve weather forecasting, such as predicting a hurricane’s track, and will help agencies involved with post-storm recovery by visualizing storm damage and the geographic extent of power outages.

    “Emergency managers increasingly rely on our forecasts to make critical decisions and take appropriate action before a storm hits,” said Louis W. Uccellini, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “Polar satellite observations not only help us monitor and collect information about current weather systems, but they provide data to feed into our weather forecast models.”

    JPSS-1 has five instruments, each of which is significantly upgraded from the instruments on NOAA’s previous polar-orbiting satellites. The more-detailed observations from JPSS will allow forecasters to make more accurate predictions. JPSS-1 data will also improve recognition of climate patterns that influence the weather, such as El Nino and La Nina.

    The JPSS program is a partnership between NOAA and NASA through which they will oversee the development, launch, testing and operation all the satellites in the series. NOAA funds and manages the program, operations and data products. NASA develops and builds the instruments, spacecraft and ground system and launches the satellites for NOAA. JPSS-1 launch management was provided by NASA’s Launch Services Program based at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

    “Today’s launch is the latest example of the strong relationship between NASA and NOAA, contributing to the advancement of scientific discovery and the improvement of the U.S. weather forecasting capability by leveraging the unique vantage point of space to benefit and protect humankind,” said Sandra Smalley, director of NASA’s Joint Agency Satellite Division.

    Ball Aerospace designed and built the JPSS-1 satellite bus and Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite instrument, integrated all five of the spacecraft’s instruments and performed satellite-level testing and launch support. Raytheon Corporation built the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite and the Common Ground System. Harris Corporation built the Cross-track Infrared Sounder. Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems built the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder and the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System instrument.

    To learn more about the JPSS-1 mission, visit:

    http://www.jpss.noaa.gov/

    and

    https://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/jpss-1

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    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.

    Advertisements
     
  • richardmitnick 12:06 pm on November 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Hitomi Mission Glimpses Cosmic 'Recipe' for the Nearby Universe, , NASA, The Perseus galaxy cluster, Type Ia supernovas entail the total destruction of a white dwarf a compact remnant produced by stars like the Sun   

    From NASA: “Hitomi Mission Glimpses Cosmic ‘Recipe’ for the Nearby Universe” 


    NASA

    Nov. 13, 2017
    Raleigh McElvery
    Francis Reddy
    francis.j.reddy@nasa.gov
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

    3
    The Perseus galaxy cluster, located about 240 million light-years away, is shown in this composite of visible light (green and red) and near-infrared images from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Unseen here is a thin, hot, X-ray-emitting gas that fills the cluster. Credit: Robert Lupton and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Consortium

    JAXA/Hitomi telescope – lost

    Before its brief mission ended unexpectedly in March 2016, Japan’s Hitomi X-ray observatory captured exceptional information about the motions of hot gas in the Perseus galaxy cluster. Now, thanks to unprecedented detail provided by an instrument developed jointly by NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), scientists have been able to analyze more deeply the chemical make-up of this gas, providing new insights into the stellar explosions that formed most of these elements and cast them into space.

    The Perseus cluster, located 240 million light-years away in its namesake constellation, is the brightest galaxy cluster in X-rays and among the most massive near Earth. It contains thousands of galaxies orbiting within a thin hot gas, all bound together by gravity. The gas averages 90 million degrees Fahrenheit (50 million degrees Celsius) and is the source of the cluster’s X-ray emission.

    Using Hitomi’s high-resolution Soft X-ray Spectrometer (SXS) instrument, researchers observed the cluster between Feb. 25 and March 6, 2016, acquiring a total exposure of nearly 3.4 days. The SXS observed an unprecedented spectrum, revealing a landscape of X-ray peaks emitted from various chemical elements with a resolution some 30 times better than previously seen.

    In a paper published online in the journal Nature on Nov. 13, the science team shows that the proportions of elements found in the cluster are nearly identical to what astronomers see in the Sun.

    “There was no reason to expect that initially,” said coauthor Michael Loewenstein, a University of Maryland research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “The Perseus cluster is a different environment with a different history from our Sun’s. After all, clusters represent an average chemical distribution from many types of stars in many types of galaxies that formed long before the Sun.”

    2
    Hitomi’s Soft X-ray Spectrometer (SXS) instrument captured data from two overlapping areas of the Perseus galaxy cluster (blue outlines, upper right) in February and March 2016. The resulting spectrum has 30 times the detail of any previously captured, revealing many X-ray peaks associated with chromium, manganese, nickel and iron. Dark blue lines in the insets indicate the actual X-ray data points and their uncertainties. Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

    One group of elements is closely tied to a particular class of stellar explosion, called Type Ia supernovas. These blasts are thought to be responsible for producing most of the universe’s chromium, manganese, iron and nickel — metals collectively known as “iron-peak” elements.

    Type Ia supernovas entail the total destruction of a white dwarf, a compact remnant produced by stars like the Sun. Although stable on its own, a white dwarf can undergo a runaway thermonuclear explosion if it’s paired with another object as part of a binary system. This occurs either by merging with a companion white dwarf or, when paired with a nearby normal star, by stealing some of partner’s gas. The transferred matter can accumulate on the white dwarf, gradually increasing its mass until it becomes unstable and explodes.

    An important open question has been whether the exploding white dwarf is close to this stability limit — about 1.4 solar masses — regardless of its origins. Different masses produce different amounts of iron-peak metals, so a detailed tally of these elements over a large region of space, like the Perseus galaxy cluster, could indicate which kinds of white dwarfs blew up more often.

    “It turns out you need a combination of Type Ia supernovas with different masses at the moment of the explosion to produce the chemical abundances we see in the gas at the middle of the Perseus cluster,” said Hiroya Yamaguchi, the paper’s lead author and a UMD research scientist at Goddard. “We confirm that at least about half of Type Ia supernovas must have reached nearly 1.4 solar masses.”

    Taken together, the findings suggest that the same combination of Type Ia supernovas producing iron-peak elements in our solar system also produced these metals in the cluster’s gas. This means both the solar system and the Perseus cluster experienced broadly similar chemical evolution, suggesting that the processes forming stars — and the systems that became Type Ia supernovas — were comparable in both locations.

    “Although this is just one example, there’s no reason to doubt that this similarity could extend beyond our Sun and the Perseus cluster to other galaxies with different properties,” said coauthor Kyoko Matsushita, a professor of physics at the Tokyo University of Science.

    3
    The Soft X-ray Spectrometer (SXS) on Hitomi, photographed Nov. 27, 2015, at Tsukuba Space Center in Japan. The SXS permitted scientists to observe the detailed motions and chemical composition of gas permeating the Perseus galaxy cluster.
    Credits: JAXA

    Although short-lived, the Hitomi mission and its revolutionary SXS instrument —developed and built by Goddard scientists working closely with colleagues from several institutions in the United States, Japan and the Netherlands — have demonstrated the promise of high-resolution X-ray spectrometry.

    “Hitomi has permitted us to delve deeper into the history of one of the largest structures in the universe, the Perseus galaxy cluster, and explore how particles and materials behave in the extreme conditions there,” said Goddard’s Richard Kelley, the U.S. principal investigator for the Hitomi collaboration. “Our most recent calculations have provided a glimpse into how and why certain chemical elements are distributed throughout galaxies beyond our own.”

    JAXA and NASA scientists are now working to regain the science capabilities lost in the Hitomi mishap by collaborating on the X-ray Astronomy Recovery Mission (XARM), expected to launch in 2021. One of its instruments will have capabilities similar to the SXS flown on Hitomi.

    Hitomi launched on Feb. 17, 2016, and suffered a mission-ending spacecraft anomaly 38 days later. Hitomi, which translates to “pupil of the eye,” was known before launch as ASTRO-H. The mission was developed by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, a division of JAXA. It was built jointly by an international collaboration led by JAXA, with contributions from Goddard and other institutions in the United States, Japan, Canada and Europe.

    For more information about ASTRO-H, visit:

    http://www.nasa.gov/astro-h

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    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 8:17 pm on November 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , NASA, NASA has access to one-sixth of the annually available observing time, NASA has awarded a five-year Cooperative Agreement with the California Association for Research in Astronomy to continue the science program at the W. M. Keck Observatory, The NASA-Keck collaboration has also been instrumental in making 25 years of Keck Observatory data publically accessible via the Keck Observatory Archive (KOA), The W. M. Keck Observatory works closely with many of NASA's observatories, to both 10-meter telescopes:; Keck I and Keck II   

    From NASA: “NASA Awards New Cooperative Agreement to W. M. Keck Observatory” 


    NASA

    Sept. 7, 2017
    Felicia Chou
    Headquarters, Washington
    202-358-0257
    felicia.chou@nasa.gov

    1
    Keck Observatory, Maunakea, Hawaii, USA.4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level
    The W. M. Keck Observatory works closely with several of NASA’s observatories, including the James Webb Space Telescope (not yet launched), Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory, and Spitzer Space Telescope.
    Credits: Ethan Tweedie Photography/W. M. Keck Observatory

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    NASA/Chandra Telescope

    NASA/Spitzer Infrared Telescope

    NASA has awarded a five-year Cooperative Agreement with the California Association for Research in Astronomy to continue the science program at the W. M. Keck Observatory.

    “The Keck Observatory has unique, world-class capabilities that we consider essential to realize the scientific potential of many NASA missions, both ongoing and planned,” said Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters. “NASA’s continuing partnership with Keck will ensure that astronomers and planetary scientists can carry out important ground-based observations necessary for the success of NASA missions and their scientific objectives.”

    The Keck Observatory is privately owned; in 1994 NASA contributed to the observatory and has been a partner ever since.

    “I am pleased to see the powerful synergy between NASA and Keck Observatory continue,” said Keck Observatory Director, Hilton Lewis. “This private/public collaboration in fundamental science is both unusual and extremely effective. The addition of NASA as a strong and committed partner has helped keep the Keck astronomy community at the forefront of science. In addition to supporting the operation of the telescopes, NASA has contributed to our scientific leadership through joint programs and provided access to Keck Observatory for the broader US astronomy community.”

    Under the new agreement, which takes effect March 1, 2018 through February 28, 2023, Keck Observatory will support upcoming NASA missions, including:

    James Web Space Telescope

    NASA/ESA/CSA Webb Telescope annotated

    Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)

    NASA/TESS


    Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)

    NASA/WFIRST


    Euclid (ESA)

    ESA/Euclid spacecraft


    Mars 2020

    NASA Mars 2020 rover schematic


    Explorers Program: Medium-Class Explorers (MIDEX), Small Explorers (SMEX)
    Planetary Missions: Discovery, New Frontiers

    These next-generation space-based NASA missions, in combination with ground-based support from the world’s most scientifically-productive optical and infrared telescopes at Keck Observatory on Maunakea, Hawaii, will allow the nation’s scientists to obtain new knowledge from never-before-seen views of the universe.

    “NASA’s investment gives our science community a seat at the table for observatory governance and scientific planning, helping to shape the future observatory capabilities and operations model in a way that is highly beneficial to the NASA science program,” said Hashima Hasan, NASA program scientist for Keck Observatory.

    “I was personally delighted that NASA was again willing to invest in Keck Observatory,” said Keck Observatory Chief Scientist Anne Kinney. “It brings the national brain-trust to Keck, among the best and the brightest in the entire country, to our observatory, and also links us to groundbreaking NASA missions.”

    Current Keck Observatory observations are already characterizing targets, assembling input catalogs, and refining calibrations for Webb, Euclid, TESS, Europa Clipper, and WFIRST.

    NASA/Europa Clipper

    With this agreement now in place, NASA and Keck Observatory will continue conducting scientific investigations specifically designed to advance quests to find habitable Earth-like exoplanets, unravel the mysteries of dark energy and dark matter, discover potential microbial life on Mars, and support future planetary missions, including a visit to Jupiter’s moon Europa.

    “Keck Observatory’s advanced instrumentation suite continues to evolve and grow, and promises break-through discoveries in several scientific areas,” said Mario Perez, NASA Program Executive for Keck Observatory. “This includes probing the cosmic history of galaxy evolution, tracing chemical evolution, characterizing photospheric properties of planetary system hosts, and mapping and monitoring volcanic hot spots on Jupiter’s moon Io.”

    In the last five years alone, Keck Observatory has been critical in supporting a variety of NASA astrophysics and planetary space missions, such as Cassini, JUNO, Deep Impact (EPOXI), WISE, New Horizons, SOFIA, MESSENGER, LCROSS, and more.

    NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini-Huygens Spacecraft

    NASA/Juno

    NASA/EPOXI

    NASA/WISE Telescope

    NASA/New Horizons spacecraft

    NASA/DLR SOFIA

    NASA/Messenger satellite

    NASA/ LCROSS

    One prime example that garnered international attention is when NASA’s space observatory, Kepler, and Keck Observatory tag-teamed to verify the largest collection of exoplanets ever discovered. This led NASA to achieve one of its Level 1 science goals – a census of extrasolar planets with data so detailed that demographics of Earth-sized planets are included.

    NASA/Kepler Telescope

    “Keck Observatory has made critical contributions to the success of NASA’s Kepler/K2 mission, providing high-resolution imaging and spectroscopy to validate and characterize the masses and orbits of hundreds of exoplanets,” said Charles Beichman, executive director of the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute (NExScI) at Caltech.

    The NASA-Keck collaboration has also been instrumental in making 25 years of Keck Observatory data publically accessible via the Keck Observatory Archive (KOA). KOA capabilities have improved in recent years and it now serves as a repository of all the high-value data obtained at the Observatory.

    “It is a privilege to be able to give community-wide access to our data. We believe it is critical to share the scientific knowledge that we gain with the world, to help solve the hardest problems in astronomy,” said Lewis.

    Through this collaboration, NASA has access to one-sixth of the annually available observing time, to both 10-meter telescopes:; Keck I and Keck II. This observing time is available to the U.S. scientific community through a competitive allocation using a merit-based process.

    NASA partners with NExScI to carry out a Keck Guest Observing Program, implement KOA, and manage Key Science Mission Support Projects and other related activities. NExScI already has an open call underway for professional research proposals for NASA Keck observing time in Spring of 2018.

    The W. M. Keck Observatory operates the most scientifically productive telescopes on Earth. The two, 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes on the summit of Maunakea on the Island of Hawaii feature a suite of advanced instruments including imagers, multi-object spectrographs, high-resolution spectrographs, integral-field spectrometers, and world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics systems. The Observatory is a private 501(c) 3 non-profit organization and a scientific partnership of the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and NASA.

    For more information, visit: http://www.keckobservatory.org

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    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 7:35 am on October 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , CSIRO and NASA – a partnership as unlimited as space itself, , NASA   

    From CSIROscope: “CSIRO and NASA – a partnership as unlimited as space itself” 

    CSIRO bloc

    CSIROscope

    18 October 2017
    Dr Ed Kruzins

    1
    The CSIRO-managed, NASA Deep Space Network facility at Tidbinbilla, near Canberra, operates 24/7 maintaining two-way communications with dozens of robotic spacecraft exploring the Solar System and beyond

    NASA Canberra, AU, Deep Space Network

    A new agreement signed this week in Washington DC provides the framework for Australia – and CSIRO – to support NASA’s exploration of the Solar System.

    Nearly 50 years ago, the first TV images of humans stepping onto the surface of the Moon were beamed around the world via the giant antenna dishes of NASA’s Honeysuckle Creek tracking station near Canberra and our Parkes radio telescope.

    By the mid-2030s, humanity could be taking the first steps onto the surface of Mars or probing the oceans of Jupiter’s and Saturn’s moons for signs of life. To achieve this, NASA will call on Australia to relay those images and potential discoveries to a wide-eyed world.

    To support those goals, a new 25 year bilateral agreement between the United States and Australia was signed on 17 October in Washington DC by Australia’s Ambassador to the USA, His Excellency the Honourable Joe Hockey and Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot. This treaty-level agreement continues a long legacy of cooperation and success between our two countries centred on our expertise and the use of critically important spacecraft tracking and communication facilities.

    Building on the framework of the new treaty, and crucial to its success, is the long-standing partnership between ourselves and NASA.

    From supporting NASA’s first successful interplanetary mission to Venus by the Mariner 2 spacecraft in 1962 through to today’s many exciting voyages of exploration, we work alongside the US space agency by managing facilities on their behalf such as the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC).

    Our Chief Executive Larry Marshall said, “For more than 50 years, CSIRO has been proud to be one of NASA’s homes in the Southern Hemisphere, leveraging our geography but sharing in the world-class capabilities of our scientists.

    “From humanity’s first steps on the Moon, to flying past Pluto, to Cassini’s recent descent into Saturn, CSIRO and NASA have partnered to not only see more deeply into our Universe, but inspire the next generation of scientists.”

    —In parallel to the treaty, a new Cooperating Agency Agreement (CAA) is currently being negotiated between ourselves and NASA. The CAA defines the roles and responsibilities of the two science organisations to manage CDSCC’s deep space operations, as well as the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) equipment in Alice Springs and the TDRS facility in Dongara, Western Australia, which supports communications with the International Space Station.

    Under another agreement, we also manage NASA’s scientific ballooning station in Alice Springs which is used by NASA and other international space agencies, including recent campaigns by France and Japan, for sending high-altitude atmospheric and space observatories aloft.

    3
    Managed by CSIRO’s NASA Operations team, the Alice Springs Scientific Ballooning Station is used by international space agencies to send unique Earth atmospheric and deep space observatories to the edge of space. Image: © CNES/OMP/IRAP/UT3/CNRS /Sebastien CHASTANET, 2017

    Building upon its already significant capabilities in space, technology development, radio astronomy and observatory management, we continue to lead the way in Australia’s expansion as a key player and partner in the exploration of the Solar System and beyond.

    “I’m delighted that we will see this strong US-Australia partnership continue to grow and develop for many years to come with the signing of this treaty. By sharing our network of brilliant minds, our opportunity is as unlimited as space itself,” said Dr Marshall.

    The CSIRO-NASA partnership in space continues to grow and our work together in the Deep Space Network has many more chapters to write in space exploration. This treaty will re-affirm that strong relationship.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:34 am on October 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , NASA   

    From ESA: “Integral sees blast travelling with gravitational waves” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    European Space Agency

    16 October 2017
    Erik Kuulkers
    ESA Integral Project Scientist
    European Space Agency
    Tel: +31 71 565 8470
    Mob: +31 6 30249526
    Email: Erik.Kuulkers@esa.int

    Volodymyr Savchenko
    Integral Science Data Centre
    University of Geneva, Switzerland
    Email: Volodymyr.Savchenko@unige.ch

    Carlo Ferrigno
    Integral Science Data Centre
    University of Geneva, Switzerland
    Tel: +41 7979 67782
    Email: Carlo.Ferrigno@unige.ch

    Paul McNamara
    LISA Study Scientist
    European Space Agency
    Tel: +31 71 565 8239
    Email: paul.mcnamara@esa.int

    Markus Bauer








    ESA Science Communication Officer









    Tel: +31 71 565 6799









    Mob: +31 61 594 3 954









    Email: markus.bauer@esa.int

    1
    Colliding neutron stars. No image credit [and not the best I have ever seen, but their choice, not mine].

    ESA’s Integral satellite recently played a crucial role in discovering the flash of gamma rays linked to the gravitational waves released by the collision of two neutron stars.

    1
    Integral gamma-ray observatory. No image credit

    On 17 August, a burst of gamma rays lit up in space for almost two seconds. It was promptly recorded by Integral and NASA’s Fermi satellite.

    NASA/Fermi Telescope


    NASA/Fermi LAT

    Such short gamma-ray bursts are not uncommon: Integral catches about 20 every year. But this one was special: just seconds before the two satellites saw the blast, an entirely different instrument was triggered on Earth.

    One of the two detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) experiment, in the USA, recorded the passage of gravitational waves – fluctuations in the fabric of spacetime caused by powerful cosmic events.


    VIRGO Gravitational Wave interferometer, near Pisa, Italy

    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo Hanford, WA, USA installation


    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo detector installation Livingston, LA, USA

    Cornell SXS, the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) project

    Gravitational waves. Credit: MPI for Gravitational Physics/W.Benger-Zib

    ESA/eLISA the future of gravitational wave research

    1
    Skymap showing how adding Virgo to LIGO helps in reducing the size of the source-likely region in the sky. (Credit: Giuseppe Greco (Virgo Urbino group)

    “This is a ground-breaking discovery, revealing for the first time gravitational waves and highly energetic light released by the same cosmic source,” says Erik Kuulkers, Integral project scientist at ESA.

    Before this finding, gravitational waves had been confirmed on four occasions: in all cases, they were traced back to pairs of merging black holes as they spiralled towards each other.

    The two LIGO detectors had seen the first in September 2015, followed by two more in late 2015 and early 2017. Recently, on 14 August, the fourth observation of gravitational waves also involved Europe’s Virgo instrument in Italy.

    These detections won the LIGO founding scientists the Nobel Prize in physics earlier this month.

    Gravitational waves are the only ‘messenger’ expected when black holes collide. Following these four measurements, scientists across the world began searching with ground and space telescopes for possible luminous bursts linked to the gravitational waves.

    “We had contributed to these earlier searches with Integral, looking for gamma- or X-ray emission and finding none, as expected from the vast majority of theories,” says Volodymyr Savchenko from the Integral Science Data Centre in Geneva, Switzerland.

    This time, however, the story took a different turn.

    Other cosmic clashes are suspected to release not only gravitational waves but also light across the electromagnetic spectrum. This can happen, for example, when the collision involves one or more neutron stars – like black holes, they are compact remnants of what were once massive stars.

    Merging neutron stars have also been thought to be the long-sought sources of short gamma-ray bursts, though no observational proof had yet been found.

    Until August.

    “We realised that we were witnessing something historic when we saw the notification of Fermi’s and LIGO’s detections appear on our internal network almost at the same time, and soon after we saw the confirmation in the data from Integral’s SPI instrument, too,” says Carlo Ferrigno, from the Integral Science Data Centre.

    “Nothing like this had happened before: it was clearly the signature of a neutron star merger,” adds Volodymyr.

    3
    Gamma-ray burst after gravitational waves. No image credit.

    Ordinarily, an alert from only one of the three gravitational-wave detectors would not awaken curiosity so suddenly, but the coincidence with the gamma-ray blast detected from space prompted the LIGO/Virgo scientists to look again.

    It later appeared that both LIGO detectors had recorded the gravitational waves. Owing to its lower sensitivity and different orientation, Virgo produced a smaller response, but combining all three sets of measurements was crucial to locating the source.

    The data pointed to a 28 square degree patch in the sky, equivalent to a square spanning roughly 10 times the diameter of the full Moon on each side. The gravitational wave signal indicated that the source lies only about 130 millions light-years away.

    Without further delay, a large number of ground and space telescopes turned to this portion of the sky.

    About half a day after the detections, scientists at various optical observatories, including the European Southern Observatory’s telescopes in Chile, spotted something new near the core of galaxy NGC 4993. Sitting at just the distance indicated by LIGO/Virgo, it was just what you would expect to see in visible light as neutron stars merged.

    “This is the closest short gamma-ray burst detected among the ones for which we’ve measured the distance, and by far the dimmest one – nearly a million times less bright than average,” says Volodymyr.

    “We think that the unusual properties of this source indicate that the powerful jets that arise in the cosmic clash of the neutron stars are not pointing straight towards us, as happens in the majority of gamma-ray bursts detected.”

    With the position of the source known, a large number of observatories and other sensors continued looking at it for several days and, in some cases, weeks, searching for light and particles emitted in the aftermath of the collision. Many are still observing it.

    After the initial detection of the blast, Integral observed it for five and a half days. No further gamma rays were detected, an important fact in understanding how the neutron stars merged.

    The extensive follow-up campaign revealed signals across the spectrum, first in the ultraviolet, visible and infrared bands, then in X-rays and, eventually, radio wavelengths.

    “What we are witnessing is clearly a kilonova: the neutron-rich material released in the merger is impacting its surroundings, forging a wealth of heavy elements in the process,” explains Carlo.

    “This amazing discovery was made possible by a terrific collaboration of thousands of people working in different observatories and experiments worldwide,” says Erik.

    “We are thrilled that Integral could provide a crucial contribution to confirming the nature of such a rare phenomenon that scientists have been seeking for decades.”

    With high sensitivity to gamma rays and almost full-sky coverage for brief events, Integral is amongst the best astronomical facilities for keeping an eye on gamma-ray bursts.

    When the LIGO/Virgo sensors start their observations again, with improved sensitivity, in late 2018, it is crucial that as many gamma-ray satellites as possible are active to check on the gravitational wave detections.

    Meanwhile, ESA is working on the next generation of gravitational-wave experiments, taking the quest to space with LISA, the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna.

    Planned for launch in 2034, LISA will be sensitive to gravitational waves of lower frequency than those detected with terrestrial instruments. These are released by the clashes of even more exotic cosmic objects: supermassive black holes, which sit at the centre of galaxies and have masses millions to billions of times larger than that of the stellar-mass black holes detected by LIGO and Virgo.

    “LISA will broaden the study of gravitational waves much like the first observations at infrared and radio wavelengths have revolutionised astronomy,” says Paul McNamara, LISA study scientist at ESA.

    “Until then, we are excited that ESA’s high-energy satellites are contributing to the growing field of gravitational-wave astronomy.”

    From ESA

    Published on Oct 16, 2017

    This artist’s impression video shows how two tiny but very dense neutron stars merge and explode as a kilonova. Such a very rare event is expected to produce both gravitational waves and a short gamma-ray burst, both of which were observed on 17 August 2017 by LIGO–Virgo and Fermi/INTEGRAL respectively. Subsequent detailed observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and other telescopes all over the world have confirmed that this object, seen in the galaxy NGC 4993 about 130 million light-years from the Earth, is indeed a kilonova. These objects are the main source of very heavy chemical elements, such as gold and platinum, in the Universe.
    Credit: ESO/L. Calçada. Music: Johan B. Monell (www.johanmonell.com)

    From NASA
    Published on Oct 16, 2017

    For the first time, NASA scientists have detected light tied to a gravitational-wave event, thanks to two merging neutron stars in the galaxy NGC 4993, located about 130 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Hydra.

    Shortly after 8:41 a.m. EDT on Aug. 17, NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope picked up a pulse of high-energy light from a powerful explosion, which was immediately reported to astronomers around the globe as a short gamma-ray burst. The scientists at the National Science Foundation’s Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detected gravitational waves dubbed GW170817 from a pair of smashing stars tied to the gamma-ray burst, encouraging astronomers to look for the aftermath of the explosion. Shortly thereafter, the burst was detected as part of a follow-up analysis by ESA’s (European Space Agency’s) INTEGRAL satellite.

    NASA’s Swift, Hubble, Chandra and Spitzer missions, along with dozens of ground-based observatories, including the NASA-funded Pan-STARRS survey, later captured the fading glow of the blast’s expanding debris.

    NASA/SWIFT Telescope

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    NASA/Chandra Telescope

    NASA/Spitzer Infrared Telescope

    Neutron stars are the crushed, leftover cores of massive stars that previously exploded as supernovas long ago. The merging stars likely had masses between 10 and 60 percent greater than that of our Sun, but they were no wider than Washington, D.C. The pair whirled around each other hundreds of times a second, producing gravitational waves at the same frequency. As they drew closer and orbited faster, the stars eventually broke apart and merged, producing both a gamma-ray burst and a rarely seen flare-up called a “kilonova.”

    Neutron star mergers produce a wide variety of light because the objects form a maelstrom of hot debris when they collide. Merging black holes — the types of events LIGO and its European counterpart, Virgo, have previously seen — very likely consume any matter around them long before they crash, so we don’t expect the same kind of light show.

    Within hours of the initial Fermi detection, LIGO and the Virgo detector at the European Gravitational Observatory near Pisa, Italy, greatly refined the event’s position in the sky with additional analysis of gravitational wave data. Ground-based observatories then quickly located a new optical and infrared source — the kilonova — in NGC 4993.

    To Fermi, this appeared to be a typical short gamma-ray burst, but it occurred less than one-tenth as far away as any other short burst with a known distance, making it among the faintest known. Astronomers are still trying to figure out why this burst is so odd, and how this event relates to the more luminous gamma-ray bursts seen at much greater distances.

    NASA’s Swift, Hubble and Spitzer missions followed the evolution of the kilonova to better understand the composition of this slower-moving material, while Chandra searched for X-rays associated with the remains of the ultra-fast jet.

    NASA/SWIFT Telescope

    This animation captures phenomena observed over the course of nine days following the neutron star merger known as GW170817. They include gravitational waves (pale arcs), a near-light-speed jet that produced gamma rays (magenta), expanding debris from a kilonova that produced ultraviolet (violet), optical and infrared (blue-white to red) emission, and, once the jet directed toward us expanded into our view from Earth, X-rays (blue).
    Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

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

    ESA50 Logo large

     
  • richardmitnick 12:57 pm on October 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Hard X-rays, , , Nanoflares, NASA, NASA Sounding Rocket Instrument Spots Signatures of Long-Sought Small Solar Flares, NASA UC Berkeley FOXSI sounding rocket, One of the consequences of nanoflares would be pockets of superheated plasma, ,   

    From Goddard: “NASA Sounding Rocket Instrument Spots Signatures of Long-Sought Small Solar Flares” 

    NASA Goddard Banner
    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

    Oct. 13, 2017
    Sarah Frazier
    sara.frazier@nasa.gov
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

    Like most solar sounding rockets, the second flight of the FOXSI instrument – short for Focusing Optics X-ray Solar Imager – lasted 15 minutes, with just six minutes of data collection. But in that short time, the cutting-edge instrument found the best evidence to date of a phenomenon scientists have been seeking for years: signatures of tiny solar flares that could help explain the mysterious extreme heating of the Sun’s outer atmosphere.

    FOXSI detected a type of light called hard X-rays – whose wavelengths are much shorter than the light humans can see – which is a signature of extremely hot solar material, around 18 million degrees Fahrenheit. These kinds of temperatures are generally produced in solar flares, powerful bursts of energy. But in this case, there was no observable solar flare, meaning the hot material was most likely produced by a series of solar flares so small that they were undetectable from Earth: nanoflares. The results were published Oct. 9, 2017, in Nature Astronomy.

    “The key to this result is the sensitivity in hard X-ray measurements,” said Shin-nosuke Ishikawa, a solar physicist at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, and lead author on the study. “Past hard X-ray instruments could not detect quiet active regions, and combination of new technologies enables us to investigate quiet active regions by hard X-rays for the first time.”

    1
    The NASA-funded FOXSI instrument captured new evidence of small solar flares, called nanoflares, during its December 2014 flight on a suborbital sounding rocket. Nanoflares could help explain why the Sun’s atmosphere, the corona, is so much hotter than the surface. Here, FOXSI’s observations of hard X-rays are shown in blue, superimposed over a soft X-ray image of the Sun from JAXA and NASA’s Hinode solar-observing satellite.
    Credits: JAXA/NASA/

    JAXA/NASA HINODE spacecraft


    NASA UC Berkeley JAXA FOXSI sounding rocket

    These observations are a step toward understanding the coronal heating problem, which is how scientists refer to the extraordinarily – and unexpectedly – high temperatures in the Sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona. The corona is hundreds to thousands of times hotter than the Sun’s visible surface, the photosphere. Because the Sun produces heat at its core, this runs counter to what one would initially expect: normally the layer closest to a source of heat, the Sun’s surface, in this case, would have a higher temperature than the more distant atmosphere.

    “If you’ve got a stove and you take your hand farther away, you don’t expect to feel hotter than when you were close,” said Lindsay Glesener, project manager for FOXSI-2 at the University of Minnesota and an author on the study.

    The cause of these counterintuitively high temperatures is an outstanding question in solar physics. One possible solution to the coronal heating problem is the constant eruption of tiny solar flares in the solar atmosphere, so small that they can’t be directly detected. In aggregate, these nanoflares could produce enough heat to raise the temperature of the corona to the millions of degrees that we observe.

    One of the consequences of nanoflares would be pockets of superheated plasma. Plasma at these temperatures emits light in hard X-rays, which are notoriously difficult to detect. For instance, NASA’s RHESSI satellite – short for Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager – launched in 2002, uses an indirect technique to measure hard X-rays, limiting how precisely we can pinpoint the location of superheated plasma. But with the cutting-edge optics available now, FOXSI was able to use a technique called direct focusing that can keep track of where the hard X-rays originate on the Sun.

    “It’s really a completely transformative way of making this type of measurement,” said Glesener. “Even just on a sounding rocket experiment looking at the Sun for about six minutes, we had much better sensitivity than a spacecraft with indirect imaging.”

    FOXSI’s measurements – along with additional X-ray data from the JAXA and NASA Hinode solar observatory – allow the team to say with certainty that the hard X-rays came from a specific region on the Sun that did not have any detectable larger solar flares, leaving nanoflares as the only likely instigator.

    “This is a proof of existence for these kinds of events,” said Steve Christe, the project scientist for FOXSI at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and an author on the study. “There’s basically no other way for these X-rays to be produced, except by plasma at around 10 million degrees Celsius [18 million degrees Fahrenheit]. This points to these small energy releases happening all the time, and if they exist, they should be contributing to coronal heating.”

    There are still questions to be answered, like: How much heat do nanoflares actually release into the corona?

    “This particular observation doesn’t tell us exactly how much it contributes to coronal heating,” said Christe. “To fully solve the coronal heating problem, they would need to be happening everywhere, even outside of the region observed here.”

    Hoping to build up a more complete picture of nanoflares and their contribution to coronal heating, Glesener is leading a team to launch a third iteration of the FOXSI instrument on a sounding rocket in summer 2018. This version of FOXSI will use new hardware to eliminate much of the background noise that the instrument sees, allowing for even more precise measurements.

    A team led by Christe was also selected to undertake a concept study developing the FOXSI instrument for a possible spaceflight as part of the NASA Small Explorers program.

    FOXSI is a collaboration between the United States and JAXA. The second iteration of the FOXSI sounding rocket launched from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico on Dec. 11, 2014. FOXSI is supported through NASA’s Sounding Rocket Program at the Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. NASA’s Heliophysics Division manages the sounding rocket program.

    Related:

    JAXA press release on these findings (Japanese)
    NASA-funded FOXSI to Observe X-rays from Sun
    https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sounding-rockets/index.html

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is home to the nation’s largest organization of combined scientists, engineers and technologists that build spacecraft, instruments and new technology to study the Earth, the sun, our solar system, and the universe.

    Named for American rocketry pioneer Dr. Robert H. Goddard, the center was established in 1959 as NASA’s first space flight complex. Goddard and its several facilities are critical in carrying out NASA’s missions of space exploration and scientific discovery.


    NASA/Goddard Campus

     
  • richardmitnick 9:18 am on September 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , It's Official: Russia And The US Will Work Together on The First-Ever Moon Station, NASA, ROSCOMOS   

    From NASA: “It’s Official: Russia And The US Will Work Together on The First-Ever Moon Station” 

    NASA image
    NASA

    Roscosmos

    Sept. 27, 2017
    Cheryl Warner
    Headquarters, Washington
    202-358-1100
    cheryl.m.warner@nasa.gov

    Building a strategic capability for advancing and sustaining human space exploration in the vicinity of the Moon will require the best from NASA, interested international partners, and U.S. industry. As NASA continues formulating the deep space gateway concept, the agency signed a joint statement with the Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos, on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia.

    This joint statement reflects the common vision for human exploration that NASA and Roscosmos share. Both agencies, as well as other International Space Station partners, see the gateway as a strategic component of human space exploration architecture that warrants additional study. NASA has already engaged industry partners in gateway concept studies. Roscosmos and other space station partner agencies are preparing to do the same.

    1
    Artist’s impression of the Deep Space Gateway, currently under development by Lockheed Martin. Credit: NASA
    NASA/ROSCOMOS Deep Space Gateway. Universe Today.

    “While the deep space gateway is still in concept formulation, NASA is pleased to see growing international interest in moving into cislunar space as the next step for advancing human space exploration,” said Robert Lightfoot, NASA’s acting administrator at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Statements such as this one signed with Roscosmos show the gateway concept as an enabler to the kind of exploration architecture that is affordable and sustainable.”

    NASA plans to expand human presence into the solar system starting in the vicinity of the Moon using its new deep space exploration transportation systems, the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft. This plan challenges our current capabilities in human spaceflight and will benefit from engagement by multiple countries and U.S. industry.

    Studies of the gateway concept will provide technical information to inform future decisions about potential collaborations. These domestic and international studies are being used to shape the capabilities and partnering options for implementing the deep space gateway.

    The space station partners are working to identify common exploration objectives and possible missions for the 2020s, including the gateway concept. A key element of their study is to ensure that future deep space exploration missions take full advantage of technology development and demonstration enabled by the International Space Station, as well as lessons learned from its assembly and operations.

    During the same time period and in parallel, NASA has been engaging U.S. industry to evaluate habitation concepts for the gateway and for the deep space transport that would be needed for Mars exploration. NASA has competitively awarded a series of study and risk reduction contracts under the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) Broad Agency Announcement to advance habitation concepts, technologies, and prototypes of the required capabilities needed for deep space missions. The most recent awards included six U.S. companies; Bigelow Aerospace, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK, Sierra Nevada Corporation, and Nanoracks. Five of the six firms were selected to develop full-sized ground-based engineering prototypes of habitation systems, expected to be complete in 2018. NASA has also solicited industry proposals for studies on concept development of a power and propulsion element, which would be the first piece of a gateway architecture.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    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 12:17 pm on August 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , NASA, ,   

    From EarthSky: “Studying sun’s atmosphere on eclipse day” 

    1

    EarthSky

    August 17, 2017
    EarthSky Voices

    Monday’s total solar eclipse will give scientists a rare opportunity to study the lower regions of the sun’s corona. Here’s what NASA scientists will be investigating.

    1
    A total solar eclipse gives scientists a rare opportunity to study the lower regions of the sun’s corona. These observations can help us understand solar activity, as well as the unexpectedly high temperatures in the corona. Image via NASA/S. Habbal, M. Druckmüller and P. Aniol.

    By Sarah Frazier, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

    A total solar eclipse happens somewhere on Earth about once every 18 months. But because Earth’s surface is mostly ocean, most eclipses are visible over land for only a short time, if at all. The total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, is different – its path stretches over land for nearly 90 minutes, giving scientists an unprecedented opportunity to make scientific measurements from the ground.

    Total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017: All you need to know

    When the moon moves in front of the sun on August 21, it will completely obscure the sun’s bright face. This happens because of a celestial coincidence – though the sun is about 400 times wider than the moon, the moon on August 21 will be about 400 times closer to us, making their apparent size in the sky almost equal. In fact, the moon will appear slightly larger than the sun to us, allowing it to totally obscure the sun for more than two and a half minutes in some locations. If they had the exact same apparent size, the total eclipse would only last for an instant.

    The eclipse will reveal the sun’s outer atmosphere, called the corona, which is otherwise too dim to see next to the bright sun. Though we study the corona from space with instruments called coronagraphs – which create artificial eclipses by using a metal disk to block out the sun’s face – there are still some lower regions of the sun’s atmosphere that are only visible during total solar eclipses. Because of a property of light called diffraction, the disk of a coronagraph must block out both the sun’s surface and a large part of the corona in order to get crisp pictures. But because the moon is so far away from Earth – about 230,000 miles away during the eclipse – diffraction isn’t an issue, and scientists are able to measure the lower corona in fine detail.

    NASA is taking advantage of the August 21, 2017, eclipse by funding 11 ground-based science investigations across the United States. Six of these focus on the sun’s corona.

    The source of space weather

    Our sun is an active star that constantly releases a flow of charged particles and magnetic fields known as the solar wind. This solar wind, along with discrete burps of solar material known as coronal mass ejections, can influence Earth’s magnetic field, send particles raining down into our atmosphere, and – when intense – impact satellites. Though we’re able to track these solar eruptions when they leave the sun, the key to predicting when they’ll happen could lie in studying their origins in the magnetic energy stored in the lower corona.

    A team led by Philip Judge of the High Altitude Observatory in Boulder, Colorado, will use new instruments to study the magnetic field structure of the corona by imaging this atmospheric layer during the eclipse. The instruments will image the corona to see fingerprints left by the magnetic field in visible and near-infrared wavelengths from a mountaintop near Casper, Wyoming. One instrument, POLARCAM, uses new technology based on the eyes of the mantis shrimp to obtain novel polarization measurements, and will serve as a proof-of-concept for use in future space missions. The research will enhance our understanding of how the sun generates space weather. Judge said:

    “We want to compare between the infrared data we’re capturing and the ultraviolet data recorded by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and JAXA/NASA’s Hinode satellite.

    NASA/SDO

    JAXA/HINODE spacecraft

    This work will confirm or refute our understanding of how light across the entire spectrum forms in the corona, perhaps helping to resolve some nagging disagreements.”

    The results from the camera will complement data from an airborne study imaging the corona in the infrared, as well as another ground-based infrared study led by Paul Bryans at the High Altitude Observatory.

    2
    High Altitude Observatory. Hawaii location.

    Bryans and his team will sit inside a trailer atop Casper Mountain in Wyoming, and point a specialized instrument at the eclipse. The instrument is a spectrometer, which collects light from the sun and separates each wavelength of light, measuring their intensity. This particular spectrometer, called the NCAR Airborne Interferometer, will, for the first time, survey infrared light emitted by the solar corona. Bryant said:

    “These studies are complementary. We will have the spectral information, which reveals the component wavelengths of light. And Philip Judge’s team will have the spatial resolution to tell where certain features are coming from.”

    This novel data will help scientists characterize the corona’s complex magnetic field — crucial information for understanding and eventually helping to forecast space weather events. The scientists will augment their study by analyzing their results alongside corresponding space-based observations from other instruments aboard NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and the joint NASA/JAXA Hinode.

    In Madras, Oregon, a team of NASA scientists led by Nat Gopalswamy at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, will point a new, specialized polarization camera at the sun’s faint outer atmosphere, the corona, taking several-second exposures at four selected wavelengths in just over two minutes. Their images will capture data on the temperature and speed of solar material in the corona. Currently these measurements can only be obtained from Earth-based observations during a total solar eclipse.

    To study the corona at times and locations outside a total eclipse, scientists use coronagraphs, which mimic eclipses by using solid disks to block the sun’s face much the way the moon’s shadow does. Typical coronagraphs use a polarizer filter in a mechanism that turns through three angles, one after the other, for each wavelength filter. The new camera is designed to eliminate this clunky, time-consuming process, by incorporating thousands of tiny polarization filters to read light polarized in different directions simultaneously. Testing this instrument is a crucial step toward improving coronagraphs and ultimately, our understanding of the corona — the very root of the solar radiation that fills up Earth’s space environment.

    4
    NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO, constantly observes the outer regions of the sun’s corona. During the Aug. 21, 2017, eclipse, scientists will observe the lower regions of the sun’s corona to better understand the source of solar explosions called coronal mass ejections, as well as the unexpectedly high temperatures in the corona. Image via ESA/NASA/SOHO.

    ESA/NASA SOHO

    Unexplained coronal heating

    The answer to another mystery also lies in the lower corona: It is thought to hold the secrets to a longstanding question of how the solar atmosphere reaches such unexpectedly high temperatures. The sun’s corona is much hotter than its surface, which is counterintuitive, as the sun’s energy is generated by nuclear fusion at its core. Usually temperatures go down consistently as you move away from that heat source, the same way that it gets cooler as you move away from a fire – but not so in the case of the sun’s atmosphere. Scientists suspect that detailed measurements of the way particles move in the lower corona could help them uncover the mechanism that produces this enormous heating.

    Padma Yanamandra-Fisher of the Space Science Institute will lead an experiment to take images of the lower corona in polarized light. Polarized light is when all the light waves are oriented the same way, and it is produced when ordinary, unpolarized light passes through a medium – in this case, the electrons of the inner solar corona. Yanamandra-Fisher said:

    “By measuring the polarized brightness of the inner solar corona and using numerical modeling, we can extract the number of electrons along the line of sight. Essentially, we’re mapping the distribution of free electrons in the inner solar corona.”

    Mapping the inner corona in polarized light to reveal the density of elections is a critical factor in modeling coronal waves, one possible source of coronal heating. Along with unpolarized light images collected by the NASA-funded citizen science project called Citizen CATE, which will gather eclipse imagery from across the country, these polarized light measurements could help scientists address the question of the solar corona’s unusually high temperatures.

    Shadia Habbal of the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy in Honolulu will lead a team of scientists to image the sun during the total solar eclipse. The eclipse’s long path over land allows the team to image the sun from five sites across four different states, about 600 miles apart, allowing them to track short-term changes in the corona and increasing the odds of good weather.

    They will use spectrometers, which analyze the light emitted from different ionized elements in the corona. The scientists will also use unique filters to selectively image the corona in certain colors, which allows them to directly probe into the physics of the sun’s outer atmosphere.

    With this data, they can explore the composition and temperature of the corona, and measure the speed of particles flowing out from the sun. Different colors correspond to different elements — nickel, iron and argon — that have lost electrons, or been ionized, in the corona’s extreme heat, and each element ionizes at a specific temperature. By analyzing such information together, the scientists hope to better understand the processes that heat the corona.

    Amir Caspi of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, and his team will use two of NASA’s WB-57F research jets take observations from twin telescopes mounted on the noses of the planes. They will ­­­­­capture the clearest images of the sun’s outer atmosphere — the corona — to date and the first-ever thermal images of Mercury, revealing how temperature varies across the planet’s surface.

    Bottom line: NASA scientists will study the sun’s atmosphere at the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017. [Alot!!]

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

     
  • richardmitnick 9:22 am on August 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , BETTII, , ISS-CREAM, NASA, PIPER-Primordial Inflation Polarization Explorer, Space balloons   

    From Goddard: “NASA’s Scientific Balloon Program Reaches New Heights” 

    NASA Goddard Banner
    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

    Aug. 8, 2017
    Raleigh McElvery
    raleigh.e.mcelvery@nasa.gov
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

    1
    This illustration shows the Balloon Experimental Twin Telescope for Infrared Interferometer (BETTII) ascending into the upper atmosphere. The experiment was severely damaged on June 9, when the payload detached from its parachute and fell. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab/Michael Lentz

    For decades, NASA has released enormous scientific balloons into Earth’s atmosphere, miles above the altitude of commercial flights. The Balloon Program is currently preparing new missions bearing sensitive instruments, including one designed to investigate the birth of our universe and another with ballooning origins that will fly on the International Space Station.

    1
    Al Kogut, an astrophysicist at NASA Goddard, poses with one of the millimeter-wave telescopes for the Primordial Inflation Polarization Explorer (PIPER) balloon mission. Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Bill Hrybyk

    NASA’s Primordial Inflation Polarization Explorer (PIPER), which will launch a series of test flights over the next few years, could confirm the theory that our nascent universe expanded by a trillion trillion (1024) times immediately following the big bang. This rapid inflation would have shaken the fabric of space-time, generating ripples called gravitational waves. These waves, in turn, should have produced detectable distortions in the cosmic microwave background (CMB), the earliest light in the universe lengthened into microwaves today by cosmic expansion. The patterns will appear in measurements of how the CMB light is organized, a property called polarization. Discovering twisting, pinwheel-like polarization patterns in the CMB will prove inflation occurred and take astrophysicists back to the brink of the big bang.

    While Albert Einstein’s theories accurately describe gravity in today’s dilated cosmos, these large-scale physical laws did not apply when our universe was still the size of a hydrogen atom. To reconcile this disparity, PIPER will map the entire sky at four different frequencies, differentiating between twisting patterns in the CMB (indicating primordial gravitational waves) and different polarization signals due to interstellar dust. To maintain sensitivity, the telescope will fly immersed in a bucket of liquid helium the size of a hot tub but much cooler — nearly 457 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (minus 272 degrees Celsius) and close to absolute zero, the coldest temperature possible.

    The PIPER mission was designed, built and tested at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the University of British Columbia, Canada, the National Institute of Standards and Technology at Boulder, Colorado, and Cardiff University in Wales.

    “We’re hoping to gain insight into our early universe as it expanded from subatomic size to larger than a planet in less than a second,” said Goddard’s Al Kogut, PIPER’s principal investigator. “Understanding inflation also augments our knowledge of high-energy particle physics, where the forces of nature act indistinguishably from one another.”

    3
    From its new vantage point on the International Space Station’s Japanese Experiment Module – Exposed Facility, the Cosmic Ray Energetics and Mass (ISS-CREAM) mission, shown in the inset illustration, will study cosmic rays to determine their sources and acceleration mechanisms. Credits: NASA

    While PIPER prepares to observe roughly 20 miles above Earth, the latest iteration of the Cosmic Ray Energetics and Mass (CREAM) experiment is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station in August. Although CREAM was balloon-borne during its seven prior missions, the new payload will take the technology past Earth’s atmosphere and into space. Called ISS-CREAM, the experiment will directly sample fast-moving matter from outside the solar system, called cosmic rays, from its new vantage point on the Japanese Experiment Module Exposed Facility.

    Cosmic rays are high-energy particles traveling at near the speed of light that constantly shower Earth. But precisely how they originate and accelerate through space requires more study, as does their abrupt decline at energies higher than 1,000 trillion electron volts. These particles have been boosted to more than 100 times the energy achievable by the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

    ISS-CREAM — about the size of a refrigerator — will carry refurbished versions of the silicon charge detectors and ionization calorimeter from the previous balloon missions over Antarctica. ISS-CREAM will contain two new instruments: the top/bottom counting detectors, contributed by Kyungpook National University in Daegu, South Korea, and a boronated scintillator detector to distinguish electrons from protons, constructed by a team from Goddard, Pennsylvania State University in University Park and Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights.

    The international collaboration, led by physicist Eun-Suk Seo at the University of Maryland, College Park, includes teams from numerous institutions in the United States as well as collaborating institutions in the Republic of Korea, Mexico and France. Overall management and integration of the experiment was led by NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore under the direction of Linda Thompson, the CREAM project manager.

    According to co-investigator Jason Link, a University of Maryland, Baltimore County research scientist working at Goddard, the evolution of the CREAM project demonstrates the power of NASA’s Balloon Program as a developmental test bed for space instrumentation.

    “A balloon mission can go from an idea in a scientist’s head to a flying payload in about five years,” Link said. “In fact, many scientists who design experiments for space missions get their start in ballooning. It’s a powerful training ground for researchers and engineers.”

    As is true with any complex mission, things don’t always go as planned. Such was the case for the Balloon Experimental Twin Telescope for Infrared Interferometer (BETTII) experiment, intended to investigate cold objects emitting light in the far-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum.

    BETTII launched on June 8 from NASA’s Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, Texas. Although nearly all the mission components functioned as they should, the payload detached from its parachute and fell 130,000 feet in 12 minutes as the flight ended the following day.

    BETTII Principal Investigator Stephen Rinehart at Goddard estimates it will take several years to secure funding and rebuild the mission.

    Designed, assembled and tested at Goddard in collaboration with the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, Cardiff University, University College London and the Far-Infrared Interferometric Telescope Experiment team in Japan, BETTII is designed to examine lower infrared frequencies with unprecedented resolution. While optical telescopes like Hubble cannot see stars shrouded by thick dust clouds, far-infrared observations pierce the veil, revealing how these objects form and evolve.

    “BETTII is one of the more complex balloon experiments ever flown,” Rinehart said. “As a research community, we understand that this risk is necessary for the scientific and technical progress we make with balloons.”

    After all, just as risk and failure go hand in hand, so do risk and reward.

    For more information about NASA’s Balloon Program, visit:

    https://www.nasa.gov/scientificballoons

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is home to the nation’s largest organization of combined scientists, engineers and technologists that build spacecraft, instruments and new technology to study the Earth, the sun, our solar system, and the universe.

    Named for American rocketry pioneer Dr. Robert H. Goddard, the center was established in 1959 as NASA’s first space flight complex. Goddard and its several facilities are critical in carrying out NASA’s missions of space exploration and scientific discovery.


    NASA/Goddard Campus

     
  • richardmitnick 12:04 pm on August 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , NASA,   

    From NASA: “An Earth-like Atmosphere May Not Survive Proxima b’s Orbit” 

    NASA image
    NASA

    July 31, 2017
    Last Updated: Aug. 4, 2017
    Editor: Rob Garner

    1
    This artist’s impression shows a view of the surface of the planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the solar system. The double star Alpha Centauri AB also appears in the image. Proxima b is a little more massive than the Earth and orbits in the habitable zone around Proxima Centauri, where the temperature is suitable for liquid water to exist on its surface.
    Credits: ESO/M. Kornmesser

    Centauris Alpha Beta Proxima 27, February 2012. Skatebiker

    A newly discovered, roughly Earth-sized planet orbiting our nearest neighboring star might be habitable, according to a team of astronomers using the European Southern Observatory’s 3.6-meter telescope at La Silla, Chile, along with other telescopes around the world.

    ESO 3.6m telescope & HARPS at LaSilla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    The exoplanet is at a distance from its star that allows temperatures mild enough for liquid water to pool on its surface.

    Proxima b, an Earth-size planet right outside our solar system in the habitable zone of its star, may not be able to keep a grip on its atmosphere, leaving the surface exposed to harmful stellar radiation and reducing its potential for habitability.

    At only four light-years away, Proxima b is our closest known extra-solar neighbor. However, due to the fact that it hasn’t been seen crossing in front of its host star, the exoplanet eludes the usual method for learning about its atmosphere. Instead, scientists must rely on models to understand whether the exoplanet is habitable.

    One such computer model considered what would happen if Earth orbited Proxima Centauri, our nearest stellar neighbor and Proxima b’s host star, at the same orbit as Proxima b. The NASA study, published on July 24, 2017, in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, suggests Earth’s atmosphere wouldn’t survive in close proximity to the violent red dwarf.

    “We decided to take the only habitable planet we know of so far — Earth — and put it where Proxima b is,” said Katherine Garcia-Sage, a space scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of the study. The research was supported by NASA’s NExSS coalition — leading the search for life on planets beyond our solar system — and the NASA Astrobiology Institute.

    2
    At its orbit, the exoplanet Proxima b likely couldn’t sustain an Earth-like atmosphere. Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Mary Pat Hrybyk-Keith.

    Just because Proxima b’s orbit is in the habitable zone, which is the distance from its host star where water could pool on a planet’s surface, doesn’t mean it’s habitable. It doesn’t take into account, for example, whether water actually exists on the planet, or whether an atmosphere could survive at that orbit. Atmospheres are also essential for life as we know it: Having the right atmosphere allows for climate regulation, the maintenance of a water-friendly surface pressure, shielding from hazardous space weather, and the housing of life’s chemical building blocks.

    Garcia-Sage and her colleagues’ computer model used Earth’s atmosphere, magnetic field and gravity as proxies for Proxima b’s. They also calculated how much radiation Proxima Centauri produces on average, based on observations from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.

    NASA/Chandra Telescope

    With these data, their model simulates how the host star’s intense radiation and frequent flaring affect the exoplanet’s atmosphere.

    “The question is, how much of the atmosphere is lost, and how quickly does that process occur?” said Ofer Cohen, a space scientist at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell and co-author of the study. “If we estimate that time, we can calculate how long it takes the atmosphere to completely escape — and compare that to the planet’s lifetime.”

    An active red dwarf star like Proxima Centauri strips away atmosphere when high-energy extreme ultraviolet radiation ionizes atmospheric gases, knocking off electrons and producing a swath of electrically charged particles. In this process, the newly formed electrons gain enough energy that they can readily escape the planet’s gravity and race out of the atmosphere.

    Opposite charges attract, so as more negatively charged electrons leave the atmosphere, they create a powerful charge separation that pulls positively charged ions along with them, out into space.

    In Proxima Centauri’s habitable zone, Proxima b encounters bouts of extreme ultraviolet radiation hundreds of times greater than Earth does from the sun. That radiation generates enough energy to strip away not just the lightest molecules — hydrogen — but also, over time, heavier elements such as oxygen and nitrogen.

    The model shows Proxima Centauri’s powerful radiation drains the Earth-like atmosphere as much as 10,000 times faster than what happens at Earth.

    “This was a simple calculation based on average activity from the host star,” Garcia-Sage said. “It doesn’t consider variations like extreme heating in the star’s atmosphere or violent stellar disturbances to the exoplanet’s magnetic field — things we’d expect provide even more ionizing radiation and atmospheric escape.”

    To understand how the process can vary, the scientists looked at two other factors that exacerbate atmospheric loss. First, they considered the temperature of the neutral atmosphere, called the thermosphere. They found as the thermosphere heats with more stellar radiation, atmospheric escape increases.

    The scientists also considered the size of the region over which atmospheric escape happens, called the polar cap. Planets are most sensitive to magnetic effects at their magnetic poles. When magnetic field lines at the poles are closed, the polar cap is limited and charged particles remain trapped near the planet. On the other hand, greater escape occurs when magnetic field lines are open, providing a one-way route to space.

    “This study looks at an under-appreciated aspect of habitability, which is atmospheric loss in the context of stellar physics,” said Shawn Domagal-Goldman, a Goddard space scientist not involved in the study. “Planets have lots of different interacting systems, and it’s important to make sure we include these interactions in our models.”

    The scientists show that with the highest thermosphere temperatures and a completely open magnetic field, Proxima b could lose an amount equal to the entirety of Earth’s atmosphere in 100 million years — that’s just a fraction of Proxima b’s 4 billion years thus far. When the scientists assumed the lowest temperatures and a closed magnetic field, that much mass escapes over 2 billion years.

    “Things can get interesting if an exoplanet holds on to its atmosphere, but Proxima b’s atmospheric loss rates here are so high that habitability is implausible,” said Jeremy Drake, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and co-author of the study. “This questions the habitability of planets around such red dwarfs in general.”

    Red dwarfs like Proxima Centauri or the TRAPPIST-1 star are often the target of exoplanet hunts, because they are the coolest, smallest and most common stars in the galaxy. Because they are cooler and dimmer, planets have to maintain tight orbits for liquid water to be present.

    The TRAPPIST-1 star, an ultracool dwarf, is orbited by seven Earth-size planets (NASA).

    But unless the atmospheric loss is counteracted by some other process — such as a massive amount of volcanic activity or comet bombardment — this close proximity, scientists are finding more often, is not promising for an atmosphere’s survival or sustainability.

    For more information, go to:

    https://exoplanets.nasa.gov

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    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.

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