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

    From NASA : “Lucy” 

    From NASA

    8.5.22

    What is Lucy?

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

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

    About Lucy

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

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

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

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

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

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

    NASA troubleshoots Lucy after launch

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

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

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

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

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

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

    NASA troubleshoots Lucy from the ground

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

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

    A jammed lanyard

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

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

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

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

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

    Testing the options

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

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

    The mission continues as planned

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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

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

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 7:59 am on July 11, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Engineers Are Working to Fix a Mysterious Glitch on The Voyager 1 Probe", NASA, ,   

    From NASA via “Science Alert (AU)” : “Engineers Are Working to Fix a Mysterious Glitch on The Voyager 1 Probe” 

    From NASA

    Via

    ScienceAlert

    “Science Alert (AU)”

    11 JULY 2022
    PAOLA ROSA-AQUINO

    In May, NASA scientists said the Voyager 1 spacecraft was sending back inaccurate data from its attitude-control system. The mysterious glitch is still ongoing, according to the mission’s engineering team.

    Now, in order to find a fix, engineers are 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, Saturn, Uranus, 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 14.5 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 Insider, 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.

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

    “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.

    There are some boxes with documents and schematic 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 latest glitch, mission engineers have had to specifically look for boxes under the name of engineers who helped design the attitude-control system. “It’s 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 the telemetry readouts the spacecraft’s handlers are getting from the system are garbled, according to Dodd, which means they don’t know if the attitude-control system is working properly.

    So far, Voyager engineers haven’t been able to find a root cause for the glitch, mainly because they haven’t been able to reset the system, Dodd said. Dodd and her team believe it’s due to an aging part. “Not everything works forever, even in space,” she said.

    Voyager’s glitch may also 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.”

    Despite the spacecraft’s orientation issues, it’s still receiving and executing commands from Earth and its antenna is still pointed toward us.

    “We haven’t seen any degradation in the signal strength,” Dodd said.

    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.

    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 .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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

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

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 1:06 pm on May 25, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "NASA-Supported Solar Sail Could Take Science to New Heights", "NIAC": NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts, , NASA   

    From NASA: “NASA-Supported Solar Sail Could Take Science to New Heights” 

    From NASA

    May 24, 2022

    Sarah Frazier
    Headquarters, Washington
    202-853-7191
    sarah.frazier@nasa.gov

    1
    Diffractive solar sails, depicted in this conceptual illustration, could enable missions to hard-to-reach places, like orbits over the Sun’s poles. Credit: MacKenzi Martin.

    As NASA’s exploration continues to push boundaries, a new solar sail concept selected by the agency for development toward a demonstration mission could carry science to new destinations.

    The Diffractive Solar Sailing project was selected for Phase III study under the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program. Phase III aims to strategically transition NIAC concepts with the highest potential impact for NASA, other government agencies, or commercial partners.

    “As we venture farther out into the cosmos than ever before, we’ll need innovative, cutting-edge technologies to drive our missions,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program helps to unlock visionary ideas – like novel solar sails – and bring them closer to reality.”

    Like a sailboat using wind to cross the ocean, solar sails use the pressure exerted by sunlight to propel a craft through space. Existing reflective solar sail designs are typically very large and very thin, and they are limited by the direction of the sunlight, forcing tradeoffs between power and navigation. Diffractive lightsails would use small gratings embedded in thin films to take advantage of a property of light called diffraction, which causes light to spread out when it passes through a narrow opening. This would allow the spacecraft to make more efficient use of sunlight without sacrificing maneuverability.

    “Exploring the universe means we need new instruments, new ideas, and new ways of going places,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Our goal is to invest in those technologies throughout their lifecycle to support a robust ecosystem of innovation.”

    The new Phase III award will give the research team $2 million over two years to continue technology development in preparation for a potential future demonstration mission. The project is led by Amber Dubill of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.

    “NIAC allows us to foster some of the most creative technology concepts in aerospace,” said Mike LaPointe, acting program executive for the NIAC program at NASA Headquarters. “Our goal is to change the possible, and diffractive solar sailing promises to do just that for a number of exciting new mission applications.”


    Transforming Future Space Technology.
    From deep space human exploration to advanced propulsion and robotics, NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts aims to change the possible by supporting early stage space technology research that could radically change the future. Credit: NASA.

    Diffractive lightsailing would extend solar sail capability beyond what’s possible with missions in development today. The project is led by Amber Dubill of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. The feasibility of the concept was previously studied under NIAC’s Phase I and Phase II awards, led by Dr. Grover Swartzlander of Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, who continues as a co-investigator on the project. Les Johnson, lead for two of NASA’s upcoming solar sail missions at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, also is a co-investigator. Under the earlier awards, the team designed, created, and tested different types of diffractive sail materials; conducted experiments; and designed new navigation and control schemes for a potential diffractive lightsail mission orbiting the Sun’s poles.

    Work under Phase III will optimize the sail material and perform ground tests in support of this conceptual solar mission. Orbits passing over the Sun’s north and south poles are difficult to achieve using conventional spacecraft propulsion. Lightweight diffractive lightsails, propelled by the constant pressure of sunlight, could place a constellation of science spacecraft in orbit around the Sun’s poles to advance our understanding of the Sun and improve our space weather forecasting capabilities.

    “Diffractive solar sailing is a modern take on the decades old vision of lightsails. While this technology can improve a multitude of mission architectures, it is poised to highly impact the heliophysics community’s need for unique solar observation capabilities,” said Dubill. “With our team’s combined expertise in optics, aerospace, traditional solar sailing, and metamaterials, we hope to allow scientists to see the Sun as never before.”

    NIAC supports visionary research ideas through multiple progressive phases of study. NASA announced 17 Phase I and Phase II proposal selections in February 2022. NIAC is funded by NASA’s STMD, which is responsible for developing the new cross-cutting technologies and capabilities needed by the agency to achieve its current and future missions.

    For more information about NASA’s investments in space technology, visit:

    https://www.nasa.gov/spacetech

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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

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

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

    NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System, advancing heliophysics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate’s Heliophysics Research Program, exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic missions such as New Horizons, and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang, through the Great Observatories [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 8:50 pm on April 25, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "NASA Extends Exploration for 8 Planetary Science Missions", NASA   

    From NASA: “NASA Extends Exploration for 8 Planetary Science Missions” 


    From NASA

    Apr 25, 2022
    Editor: Tricia Talbert

    1

    Following a thorough evaluation, NASA has extended the planetary science missions of eight of its spacecraft due to their scientific productivity and potential to deepen our knowledge and understanding of the solar system and beyond.

    The missions – Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, MAVEN, Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity rover), InSight lander, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, OSIRIS-REx, and New Horizons – have been selected for continuation, assuming their spacecraft remain healthy. Most of the missions will be extended for three years; however, OSIRIS-REx will be continued for nine years in order to reach a new destination, and InSight will be continued until the end of 2022, unless the spacecraft’s electrical power allows for longer operations.

    Each extended mission proposal was reviewed by a panel of independent experts drawn from academia, industry, and NASA. In total, more than 50 reviewers evaluated the scientific return of the respective proposals. Two independent review chairs oversaw the process and, based on the panel evaluations, validated that these eight science missions hold substantial potential to continue bringing new discoveries and addressing compelling new science questions.

    Beyond providing important programmatic benefit to NASA, several of these missions promise multi-divisional science benefits across NASA’s entire Science Mission Directorate (SMD), including their use as data relays for Mars surface landers and rovers, as well as to support other NASA initiatives such as the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS).

    “Extended missions provide us with the opportunity to leverage NASA’s large investments in exploration, allowing continued science operations at a cost far lower than developing a new mission,” said Lori Glaze, director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA’s Headquarters in Washington. “Maximizing taxpayer dollars in this way allows missions to obtain valuable new science data, and in some cases, allows NASA to explore new targets with totally new science goals.”

    Two of the extended missions, MAVEN and OSIRIS-REx, welcome new principal investigators (PIs).

    OSIRIS-APEX (Principal Investigator: Dr. Daniella DellaGiustina, University of Arizona): The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission is currently on its way back to Earth to deliver the samples of asteroid Bennu that it collected in 2020. Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx PI, will remain in place for the primary mission, while DellaGiustina begins her role as the newly named PI for OSIRIS-APophis EXplorer (OSIRIS-APEX). With a new name to reflect the extended mission’s new goals, the OSIRIS-APEX team will redirect the spacecraft to encounter Apophis, an asteroid roughly 1,200 feet (roughly 370 meters) in diameter that will come within 20,000 miles (32,000 kilometers) of Earth in 2029. OSIRIS-APEX will enter orbit around Apophis soon after the asteroid’s Earth flyby, providing an unprecedented close-up look at this S-type asteroid. It plans to study changes in the asteroid caused by its close flyby of Earth and use the spacecraft’s gas thrusters to attempt to dislodge and study the dust and small rocks on and below Apophis’ surface.

    MAVEN (Principal Investigator: Dr. Shannon Curry, University of California-Berkeley): The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission plans to study the interaction between Mars’ atmosphere and magnetic field during the upcoming solar maximum. MAVEN’s observations as the Sun’s activity level increases toward the maximum of its 11-year cycle will deepen our understanding of how Mars’ upper atmosphere and magnetic field interact with the Sun.

    InSight (Principal Investigator: Dr. Bruce Banerdt, NASA JPL/Caltech): Since landing on Mars in 2018, the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) mission has operated the only active seismic station beyond Earth. Its seismic monitoring of “marsquakes” has provided constraints on Mars’ interior, formation, and current activity. The extended mission will continue InSight’s seismic and weather monitoring if the spacecraft remains healthy. However, due to dust accumulation on its solar panels, InSight’s electrical power production is low, and the mission is unlikely to continue operations for the duration of its current extended mission unless its solar panels are cleared by a passing ‘dust devil’ in Mars’ atmosphere.

    Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) (Project Scientist: Dr. Noah Petro, The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center): LRO will continue to study the surface and geology of the Moon. The evolution of LRO’s orbit will allow it to study new regions away from the poles in unprecedented detail, including the Permanently Shadowed Regions (PSRs) near the poles where water ice may be found. LRO will also provide important programmatic support for NASA’s efforts to return to the Moon.

    Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) (Project Scientist: Dr. Ashwin Vasavada, JPL): The Mars Science Laboratory and its Curiosity rover have driven more than 16 miles (27 km) on the surface of Mars, exploring the history of habitability in Gale Crater. In its fourth extended mission, MSL will climb to higher elevations, exploring the critical sulfate-bearing layers which give unique insights into the history of water on Mars.

    New Horizons (Principal Investigator: Dr. Alan Stern, The Southwest Research Institute): New Horizons flew past Pluto in 2015 and the Kuiper belt object (KBO) Arrokoth in 2019. In its second extended mission, New Horizons will continue to explore the distant solar system out to 63 astronomical units (AU) from Earth. The New Horizons spacecraft can potentially conduct multi-disciplinary observations of relevance to the solar system and NASA’s Heliophysics and Astrophysics Divisions. Additional details regarding New Horizons’ science plan will be provided at a later date.

    Mars Odyssey
    (Project Scientist: Dr. Jeffrey Plaut, JPL): Mars Odyssey’s extended mission will perform new thermal studies of rocks and ice below Mars’ surface, monitor the radiation environment, and continue its long-running climate monitoring campaign. The Odyssey orbiter also continues to provide unique support for real-time data relay from other Mars spacecraft. The length of Odyssey’s extended mission may be limited by the amount of propellant remaining aboard the spacecraft.

    Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) (Project Scientist: Dr. Rich Zurek, JPL): MRO has provided a wealth of data regarding the processes on Mars’ surface. In its sixth extended mission, MRO will study the evolution of Mars’ surface, ices, active geology, and atmosphere and climate. In addition, MRO will continue to provide important data relay service to other Mars missions. MRO’s CRISM instrument will be shut down entirely, after the loss of its cryocooler has ended the use of one of its two spectrometers.

    NASA’s Planetary Science Division currently operates 14 spacecraft across the solar system, has 12 missions in formulation and implementation, and partners with international space agencies on seven others.

    The detailed reports from the 2022 Planetary Science Senior Review may be found at:

    https://science.nasa.gov/solar-system/documents/senior-review

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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

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

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 3:44 pm on October 29, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Using 'Charon-light' Researchers Capture Pluto's Dark Side", , , , NASA, , , ,   

    From Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab : “Using ‘Charon-light’ Researchers Capture Pluto’s Dark Side” 

    The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab

    From Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab

    October 27, 2021

    NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft made history by returning the first close-up images of Pluto and its moons.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency(USA) New Horizons(US) spacecraft

    Engineered by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) and The Southwest Research Institute (US) for The National Aeronautics and Space Agency (US).

    Now, through a series of clever methods, researchers led by Tod Lauer of the National Science Foundation’s NOIRLab in Tucson, Arizona, on the New Horizons team have expanded that photo album to include the portion of Pluto’s landscape that wasn’t directly illuminated by sunlight — what the team calls Pluto’s “dark side.”

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

    After flying within 7,800 miles (12,550 kilometers) of Pluto’s icy surface on July 14, 2015, New Horizons continued at a rapid 9 miles per second (14.5 kilometers per second) on to the Kuiper Belt Object Arrokoth and beyond. But while departing Pluto, the spacecraft looked back at the dwarf planet and captured a series of images of its dark side.

    Backlit by the distant Sun, Pluto’s hazy atmosphere stood out as a brilliant ring of light encircling the Pluto’s dark side.

    2
    The image shows the dark side of Pluto surrounded by a bright ring of sunlight scattered by haze in its atmosphere. But for a dark crescent zone to the left, the terrain is faintly illuminated by sunlight reflected by Pluto’s moon Charon. Researchers on the New Horizons team were able to generate this image using 360 images that New Horizons captured as it looked back on Pluto’s southern hemisphere. A large portion of the southern hemisphere was in seasonal darkness similar to winters in the Arctic and Antarctica on Earth, and was otherwise not visible to New Horizons during its 2015 flyby encounter of Pluto. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/ The Southwest Research Institute (US)/NOIRLab

    From its vantage point when this experiment was conducted, New Horizons was mainly able to see Pluto’s southern hemisphere, a large portion of which was transitioning to its winter seasonal darkness — something much like the dark, months-long Arctic and Antarctic winters on Earth, except on Pluto each season lasts 62 Earth years.

    Fortunately, a portion of Pluto’s dark southern hemisphere was illuminated by the faint sunlight reflecting off the icy surface of Pluto’s largest moon, Charon, which is about the size of Texas. That bit of “Charon-light” was just enough for researchers to tease out details of Pluto’s southern hemisphere that could not be obtained any other way.

    “In a startling coincidence, the amount of light from Charon on Pluto is close to that of the Moon on Earth, at the same phase for each,” said Tod Lauer, an astronomer at the National Science Foundation’s National Optical Infrared Astronomy Research Observatory in Tucson, Arizona, and the study’s lead author. “At the time, the illumination of Charon on Pluto was similar to that from our own Moon on Earth when in its first-quarter phase.”

    The researchers published the resulting image and the scientific interpretation of it on Oct. 20 in The Planetary Science Journal.

    Recovering details on Pluto’s surface in faint moonlight wasn’t easy. When looking back at Pluto with the New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), scattered light from the Sun (which was nearly directly behind Pluto) produced a complex pattern of background light that was 1,000 times stronger than the signal produced by Charon-reflected light, according to New Horizons coinvestigator and Project Scientist Hal Weaver, at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. In addition, the bright ring of atmospheric haze surrounding Pluto was itself heavily over-exposed, producing additional artifacts in the images.

    “The problem was a lot like trying to read a street sign through a dirty windshield when driving towards the setting Sun, without a sun visor,” said John Spencer, New Horizons co-investigator and planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, a study co-author.

    It took the combination of 360 images of Pluto’s dark side, and another 360 images taken with the same geometry but without Pluto in the picture, to produce the final image with the artifacts subtracted out leaving only the signal produced by Charon-reflected light. Alan Stern, the New Horizons principal investigator at the Southwest Research Institute, added that “the image processing work that Tod Lauer led was completely state of the art, and it allowed us to learn some fascinating things about a part of Pluto we otherwise would not have known.”

    The resulting map, while still containing digital noise, shows a few prominent features on Pluto’s shadowed surface. The most prominent of these is a dark crescent zone to the west, where neither sunlight nor Charon-light was falling when New Horizons took the images. Also conspicuous is a large, bright region midway between Pluto’s south pole and its equator. The team suspects it may be a deposit of nitrogen or methane ice similar to Pluto’s icy “heart” on its opposite side.

    Pluto’s south pole and the region of the surface around it appears to be covered in a dark material, starkly contrasting with the paler surface of Pluto’s northern hemisphere. The researchers suspect that difference could be a consequence of Pluto having recently completed its southern summer (which ended 15 years before the flyby). During the summer, the team suggests that nitrogen and methane ices in the south may have sublimated from the surface, turning directly from solid to vapor, while dark haze-particles settled over the region. Future Earth-based instruments could eventually verify the team’s image and confirm their other suspicions, but it would require Pluto’s southern hemisphere to be in sunlight — something that won’t happen for nearly 100 years. “The easiest way to confirm our ideas is to send a follow-on mission,” Lauer said.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Johns Hopkins University campus

    JHUAPL campus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Research

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

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

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

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 11:07 am on August 10, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "NASA Renews Support of Vertical Lift Research Centers of Excellence", NASA   

    From NASA : “NASA Renews Support of Vertical Lift Research Centers of Excellence” 

    From NASA

    Editor: Lillian Gipson
    Jul 9, 2021

    Revolutionary Vertical Lift Technology Project Overview

    1

    With their unique ability to take off and land from any spot, as well as hover in place, vertical lift vehicles are increasingly being contemplated for use in new ways that go far beyond those considered when thinking of traditional helicopters. NASA’s Revolutionary Vertical Lift Technology (RVLT) project is working with partners in government, industry, and academia to develop critical technologies that enable revolutionary new air travel options, especially those associated with Advanced Air Mobility such as large cargo-carrying vehicles and passenger-carrying air taxis.

    These new markets are forecast to rapidly grow during the next ten years, and the vertical lift industry’s ability to safely develop and certify innovative new technologies, lower operating costs, and meet acceptable community noise standards will be critical in opening these new markets.

    The RVLT project invests in development of cutting-edge technology and tools to:

    • Enable current and future vertical lift vehicles to operate safely and reliably.
    • Reduce environmental impacts and minimize intrusion – especially by noise – when in close proximity to people and property.
    • Increase access to sustainable transportation and services which creates a broad economic benefit.

    While the project has historically conducted research for traditional rotary wing vehicles, such as helicopters, RVLT is currently focusing on specific vehicle technology for new concept vertical lift vehicles across a range of sizes and missions in support of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM).

    Current Research Activities

    The RVLT project primarily focuses its research in these four general areas.

    Clean and Efficient Propulsion

    Advanced future vertical lift vehicles of all classes and sizes will require higher speed flight capability and improved operational efficiency. RVLT is focused on enabling the next generation of vehicles to use electric propulsion systems and is targeting propulsion system reliability and standards, system failure modes, and power quality standards for electric propulsion architectures.

    Other new areas of investment include modeling thermal management and power systems for electric architectures, electric motor design for reliability, and trade studies of electric propulsion architectures for vehicles of different size classes. RVLT also continues to pursue powertrain technology to benefit electric and hybrid-electric propulsion systems.

    Efficient and Quiet Vehicles

    To overcome the growth in helicopter-related noise complaints, RVLT has recently combined improved flight operations, a high-fidelity rotor/vehicle design approach, and human factors research to provide a 50-percent reduction in the noise footprint area for commonly used commercial Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) vehicles.

    RVLT is adapting and working to improve existing tools for aircraft noise prediction to apply to new electric VTOL concepts. Noise considerations are coupled with performance calculations in a conceptual design tool chain that will allow users to trade the design space between noise and performance. RVLT also is focused on development of the tool chain and best practice guidelines for modeling AAM VTOL.

    The noise of projected fleet operations of VTOL vehicles used in AAM, however, will have a much different impact on the community compared to the flight of a single helicopter. So, RVLT is working to develop methods targeted at analyzing the noise footprint for multiple flyover events. RVLT will deliver validated tools, document best practices for fleet noise modeling, and demonstrate fleet noise assessments of representative AAM operations.

    Safety, Comfort and Accessibility

    In order to improve the safety of current and future configurations, RVLT supports research in crash safety, occupant protection, and analysis of composite structures under impact. Working with partners in the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Defense, and industry, RVLT aims to improve the crashworthiness and occupant safety during impact of AAM vehicles and simplify the certification process.

    As part of RVLT’s investment in safety technologies, icing challenges specific to vertical lift vehicles, such as ice shedding from rotating blades, will be addressed in the context of AAM vehicles. Research in icephoebic materials and other ice mitigation technologies are underway with NASA, and in collaboration with other research institutions.

    RVLT research on passenger comfort includes flight dynamics and control of multi-rotor AAM vehicles, and human response to vehicle motion and cabin environment. Research in handling qualities, pilot workload, and the extension to passenger comfort is underway.

    Modeling/Simulation and Test Capability

    RVLT will develop an essential capability to accurately predict acoustics and performance of VTOL aircraft that have multiple rotors/propellers, allowing for configurations that trim the aircraft in novel ways.

    New models for acoustic source noise, rotor blade structures, and flight dynamics will be developed. Acoustic and performance calculations will be validated using data from component testing that explore multi-rotor acoustics, multi-rotor performance, aerodynamic interactions between rotors and rotors/fuselage. RVLT will conduct conceptual design studies that explore vehicle acoustics and efficiency trade-offs with designs that are updated using experimental evidence and/or high-fidelity analyses.

    RVLT continues to fund fundamental research in vertical lift in partnership with U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, Aviation and Missile Center and the U.S. Navy Office of Naval Research. The three partners jointly fund the Vertical Lift Research Centers of Excellence. The 2016-2021 VLRCOE teams are Georgia Institute of Technology (US) and their partners, Pennsylvania State University (US) and their partners, and the University of Maryland (US) and their partners.

    The universities selected and their partners:
    The Georgia Institute of Technology-led team, which includes The University of Michigan (US), Washington University at St. Louis (US), Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, The Ohio State University (US), The University of Texas-Arlington (US), and The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (US).
    The Pennsylvania State University-led VLRCOE team, which includes The University of Tennessee-Knoxville (US); The University of California-Davis (US); Auburn University (US), and the Applied Research Laboratory at Penn State
    The University of Maryland-led team, which includes the United States Naval Academy (US), The University of Texas-Austin (US), and Texas A&M University (US).

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The 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 9:46 pm on January 28, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Sonoma State receives near $5 million from NASA to engage autistic learners in STEM", , , , NASA, Sonoma State University   

    From Sonoma State University: “Sonoma State receives near $5 million from NASA to engage autistic learners in STEM” 

    From From Sonoma State University

    January 26, 2021

    Nate Galvan
    galvanna@sonoma.edu

    Sonoma State University has been awarded $4.96 million from NASA to design and implement a program that will engage students on the autism spectrum in informal STEM learning.

    NASA’s Neurodiversity Network (N3) aims to broaden participation in NASA programs to include autistic and other learners with neurological differences. As part of NASA’s Science Activation Program, which is composed of teams across the nation to help learners of all ages and abilities do science, N3 will use specific learning modules to support autistic learners with the social and technical skills needed for successful STEM careers.

    “I really got inspired to pursue this opportunity because everywhere I turn there seems to be autism,” said professor Lynn Cominsky, who authored the cooperative agreement application and is also the director of EdEon STEM Learning at SSU – a center meant to inspire students to pursue STEM careers. “NASA has done so much for every other demographic group, but this award is very important because research has shown how autistic learners can be so talented in STEM fields.”

    Over a five-year period, hundreds of high school autistic learners in both California and New York City will engage in informal NASA activities, including building and launching rocket payloads and using SSU’s NASA funded telescope. One of the California high schools that will participate in the program is the Anova Center for Education in Santa Rosa.

    “Anova is proud to be a founding partner in the NASA Neurodiversity Network along with Sonoma State University and several other excellent Bay Area schools,” said Andrew Bailey, the founding director of Anova. “Autism can be a valuable type of ‘neurological diversity’ when the autistic individual is able to participate in the pursuit of happiness unhindered by the disabling roadblocks of a divergent mind. The N3 project is an exciting opportunity for our Anova students and the entire autism community.”

    As part of the program, NASA will provide subject matter experts to work as mentors for sets of students that are highly motivated in working with the curriculum. “By introducing students to NASA science, autistic learners will not only gain knowledge for future accomplishments in STEM, but it will also promote growth in their social skills and self-efficacy,” Cominsky said.

    Among the program’s special consultants is Dan Swearingen, one of Cominsky’s former students from more than 25 years ago. Swearingen, who himself is autistic as well as his son, founded a program to help young adults with autism or other neurological differences to ease their transition to an independent adulthood.

    “The staff and students at Autistry are excited about the NASA Neurodiversity Network,” said Dan Swearingen, who co-founded Autistry Studios with his wife Janet Lawson in Marin County. “This is a fabulous opportunity, and a rare one, for autistic students to explore STEM learning. Dr. Cominsky’s energy and ability to inspire scientific curiosity put me on the path to pursue astrophysics, and I am confident she will give this gift to our students as well.”

    Other partners in the N3 team are Wendy Martin and Ariana Riccio from the nonprofit Education Development Center; Sylvia Perez and Georgette Williams from the New York Hall of Science; and Laura Peticolas, EdEon’s Associate Director. Along with Anova, other Bay Area high schools will also be participating as partners, including Oak Hill School in San Anselmo, Stanbridge Academy in San Mateo, and the Orion Academy in Moraga. The internship program that N3 will be implementing was inspired by the successful program at Orion that partners their students with scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in STEM-related projects.

    The program began this month with the NASA Kickoff meeting for the SciAct program. Cominsky said they are currently co-developing NASA resources with autistic learners to ensure they create learning opportunities that meet their needs. For more information about NASA’s Science Activation Program, visit https://science.nasa.gov/learners.

    See the full article here.

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Sonoma State University is a public university in Rohnert Park in Sonoma County, California. It is one of the smallest members of the California State University (CSU) system. Sonoma State offers 92 Bachelor’s degrees, 19 Master’s degrees, and 11 teaching credentials.The university is a Hispanic-serving institution.

    Sonoma State College was established by the California State Legislature in 1960 to be part of the California State College system, with significant involvement of the faculty from San Francisco State University. As with all California State Colleges, Sonoma State later became part of the California State University system. Sonoma opened for the first time in 1961, with an initial enrollment of 250 students. Classes offered took place in leased buildings in Rohnert Park where the college offered its first four-year Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education. With the completion of its two main classroom halls, Stevenson Hall, named for politician Adlai Stevenson II, and Darwin Hall, named for Charles Darwin, the college moved to its permanent campus of 215 acres (87 ha) in 1966 where the first graduating class received their degrees.

    Early development

    As enrollment increased, Sonoma State built more on-campus facilities, including Ives Hall for performing arts, The University Commons for dining, a small library, and a gymnasium. These buildings followed the physical master plan of the school which stated that the facilities would be urban in character, defining the use of smooth concrete building façades with landscaped courtyards. Among the landscaping features added with these facilities were the “Campus Lakes”, two small reservoirs located behind the Commons next to Commencement Lawn, the site of the university’s annual commencement ceremonies, as well as one lake near a housing facility, Beaujolais Village; the lakes are home to local waterfowl.

    In 1969, the first master’s degrees in biology and psychology were offered. The new cluster school concept, coupled with a more intense focus on the surrounding rural environment, influenced the new physical master plan. The first facility built under the new plan was the Zinfandel residence area. The new Student Health Center used a primarily redwood façade with a landscaped ground cover of wild roses and poppies. Sonoma State was closed from May 7–11, 1970 after Governor Ronald Reagan ordered that all California colleges and universities shut down due to anti-war protests and rallies after the shootings of four students at Kent State University. In 1975, Nichols Hall was built as the newest classroom hall and named in honor of Sonoma’s founding president, Ambrose R. Nichols.

    Early development of the modern campus came to a close in 1976 when the Student Union was constructed between the main quad and the lakes. This building continued the use of the physical master plan, using primarily redwood and preceded the similarly built Carson Hall, an art building, a childcare center, additional parking, and a computer center which was added onto the library.

    The modern university

    In 1978, Sonoma State College became Sonoma State University when the school officially gained university status. In response to this achievement, the surrounding community provided funds for the new university to build a large swimming pool, completed in 1982, and the 500-seat Evert Person Theatre, 1989 and which dominates the view when entering campus through the main drive. Further enrollment increases and a new goal of movement toward a residential campus as opposed to a commuter campus facilitated the building of Verdot Village in 1995.

    21st-century expansion

    In May 2001, the Board of Trustees approved a new master plan, which added 48 acres (19 ha) to the campus, located north of Copeland Creek. Rapidly accelerated growth of the residential student body was alleviated by the construction of the third phase of on-campus housing named Sauvignon Village, offering housing to non-freshman students. In the same year, the Jean and Charles Schulz Information Center was completed to accommodate the expanded needs of the library and computing services. The facility was built as a prototype library and information complex for the 21st century, housing more than 400,000 volumes in its stacks. The center also houses an advanced Automated Retrieval System (ARS) which contains an additional 750,000 volumes in a computer-managed shelving system in the library wing.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:20 pm on January 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Could We Harness Energy from Black Holes?", and Chile’s National Fund for Scientific and Technological Development. “The ideas and concepts discussed in this work are truly fascinating, , , ” Comisso said. “It is essentially a technological problem. If we look at the physics, ” said Vyacheslav Lukin, , , , , Ergosphere, humanity might be able to survive around a black hole without harnessing energy from stars, , Magnetic reconnection as a mechanism for energy extraction from rotating black holes, mining energy from black holes could be the answer to our future power needs. “Thousands or millions of years from now, NASA, there is nothing that prevents it.” The study, was funded by the National Science Foundation’s Windows on the Universe initiative, which aims to bring theoretical physics and observational astronomy under one roof. “We look forward to the potential translation of seemingly esoteric studies of black hole astrophysics into the pr, While it may sound like the stuff of science fiction   

    From Columbia University: “Could We Harness Energy from Black Holes?” 

    Columbia U bloc

    From Columbia University

    January 13, 2021
    Carla Cantor

    1
    Plasma close to the event horizon about to be devoured by a rotating black hole. © CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM GRAVITY, 2015. REPRODUCED BY PERMISSION OF IOP PUBLISHING.

    A remarkable prediction of Einstein’s theory of general relativity—the theory that connects space, time, and gravity—is that rotating black holes have enormous amounts of energy available to be tapped.

    For the last 50 years, scientists have tried to come up with methods to unleash this power. Nobel physicist Roger Penrose theorized that a particle disintegration could draw energy from a black hole; Stephen Hawking proposed that black holes could release energy through quantum mechanical emission; while Roger Blandford and Roman Znajek suggested electromagnetic torque as a main agent of energy extraction.

    Now, in a study published in the journal Physical Review D, physicists Luca Comisso from Columbia University and Felipe Asenjo from Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez in Chile, found a new way to extract energy from black holes by breaking and rejoining magnetic field lines near the event horizon, the point from which nothing, not even light, can escape the black hole’s gravitational pull.

    “Black holes are commonly surrounded by a hot ‘soup’ of plasma particles that carry a magnetic field,” said Luca Comisso, research scientist at Columbia University and first author on the study. “Our theory shows that when magnetic field lines disconnect and reconnect, in just the right way, they can accelerate plasma particles to negative energies and large amounts of black hole energy can be extracted.”

    This finding could allow astronomers to better estimate the spin of black holes, drive black hole energy emissions, and might even provide a source of energy for the needs of an advanced civilization, Comisso said.

    Why Reconnection Works

    Comisso and Asenjo built their theory on the premise that reconnecting magnetic fields accelerate plasma particles in two different directions. One plasma flow is pushed against the black hole’s spin, while the other is propelled in the spin’s direction and can escape the clutches of the black hole, which releases power if the plasma swallowed by the black hole has negative energy.

    “It is like a person could lose weight by eating candy with negative calories,” said Comisso, who explained that essentially a black hole loses energy by eating negative-energy particles. “This might sound weird,” he said, “but it can happen in a region called the ergosphere, where the spacetime continuum rotates so fast that every object spins in the same direction as the black hole.”

    Inside the ergosphere, magnetic reconnection is so extreme that the plasma particles are accelerated to velocities approaching the speed of light.

    Asenjo, professor of physics at the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez and coauthor on the study, explained that the high relative velocity between captured and escaping plasma streams is what allows the proposed process to extract massive amounts of energy from the black hole.

    “We calculated that the process of plasma energization can reach an efficiency of 150 percent, much higher than any power plant operating on Earth,” Asenjo said. “Achieving an efficiency greater than 100 percent is possible because black holes leak energy, which is given away for free to the plasma escaping from the black hole.”

    An Energy Source for the Future?

    The process of energy extraction envisioned by Comisso and Asenjo might be already operating in a large number of black holes. That may be what is driving black hole flares—powerful bursts of radiation that can be detected from Earth.

    “Our increased knowledge of how magnetic reconnection occurs in the vicinity of the black hole might be crucial for guiding our interpretation of current and future telescope observations of black holes, such as the ones by the Event Horizon Telescope,” Asenjo said.

    EHT map.

    While it may sound like the stuff of science fiction, mining energy from black holes could be the answer to our future power needs.

    “Thousands or millions of years from now, humanity might be able to survive around a black hole without harnessing energy from stars,” Comisso said. “It is essentially a technological problem. If we look at the physics, there is nothing that prevents it.”

    The study, Magnetic reconnection as a mechanism for energy extraction from rotating black holes, was funded by the National Science Foundation’s Windows on the Universe initiative, NASA, and Chile’s National Fund for Scientific and Technological Development.

    “The ideas and concepts discussed in this work are truly fascinating,” said Vyacheslav Lukin, a program director at the National Science Foundation, which aims to bring theoretical physics and observational astronomy under one roof. “We look forward to the potential translation of seemingly esoteric studies of black hole astrophysics into the practical realm.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Columbia U Campus

    Columbia University was founded in 1754 as King’s College by royal charter of King George II of England. It is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York and the fifth oldest in the United States.
    University Mission Statement
    Columbia University is one of the world’s most important centers of research and at the same time a distinctive and distinguished learning environment for undergraduates and graduate students in many scholarly and professional fields. The University recognizes the importance of its location in New York City and seeks to link its research and teaching to the vast resources of a great metropolis. It seeks to attract a diverse and international faculty and student body, to support research and teaching on global issues, and to create academic relationships with many countries and regions. It expects all areas of the University to advance knowledge and learning at the highest level and to convey the products of its efforts to the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:59 pm on January 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New Space Telescope Will Reveal Unseen Dynamic Lives of Galaxies", , , , , NASA, , , The Aspera mission, The first-ever direct observations of a portion of the circumgalactic medium-low-density gas that permeate and surround individual galaxies some cases bridging large distances across the universe.,   

    From University of Arizona: “New Space Telescope Will Reveal Unseen Dynamic Lives of Galaxies” 

    From University of Arizona

    1.7.21

    Daniel Stolte
    Science Writer, University Communications
    stolte@arizona.edu
    520-626-4402

    Carlos Vargas
    Postdoctoral Researcher
    University of Arizona
    Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory
    cjvargas90@gmail.com

    NASA has selected Carlos Vargas, a postdoctoral researcher in UArizona’s Steward Observatory, to lead a $20 million mission to build a space telescope that will map vast regions of star-forming gas that have eluded observation for decades.

    1
    Located 12 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major, Messier 82, or the “Cigar Galaxy,” is known for its intense rate of star formation. Vast regions of gas provide the fuel from which new stars are born. The Aspera mission will send a small telescope into space to map the distribution of some of this gas and help answer fundamental questions about how galaxies evolve. Credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); Acknowledgment: J. Gallagher (University of Wisconsin); M. Mountain (STScI); and P. Puxley (NSF)

    NASA has selected the University of Arizona to lead one of its four inaugural Astrophysics Pioneers missions. With a $20 million cost cap, the Aspera mission will study galaxy evolution with a space telescope barely larger than a mini fridge. The telescope will allow researchers to observe galaxy processes that have remained hidden from view until now.

    Led by principal investigator Carlos Vargas, a postdoctoral researcher in UArizona’s Steward Observatory, the Aspera mission seeks to solve a longstanding mystery about the way galaxies form, evolve and interact with each other. Intended for launch in late 2024, the space telescope is being specifically designed to see in ultraviolet light, which is invisible to the human eye.

    NASA chose Aspera and three other missions for further concept development in the agency’s new Pioneers Program for small-scale astrophysics missions.

    The Aspera mission’s goal is to provide the first-ever direct observations of a certain portion of the circumgalactic medium – vast “oceans” of low-density gas that permeate and surround individual galaxies and in some cases even connect them, bridging large distances across the universe.

    The familiar pictures of galaxies as luminous archipelagos floating in space, filled with millions or billions of stars, tell only a small part of their story, Vargas said.

    “As telescopes have become more sensitive and have allowed us to discover more exotic types of gases, we now realize there is tons of stuff in between galaxies that connects them,” he said. “Galaxies are undergoing this beautiful dance in which inflowing and outflowing gases balance each other.”

    2
    Led by UArizona’s Carlos Vargas and funded with $20 million from NASA, the Aspera mission will launch a space telescope about the size of a mini fridge to observe galaxy processes that have remained hidden from view until now.

    Processes such as supernova explosions blow gas out of the galaxy, and sometimes it rains back down onto the galactic disc, Vargas said.

    Previous observations of the circumgalactic medium, or CGM, revealed that it contains several different populations of gas in a wide range of densities and temperatures astronomers refer to as phases. But one of these gas phases has eluded previous attempts at studying it, and Vargas said it’s important because it is believed to host most of a galaxy’s mass.

    “There is this intermediate form we refer to as warm-hot, and that is particularly interesting because it provides the fuel for star formation,” he said. “No one has been able to successfully map its distribution and really determine what it looks like.”

    The Aspera mission is designed to home in on that missing chunk of the CGM that astronomers know must be there but haven’t been able to observe.

    “Aspera is an exciting mission because it will lead us to discover the nature of mysterious warm-hot gas around galaxies,” said Haeun Chung, a postdoctoral research associate at Steward Observatory.

    As the mission’s project scientist, Chung leads the instrument team charged with building the new space telescope.

    “Though small, Aspera is designed to detect and map faint warm-hot gas, thanks to recent technological advancements and the increased opportunity that small-sized space missions provide,” Chung said.

    Because the portion of the CGM that researchers refer to as warm-hot is thought to host the lion’s share of the mass that makes up a galaxy, it is a crucial piece of the puzzle for understanding how galaxies form and evolve, Vargas said.

    “If you care about how life evolved, you care about how galaxies evolve, because you can’t have a planet without a star, and you can’t have a star without galaxy,” he said. “These all are very interconnected.”

    The Aspera telescope will be the only instrument in space capable of observing in the ultraviolet spectrum, with the exception of the Hubble Space Telescope, which has surpassed its expected mission lifespan by many years.

    Vargas said his team chose the mission’s name, Latin for “hardship,” to highlight the extraordinary difficulties that have needed to be overcome to observe and study the CGM.

    “People have been going for this ‘missing’ gas phase for decades,” he said. “We aptly named our telescope to honor their efforts.”

    UArizona President Robert C. Robbins said the mission marks a new milestone in the university’s long history of space exploration.

    “Being selected for the first iteration of NASA’s Astrophysics Pioneers program is a testament to our excellent track record in space exploration – from providing the scientific approaches needed to tackle some of the most challenging questions in the universe, to developing innovative technology and providing successful management throughout the project,” he said.

    Elizabeth “Betsy” Cantwell, UArizona senior vice president for research and innovation, applauded Vargas’s leadership of the mission.

    “Dr. Vargas’s leadership on the Aspera mission reflects the excellent caliber of researchers attracted to the University of Arizona. We are particularly pleased because Dr. Vargas represents the exemplary nature of scientific inquiry at a Research 1 Hispanic-Serving Institution like the University of Arizona,” she said. “To receive this prestigious award so early in his career demonstrates Dr. Vargas’s incredible capability, and I am thrilled to see our researchers expanding our understanding of a subject as fundamental as galaxy formation and evolution.”

    Cantwell added that the newly launched University of Arizona Space Institute provided the research team with support, and it will be building support for other large and impactful space initiatives as the institute grows.

    “I’m tremendously proud to be part of a university that encourages and supports early career scientists like Carlos Vargas and Haeun Chung – both post-doctoral researchers – and the faculty members and engineers in their team, to successfully compete for ambitious missions like Aspera,” said Steward Observatory Director Buell Jannuzi.

    Aspera brings together an interdisciplinary and diverse team including researchers from Columbia University, the University of Iowa, and Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany. The UArizona team includes deputy principal investigator Erika Hamden, assistant professor of astronomy and assistant astronomer at Steward Observatory; mission manager Tom McMahon, head of Steward Observatory’s engineering group; Peter Behroozi, assistant professor of astronomy; Ewan Douglas, assistant professor of astronomy; Dennis Zaritsky, professor of astronomy and deputy director of Steward Observatory; Aafaque Raza Khan, a graduate student at Steward Observatory; Dae Wook Kim, assistant professor in the College of Optical Sciences; and Simran Agarwal, graduate student in the College of Optical Sciences.

    Corporate mission partners are Tucson-based companies Blue Canyon Technologies, a subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies, and Ascending Node Technologies.

    See the full article here .


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

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Arizona (UA) is a place without limits-where teaching, research, service and innovation merge to improve lives in Arizona and beyond. We aren’t afraid to ask big questions, and find even better answers.

    In 1885, establishing Arizona’s first university in the middle of the Sonoran Desert was a bold move. But our founders were fearless, and we have never lost that spirit. To this day, we’re revolutionizing the fields of space sciences, optics, biosciences, medicine, arts and humanities, business, technology transfer and many others. Since it was founded, the UA has grown to cover more than 380 acres in central Tucson, a rich breeding ground for discovery.

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 11:21 am on January 7, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Is a solar flare the same thing as a CME?", , , , NASA,   

    From NASA via EarthSky: “Is a solar flare the same thing as a CME?” 


    From NASA

    via

    1

    EarthSky

    January 7, 2021

    Solar Cycle 25 is here, and that means – in the years ahead – more solar flares and more coronal mass ejections, or CMEs. People sometimes use the words interchangeably, but they’re not the same thing. Here’s the difference.


    NASA | The Difference Between CMEs and Solar Flares.

    As Solar Cycle 25, which just began, ramps up, we’re going to be hearing more often about solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). Both are gigantic explosions of energy on the sun. Sometimes solar flares and CMEs happen at the same time; the strongest flares are almost always correlated with CMEs. Both are born when the sun’s magnetic fields explosively realign, driving energy into space. But a solar flare is a brilliant flash of light. A CME is an immense cloud of magnetized particles hurled into space in a particular direction, sometimes toward Earth. As NASA explained:

    “Solar flares and CMEs … emit different things, they look and travel differently, and they have different effects near planets.”

    3
    On August 31, 2012, a long prominence/filament of solar material that had been hovering in the Sun's atmosphere, the corona, erupted out into space at 4:36 p.m. EDT. Seen here from the Solar Dynamics Observatory, the flare caused auroras to be seen on Earth on September 3.

    4
    Coronal Mass Ejection [CME]. Artist’s depiction of an active sun that has released a coronal mass ejection or CME. CMEs are magnetically generated solar phenomenon that can send billions of tons of solar particles, or plasma, into space that can reach Earth one to three days later and affect electronic systems in satellites and on the ground. Credit: NASA.

    As NASA explained:

    “Solar flares and CMEs … emit different things, they look and travel differently, and they have different effects near planets.

    Both eruptions are created when the motion of the sun’s interior contorts its own magnetic fields. Like the sudden release of a twisted rubber band, the magnetic fields explosively realign, driving vast amounts of energy into space. This phenomenon can create a sudden flash of light, a solar flare. Flares can last minutes to hours and they contain tremendous amounts of energy. Traveling at the speed of light, it takes eight minutes for the light from a solar flare to reach Earth. Some of the energy released in the flare also accelerates very high energy particles that can reach Earth in tens of minutes.

    The magnetic contortions can also create a different kind of explosion that hurls solar matter into space. These are the coronal mass ejections, also known as CMEs. One can think of the explosions using the physics of a cannon. The flare is like the muzzle flash, which can be seen anywhere in the vicinity. The CME is like the cannonball, propelled forward in a single, preferential direction, this mass ejected from the barrel only affecting a targeted area. This is the CME, an immense cloud of magnetized particles hurled into space. Traveling over a million miles per hour, the hot material called plasma takes up to three days to reach Earth. The differences between the two types of explosions can be seen through solar telescopes, with flares appearing as a bright light and CMEs appearing as enormous fans of gas swelling into space.”

    While most predictions for Solar Cycle 25 have called for an unusually weak cycle (fewer flares, less activity, than at the peak of other solar cycles), a recent study [Solar Physics] called for an unusually strong cycle (lots of flares and other activity). Time will tell. But the sun is ramping up in activity and starting to form spots.

    Flares and CMEs have different effects at Earth as well, which explains the high interest in them among members of the public. NASA explained:

    “The energy from a flare can disrupt the area of the atmosphere through which radio waves travel. This can lead to degradation and, at worst, temporary blackouts in navigation and communications signals.

    On the other hand, CMEs can funnel particles into near-Earth space. A CME can jostle Earth’s magnetic fields, creating currents that drive particles down toward Earth’s poles. When these react with oxygen and nitrogen, they help create the aurora, also known as the Northern and Southern Lights. Additionally, the magnetic changes can affect a variety of human technologies. High frequency radio waves can be degraded: Radios transmit static, and GPS coordinates stray by a few yards. The magnetic oscillations can also create electrical currents in utility grids on Earth that can overload electrical systems when power companies are not prepared.”

    NASA can point to a robust space-based heliophysics fleet – a fleet of solar, heliospheric, geospace, and planetary spacecraft – that operate simultaneously to understand the dynamics of the solar system and are always on the watch for these explosions. That’ll be important in the coming years as Solar Cycle 25 revs up and creates more activity on the sun: more flares and more CMEs. NASA explained:

    “Much like how we forecast thunderstorms and rain showers, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center runs simulations and can make predictions about when the CME will arrive at Earth based on this and other data. They then alert appropriate groups so that power companies, airlines, and other stakeholders can take precautions in the event of a solar storm. For example, if a strong CME is on its way, utility companies can redirect power loads to protect the grids.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The 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.

     
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