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  • 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.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:42 pm on November 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Is Mars still volcanically active?", A new study of geologically young lava flows in Elysium Planitia suggests that Mars might still have residual volcanic activity below its surface., , , , , , , Mars has some of the largest volcanoes in the solar system but they’ve apparently been inactive for millions of years., NASA, , , Scientists at the University of Arizona (UA) have announced new evidence for recent – geologically speaking – explosive volcanism in the Elysium Planitia region of Mars.,   

    From University of Arizona and NASA via EarthSky: “Is Mars still volcanically active?” 

    From University of Arizona

    and

    NASA image
    NASA

    via

    1

    EarthSky

    November 23, 2020
    Paul Scott Anderson

    A new study of geologically young lava flows in Elysium Planitia suggests that Mars might still have residual volcanic activity below its surface. The finding could also correlate with seismic activity detected by the InSight lander in the same region and may have implications for possible Martian life.

    1
    Oblique view of Cerberus Fossae, a tectonic fracture in the Elysium Planitia region of Mars. A new study of young lava flows surrounding it suggests that this area might still be volcanically active today, underground. Image via ESA/ DLR/ FU Berlin.

    Mars has some of the largest volcanoes in the solar system, but they’ve apparently been inactive for millions of years. No plumes of ash or flowing streams of lava are seen on Mars today. But just how long ago were the last great Martian eruptions? That has been a matter of some debate among planetary geologists, and now scientists at the University of Arizona (UA) have announced new evidence for recent – geologically speaking – explosive volcanism in the Elysium Planitia region of Mars.

    1
    InSight’s Landing Site: Elysium Planitia. Elysium Planitia, a flat-smooth plain just north of the equator makes for the perfect location from which to study the deep Martian interior.

    Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, or InSight, is designed to study the deep interior of Mars. The mission seeks the fingerprints of the processes that formed the rocky planets of the solar system.

    Its landing site, Elysium Planitia, was picked from 22 candidates, and is centered at about 4.5 degrees north latitude and 135.9 degrees east longitude; about 373 miles (600 kilometers) from Curiosity’s landing site, Gale Crater. The locations of other Mars landers and rovers are labeled.

    InSight’s scientific success and safe landing depends on landing in a relatively flat area, with an elevation low enough to have sufficient atmosphere above the site for a safe landing. It also depends on landing in an area where rocks are few in number. Elysium Planitia has just the right surface for the instruments to be able to probe the deep interior, and its proximity to the equator ensures that the solar-powered lander is exposed to plenty of sunlight.

    JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the InSight Project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space, Denver, built the spacecraft. InSight is part of NASA’s Discovery Program, which is managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

    For more information about the mission, go to: https://mars.nasa.gov/insight.

    Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

    According to the new findings, eruptions there may have occurred as recently as 53,000 years ago, which is a blink of an eye relative to Mars’ total age of about 4.6 billion years (same as Earth’s). According to these scientists, this finding could mean Mars is still volcanically active even today, at least underground.

    Prior to this new work, the most recent eruptions known on Mars happened about 2.5 to 500 million years ago.

    The intriguing findings were submitted to arXiv on November 11, 2020, for publication in the peer-reviewed journal Icarus.

    3
    Overhead view of Cerberus Fossae, with the mantling unit of younger lava flows surrounding it. Credit: Horvath et al./ Cornell University.

    The evidence comes from the study of a volcanic lava deposit distributed symmetrically around a segment of the Cerberus Fossae fissure system in Elysium Planitia, called the “mantling unit.”

    The researchers say it is probably the youngest such deposit yet found on Mars. It is similar to pyroclastic flows – fluidized masses of rock – on the moon and Mercury, but sits on top of older lava flows and has a thickness of tens of centimeters.

    By counting the number of impact craters visible in the area, the researchers, led by David Horvath at UA, say these eruptions are estimated to have happened only 53,000 to 210,000 years ago. That’s like yesterday in geological terms.

    Elysium Planitia is also where NASA’s InSight lander touched down on November 26, 2018. Since then, the probe has recorded hundreds of marsquakes in the planet’s subsurface with its Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) instrument, proving that Mars is still seismically active. As of last February, it was reported that over 450 seismic signals had been detected, up to the equivalent of magnitude 4 on the earthly Richter Scale.

    Some of those quakes were detected near or at Cerberus Fossae, the location of the young lava deposits. Could there be a connection? Mars doesn’t have tectonic plates like Earth does, so those quakes are more similar to those in the middle of continents on Earth rather than at plate boundaries. Whether there is any relation to current volcanic activity isn’t known, but based on the new findings of young lava flows, it certainly seems possible. From the paper:

    “Given the young age of the deposit, it is possible that the deeper magma source that fed the deposit could still be active today and could generate seismicity observable by the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) instrument on the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport (InSight) lander (Lognonné et al., 2019). Seismicity related to magma transport and chamber pressurization has been linked to active volcanism on Earth (e.g., Battaglia et al., 2005; Grandin et al., 2012; Carrier et al., 2015). Magma-induced seismicity along rift zones can result in small to moderate earthquake magnitudes (Mw < 6). Dike-induced faulting and seismicity (Rubin & Gillard, 1998; Taylor et al., 2013) associated with this young magmatic activity is also possible."

    There is also a possibility that current volcanic activity, if proven, could help explain the presence of methane in Mars’ atmosphere. Various telescopes, orbiters and the Curiosity rover have all detected the gas in small quantities, which on Earth is produced mostly by microbes as well as some from geologic activity. Scientists still don’t know the source of the Martian methane, but even if it is only from geological activity, that could still have implications for biology, since it would require liquid water-related chemical reactions (serpentinization) below ground.

    5
    The landing site of NASA’s InSight lander in Elysium Planitia and its proximity to the tectonic fissure system Cerberus Fossae. The probe has detected hundreds of marsquakes, including near Cerberus Fossae, which may be related to subsurface volcanic activity. Credit: J.T. Keane/ Nature Geoscience/ NASA.

    6
    Landslides within Cerberus Fossae, caused by marsquakes. Credit: NASA/ JPL-Caltech/ University of Arizona.

    From the paper:

    “Geologically recent near-surface magmatic activity in Elysium Planitia, combined with evidence for recent groundwater-sourced floods (Burr et al., 2002; Head et al., 2003), which may have been triggered by dike intrusions (Hanna & Phillips, 2006), raises important implications regarding the subsurface habitability on Mars. Dike-induced melting of ground ice and hydrothermal circulation could generate favorable conditions for recent or even extant habitable environments in the subsurface. These environments would be analogous to locations on Earth where volcanic activity occurs in glacial environments such as Iceland, where chemotrophic and psychrophilic (i.e., cryophilic) bacteria thrive (Cousins & Crawford, 2011). Subsurface microbial communities found in basaltic lavas on Earth (McKinley et al., 2000) are also aided by hydrothermal circulation of groundwater through porous basalt (Storrie-Lombardi et al., 2009; Cousins & Crawford, 2011). Recent or ongoing magmatic activity on Mars could also provide a source of transient methane releases to the atmosphere (Formisano et al., 2004; Fonti & Marzo, 2010) through direct volcanic outgassing or, more likely, serpentinization reactions (Atreya et al., 2007).”

    The possibility that Mars is still volcanically active is exciting, since it would overturn long-held assumptions that the planet has been geologically dead for the most part for billions of years. It could also create habitable environments below the surface for Martian microorganisms, which would be even more exciting. Mars may not be as dead or dormant as we thought it was, perhaps in more ways than one.

    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.

    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 12:23 pm on November 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "NASA to test its SLS megarocket in the coming weeks", , NASA,   

    From NASA via EarthSky: “NASA to test its SLS megarocket in the coming weeks” 

    NASA image
    From NASA

    via

    1

    EarthSky

    November 21, 2020
    Lia Rovira

    The ongoing pandemic has slowed testing for NASA’s Space Launch System megarocket, but the process is resuming and has checked off a key milestone: powering up the core stage.

    1
    An artist’s rendering of the first Space Launch System (SLS) vehicle with Orion spacecraft on the pad before launch. The Orion spacecraft and SLS megarocket – together called Block 1 – and the ground systems at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, will be part of the Artemis 1 lunar mission, scheduled for launch in 2021. Crfedit: NASA/Wikipedia.

    Although the coronavirus pandemic has slowed testing of NASA’s Space Launch System – a rocket more powerful than the Saturn V that propelled the first astronauts to the moon – the months-long process is finally resuming at the agency’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. Boeing, the company NASA contracted to lead the rocket’s construction, is now engaged in an eight-step core testing process dubbed the green run. It’ll culminate in a hot-fire test, where the rocket will be tied down, but will fire up its engines and endure each step of a launch as if it were really taking place. Originally scheduled to take place in early to mid-November 2020, this final testing is now expected to take place within the next three to six weeks, NASA says. It hopes to keep to this testing goal, to keep its schedule on track for the rocket’s debut launch on the Artemis 1 lunar mission in mid-to-late 2021.

    Clyde Sellers, a security specialist at the NASA center, told EarthSky:

    “It’s extremely gratifying to watch. It’s the first time this test has run and for a new, original rocket, the most powerful rocket ever built.”

    Although the green run series started with a modal test – a kind of vibration testing – conducted in January 2020, the process has been slowed considerably by the coronavirus that has swept the world. Agency leadership halted on-site work at Stennis after the pandemic struck the region in March. The center began reopening slowly in mid-May, and the green run team completed their second test on the core stage (the orange “body” of the rocket) in late June.

    That test ensured that the software and other electrical interfaces involved in the rocket and the testing stand work properly.

    The rocket has since undergone and passed the next four steps of the green run series:

    – Test 3, in which engineers inspected all the safety systems that shut down operations during testing. During this test, they simulated potential problems.

    – Test 4, the first test of each of the main propulsion system components that connect to the engines. Command and control operations were verified, and the core stage was checked for leaks in fluid or gas.

    – Test 5, in which engineers ensured the thrust vector control system can move the four engines and checked all the related hydraulic systems.

    – Test 6, which simulated the launch countdown, including step-by-step fueling procedures. Core stage avionics were powered on, and propellant loading and pressurization were simulated. The test team exercised and validated the countdown timeline and sequence of events.

    2
    This helpful graphic illustrates what the 8 parts of the green run will test, as well as the individual components of the SLS Core Stage (orange rocket body). Credit:NASA.

    The final two tests scheduled for the next month or so – test 7 and test 8 – will be a “wet dress rehearsal” that sees the rocket stage loaded with fuel and the full hot-fire test to ensure the vehicle is truly ready for launch. It’s an intense procedure, but one that’s crucial for engineers to feel confident the vehicle is safe.

    After the hot fire test, engineers will refurbish the core stage and configure it for its journey to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where still more tests await the core stage. But eventually, if all goes well, the next time the RS-25 engines fire will be for the first uncrewed mission of NASA’s Artemis 1 – the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the moon and Mars – and perhaps, one day, deep space.

    3
    The orange SLS core stage is being tested on the B-2 test stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center. Image via NASA.

    The core stage will later be assembled with the other parts of the rocket and the Orion spacecraft, the crew module designed to carry humans into space.

    4
    Orion spacecraft. Credit: NASA

    Drawing from more than half a century of research and development, the Orion module plans to be flexible enough to carry humans to a variety of destinations beyond our own moon. The abort system, which will provide the crew with the ability to escape if an emergency occurs on the launch pad, was successfully tested at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico back in 2010. A series of launch and landing simulations at NASA’s Hydro Impact Basin tested how the module will fare when it splashes down in the ocean at the end of its mission.

    Orion’s testing wrapped up in 2018 after a series of parachute falls, and it is expected to fly in the first Artemis launch.

    Unlike previous human launch systems, SLS is designed to grow and evolve over time, with system flexibility that allows engineers to use one design today but adapt it later to future missions. Sellers added:

    “SLS will advance our understanding of our solar system and mankind’s capabilities.”

    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 12:24 pm on September 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A new NASA space mission to the far side of the Moon to investigate when the first stars began to form in the early universe., A team of scientists and engineers have decided to send a small spacecraft to lunar orbit and measure this signal while traversing the far side of the Moon which is radio-quiet., Astronomers are trying to catch energy produced by hydrogen clouds in the form of radio waves via the so-called 21-centimeter line., DAPPER will be designed to look for faint radio signals from the early universe while operating in a low lunar orbit., NASA, NASA/NRAO Dark Ages Polarimetry Pathfinder DAPPER mission, NRAO will spend the coming two years designing and developing a prototype for the DAPPER receiver.,   

    From National Radio Astronomy Observatory: “NRAO Joins Space Mission to the Far Side of the Moon to Explore the Early Universe” 

    From National Radio Astronomy Observatory

    NRAO Banner

    September 22, 2020
    Iris Nijman
    NRAO News and Public Information Manager
    inijman@nrao.edu
    +1 (434) 242 9584

    NASA/NRAO Dark Ages Polarimetry Pathfinder DAPPER depiction.

    Spacecraft DAPPER will study “dark ages” of the universe in radio waves.

    The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) has joined a new NASA space mission to the far side of the Moon to investigate when the first stars began to form in the early universe.

    The universe was dark and foggy during its “dark ages,” just 380 thousand years after the Big Bang. There were no light-producing structures yet like stars and galaxies, only large clouds of hydrogen gas. As the universe expanded and started to cool down, gravity drove the formation of the stars and black holes, which ended the dark ages and initiated the “cosmic dawn,” tens of millions of years later.

    To learn more about that dark period of the cosmos and understand how and when the first stars began to form, astronomers are trying to catch energy produced by these hydrogen clouds in the form of radio waves, via the so-called 21-centimeter line.

    But picking up signals from the early universe is extremely challenging. They are mostly blocked by the Earth’s atmosphere, or drowned out by human-generated radio transmissions. That’s why a team of scientists and engineers have decided to send a small spacecraft to lunar orbit and measure this signal while traversing the far side of the Moon, which is radio-quiet.

    The spacecraft, called the Dark Ages Polarimetry Pathfinder (DAPPER), will be designed to look for faint radio signals from the early universe while operating in a low lunar orbit. Its specialized radio receiver and high-frequency antenna are currently being developed by a team at the NRAO’s Central Development Laboratory (CDL) in Charlottesville, Virginia, led by senior research engineer Richard Bradley.

    “No radio telescope on Earth is currently able to definitively measure and confirm the very faint neutral hydrogen signal from the early universe, because there are so many other signals that are much brighter,” said Bradley. “At CDL we are developing specialized techniques that enhance the measurement process used by DAPPER to help us separate the faint signal from all the noise.” This project builds upon the work of Marian Pospieszalski who developed flight-ready low noise amplifiers at the CDL in the 1990s for the highly-successful Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), a spacecraft that gave the most precise figure yet for the age of the universe.

    DAPPER will be part of the NASA Artemis program with the goal of landing “the first woman and the next man” on the Moon by 2024. It will likely be launched from the vicinity of the Lunar Gateway, the planned space station in lunar orbit intended to serve as a communication hub and science laboratory. Because it is able to piggy-back off of the surging interest in sending humans to lunar soil, DAPPER will be much cheaper to build and more compact than a full-scale NASA mission.

    NRAO will spend the coming two years designing and developing a prototype for the DAPPER receiver, after which it will go to the Space Sciences Laboratory at UC Berkeley for space environmental testing.

    “NRAO is very pleased to be working on this important initiative,” said Tony Beasley, director of the NRAO and Associated Universities Inc. vice president for Radio Astronomy Operations. “DAPPER’s contributions to the success of NASA’s ARTEMIS mission will build on the rapid growth of space-based radio astronomy research we’ve seen over the past decade. As the leading radio astronomy organization in the world, NRAO always looks for new horizons, and DAPPER is the start of an exciting field.”

    DAPPER is a collaboration between the universities of Colorado-Boulder and California-Berkeley, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Bradford Space Inc., and the NASA Ames Research Center. Jack Burns of the University of Colorado Boulder is Principal Investigator and Science Team Chair. Project website for DAPPER.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NRAO/Karl V Jansky VLA, on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA

    NRAO ngVLA, located near the location of the VLA site on the plains of San Agustin, fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA, at an elevation of 6970 ft (2124 m) with additional mid-baseline stations currently spread over greater New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and Mexico

    NRAO/VLBA


    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    Access to ALMA observing time by the North American astronomical community will be through the North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC).

    *The Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) comprises ten radio telescopes spanning 5,351 miles. It’s the world’s largest, sharpest, dedicated telescope array. With an eye this sharp, you could be in Los Angeles and clearly read a street sign in New York City!

    Astronomers use the continent-sized VLBA to zoom in on objects that shine brightly in radio waves, long-wavelength light that’s well below infrared on the spectrum. They observe blazars, quasars, black holes, and stars in every stage of the stellar life cycle. They plot pulsars, exoplanets, and masers, and track asteroids and planets.

    Astronomers use the continent-sized VLBA to zoom in on objects that shine brightly in radio waves, long-wavelength light that’s well below infrared on the spectrum. They observe blazars, quasars, black holes, and stars in every stage of the stellar life cycle. They plot pulsars, exoplanets, and masers, and track asteroids and planets.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:16 pm on August 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "What is CAPSTONE?", , , , , , , NASA   

    From NASA: “What is CAPSTONE?” 


    From NASA

    July 31, 2020

    Editor: Loura Hall


    CAPSTONE

    A microwave oven–sized CubeSat weighing just 55 pounds will serve as the first spacecraft to test a unique, elliptical lunar orbit as part of NASA’s Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE).

    1
    NASA CAPSTONE cubesat spacecraft

    As a precursor for Gateway, a Moon-orbiting outpost that is part of NASA’s Artemis program, CAPSTONE will help reduce risk for future spacecraft by validating innovative navigation technologies and verifying the dynamics of this halo-shaped orbit.

    The orbit, formally known as a near rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO), is significantly elongated. Its location at a precise balance point in the gravities of Earth and the Moon, offers stability for long-term missions like Gateway and requires minimal energy to maintain. CAPSTONE’s orbit also establishes a location that is an ideal staging area for missions to the Moon and beyond. The orbit will bring CAPSTONE within 1,000 miles of one lunar pole on its near pass and 43,500 miles from the other pole at its peak every seven days, requiring less propulsion capability for spacecraft flying to and from the Moon’s surface than other circular orbits.

    After a three-month journey to its target destination, CAPSTONE will orbit this area around the Moon for at least six months to understand the characteristics of the orbit. Specifically, it will validate the power and propulsion requirements for maintaining its orbit as predicted by NASA’s models, reducing logistical uncertainties. It will also demonstrate the reliability of innovative spacecraft-to-spacecraft navigation solutions as well as communication capabilities with Earth. The NRHO provides the advantage of an unobstructed view of Earth in addition to coverage of the lunar South Pole.

    To test these new navigation capabilities, CAPSTONE has a second dedicated payload flight computer and radio that will perform calculations to determine where the CubeSat is in its orbital path. Circling the Moon since 2009, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) will serve as a reference point for CAPSTONE. The intention is for CAPSTONE to communicate directly with LRO and utilize the data obtained from this crosslink to measure how far it is from LRO and how fast the distance between the two changes, which in turn determines CAPSTONE’s position in space.

    This peer-to-peer information will be used to evaluate CAPSTONE’s autonomous navigation software. If successful, this software, referred to as the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System (CAPS), will allow future spacecraft to determine their location without having to rely exclusively on tracking from Earth. This capability could enable future technology demonstrations to perform on their own without support from the ground and allow ground-based antennas to prioritize valuable science data over more routine operational tracking.

    CAPSTONE is scheduled to launch in early 2021 aboard a Rocket Lab Electron rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. It is expected to be the company’s first launch from Wallops with a NASA payload as well as the second spacecraft to launch to the Moon from Virginia (the first being NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer mission in 2013). With a highly ambitious schedule, CAPSTONE will demonstrate key commercial capabilities. NASA partners will test cutting-edge tools for mission planning and operations, paving the way and expanding opportunities for small and more affordable space and exploration missions to the Moon, Mars and other destinations throughout the solar system.

    Mission objectives:

    Verify the characteristics of a cis-lunar near rectilinear halo orbit for future spacecraft
    Demonstrate entering and maintaining this unique orbit that provides a highly-efficient path to the Moon’s surface and back
    Demonstrate spacecraft-to-spacecraft navigation services that allow future spacecraft to determine their location relative to the Moon without relying exclusively on tracking from Earth
    Lay a foundation for commercial support of future lunar operations
    Gain experience with small dedicated launches of CubeSats beyond low-Earth orbit, to the Moon, and beyond

    Partners:

    Advanced Space of Boulder, Colorado, is developing and operating CAPSTONE.
    Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems of Irvine, California, is building the CubeSat platform.
    Stellar Exploration, Inc. of San Luis Obispo, California, is providing CAPSTONE’s propulsion system.
    Rocket Lab of Huntington Beach, California, is providing launch services. The launch is managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
    NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology program within the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate is managing the CAPSTONE project. The program is based at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley.
    NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems within the agency’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate is funding the launch and supporting mission operations.
    The development of CAPS is supported by NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages LRO.

    Learn more:

    What are SmallSats and CubeSats?
    NASA Funds CubeSat Pathfinder Mission to Unique Lunar Orbit
    NASA Awards Contract to Launch CubeSat to Moon from Virginia
    NASA CubeSats Play Big Role in Lunar Exploration

    For news media:

    Members of the news media interested in covering this topic should get in touch with the SmallSats media contact at NASA’s Ames Research Center, listed here.

    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 2:31 pm on April 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ALPINE SURVEY-"ALMA Large Program to Investigate C+ at Early Times", , , , , , , , NASA, ,   

    From Caltech: “Rotating Galaxies Galore” 

    Caltech Logo

    From Caltech

    April 21, 2020
    Whitney Clavin
    (626) 395‑1944
    wclavin@caltech.edu

    New results from an ambitious sky survey program, called ALPINE, reveal that rotating disk-shaped galaxies may have existed in large numbers earlier in the universe than previously thought.

    The ALPINE program, formally named “ALMA Large Program to Investigate C+ at Early Times,” uses data obtained from 70 hours of sky observations with the ALMA observatory (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) in Chile, in combination with data from previous observations by a host of other telescopes, including the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii and NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes. Specifically, the survey looked at a patch of sky containing dozens of remote galaxies.

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    Keck Observatory, operated by Caltech and the University of California, Maunakea Hawaii USA, 4,207 m (13,802 ft)

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    NASA/Spitzer Infrared Telescope. No longer in service.

    “This is the first multi-wavelength study from ultraviolet to radio waves of distant galaxies that existed between 1 billion and 1.5 billion years after the Big Bang,” says Andreas Faisst, a staff scientist at IPAC, an astronomy center at Caltech, and a principal investigator of the ALPINE program, which includes scientists across the globe.

    One of ALPINE’s key functions is using ALMA to observe the signature of an ion known as C+, which is a positively charged form of carbon. When ultraviolet light from newborn stars hits clouds of dust, it creates the C+ atoms. By measuring the signature of this atom, or “emission line,” in galaxies, astronomers can see how the galaxies are rotating; as the gas containing C+ in the galaxies spins toward us, its light signature shifts to bluer wavelengths, and as it spins away, the light shifts to redder wavelengths. This is similar to a police car’s siren increasing in pitch as it races toward you and decreasing as it moves away.

    The ALPINE team made the C+ measurements on 118 remote galaxies to create a catalog of not only their rotation speeds but also other features such as gas density and the number of stars that are formed.

    The survey revealed rotating mangled galaxies that were in the process of merging, in addition to seemingly perfectly smooth spiral-shaped galaxies. About 15 percent of the galaxies observed had a smooth, ordered rotation that is expected for spiral galaxies. However, the authors note, the galaxies may not be spirals but rotating disks with clumps of material. Future observations with the next generation of space-based telescopes will pinpoint the detailed structure of these galaxies.

    “We are finding nicely ordered rotating galaxies at this very early and quite turbulent stage of our universe,” says Faisst. “That means they must have formed by a smooth process of gathering gas and haven’t collided with other galaxies yet, as many of the other galaxies have.”

    By combining the ALMA data with measurements from other telescopes, including the now-retired Spitzer, which specifically helped measure the masses of the galaxies, the scientists are better able to study how these young galaxies evolve over time.

    “How do galaxies grow so much so fast? What are the internal processes that let them grow so quickly? These are questions that ALPINE is helping us answer,” says Faisst. “And with the upcoming launch of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, we will be able to follow-up on these galaxies to learn even more.”

    The study, led by Faisst, titled, “The ALPINE-ALMA [CII] Survey: Multi-Wavelength Ancillary Data and Basic Physical Measurements,” [The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series] was funded by NASA and the European Southern Observatory.

    A brief overview of the survey, produced by a team led by Olivier LeFèvre of the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille (LAM), is at https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2019arXiv191009517L/abstract; the ALMA data is detailed in another paper by a team led by Matthieu Béthermin of LAM, available at https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2020arXiv200200962B/abstract.

    ALMA is a partnership of ESO (representing its Member States), NSF (USA) and NINS (Japan), together with NRC (Canada), MOST and ASIAA (Taiwan), and KASI (South Korea), in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. The Joint ALMA Observatory is operated by ESO, AUI/NRAO and NAOJ. More information about ALMA is at
    https://www.almaobservatory.org/.

    1
    A collage of 21 galaxies imaged by the ALPINE survey. The images are based on light emitted by singly ionized carbon, or C+. These data show the variety of different galaxy structures already in place less than 1.5 billion years after the Big Bang (our universe is 13.8 billion years old). Some of the images actually contain merging galaxies; for example, the object in the top row, second from left, is actually three galaxies that are merging. Other galaxies appear to be more smoothly ordered and may be spirals; a clear example is in the second row, first galaxy from the left. Our Milky Way galaxy is shown to scale to help visualize the small sizes of these infant galaxies. Credit: Michele Ginolfi (ALPINE collaboration); ALMA(ESO/NAOJ/NRAO); NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)

    2
    Using ALMA, scientists can measure the rotation of galaxies in the early universe with a precision of several 10 kilometers per second. This is made possible by observing light emitted by singly ionized carbon in the galaxies, also known as C+. The C+ emission from gas clouds rotating toward us is shifted to bluer, shorter wavelengths, while the clouds rotating away from us emit light shifted to longer, redder wavelengths. By measuring this shift in light, astronomers can determine how fast the galaxies are rotating.
    Credit: Andreas Faisst (ALPINE collaboration)

    3
    The object pictured above is DC-818760, which consists of three galaxies that are likely on collision course. Like all the galaxies in the ALPINE survey, it has been imaged by different telescopes. This “multi-wavelength” approach allows astronomers to study in detail the structure of these galaxies. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope (blue) reveals regions of active star formation not obscured by dust; NASA’s now-retired Spitzer Space Telescope (green) shows the location of older stars that are used to measure the stellar mass of galaxies; and ALMA (red) traces gas and dust, allowing the amount of star formation hidden by dust to be measured. The picture at the top of the image combines light from all three telescopes. The velocity map on the bottom shows gas in the rotating galaxies approaching us (blue) or receding (red).
    Credit: Gareth Jones & Andreas Faisst (ALPINE collaboration); ALMA(ESO/NAOJ/NRAO); NASA/STScI; JPL-Caltech/IPAC (R. Hurt)

    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 California Institute of Technology (commonly referred to as Caltech) is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering. Its 124-acre (50 ha) primary campus is located approximately 11 mi (18 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. “The mission of the California Institute of Technology is to expand human knowledge and benefit society through research integrated with education. We investigate the most challenging, fundamental problems in science and technology in a singularly collegial, interdisciplinary atmosphere, while educating outstanding students to become creative members of society.”

    Caltech campus

     
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