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  • richardmitnick 7:47 pm on August 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "50 Years Ago NASA’s Copernicus Set the Bar for Space Astronomy", , , , he National Aeronautics and Space Administration Chandra X-ray telescope, , The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center   

    From The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center And The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Chandra X-ray telescope: “50 Years Ago NASA’s Copernicus Set the Bar for Space Astronomy” 

    NASA Goddard Banner

    From The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

    And

    NASA Chandra Banner

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Chandra X-ray telescope

    8.19.22

    Francis Reddy
    francis.j.reddy@nasa.gov
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

    Media Contact:
    Claire Andreoli
    claire.andreoli@nasa.gov
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md

    NASA Copernicus spacecraft

    At 6:28 a.m. EDT on Aug. 21, 1972, NASA’s Copernicus satellite, the heaviest and most complex space telescope of its time, lit up the sky as it ascended into orbit from Launch Complex 36B at what is now Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida.

    Initially known as Orbiting Astronomical Observatory (OAO) C, it became OAO 3 once in orbit in the fashion of the time. But it was also renamed to honor the 500th anniversary of the birth of Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543). The Polish astronomer formulated a model of the solar system with the Sun in the central position instead of Earth, breaking with 1,300 years of tradition and triggering a scientific revolution.


    Watch: This vintage segment on Copernicus comes from a 1973 edition of The Science Report, a long-running film series produced by the U.S. Information Agency. Credit: National Archives (306-SR-138B)

    Fitted with the largest ultraviolet telescope ever orbited at the time as well as four co-aligned X-ray instruments, Copernicus was arguably NASA’s first dedicated multiwavelength astronomy observatory. This makes it a forebear of operating satellites like NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, which watches the sky in visible, ultraviolet, and X-ray light.

    _________________________________________
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration Neil Gehrels Swift spacecraft


    _________________________________________

    “The two spacecraft share institutional connections, too,” notes Swift Principal Investigator S. Bradley Cenko at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Goddard managed both missions, and the X-ray experiment on Copernicus was provided by the Mullard Space Science Laboratory at University College London, which also contributed Swift’s Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope.”

    Learning to point and hold an orbiting telescope on a star long enough for the detectors to capture its light proved much more difficult than expected. Satellites designed to study the Sun at the time had a built-in advantage – they targeted the solar system’s brightest object. Copernicus flew with a new inertial reference unit (IRU) developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Gyroscopes in the IRU sped up the process of acquiring targets, while other systems kept the satellite locked on. In a study of the mission’s first 500 days, one engineer summed it up by noting that the IRU had made flying Copernicus “a boring operation.”

    In NASA’s early days, astronomers emphasized the need for ultraviolet (UV) studies, which could not be made from the ground, and this became the primary focus of the OAO program. Of four satellites launched, one failed after three days in space, and another never reached orbit at all. OAO 2, launched in 1968 and named “Stargazer”, provided years of observations, including low-resolution stellar spectra, which spread out wavelengths much like a rainbow to reveal the UV fingerprints of specific molecules and atoms.

    Copernicus went deeper still, capturing spectra with up to 200 times better detail in some wavelengths.

    “This mission obtained high-resolution spectra of many stars in the UV and provided information at the shortest wavelengths reached for many years,” wrote Nancy Grace Roman, the first chief of astronomy in the Office of Space Science at NASA Headquarters, Washington, and the program scientist for Copernicus. During the mission, Roman became one of the driving forces behind the Large Space Telescope project, now known as NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

    She is also the namesake of NASA’s Roman Space Telescope, which is expected to take flight in a few years.

    The primary instrument aboard Copernicus was the Princeton Experiment Package, which captured UV light using a 32-inch (0.8-meter) mirror about a third the size of Hubble’s. Led by Lyman Spitzer Jr. at Princeton University in New Jersey, the instrument produced a treasure trove of information about interstellar gas and the ionized outflows of hot stars. Its first target, a star named Zeta Ophiuchi that’s partly veiled by an interstellar cloud, showed strong absorption from hydrogen molecules. Measurements from dozens of other stars confirmed a theory predicting that most of the hydrogen in gas clouds existed in this form.

    In 1946, Spitzer began speculating about the kinds of science that might be possible with a large orbiting telescope, later becoming the catalyst for the development of Hubble. NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, which operated from 2003 to 2020 and explored, among other sources, the cold clouds where stars are born, was named in his honor.

    4
    The hot, young star Zeta Ophiuchi is seen here in infrared (green and red) and X-ray light (blue) from NASA’s Spitzer and Chandra space telescopes. The star is partly veiled by an interstellar cloud. Its stellar outflows and motion through space combine to produce the red and green shock wave. Copernicus measured the star’s ultraviolet light, finding evidence that most interstellar gas comes in the form of molecular hydrogen.
    Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Dublin Inst. Advanced Studies/S. Green et al.; Infrared: NASA/JPL/Spitzer

    At the time when NASA was considering instrument proposals for Copernicus, only one celestial object, the Sun, was known to emit X-rays. That changed in 1962. Flying new X-ray detectors on a suborbital rocket, a research team led by Riccardo Giacconi at American Science and Engineering Inc., then in Cambridge, Massachusetts, discovered the first X-ray source beyond the solar system, named Scorpius X-1. Additional flights uncovered more cosmic sources, including Cygnus X-1, long suspected and now known to host a stellar-mass black hole.

    With this breakthrough, Giaconni proposed the first satellite dedicated to mapping the X-ray sky. Launched in 1970 and operating for three years, NASA’s Uhuru satellite mapped more than 300 sources, showed that many are neutron stars or black holes fueled by gas streaming from stellar companions, and discovered X-rays from the hot gas in galaxy clusters.

    Giaconni would go on to propose more powerful X-ray satellites – NASA’s Einstein Observatory, which operated from 1978 to 1981, and NASA’s current X-ray flagship, the Chandra X-ray Observatory [above], launched in 1999.

    The X-ray experiment aboard Copernicus was led by Robert Boyd at University College London, and the three telescopes experienced significant challenges. Longer-wavelength detectors were swamped by an unexpectedly high level of background radiation. It proved to come from a vast comet-shaped cloud of hydrogen atoms surrounding Earth, called the geocorona, that scatters far-ultraviolet sunlight. Later instruments added a filter tuned to absorb the UV but let X-rays pass through.

    In June 1973, scientists at Goddard noticed a problem with a shutter in the X-ray telescopes. The device was used to periodically block X-rays from reaching the detector so scientists could track the changing background radiation from charged particles in different parts of the orbit. Now its operation had become hesitant. Concerned that the shutter might remain permanently in the closed position, the instrument team had decided to stop using it. But a final command made it through – and the sticky shutter stuck closed, blinding the instruments.

    A fourth detector unattached to a telescope continued working for the duration of the mission. This X-ray counter measured radiation from 1 to 3 angstroms over a wide field of view – 2.5 by 3.5 degrees, about 40 times the apparent area of a full Moon.

    The X-ray experiment discovered several long-period pulsars, including X Persei. Pulsars – typically, spinning neutron stars – swing a beam of radiation in our direction each time they rotate, usually at tens to thousands of times a second. Oddly, the X Persei pulsar takes a leisurely 14 minutes per spin.

    Copernicus performed long-term monitoring of pulsars and other bright sources, and it observed Nova Cygni 1975, an explosion on the white dwarf in a close binary system. The experiment discovered curious dips in X-ray absorption at Cygnus X-1, likely caused by cool, dense clumps in the gas flowing away from the star. And the satellite recorded varying X-rays from the black-hole-powered galaxy Centaurus A, located about 12 million light-years away.

    Copernicus returned UV and X-ray observations for 8.5 years before its retirement in 1981, and it still orbits Earth today. It departed space astronomy’s center stage as more advanced observatories appeared, notably Einstein and the International Ultraviolet Explorer, which launched in 1978 and operated for nearly 19 years.

    Copernicus observations appear in more than 650 scientific papers. Its instruments studied some 450 unique objects targeted by more than 160 investigators in the United States and 13 other countries.

    See the full article here.


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls Chandra’s science and flight operations from Cambridge, Mass.
    In 1976 the Chandra X-ray Observatory (called AXAF at the time) was proposed to National Aeronautics and Space Administration by Riccardo Giacconi and Harvey Tananbaum. Preliminary work began the following year at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. In the meantime, in 1978, NASA launched the first imaging X-ray telescope, Einstein (HEAO-2), into orbit. Work continued on the AXAF project throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In 1992, to reduce costs, the spacecraft was redesigned. Four of the twelve planned mirrors were eliminated, as were two of the six scientific instruments. AXAF’s planned orbit was changed to an elliptical one, reaching one third of the way to the Moon’s at its farthest point. This eliminated the possibility of improvement or repair by the space shuttle but put the observatory above the Earth’s radiation belts for most of its orbit. AXAF was assembled and tested by TRW (now Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems) in Redondo Beach, California.

    AXAF was renamed Chandra as part of a contest held by NASA in 1998, which drew more than 6,000 submissions worldwide. The contest winners, Jatila van der Veen and Tyrel Johnson (then a high school teacher and high school student, respectively), suggested the name in honor of Nobel Prize–winning Indian-American astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar. He is known for his work in determining the maximum mass of white dwarf stars, leading to greater understanding of high energy astronomical phenomena such as neutron stars and black holes. Fittingly, the name Chandra means “moon” in Sanskrit.

    Originally scheduled to be launched in December 1998, the spacecraft was delayed several months, eventually being launched on July 23, 1999, at 04:31 UTC by Space Shuttle Columbia during STS-93. Chandra was deployed from Columbia at 11:47 UTC. The Inertial Upper Stage’s first stage motor ignited at 12:48 UTC, and after burning for 125 seconds and separating, the second stage ignited at 12:51 UTC and burned for 117 seconds. At 22,753 kilograms (50,162 lb), it was the heaviest payload ever launched by the shuttle, a consequence of the two-stage Inertial Upper Stage booster rocket system needed to transport the spacecraft to its high orbit.

    Chandra has been returning data since the month after it launched. It is operated by the SAO at the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with assistance from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Northrop Grumman Space Technology. The ACIS CCDs suffered particle damage during early radiation belt passages. To prevent further damage, the instrument is now removed from the telescope’s focal plane during passages.

    Although Chandra was initially given an expected lifetime of 5 years, on September 4, 2001, NASA extended its lifetime to 10 years “based on the observatory’s outstanding results.” Physically Chandra could last much longer. A 2004 study performed at the Chandra X-ray Center indicated that the observatory could last at least 15 years.

    In July 2008, the International X-ray Observatory, a joint project between European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU), NASA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) (国立研究開発法人宇宙航空研究開発機構], was proposed as the next major X-ray observatory but was later cancelled. ESA later resurrected a downsized version of the project as the Advanced Telescope for High Energy Astrophysics (ATHENA), with a proposed launch in 2028.

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

    On October 10, 2018, Chandra entered safe mode operations, due to a gyroscope glitch. NASA reported that all science instruments were safe. Within days, the 3-second error in data from one gyro was understood, and plans were made to return Chandra to full service. The gyroscope that experienced the glitch was placed in reserve and is otherwise healthy.

    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.


    NASA/Goddard Campus

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

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

    GSFC also operates two spaceflight tracking and data acquisition networks (the NASA Deep Space Network and the Near Earth Network); develops and maintains advanced space and Earth science data information systems, and develops satellite systems for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    GSFC manages operations for many NASA and international missions including the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope; the Explorers Program; the Discovery Program; the Earth Observing System; INTEGRAL; MAVEN; OSIRIS-REx; the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory ; the Solar Dynamics Observatory; Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System ; Fermi; and Swift. Past missions managed by GSFC include the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE), Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, SMM, COBE, IUE, and ROSAT. Typically, unmanned Earth observation missions and observatories in Earth orbit are managed by GSFC, while unmanned planetary missions are managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

    Goddard is one of four centers built by NASA since its founding on July 29, 1958. It is NASA’s first, and oldest, space center. Its original charter was to perform five major functions on behalf of NASA: technology development and fabrication; planning; scientific research; technical operations; and project management. The center is organized into several directorates, each charged with one of these key functions.

    Until May 1, 1959, NASA’s presence in Greenbelt, MD was known as the Beltsville Space Center. It was then renamed the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), after Robert H. Goddard. Its first 157 employees transferred from the United States Navy’s Project Vanguard missile program, but continued their work at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., while the center was under construction.

    Goddard Space Flight Center contributed to Project Mercury, America’s first manned space flight program. The Center assumed a lead role for the project in its early days and managed the first 250 employees involved in the effort, who were stationed at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. However, the size and scope of Project Mercury soon prompted NASA to build a new Manned Spacecraft Center, now the Johnson Space Center, in Houston, Texas. Project Mercury’s personnel and activities were transferred there in 1961.

    The Goddard network tracked many early manned and unmanned spacecraft.

    Goddard Space Flight Center remained involved in the manned space flight program, providing computer support and radar tracking of flights through a worldwide network of ground stations called the Spacecraft Tracking and Data Acquisition Network (STDN). However, the Center focused primarily on designing unmanned satellites and spacecraft for scientific research missions. Goddard pioneered several fields of spacecraft development, including modular spacecraft design, which reduced costs and made it possible to repair satellites in orbit. Goddard’s Solar Max satellite, launched in 1980, was repaired by astronauts on the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1984. The Hubble Space Telescope, launched in 1990, remains in service and continues to grow in capability thanks to its modular design and multiple servicing missions by the Space Shuttle.

    Today, the center remains involved in each of NASA’s key programs. Goddard has developed more instruments for planetary exploration than any other organization, among them scientific instruments sent to every planet in the Solar System. The center’s contribution to the Earth Science Enterprise includes several spacecraft in the Earth Observing System fleet as well as EOSDIS, a science data collection, processing, and distribution system. For the manned space flight program, Goddard develops tools for use by astronauts during extra-vehicular activity, and operates the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a spacecraft designed to study the Moon in preparation for future manned exploration.

    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 1:33 pm on August 13, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "What’s Next:: The Future of NASA’s Laser Communications", , , The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center   

    From The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: “What’s Next:: The Future of NASA’s Laser Communications” 

    NASA Goddard Banner

    From The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

    8.11.22
    Kendall Murphy
    kendall.t.murphy@nasa.gov
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

    1
    Illustration of ILLUMA-T communicating science and exploration data from the International Space Station to LCRD. Credits: Dave Ryan/NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

    NASA uses lasers to send information to and from Earth, employing invisible beams to traverse the skies, sending terabytes of data – pictures and videos – to increase our knowledge of the universe. This capability is known as laser, or optical, communications, even though these eye-safe, infrared beams can’t be seen by human eyes.

    “We are thrilled by the promise laser communications will offer in the coming years,” says Badri Younes, deputy associate administrator and program manager for Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “These missions and demonstrations usher in NASA’s new Decade of Light in which NASA will work with other government agencies and the commercial sector to dramatically expand future communications capabilities for space exploration and enable vibrant and robust economic opportunities.”

    Laser communications systems provide missions with increased data rates, meaning they can send and receive more information in a single transmission compared to traditional radio waves. Additionally, the systems are lighter, more flexible, and more secure. Laser communications can supplement radio frequency communications, which most NASA missions use today.

    Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD)
    2
    Illustration of LCRD relaying data from ILLUMA-T on the International Space Station to a ground station on Earth.
    Credits: Dave Ryan/NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

    On Dec. 7, 2021, the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) launched into orbit, about 22,000 miles from Earth to test the capabilities of laser communications. LCRD is the agency’s first technology demonstration of a two-way laser relay system. Now that LCRD is in orbit, NASA’s laser communications advancements continue.

    LCRD Experimenters Program

    In May 2022, NASA certified that LCRD is ready to conduct experiments. These experiments are testing and refining laser systems — the mission’s overall goal. Experiments provided by NASA, other government agencies, academia, and industry are measuring the long-term effects of the atmosphere on laser communications signals; assessing the technology’s applicability for future missions; and testing on-orbit laser relay capabilities.

    “We will start receiving some experiment results almost immediately, while others are long-term and will take time for trends to emerge during LCRD’s two-year experiment period,” said Rick Butler, project lead for the LCRD experimenters program at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “LCRD will answer the aerospace industry’s questions about laser communications as an operational option for high bandwidth applications.”

    “The program is still looking for new experiments, and anyone who is interested should reach out,” said Butler. “We are tapping into the laser communications community and these experiments will show how optical will work for international organizations, industry, and academia.”

    NASA is continuing to accept proposals for new experiments to help refine optical technologies, increase knowledge, and identify future applications.

    LCRD will even relay data submitted by the public shortly after its launch in the form of New Year’s resolutions shared with NASA social media accounts. These resolutions will be transmitted from a ground station in California and relayed through LCRD to another ground station located in Hawaii as yet another demonstration of LCRD’s capabilities.

    TeraByte InfraRed Delivery (TBIRD)

    3
    Illustration of TBIRD downlinking data over lasers links to Optical Ground Station 1 in California.
    Credits: Dave Ryan/ NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

    Recently following LCRD, the TeraByte InfraRed Delivery (TBIRD) payload launched on May 25, 2022, as part of the Pathfinder Technology Demonstrator 3 (PTD-3) mission, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on SpaceX’s Transporter-5 rideshare mission. TBIRD will showcase 200-gigabit-per-second data downlinks – the highest optical rate ever achieved by NASA.

    TBIRD is continuing NASA’s optical communications infusion by demonstrating the benefits lasers communications could have for near-Earth science missions that capture important data and large detailed images. TBIRD is sending back terabytes of data in a single pass, demonstrating the benefits of higher bandwidth, and giving NASA more insight into the capabilities of laser communications on small satellites. TBIRD is the size of a tissue box!

    “In the past, we’ve designed our instruments and spacecraft around the constraint of how much data we can get down or back from space to Earth,” said TBIRD Project Manager Beth Keer. “With optical communications, we’re blowing that out of the water as far as the amount of data we can bring back. It is truly a game-changing capability.”

    Integrated LCRD Low-Earth Orbit User Modem and Amplifier Terminal (ILLUMA-T)

    Launching in early 2023 in the Dragon trunk of SpaceX’s 27th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station, the Integrated LCRD Low-Earth Orbit User Modem and Amplifier Terminal (ILLUMA-T) [header image] will bring laser communications to the orbiting laboratory and empower astronauts living and working there with enhanced data capabilities.

    ILLUMA-T will gather information from experiments aboard the station and send the data to LCRD at 1.2 gigabits per second. At this rate, a feature-length movie could be downloaded in under a minute. LCRD will then relay this information down to ground stations in Hawaii or California.

    “ILLUMA-T and LCRD will work together to become the first laser system to demonstrate low-Earth orbit to geosynchronous orbit to ground communications links,” said Chetan Sayal, project manager for ILLUMA-T at NASA Goddard.

    Orion Artemis II Optical Communications System (O2O)

    3
    Illustration of NASA’s O2O laser communications terminal sending high-resolution data from the Artemis II mission.
    Credits: NASA

    The Orion Artemis II Optical Communications System (O2O) will bring laser communications to the Moon aboard NASA’s Orion spacecraft during the Artemis II mission. O2O will be capable of transmitting high-resolution images and video when astronauts return to the lunar region for the first time in over 50 years. Artemis II will be the first crewed lunar flight to demonstrate laser communications technologies, sending data to Earth with a downlink rate of up to 260 megabits per second.

    “By infusing new laser communications technologies into the Artemis missions, we’re empowering our astronauts with more access to data than ever before,” said O2O Project Manager Steve Horowitz. “The higher the data rates, the more information our instruments can send home to Earth, and the more science our lunar explorers can perform.”

    NASA’s laser communications endeavors extend into deep space as well. Currently, NASA is working on a future terminal that could test laser communications against extreme distances and challenging pointing constraints.

    Whether bringing laser communications to near-Earth missions, the Moon, or deep space, the infusion of optical systems will be integral for future NASA missions. Laser communications’ higher data rates will enable exploration and science missions to send more data back to Earth and discover more about the universe. NASA will be able to use information from images, video, and experiments to explore not just the near-Earth region, but to also prepare for future missions to Mars and beyond.

    4
    NASA’s laser communications mission timeline.
    Credits: Dave Ryan/NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

    See the full article here.


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition


    NASA/Goddard Campus

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

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

    GSFC also operates two spaceflight tracking and data acquisition networks (the NASA Deep Space Network and the Near Earth Network); develops and maintains advanced space and Earth science data information systems, and develops satellite systems for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    GSFC manages operations for many NASA and international missions including the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope; the Explorers Program; the Discovery Program; the Earth Observing System; INTEGRAL; MAVEN; OSIRIS-REx; the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory ; the Solar Dynamics Observatory; Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System ; Fermi; and Swift. Past missions managed by GSFC include the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE), Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, SMM, COBE, IUE, and ROSAT. Typically, unmanned Earth observation missions and observatories in Earth orbit are managed by GSFC, while unmanned planetary missions are managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

    Goddard is one of four centers built by NASA since its founding on July 29, 1958. It is NASA’s first, and oldest, space center. Its original charter was to perform five major functions on behalf of NASA: technology development and fabrication; planning; scientific research; technical operations; and project management. The center is organized into several directorates, each charged with one of these key functions.

    Until May 1, 1959, NASA’s presence in Greenbelt, MD was known as the Beltsville Space Center. It was then renamed the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), after Robert H. Goddard. Its first 157 employees transferred from the United States Navy’s Project Vanguard missile program, but continued their work at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., while the center was under construction.

    Goddard Space Flight Center contributed to Project Mercury, America’s first manned space flight program. The Center assumed a lead role for the project in its early days and managed the first 250 employees involved in the effort, who were stationed at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. However, the size and scope of Project Mercury soon prompted NASA to build a new Manned Spacecraft Center, now the Johnson Space Center, in Houston, Texas. Project Mercury’s personnel and activities were transferred there in 1961.

    The Goddard network tracked many early manned and unmanned spacecraft.

    Goddard Space Flight Center remained involved in the manned space flight program, providing computer support and radar tracking of flights through a worldwide network of ground stations called the Spacecraft Tracking and Data Acquisition Network (STDN). However, the Center focused primarily on designing unmanned satellites and spacecraft for scientific research missions. Goddard pioneered several fields of spacecraft development, including modular spacecraft design, which reduced costs and made it possible to repair satellites in orbit. Goddard’s Solar Max satellite, launched in 1980, was repaired by astronauts on the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1984. The Hubble Space Telescope, launched in 1990, remains in service and continues to grow in capability thanks to its modular design and multiple servicing missions by the Space Shuttle.

    Today, the center remains involved in each of NASA’s key programs. Goddard has developed more instruments for planetary exploration than any other organization, among them scientific instruments sent to every planet in the Solar System. The center’s contribution to the Earth Science Enterprise includes several spacecraft in the Earth Observing System fleet as well as EOSDIS, a science data collection, processing, and distribution system. For the manned space flight program, Goddard develops tools for use by astronauts during extra-vehicular activity, and operates the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a spacecraft designed to study the Moon in preparation for future manned exploration.

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

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

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 10:50 pm on July 27, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "NASA finds some asteroids 'aged early' by sun", , , , , , Scientists from NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission recently learned that surface regeneration happens a lot quicker on asteroids than on Earth., The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center   

    From The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Via “phys.org” : “NASA finds some asteroids ‘aged early’ by sun” 

    NASA Goddard Banner

    From The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

    Via

    “phys.org”

    7.25.22

    1
    The PolyCam aboard NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft provided high-resolution, microscope-like images of asteroid Bennu’s surface. This made it possible for researchers to map more than 1,500 rock fractures, highlighted in red here. Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona.

    Scientists from NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission recently learned that surface regeneration happens a lot quicker on asteroids than on Earth. By analyzing rock fractures on asteroid Bennu from high-resolution images taken by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, the team discovered that the Sun’s heat fractures rocks on Bennu in just 10,000 to 100,000 years. This information will help scientists estimate how long it takes boulders on asteroids like Bennu to break down into smaller particles, which may either eject into space or stay on the asteroid’s surface.

    Tens of thousands of years might sound pretty slow, but “we thought surface regeneration on asteroids took a few millions of years,” said Marco Delbo, senior scientist at Université Côte d’Azur, CNRS, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, Laboratoire Lagrange, Nice, France, and lead author of a paper published May 23, 2022 in Nature Geoscience [below]. “We were surprised to learn that the aging and weathering process on asteroids happens so quickly, geologically speaking.”

    Although landslides, volcanoes, and earthquakes can change the surface suddenly on Earth, usually changes are gradual. Water, wind, and temperature changes slowly break down rock layers, creating new surfaces over millions of years. For example, if you were to hike into the Grand Canyon, you would see distinct rock layers; the top layers tend to be the youngest rocks, dating around 270 million years old, and the layers at the bottom of the canyon are the oldest, about 1.8 billion years old. According to the U.S. National Park Service, the Colorado River has been carving down rocks in the Grand Canyon for 5 million to 6 million years.

    Rapid temperature changes on Bennu create internal stress that fractures and breaks down rocks, similar to how a cold glass breaks under hot water. The Sun rises every 4.3 hours on Bennu. At the equator, daytime highs can reach almost 260 F (about 127 C), and nighttime lows plummet to nearly minus 10 F (about minus 23 C).

    OSIRIS-REx scientists spotted cracks in the rocks in spacecraft images from the first surveys of the asteroid. The fractures seemed to point in the same direction, “a distinct signature that temperature shocks between the day and the night could be the cause,” said Delbo.

    Delbo and his colleagues measured the length and angles of more than 1,500 fractures in OSIRIS-REx images by hand: some shorter than a tennis racket, others longer than a tennis court. They found the fractures predominantly align in the northwest-southeast direction, indicating they were caused by the Sun, which is shown here to be the primary force changing Bennu’s landscape.

    “If landslides or impacts were moving boulders faster than the boulders were cracking, the fractures would point in random directions,” said Delbo.

    The scientists used a computer model and their fracture measurements to calculate the 10,000 to 100,000-year timeframe for thermal fractures to propagate and split rocks.

    “The thermal fractures on Bennu are quite similar to what we find on Earth and on Mars in terms of how they form,” said Christophe Matonti, a co-author of the paper at Université Côte d’Azur, CNRS, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, Géoazur, Sophia-Antipolis, Valbonne, France. “It is fascinating to see that they can exist and are similar in very ‘exotic’ physical conditions [low gravity, no atmosphere], even compared to Mars.”

    “Keep in mind, the topography of Bennu is young, but the rocks on the asteroids are still billions of years old and hold valuable information about the beginning of the solar system,” said Jason Dworkin, OSIRIS-REx project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

    OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer) will return a sample from Bennu to Earth on Sept. 24, 2023. “We will be able to learn more details about the age of the surface when we are able to directly study the sample,” said Dworkin.

    Science paper:
    Nature Geoscience

    See the full article here.


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition


    NASA/Goddard Campus

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

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

    GSFC also operates two spaceflight tracking and data acquisition networks (the NASA Deep Space Network and the Near Earth Network); develops and maintains advanced space and Earth science data information systems, and develops satellite systems for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration .

    GSFC manages operations for many NASA and international missions including the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope; the Explorers Program; the Discovery Program; the Earth Observing System; INTEGRAL; MAVEN; OSIRIS-REx; the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory ; the Solar Dynamics Observatory; Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System ; Fermi; and Swift. Past missions managed by GSFC include the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE), Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, SMM, COBE, IUE, and ROSAT. Typically, unmanned Earth observation missions and observatories in Earth orbit are managed by GSFC, while unmanned planetary missions are managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

    Goddard is one of four centers built by NASA since its founding on July 29, 1958. It is NASA’s first, and oldest, space center. Its original charter was to perform five major functions on behalf of NASA: technology development and fabrication; planning; scientific research; technical operations; and project management. The center is organized into several directorates, each charged with one of these key functions.

    Until May 1, 1959, NASA’s presence in Greenbelt, MD was known as the Beltsville Space Center. It was then renamed the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), after Robert H. Goddard. Its first 157 employees transferred from the United States Navy’s Project Vanguard missile program, but continued their work at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., while the center was under construction.

    Goddard Space Flight Center contributed to Project Mercury, America’s first manned space flight program. The Center assumed a lead role for the project in its early days and managed the first 250 employees involved in the effort, who were stationed at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. However, the size and scope of Project Mercury soon prompted NASA to build a new Manned Spacecraft Center, now the Johnson Space Center, in Houston, Texas. Project Mercury’s personnel and activities were transferred there in 1961.

    The Goddard network tracked many early manned and unmanned spacecraft.

    Goddard Space Flight Center remained involved in the manned space flight program, providing computer support and radar tracking of flights through a worldwide network of ground stations called the Spacecraft Tracking and Data Acquisition Network (STDN). However, the Center focused primarily on designing unmanned satellites and spacecraft for scientific research missions. Goddard pioneered several fields of spacecraft development, including modular spacecraft design, which reduced costs and made it possible to repair satellites in orbit. Goddard’s Solar Max satellite, launched in 1980, was repaired by astronauts on the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1984. The Hubble Space Telescope, launched in 1990, remains in service and continues to grow in capability thanks to its modular design and multiple servicing missions by the Space Shuttle.

    Today, the center remains involved in each of NASA’s key programs. Goddard has developed more instruments for planetary exploration than any other organization, among them scientific instruments sent to every planet in the Solar System. The center’s contribution to the Earth Science Enterprise includes several spacecraft in the Earth Observing System fleet as well as EOSDIS, a science data collection, processing, and distribution system. For the manned space flight program, Goddard develops tools for use by astronauts during extra-vehicular activity, and operates the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a spacecraft designed to study the Moon in preparation for future manned exploration.

    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 5:41 pm on June 17, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "NASA Telescope to Help Untangle Galaxy Growth and Dark Matter Makeup", , , , , , Nancy Grace Roman Infrared Space Telescope, , , The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center   

    From The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: “NASA Telescope to Help Untangle Galaxy Growth and Dark Matter Makeup” 

    NASA Goddard Banner

    From The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

    Jun 14, 2022

    Ashley Balzer
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

    Media contact:
    Claire Andreoli
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
    301-286-1940

    NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will study wispy streams of stars that extend far beyond the apparent edges of many galaxies. Missions like the Hubble and James Webb space telescopes would have to patch together hundreds of small images to see these structures around nearby galaxies in full. Roman will do so in a single snapshot. Astronomers will use these observations to explore how galaxies grow and the nature of Dark Matter*.

    1
    This animation shows simulated stellar streams amid a realistic background of stars in the Andromeda galaxy (M31). Current observatories can’t see faint individual stars in and around galaxies, so we can only see the biggest stellar streams and only when selecting the stellar stream-like stars in the image. Not only will Roman be able to image individual stars in nearby galaxies – with similar processing, stellar streams will appear even more prominent.
    Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, based on data from Pearson et al. (2019)

    Stellar streams look like ethereal strands of hair extending outward from some galaxies, peacefully drifting through space as part of the halo – a spherical region surrounding a galaxy. But these stellar flyaways are signs of an ancient cosmic-scale drama that serve as fossil records of a galaxy’s past. Studying them transforms astronomers into galactic archaeologists.

    “Halos are mostly made from stars that were stripped away from other galaxies,” said Tjitske Starkenburg, a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, who examined Roman’s potential in this area. “Roman’s wide, deep images will be sharp enough that we can resolve individual stars in other galaxies’ halos, making it possible to study stellar streams in a large number of galaxies for the first time.”

    The team, led by Starkenburg, will share their results at the American Astronomical Society’s 240th meeting in Pasadena, California, today.

    Galactic Cannibalism, Stolen Stars

    Simulations support the theory that galaxies grow in part by gobbling up smaller groups of stars.

    Supercomputing Reveals “Fossil Record” of Galaxy Collisions and Mergers

    3
    4
    This pair of images show two simulated galaxies in the early stages of a collision that will ultimately throw many stars from both galaxies into wide orbits, creating a faint stellar halo around the larger galaxy. The bottom image features stars and interstellar dust visible to the human eye; gases are largely invisible. The top image features interstellar low-density gases in blue to high-density gases in orange.
    Credits: Space Telescope Science Institute and Johns Hopkins University/Molly Peeples; NASA Ames/Chris Henze.

    How do galaxies evolve into the starry spirals famously seen by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and others?

    Researchers sought answers about the faint stars and gases surrounding galaxies like our own. Using the Pleiades supercomputer at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing facility at the agency’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley and data from Hubble, they simulated a Milky Way-like galaxy in the early stages of a collision with another smaller galaxy.

    High End Computing Center Resources:

    Electra Supercomputer
    Aitken Supercomputer
    Pleiades Supercomputer
    Endeavour Supercomputer
    Merope Supercomputer
    Data Storage
    Networking Resources
    Visualization System: hyperwall
    Cloud Resources
    Legacy Systems

    The visualization revealed a detailed “fossil record” of information about the simulated galaxy’s history. Basically, when we gaze at the halo of stars and luminous clouds of interstellar dust surrounding a galaxy’s milky multitude, we’re seeing remnants of smaller, neighboring galaxies that were shredded by galactic mergers.

    These cosmic crashes throw many faint stars into enormous wide orbits, ultimately landing them out in the galaxies’ far-flung fringes. Researchers also found the outlier stars sometimes form streams that wrap around a larger galaxy and last billions of years.

    The data from these simulations is now helping scientists make predictions about how to detect and trace the histories of stellar streams to figure out what they can tell us about the galaxies that made them, including the streams around our own Milky Way. For example, NASA’s upcoming James Webb and Nancy Grace Roman space telescopes are expected to give us a detailed look at the stellar halos of dozens of nearby galaxies for the first time.

    Last Updated: Nov 17, 2021
    Editor: Rachel Hoover

    A dwarf galaxy captured into orbit by a larger one becomes distorted by gravity. Its stars drizzle out, tracing arcs and loops around the larger galaxy until they ultimately become its newest members.

    “As individual stars leak out of the dwarf galaxy and fall into the more massive one, they form long, thin streams that remain intact for billions of years,” said Sarah Pearson, a Hubble postdoctoral fellow at New York University in New York City and the lead author of a separate study about the mission’s projected observations in this area. “So stellar streams hold secrets from the past and can illuminate billions of years of evolution.”

    Astronomers have caught this cannibalistic process in the act using telescopes like ESA’s (European Space Agency’s) Gaia satellite, which is fine-tuned to measure the positions and motions of stars in our Milky Way galaxy.

    Roman will extend these observations by making similar measurements of stars in both the Milky Way and other galaxies.

    The Milky Way is home to at least 70 stellar streams, meaning it has likely eaten at least 70 dwarf galaxies or globular star clusters – groups of hundreds of thousands of gravitationally bound stars.

    Roman’s Milky Way images could allow astronomers to string together snapshots in time to show stars’ movement. That will help us learn about what Dark Matter – invisible matter that we can only detect via its gravitational effects on visible objects – is made of.

    One theory suggests Dark Matter is “cold,” or made up of heavy, sluggish particles. If so, it should clump together within galaxy halos, which would disturb stellar streams in ways Roman could see.

    By either detecting or ruling out these distortions, Roman could narrow down the candidates for what dark matter could be made of.

    Astronomers are also looking forward to studying stellar streams in several of the Milky Way’s neighboring galaxies. They aren’t well studied in other galaxies because they’re so faint and far away. They’re also so vast that they can wrap around an entire galaxy. It takes an unrivaled panoramic view like Roman’s to capture images that are both large and detailed enough to see them.

    3
    This series of images shows how astronomers find stellar streams by reversing the light and dark, similar to negative images. Color images of each of the nearby galaxies featured are included for context. Galaxies are surrounded by enormous halos of hot gas sprinkled with sporadic stars, seen as the shadowy regions that encase each galaxy here. Roman could improve on these observations by resolving individual stars to understand each stream’s stellar populations and see stellar streams of various sizes in even more galaxies. Credits: Carlin et al. (2016), based on images from Martínez-Delgado et al. (2008, 2010).

    Especially elusive stellar streams that formed when the Milky Way siphoned stars from globular star clusters have been detected before, but they’ve never been found in other galaxies. They’re fainter because they contain fewer stars, which makes them much more difficult to spot in other, more distant galaxies.

    Roman may detect them in several of our neighboring galaxies for the first time ever. The mission’s wide, sharp, deep vision should even reveal individual stars in these enormous, dim structures. In a previous study, Pearson led the development of an algorithm to systematically search for stellar streams originating from globular clusters in neighboring galaxies.

    Starkenburg’s new study adds to the picture by predicting that Roman should be able to detect dozens of streams in other galaxies that originated from dwarf galaxies, offering unprecedented insight into the way galaxies grow.

    “It’s exciting to learn more about our Milky Way, but if we truly want to understand galaxy formation and dark matter we need a larger sample size,” Starkenburg said. “Studying stellar streams in other galaxies with Roman will help us see the bigger picture.”

    The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope is managed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, with participation by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech/IPAC in Southern California, the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, and a science team comprising scientists from various research institutions. The primary industrial partners are Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation in Boulder, Colorado; L3Harris Technologies in Melbourne, Florida; and Teledyne Scientific & Imaging in Thousand Oaks, California.

    __________________________________
    *Dark Matter Background
    Fritz Zwicky discovered Dark Matter in the 1930s when observing the movement of the Coma Cluster., Vera Rubin a Woman in STEM, denied the Nobel, some 30 years later, did most of the work on Dark Matter.

    Fritz Zwicky.
    Coma cluster via NASA/ESA Hubble, the original example of Dark Matter discovered during observations by Fritz Zwicky and confirmed 30 years later by Vera Rubin.
    In modern times, it was astronomer Fritz Zwicky, in the 1930s, who made the first observations of what we now call dark matter. His 1933 observations of the Coma Cluster of galaxies seemed to indicated it has a mass 500 times more than that previously calculated by Edwin Hubble. Furthermore, this extra mass seemed to be completely invisible. Although Zwicky’s observations were initially met with much skepticism, they were later confirmed by other groups of astronomers.

    Thirty years later, astronomer Vera Rubin provided a huge piece of evidence for the existence of dark matter. She discovered that the centers of galaxies rotate at the same speed as their extremities, whereas, of course, they should rotate faster. Think of a vinyl LP on a record deck: its center rotates faster than its edge. That’s what logic dictates we should see in galaxies too. But we do not. The only way to explain this is if the whole galaxy is only the center of some much larger structure, as if it is only the label on the LP so to speak, causing the galaxy to have a consistent rotation speed from center to edge.

    Vera Rubin, following Zwicky, postulated that the missing structure in galaxies is dark matter. Her ideas were met with much resistance from the astronomical community, but her observations have been confirmed and are seen today as pivotal proof of the existence of dark matter.
    Astronomer Vera Rubin at the Lowell Observatory in 1965, worked on Dark Matter (The Carnegie Institution for Science).

    Vera Rubin, with Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM) image tube spectrograph attached to the Kitt Peak 84-inch telescope, 1970.

    Vera Rubin measuring spectra, worked on Dark Matter(Emilio Segre Visual Archives AIP SPL).
    Dark Matter Research

    Super Cryogenic Dark Matter Search from DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (US) at Stanford University (US) at SNOLAB (Vale Inco Mine, Sudbury, Canada).

    LBNL LZ Dark Matter Experiment (US) xenon detector at Sanford Underground Research Facility(US) Credit: Matt Kapust.

    Lamda Cold Dark Matter Accerated Expansion of The universe http scinotions.com the-cosmic-inflation-suggests-the-existence-of-parallel-universes. Credit: Alex Mittelmann.

    DAMA at Gran Sasso uses sodium iodide housed in copper to hunt for dark matter LNGS-INFN.

    Yale HAYSTAC axion dark matter experiment at Yale’s Wright Lab.

    DEAP Dark Matter detector, The DEAP-3600, suspended in the SNOLAB (CA) deep in Sudbury’s Creighton Mine.

    The LBNL LZ Dark Matter Experiment (US) Dark Matter project at SURF, Lead, SD, USA.

    DAMA-LIBRA Dark Matter experiment at the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics’ (INFN’s) Gran Sasso National Laboratories (LNGS) located in the Abruzzo region of central Italy.

    DARWIN Dark Matter experiment. A design study for a next-generation, multi-ton dark matter detector in Europe at The University of Zurich [Universität Zürich](CH).

    PandaX II Dark Matter experiment at Jin-ping Underground Laboratory (CJPL) in Sichuan, China.

    Inside the Axion Dark Matter eXperiment U Washington (US) Credit : Mark Stone U. of Washington. Axion Dark Matter Experiment.
    __________________________________

    See the full article here.


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition


    NASA/Goddard Campus

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

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

    GSFC also operates two spaceflight tracking and data acquisition networks (the NASA Deep Space Network and the Near Earth Network); develops and maintains advanced space and Earth science data information systems, and develops satellite systems for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration .

    GSFC manages operations for many NASA and international missions including the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope; the Explorers Program; the Discovery Program; the Earth Observing System; INTEGRAL; MAVEN; OSIRIS-REx; the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory ; the Solar Dynamics Observatory; Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System ; Fermi; and Swift. Past missions managed by GSFC include the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE), Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, SMM, COBE, IUE, and ROSAT. Typically, unmanned Earth observation missions and observatories in Earth orbit are managed by GSFC, while unmanned planetary missions are managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

    Goddard is one of four centers built by NASA since its founding on July 29, 1958. It is NASA’s first, and oldest, space center. Its original charter was to perform five major functions on behalf of NASA: technology development and fabrication; planning; scientific research; technical operations; and project management. The center is organized into several directorates, each charged with one of these key functions.

    Until May 1, 1959, NASA’s presence in Greenbelt, MD was known as the Beltsville Space Center. It was then renamed the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), after Robert H. Goddard. Its first 157 employees transferred from the United States Navy’s Project Vanguard missile program, but continued their work at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., while the center was under construction.

    Goddard Space Flight Center contributed to Project Mercury, America’s first manned space flight program. The Center assumed a lead role for the project in its early days and managed the first 250 employees involved in the effort, who were stationed at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. However, the size and scope of Project Mercury soon prompted NASA to build a new Manned Spacecraft Center, now the Johnson Space Center, in Houston, Texas. Project Mercury’s personnel and activities were transferred there in 1961.

    The Goddard network tracked many early manned and unmanned spacecraft.

    Goddard Space Flight Center remained involved in the manned space flight program, providing computer support and radar tracking of flights through a worldwide network of ground stations called the Spacecraft Tracking and Data Acquisition Network (STDN). However, the Center focused primarily on designing unmanned satellites and spacecraft for scientific research missions. Goddard pioneered several fields of spacecraft development, including modular spacecraft design, which reduced costs and made it possible to repair satellites in orbit. Goddard’s Solar Max satellite, launched in 1980, was repaired by astronauts on the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1984. The Hubble Space Telescope, launched in 1990, remains in service and continues to grow in capability thanks to its modular design and multiple servicing missions by the Space Shuttle.

    Today, the center remains involved in each of NASA’s key programs. Goddard has developed more instruments for planetary exploration than any other organization, among them scientific instruments sent to every planet in the Solar System. The center’s contribution to the Earth Science Enterprise includes several spacecraft in the Earth Observing System fleet as well as EOSDIS, a science data collection, processing, and distribution system. For the manned space flight program, Goddard develops tools for use by astronauts during extra-vehicular activity, and operates the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a spacecraft designed to study the Moon in preparation for future manned exploration.

    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 9:38 pm on May 25, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "CubeSat set to demonstrate NASA's fastest laser link from space", Laser communications substantially increases data transport capabilities., NASA needs more efficient communications systems to transmit significant amounts of data., NASA's Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley manages the PTD mission series., , The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, The TBIRD system is integrated into PTD-3-a CubeSat., The TeraByte InfraRed Delivery (TBIRD) system   

    From The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center via TechXplore at Science X: “CubeSat set to demonstrate NASA’s fastest laser link from space” 

    NASA Goddard Banner

    From The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

    via

    TechXplore at Science X

    May 25, 2022
    Kendall Murphy

    1
    Illustration of TBIRD downlinking data over lasers links to Optical Ground Station 1 in California. (Not drawn to scale). Credit: NASA/Dave Ryan.

    NASA’s Pathfinder Technology Demonstrator 3 (PTD-3) mission, carrying the TeraByte InfraRed Delivery (TBIRD) system, will debut on May 25 as part of SpaceX’s Transporter-5 rideshare launch. TBIRD will showcase the high-data-rate capabilities of laser communications from a CubeSat in low-Earth orbit. At 200 gigabits per second (Gbps), TBIRD will downlink data at the highest optical rate ever achieved by NASA.

    NASA primarily uses radio frequency to communicate with spacecraft, but with sights set on human exploration of the Moon and Mars and the development of enhanced scientific instruments, NASA needs more efficient communications systems to transmit significant amounts of data. With more data, researchers can make profound discoveries. Laser communications substantially increases data transport capabilities, offering higher data rates and more information packed into a single transmission.

    “TBIRD is a game changer and will be very important for future human exploration and science missions,” said Andreas Doulaveris, TBIRD’s mission systems engineer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

    With a single seven-minute pass at 200 Gbps, TBIRD will send back terabytes of data and give NASA more insight into the capabilities of laser communications. The addition of laser communications to spacecraft is similar to switching from dial-up to high-speed internet.

    “As future science instruments and imaging systems incorporate the latest technology advancements, they’ll return very large volumes of data on a daily basis,” said Jason Mitchell, Director of the Advanced Communications and Navigation Technology division within NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) program. “These missions will need the downlink capabilities that laser communications can provide.”

    The TBIRD system, funded by SCaN and built by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, is about the size of a tissue box and is integrated into PTD-3-a CubeSat that is the size of two stacked cereal boxes.

    The Small Spacecraft Technology program at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley manages the PTD mission series. The PTD series leverages a common commercial spacecraft to provide a robust platform for effective testing of technologies with minimal redesign in between launches.

    “Small spacecraft continue to prove themselves vital building blocks for larger, more complicated missions,” said Roger Hunter, program manager for Small Spacecraft Technology at Ames. “We are pushing the envelope by increasing the pace of subsystem technology demonstrations through the innovations of our industry partners.”

    Historically, most new spacecraft missions have required custom spacecraft designs based on the requirements of their payloads. This step is as costly and complex as redesigning a car every time a person needs to travel. Each PTD mission uses the same spacecraft bus and avionics platform designs with the goal of increasing efficiency and reducing the amount of time required for mission planning and design.

    Terran Orbital of Irvine, California, provides the spacecraft, integrates the payload, and operates PTD missions. This approach allows the PTD series to rapidly and affordably demonstrate new subsystem technologies for increasing small spacecraft capabilities.

    In addition to being on a standardized commercial spacecraft, TBIRD was also built from existing commercial, telecommunications hardware products that were modified for the extreme environment of space. Leveraging existing components increases efficiency and creates cost savings.

    In the course of the mission, PTD-3 will demonstrate highly stable body pointing, meaning the spacecraft can be precisely directed toward the ground station to facilitate TBIRD’s downlink demonstration. TBIRD’s streamlined design does not contain any moving mechanisms, so the spacecraft’s pointing ability enables the laser communications telescope’s connection from space to ground. TBIRD’s ground station is in Table Mountain, California, and is managed by NASA’s Jet Proplusion Laboratory in Southern California.

    During TBIRD’s six-month operations, NASA and its partners will gather as much information as possible about laser communications functionality on small satellites. PTD-3 will launch as soon as May 25, 2022, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on SpaceX’s Transporter-5 rideshare mission, which will use a Falcon 9 rocket to launch multiple CubeSats.

    Together, PTD-3 and TBIRD have the capacity to help NASA make giant leaps in the advancement of space technology for laser communications and the overall utility of small spacecraft to support exploration and science goals.

    A second, separate technology demonstration supported by NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology program will also be aboard the Transporter-5 launch: the CubeSat Proximity Operations Demonstration, which will demonstrate rendezvous, proximity operations, and docking using two 3-unit CubeSats.

    See the full article here.


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition


    NASA/Goddard Campus

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

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

    GSFC also operates two spaceflight tracking and data acquisition networks (the NASA Deep Space Network and the Near Earth Network); develops and maintains advanced space and Earth science data information systems, and develops satellite systems for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    GSFC manages operations for many NASA and international missions including the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope; the Explorers Program; the Discovery Program; the Earth Observing System; INTEGRAL; MAVEN; OSIRIS-REx; the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory ; the Solar Dynamics Observatory; Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System ; Fermi; and Swift. Past missions managed by GSFC include the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE), Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, SMM, COBE, IUE, and ROSAT. Typically, unmanned Earth observation missions and observatories in Earth orbit are managed by GSFC, while unmanned planetary missions are managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

    Goddard is one of four centers built by NASA since its founding on July 29, 1958. It is NASA’s first, and oldest, space center. Its original charter was to perform five major functions on behalf of NASA: technology development and fabrication; planning; scientific research; technical operations; and project management. The center is organized into several directorates, each charged with one of these key functions.

    Until May 1, 1959, NASA’s presence in Greenbelt, MD was known as the Beltsville Space Center. It was then renamed the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), after Robert H. Goddard. Its first 157 employees transferred from the United States Navy’s Project Vanguard missile program, but continued their work at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., while the center was under construction.

    Goddard Space Flight Center contributed to Project Mercury, America’s first manned space flight program. The Center assumed a lead role for the project in its early days and managed the first 250 employees involved in the effort, who were stationed at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. However, the size and scope of Project Mercury soon prompted NASA to build a new Manned Spacecraft Center, now the Johnson Space Center, in Houston, Texas. Project Mercury’s personnel and activities were transferred there in 1961.

    The Goddard network tracked many early manned and unmanned spacecraft.

    Goddard Space Flight Center remained involved in the manned space flight program, providing computer support and radar tracking of flights through a worldwide network of ground stations called the Spacecraft Tracking and Data Acquisition Network (STDN). However, the Center focused primarily on designing unmanned satellites and spacecraft for scientific research missions. Goddard pioneered several fields of spacecraft development, including modular spacecraft design, which reduced costs and made it possible to repair satellites in orbit. Goddard’s Solar Max satellite, launched in 1980, was repaired by astronauts on the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1984. The Hubble Space Telescope, launched in 1990, remains in service and continues to grow in capability thanks to its modular design and multiple servicing missions by the Space Shuttle.

    Today, the center remains involved in each of NASA’s key programs. Goddard has developed more instruments for planetary exploration than any other organization, among them scientific instruments sent to every planet in the Solar System. The center’s contribution to the Earth Science Enterprise includes several spacecraft in the Earth Observing System fleet as well as EOSDIS, a science data collection, processing, and distribution system. For the manned space flight program, Goddard develops tools for use by astronauts during extra-vehicular activity, and operates the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a spacecraft designed to study the Moon in preparation for future manned exploration.

    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 9:00 pm on May 5, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "NASA’s Swift Tracks Potential Magnetic Flip of Monster Black Hole", A sudden reversal of the magnetic field of 1ES 1927+654 around its million-solar-mass black hole may have triggered the outburst., , , , The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Unusual eruption of 1ES 1927+654 - a galaxy located 236 million light-years away in the constellation Draco.   

    From The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: “NASA’s Swift Tracks Potential Magnetic Flip of Monster Black Hole” 

    NASA Goddard Banner

    From The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

    May 5, 2022

    By Francis Reddy
    francis.j.reddy@nasa.gov
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

    Media contact:
    Claire Andreoli
    claire.andreoli@nasa.gov
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
    (301) 286-1940

    1
    This illustration shows the accretion disk, corona (pale, conical swirls above the disk), and supermassive black hole of active galaxy 1ES 1927+654 before its recent flare-up. Credit: NASA/Aurore Simonnet/Sonoma State University.

    A rare and enigmatic outburst from a galaxy 236 million light-years away may have been sparked by a magnetic reversal, a spontaneous flip of the magnetic field surrounding its central black hole.

    In a comprehensive new study, an international science team links the eruption’s unusual characteristics to changes in the black hole’s environment that likely would be triggered by such a magnetic switch.


    A Black Hole’s Magnetic Reversal.
    Explore the unusual eruption of 1ES 1927+654 – a galaxy located 236 million light-years away in the constellation Draco. A sudden reversal of the magnetic field around its million-solar-mass black hole may have triggered the outburst.
    Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

    “Rapid changes in visible and ultraviolet light have been seen in a few dozen galaxies similar to this one,” said Sibasish Laha, a research scientist at The University of Maryland Baltimore County and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “But this event marks the first time we’ve seen X-rays dropping out completely while the other wavelengths brighten.”

    A paper describing the findings, led by Laha, is accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.

    The research team analyzed new and archival observations across the spectrum. NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory and ESA’s (European Space Agency) XMM-Newton satellite provided UV and X-ray measurements.

    Visible light observations came from Italy’s 3.6-meter Galileo National Telescope and the 10.4-meter Gran Telescopio Canarias, both located on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands, Spain. Radio measurements were acquired from the Very Long Baseline Array, a network of 10 radio telescopes located across the United States; the Very Large Array in New Mexico; and the European VLBI Network.

    In early March 2018, the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae alerted astronomers that a galaxy called 1ES 1927+654 had brightened by nearly 100 times in visible light. A search for earlier detections by the NASA-funded Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System showed that the eruption had begun months earlier, at the end of 2017.

    When Swift first examined the galaxy in May 2018, its UV emission was elevated by 12 times but steadily declining, indicating an earlier unobserved peak. Then, in June, the galaxy’s higher-energy X-ray emission disappeared.

    “It was very exciting to delve into this galaxy’s strange explosive episode and try to understand the possible physical processes at work,” said José Acosta-Pulido, a co-author at the IAC-Institute of Astrophysics of the Canaries[Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias](ES).

    Most big galaxies, including our own Milky Way, host a supermassive black hole weighing millions to billions of times the Sun’s mass. When matter falls toward one, it first collects into a vast, flattened structure called an accretion disk. As the material slowly swirls inward, it heats up and emits visible, UV, and lower-energy X-ray light. Near the black hole, a cloud of extremely hot particles – called the corona – produces higher-energy X-rays. The brightness of these emissions depends on how much material streams toward the black hole.

    “An earlier interpretation of the eruption [The Astrophysical Journal], suggested that it was triggered by a star that passed so close to the black hole it was torn apart, disrupting the flow of gas,” said co-author Josefa Becerra González, also at the IAC. “We show that such an event would fade out more rapidly than this outburst.”

    The unique disappearance of the X-ray emission provides astronomers with an important clue. They suspect the black hole’s magnetic field creates and sustains the corona, so any magnetic change could impact its X-ray properties.

    “A magnetic reversal, where the north pole becomes south and vice versa, seems to best fit the observations,” said co-author Mitchell Begelman, a professor in the department of astrophysical and planetary sciences at The University of Colorado-Boulder. He and his Boulder colleagues, post-doctoral researcher and co-author Nicolas Scepi and professor Jason Dexter, developed the magnetic model. “The field initially weakens at the outskirts of the accretion disk, leading to greater heating and brightening in visible and UV light,” he explained.

    As the flip progresses, the field becomes so weak that it can no longer support the corona – the X-ray emission vanishes. The magnetic field then gradually strengthens in its new orientation. In October 2018, about 4 months after they disappeared, the X-rays came back, indicating that the corona had been fully restored. By summer 2021, the galaxy had completely returned to its pre-eruption state.

    Magnetic reversals are likely to be common events in the cosmos. The geologic record shows that Earth’s field flips unpredictably, averaging a few reversals every million years in the recent past. The Sun, by contrast, undergoes a magnetic reversal as part of its normal cycle of activity, switching north and south poles roughly every 11 years.

    See the full article here.


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition


    NASA/Goddard Campus

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

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

    GSFC also operates two spaceflight tracking and data acquisition networks (the NASA Deep Space Network and the Near Earth Network); develops and maintains advanced space and Earth science data information systems, and develops satellite systems for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration .

    GSFC manages operations for many NASA and international missions including the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope; the Explorers Program; the Discovery Program; the Earth Observing System; INTEGRAL; MAVEN; OSIRIS-REx; the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory ; the Solar Dynamics Observatory; Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System ; Fermi; and Swift. Past missions managed by GSFC include the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE), Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, SMM, COBE, IUE, and ROSAT. Typically, unmanned Earth observation missions and observatories in Earth orbit are managed by GSFC, while unmanned planetary missions are managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

    Goddard is one of four centers built by NASA since its founding on July 29, 1958. It is NASA’s first, and oldest, space center. Its original charter was to perform five major functions on behalf of NASA: technology development and fabrication; planning; scientific research; technical operations; and project management. The center is organized into several directorates, each charged with one of these key functions.

    Until May 1, 1959, NASA’s presence in Greenbelt, MD was known as the Beltsville Space Center. It was then renamed the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), after Robert H. Goddard. Its first 157 employees transferred from the United States Navy’s Project Vanguard missile program, but continued their work at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., while the center was under construction.

    Goddard Space Flight Center contributed to Project Mercury, America’s first manned space flight program. The Center assumed a lead role for the project in its early days and managed the first 250 employees involved in the effort, who were stationed at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. However, the size and scope of Project Mercury soon prompted NASA to build a new Manned Spacecraft Center, now the Johnson Space Center, in Houston, Texas. Project Mercury’s personnel and activities were transferred there in 1961.

    The Goddard network tracked many early manned and unmanned spacecraft.

    Goddard Space Flight Center remained involved in the manned space flight program, providing computer support and radar tracking of flights through a worldwide network of ground stations called the Spacecraft Tracking and Data Acquisition Network (STDN). However, the Center focused primarily on designing unmanned satellites and spacecraft for scientific research missions. Goddard pioneered several fields of spacecraft development, including modular spacecraft design, which reduced costs and made it possible to repair satellites in orbit. Goddard’s Solar Max satellite, launched in 1980, was repaired by astronauts on the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1984. The Hubble Space Telescope, launched in 1990, remains in service and continues to grow in capability thanks to its modular design and multiple servicing missions by the Space Shuttle.

    Today, the center remains involved in each of NASA’s key programs. Goddard has developed more instruments for planetary exploration than any other organization, among them scientific instruments sent to every planet in the Solar System. The center’s contribution to the Earth Science Enterprise includes several spacecraft in the Earth Observing System fleet as well as EOSDIS, a science data collection, processing, and distribution system. For the manned space flight program, Goddard develops tools for use by astronauts during extra-vehicular activity, and operates the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a spacecraft designed to study the Moon in preparation for future manned exploration.

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

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

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 4:16 pm on May 3, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "NASA Simulation Suggests Some Volcanoes Might Warm Climate and Destroy Ozone Layer", Result contradicts previous studies indicating these volcanoes cool the climate., The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center   

    From The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: “NASA Simulation Suggests Some Volcanoes Might Warm Climate and Destroy Ozone Layer” 

    NASA Goddard Banner

    From The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

    May 2, 2022
    Bill Steigerwald
    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
    william.a.steigerwald@nasa.gov

    A new NASA climate simulation suggests that extremely large volcanic eruptions called “flood basalt eruptions” might significantly warm Earth’s climate and devastate the ozone layer that shields life from the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation.

    The result contradicts previous studies indicating these volcanoes cool the climate. It also suggests that while extensive flood-basalt eruptions on Mars and Venus may have helped warm their climates, they could have doomed the long-term habitability of these worlds by contributing to water loss.


    NASA Simulation Suggests Some Volcanoes Might Warm Climate, Destroy Ozone Layer.
    A new NASA climate simulation suggests that extremely large volcanic eruptions called “flood basalt eruptions” might significantly warm Earth’s climate and devastate the ozone layer that shields life from the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation. Credits: James Tralie /NASA GSFC.

    Unlike brief, explosive volcanic eruptions such as Pinatubo or January’s Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha‘apai that occur over hours or days, flood basalts are regions with a series of eruptive episodes lasting perhaps centuries each, and occurring over periods of hundreds of thousands of years, sometimes even longer. Some happened at about the same time as mass-extinction events, and many are associated with extremely warm periods in Earth’s history. They also appear to have been common on other terrestrial worlds in our solar system, such as Mars and Venus.

    “We expected intense cooling in our simulations,” said Scott Guzewich of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “However, we found that a brief cooling period was overwhelmed by a warming effect.” Guzewich is lead author of a paper about this research published Feb. 1, 2022 in Geophysical Research Letters.

    2
    Image of a flood-basalt deposit on Mars in the Marte Vallis region taken by the High Resolution Science Imaging Experiment (HiRISE) instrument on board NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft. Credits: NASA/University of Arizona/HiRISE.

    While the ozone loss was not a surprise, the simulations indicated the potential magnitude of the destruction, “about two-thirds reduction over global average values, roughly equivalent to the whole planet having an ozone thinning comparable to a severe Antarctic ozone hole,” said Guzewich.

    The researchers used the Goddard Earth Observing System Chemistry-Climate Model to simulate a four-year-long phase of the Columbia River Basalt (CRB) eruption that occurred between 15 million and 17 million years ago in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. The model calculated the effects of the eruption on the troposphere, the turbulent lowest layer of the atmosphere with most of the water vapor and weather, and the stratosphere, the next layer of the atmosphere that is mostly dry and calm. CRB eruptions were likely a mix of explosive events that sent material high into the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (about 8 to 10.5 miles or 13 to 17 kilometers altitude) and effusive eruptions that did not extend above 1.9 miles (about 3 kilometers) altitude. The simulation assumed that explosive events happened four times per year and released about 80% of the eruption’s sulfur dioxide gas. They found that globally, there was a net cooling for about two years before the warming overwhelms the cooling effect. “The warming persists for about 15 years (the last two years of the eruption and then another 13 years or so),” said Guzewich.

    The new simulation is the most comprehensive yet done for flood basalt eruptions and integrates the effects of atmospheric chemistry and climate dynamics on each other, revealing an important feedback mechanism that earlier simulations missed.

    “Eruptions like the one we simulated would emit massive amounts of sulfur dioxide gas,” said Guzewich. “Chemistry in the atmosphere quickly converts these gas molecules to solid sulfate aerosols. These aerosols reflect visible sunlight, which causes the initial cooling effect, but also absorb infrared radiation, which warms the atmosphere aloft in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. Warming this region of the atmosphere allows water vapor (that’s normally confined near the surface) to get mixed into the stratosphere (which is normally very dry). We see a 10,000% increase in stratospheric water vapor. Water vapor is a very effective greenhouse gas, and it emits infrared radiation that warms the planet’s surface.”

    The predicted surge of water vapor into the stratosphere also helps explain the severity of the ozone layer depletion. “Ozone layer depletion happens in a couple different ways,” said Guzewich. “Following the eruption, the circulation of the stratosphere changes in ways that discourage ozone formation. Second, all that water in the stratosphere also helps destroy ozone with the hydroxyl (OH) radical.”

    Flood basalts also release carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas as well, but they don’t appear to emit enough to cause the extreme warming associated with some eruptions. The excess heating from stratospheric water vapor could provide an explanation.

    Although Mars and Venus may have had oceans of water in the distant past, both are currently very dry. Scientists are investigating how these worlds lost most of their water to became inhospitable for life. If the surge of water vapor into the upper atmosphere predicted by the simulation is realistic, extensive flood volcanism could have contributed to their arid fates. When water vapor is lofted high in the atmosphere, it becomes susceptible to being broken apart by sunlight, and the lightweight hydrogen atoms from the water molecules can escape to space (water is two hydrogen atoms bound to an oxygen atom). If sustained over long periods, this could deplete oceans.

    The research was funded by the NASA Goddard Sellers Exoplanet Environments Collaboration and NASA’s Center for Research and Exploration in Space Science and Technology, NASA Cooperative Agreement Award #80GSFC17M0002.

    See the full article here.


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition


    NASA/Goddard Campus

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

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

    GSFC also operates two spaceflight tracking and data acquisition networks (the NASA Deep Space Network and the Near Earth Network); develops and maintains advanced space and Earth science data information systems, and develops satellite systems for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration .

    GSFC manages operations for many NASA and international missions including the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope; the Explorers Program; the Discovery Program; the Earth Observing System; INTEGRAL; MAVEN; OSIRIS-REx; the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory ; the Solar Dynamics Observatory; Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System ; Fermi; and Swift. Past missions managed by GSFC include the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE), Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, SMM, COBE, IUE, and ROSAT. Typically, unmanned Earth observation missions and observatories in Earth orbit are managed by GSFC, while unmanned planetary missions are managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

    Goddard is one of four centers built by NASA since its founding on July 29, 1958. It is NASA’s first, and oldest, space center. Its original charter was to perform five major functions on behalf of NASA: technology development and fabrication; planning; scientific research; technical operations; and project management. The center is organized into several directorates, each charged with one of these key functions.

    Until May 1, 1959, NASA’s presence in Greenbelt, MD was known as the Beltsville Space Center. It was then renamed the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), after Robert H. Goddard. Its first 157 employees transferred from the United States Navy’s Project Vanguard missile program, but continued their work at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., while the center was under construction.

    Goddard Space Flight Center contributed to Project Mercury, America’s first manned space flight program. The Center assumed a lead role for the project in its early days and managed the first 250 employees involved in the effort, who were stationed at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. However, the size and scope of Project Mercury soon prompted NASA to build a new Manned Spacecraft Center, now the Johnson Space Center, in Houston, Texas. Project Mercury’s personnel and activities were transferred there in 1961.

    The Goddard network tracked many early manned and unmanned spacecraft.

    Goddard Space Flight Center remained involved in the manned space flight program, providing computer support and radar tracking of flights through a worldwide network of ground stations called the Spacecraft Tracking and Data Acquisition Network (STDN). However, the Center focused primarily on designing unmanned satellites and spacecraft for scientific research missions. Goddard pioneered several fields of spacecraft development, including modular spacecraft design, which reduced costs and made it possible to repair satellites in orbit. Goddard’s Solar Max satellite, launched in 1980, was repaired by astronauts on the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1984. The Hubble Space Telescope, launched in 1990, remains in service and continues to grow in capability thanks to its modular design and multiple servicing missions by the Space Shuttle.

    Today, the center remains involved in each of NASA’s key programs. Goddard has developed more instruments for planetary exploration than any other organization, among them scientific instruments sent to every planet in the Solar System. The center’s contribution to the Earth Science Enterprise includes several spacecraft in the Earth Observing System fleet as well as EOSDIS, a science data collection, processing, and distribution system. For the manned space flight program, Goddard develops tools for use by astronauts during extra-vehicular activity, and operates the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a spacecraft designed to study the Moon in preparation for future manned exploration.

    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 11:51 am on April 26, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Could the Blueprint for Life Have Been Generated in Asteroids?", , , , , Five informational components called nucleobases., , The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center   

    From The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: “Could the Blueprint for Life Have Been Generated in Asteroids?” 

    NASA Goddard Banner

    From The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

    Apr 26, 2022
    By: Anil Oza

    Editor and Media Contact: Bill Steigerwald
    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
    william.a.steigerwald@nasa.gov

    Using new analyses, scientists have just found the last two of the five informational units of DNA and RNA that had yet to be discovered in samples from meteorites. While it is unlikely that DNA could be formed in a meteorite, this discovery demonstrates that these genetic parts are available for delivery and could have contributed to the development of the instructional molecules on early Earth. The discovery, by an international team with NASA researchers, gives more evidence that chemical reactions in asteroids can make some of life’s ingredients, which could have been delivered to ancient Earth by meteorite impacts or perhaps the infall of dust.

    1
    Conceptual image of meteoroids delivering nucleobases to ancient Earth. The nucleobases are represented by structural diagrams with hydrogen atoms as white spheres, carbon as black, nitrogen as blue and oxygen as red.
    Credits: Dan Gallagher/NASA Goddard/CI Lab/.

    All DNA and RNA, which contains the instructions to build and operate every living being on Earth, contains five informational components called nucleobases. Until now, scientists scouring extraterrestrial samples had only found three of the five. However, a recent analysis by a team of scientists led by Associate Professor Yasuhiro Oba of Hokkaido University [北海道大学](JP), identified the final two nucleobases that have eluded scientists.

    Nucleobases belong to classes of organic molecules called purines and pyrimidines, which have a wide variety. However, it remains a mystery why more types haven’t been discovered in meteorites so far.

    “I wonder why purines and pyrimidines are exceptional in that they do not show structural diversity in carbonaceous meteorites unlike other classes of organic compounds such as amino acids and hydrocarbons,” said Oba, lead author of a paper about the research published April 26 in Nature Communications. “Since purines and pyrimidines can be synthesized in extraterrestrial environments, as has been demonstrated by our own study, one would expect to find a wide diversity of these organic molecules in meteorites.”

    “We now have evidence that the complete set of nucleobases used in life today could have been available on Earth when life emerged,” said Danny Glavin, a co-author of the paper at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

    This newly discovered pair of nucleobases, cytosine and thymine, have been elusive in previous analyses likely because of their more delicate structure, which may have degraded when scientists previously extracted samples. In the earlier experiments, scientists created something of a “meteorite tea,” placing grains of meteorite in a hot bath to let the molecules on the sample extract into the solution and then analyzed the molecular makeup of the extraterrestrial broth.

    “We study these water extracts since they contain the good stuff, ancient organic molecules that could have been key building blocks for the origin of life on Earth,” said Glavin.

    Because of how delicate these two nucleobases are, the team was initially skeptical to see them in the samples. But two factors may have contributed to the new discovery: first, the team used cool water to extract the compounds instead of hot formic acid — which is very reactive and could have destroyed these fragile molecules in previous samples. Second, more sensitive analytics were employed that could pick up on smaller amounts of these molecules.

    “This group has managed a technique that is more like cold brew than hot tea and is able to pull out more delicate compounds,” said Jason Dworkin, a co-author of the paper at NASA Goddard. “I was amazed that they had seen cytosine, which is very fragile.”

    The finding doesn’t provide a smoking gun as to whether life on Earth got an assist from space or came about exclusively in the prebiotic soup in the planet’s infancy. But completing the set of nucleobases that make up life today, in addition to other molecules found in the sample, gives scientists who are trying to understand the beginning of life more compounds to experiment with in the lab.

    “This is adding more and more pieces; meteorites have been found to have sugars and bases now,” Dworkin said. “It’s exciting to see progress in the making of the fundamental molecules of biology from space.”

    Not only did this analysis add to the kit for those modeling the inception of life on Earth, it also provides a proof of concept for a more effective technique to extract information from asteroids in the future, especially from the samples of Bennu making their way to Earth in the next year via NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission.

    See the full article here.


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition


    NASA/Goddard Campus

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

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

    GSFC also operates two spaceflight tracking and data acquisition networks (the NASA Deep Space Network and the Near Earth Network); develops and maintains advanced space and Earth science data information systems, and develops satellite systems for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration .

    GSFC manages operations for many NASA and international missions including the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope; the Explorers Program; the Discovery Program; the Earth Observing System; INTEGRAL; MAVEN; OSIRIS-REx; the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory ; the Solar Dynamics Observatory; Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System ; Fermi; and Swift. Past missions managed by GSFC include the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE), Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, SMM, COBE, IUE, and ROSAT. Typically, unmanned Earth observation missions and observatories in Earth orbit are managed by GSFC, while unmanned planetary missions are managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

    Goddard is one of four centers built by NASA since its founding on July 29, 1958. It is NASA’s first, and oldest, space center. Its original charter was to perform five major functions on behalf of NASA: technology development and fabrication; planning; scientific research; technical operations; and project management. The center is organized into several directorates, each charged with one of these key functions.

    Until May 1, 1959, NASA’s presence in Greenbelt, MD was known as the Beltsville Space Center. It was then renamed the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), after Robert H. Goddard. Its first 157 employees transferred from the United States Navy’s Project Vanguard missile program, but continued their work at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., while the center was under construction.

    Goddard Space Flight Center contributed to Project Mercury, America’s first manned space flight program. The Center assumed a lead role for the project in its early days and managed the first 250 employees involved in the effort, who were stationed at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. However, the size and scope of Project Mercury soon prompted NASA to build a new Manned Spacecraft Center, now the Johnson Space Center, in Houston, Texas. Project Mercury’s personnel and activities were transferred there in 1961.

    The Goddard network tracked many early manned and unmanned spacecraft.

    Goddard Space Flight Center remained involved in the manned space flight program, providing computer support and radar tracking of flights through a worldwide network of ground stations called the Spacecraft Tracking and Data Acquisition Network (STDN). However, the Center focused primarily on designing unmanned satellites and spacecraft for scientific research missions. Goddard pioneered several fields of spacecraft development, including modular spacecraft design, which reduced costs and made it possible to repair satellites in orbit. Goddard’s Solar Max satellite, launched in 1980, was repaired by astronauts on the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1984. The Hubble Space Telescope, launched in 1990, remains in service and continues to grow in capability thanks to its modular design and multiple servicing missions by the Space Shuttle.

    Today, the center remains involved in each of NASA’s key programs. Goddard has developed more instruments for planetary exploration than any other organization, among them scientific instruments sent to every planet in the Solar System. The center’s contribution to the Earth Science Enterprise includes several spacecraft in the Earth Observing System fleet as well as EOSDIS, a science data collection, processing, and distribution system. For the manned space flight program, Goddard develops tools for use by astronauts during extra-vehicular activity, and operates the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a spacecraft designed to study the Moon in preparation for future manned exploration.

    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 12:53 pm on April 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "NASA Uses Moonlight to Improve Satellite Accuracy", Air-LUSI is a telescope that measures how much light is reflected off the lunar surface to assess the amount of energy Earth-observing satellites receive from moonlight., NASA has more than 20 Earth-observing satellites that give researchers a global perspective on the interconnected Earth system., NASA’s airborne Lunar Spectral Irradiance-or air LUSI, The air-LUSI flights are part of NASA’s comprehensive satellite calibration and validation efforts., The air-LUSI spectrometer is hermetically sealed within an enclosure that keeps the instrument constantly at sea level temperature and pressure., The common Moon standard would make it easier to compare and fine-tune current and future satellite observations., The data from 2019 and 2022 together has the potential to assist scientists in making Earth-observing satellite data in the ultraviolet to near-infrared range more consistent., The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center   

    From The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: “NASA Uses Moonlight to Improve Satellite Accuracy” 

    NASA Goddard Banner

    From The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

    1
    NASA’s ER-2 aircraft shown ready for fueling and flight preparations. Photo Credit: Ken Ulrich.

    Apr 4, 2022
    By Abby Graf
    NASA’s Earth Science News Team

    Media Contact: Elena Johnson
    elena.n.johnson@nasa.gov
    NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center

    NASA’s airborne Lunar Spectral Irradiance-or air-LUSI-flew aboard NASA’s ER-2 aircraft from March 12 to 16 to accurately measure the amount of light reflected off the Moon. Reflected moonlight is a steady source of light that researchers are taking advantage of to improve the accuracy and consistency of measurements among Earth-observing satellites.

    “The Moon is extremely stable and not influenced by factors on Earth like climate to any large degree. It becomes a very good calibration reference, an independent benchmark, by which we can set our instruments and see what’s happening with our planet,” said air-LUSI’s principal investigator, Kevin Turpie, a research professor at the University of Maryland, College Park.

    The air-LUSI flights are part of NASA’s comprehensive satellite calibration and validation efforts. The results will compliment ground-based sites such as Railroad Valley Playa in Nevada, and together will provide orbiting satellites with a robust calibration dataset.

    NASA has more than 20 Earth-observing satellites that give researchers a global perspective on the interconnected Earth system. Many of them measure light waves reflected, scattered, absorbed, or emitted by Earth’s surface, water and atmosphere. This light includes visible light, which humans see, as well as invisible ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths, and everything in between. Like musical instruments in an orchestra, the individual satellite instruments need to be “in tune” with each other in order for researchers to get the most out of their data. By using the Moon as a “tuning fork,” scientists can more easily compare data from different satellites to look at global changes over long periods of time.

    2
    This electromagnetic spectrum shows how energy travels in waves; Humans can only see visible light, but the entire spectrum is used by NASA instruments to observe Earth and more. Credit: NASA.

    That’s where air-LUSI comes in. Developed in partnership with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Geological Survey and McMaster University (CA), air-LUSI is a telescope that measures how much light is reflected off the lunar surface to assess the amount of energy Earth-observing satellites receive from moonlight. It was mounted aboard the ER-2 aircraft managed by and flying out of NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, California. The ER-2 is a high-altitude aircraft that flew at 70,000 feet, above 95% of the atmosphere, which can scatter or absorb the reflected sunlight. This allowed air-LUSI to collect very accurate, NIST traceable measurements that are analogous to those a satellite would make from orbit. In order to improve the accuracy of lunar reflectance models, air-LUSI measurements are accurate with less than 1% uncertainty. During the March flights, air-LUSI measured the Moon for four nights just before a full Moon.

    This airborne approach has the advantage of studying moonlight during different phases of the Moon while being able to bring the instrument back between flights for evaluation, maintenance, and, if necessary, repair.

    Making Improvements for Better Accuracy

    2
    Shown is the air-LUSI telescope positioned to measure a simulated Moon in a laboratory for testing and calibration before and after the flight campaign. Credit: Kevin Turpie.

    The air-LUSI spectrometer is hermetically sealed within an enclosure that keeps the instrument constantly at sea level temperature and pressure. Light collected by a telescope enters an integrating sphere which directs the light to the spectrometer, which is an instrument that measures variances of light waves. The air-LUSI first flew in similar flights in November 2019. Since then, the air-LUSI team has continued to improve the instrument’s accuracy.

    The team improved the internal monitor so they can better check instrument accuracy over a greater range of wavelengths, from the ultraviolet to the near infrared. They were also able to redesign the integrating sphere to remove small effects of changing temperature.

    “This will help the instrument make measurements with the more than 99% accuracy levels we’re looking for,” said Turpie.

    Making these changes was challenging. Delays from the COVID-19 pandemic caused the chief engineer, who was working on the instrument updates and repairs, to develop a new remote work plan. Both he and the principal investigator received special permission to have parts delivered directly to their homes so they could work on the instrument and be prepared for the 2022 flights.

    Using the Moon as a Common Standard

    The data from 2019 and 2022 together has the potential to assist scientists in making Earth-observing satellite data in the ultraviolet to near-infrared range more consistent. In addition, the common Moon standard would make it easier to compare and fine-tune current and future satellite observations. NASA’s upcoming Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) mission is planning on using the Moon as a common benchmark to make its observations more accurate and inter-consistent with other satellite measurements of Earth. Over the next decade, PACE and the future orbiting sensors of NASA’s Earth System Observatory will help create a more cohesive picture of our planet.

    “Having a common calibration source outside of the Earth will help us reach this objective,” said Turpie. “Once air-LUSI measurements are used to improve the accuracy of the total amount of light coming from the Moon, we can take extensively more accurate measurements of Earth using current and future space-borne observatories.”

    See the full article here.


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition


    NASA/Goddard Campus

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

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

    GSFC also operates two spaceflight tracking and data acquisition networks (the NASA Deep Space Network and the Near Earth Network); develops and maintains advanced space and Earth science data information systems, and develops satellite systems for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration .

    GSFC manages operations for many NASA and international missions including the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope; the Explorers Program; the Discovery Program; the Earth Observing System; INTEGRAL; MAVEN; OSIRIS-REx; the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory ; the Solar Dynamics Observatory; Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System ; Fermi; and Swift. Past missions managed by GSFC include the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE), Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, SMM, COBE, IUE, and ROSAT. Typically, unmanned Earth observation missions and observatories in Earth orbit are managed by GSFC, while unmanned planetary missions are managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

    Goddard is one of four centers built by NASA since its founding on July 29, 1958. It is NASA’s first, and oldest, space center. Its original charter was to perform five major functions on behalf of NASA: technology development and fabrication; planning; scientific research; technical operations; and project management. The center is organized into several directorates, each charged with one of these key functions.

    Until May 1, 1959, NASA’s presence in Greenbelt, MD was known as the Beltsville Space Center. It was then renamed the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), after Robert H. Goddard. Its first 157 employees transferred from the United States Navy’s Project Vanguard missile program, but continued their work at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., while the center was under construction.

    Goddard Space Flight Center contributed to Project Mercury, America’s first manned space flight program. The Center assumed a lead role for the project in its early days and managed the first 250 employees involved in the effort, who were stationed at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. However, the size and scope of Project Mercury soon prompted NASA to build a new Manned Spacecraft Center, now the Johnson Space Center, in Houston, Texas. Project Mercury’s personnel and activities were transferred there in 1961.

    The Goddard network tracked many early manned and unmanned spacecraft.

    Goddard Space Flight Center remained involved in the manned space flight program, providing computer support and radar tracking of flights through a worldwide network of ground stations called the Spacecraft Tracking and Data Acquisition Network (STDN). However, the Center focused primarily on designing unmanned satellites and spacecraft for scientific research missions. Goddard pioneered several fields of spacecraft development, including modular spacecraft design, which reduced costs and made it possible to repair satellites in orbit. Goddard’s Solar Max satellite, launched in 1980, was repaired by astronauts on the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1984. The Hubble Space Telescope, launched in 1990, remains in service and continues to grow in capability thanks to its modular design and multiple servicing missions by the Space Shuttle.

    Today, the center remains involved in each of NASA’s key programs. Goddard has developed more instruments for planetary exploration than any other organization, among them scientific instruments sent to every planet in the Solar System. The center’s contribution to the Earth Science Enterprise includes several spacecraft in the Earth Observing System fleet as well as EOSDIS, a science data collection, processing, and distribution system. For the manned space flight program, Goddard develops tools for use by astronauts during extra-vehicular activity, and operates the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a spacecraft designed to study the Moon in preparation for future manned exploration.

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

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

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 4:27 pm on March 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "NASA's Roman mission will test competing cosmic acceleration theories", , The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center   

    From The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: “NASA’s Roman mission will test competing cosmic acceleration theories” 

    NASA Goddard Banner

    From The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

    March 22, 2022
    Ashley Balzer, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

    1
    These six cubes [?] show the simulated distribution of galaxies at redshifts 9, 8, 5, 3, 2, and 1, with the corresponding cosmic ages shown. As the universe expands, the density of galaxies within each cube decreases, from more than half a million at top left to about 80 at lower right. Each cube is about 100 million light-years across. Galaxies assembled along vast strands of gas separated by large voids, a foam-like structure echoed in the present-day universe on large cosmic scales. Credit: /F. Reddy and Z. Zhai, Y. Wang /(The Caltech IPAC-Infrared Processing and Analysis Center ) NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and A. Benson /(Carnegie Observatories).

    A team of scientists has predicted the science return from one of NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope’s groundbreaking planned surveys, which will analyze millions of galaxies strewn across space and time. The mission’s enormous, deep panoramas will provide the best opportunity yet to discern between the leading theories about what’s speeding up the universe’s expansion.

    Roman will explore this mystery using multiple methods, including spectroscopy—the study of the color information in light. This technique will allow scientists to precisely measure how fast the universe expanded in different cosmic eras and trace how the universe has evolved.

    “Our study forecasts the science Roman’s spectroscopy survey will enable and shows how various adjustments could optimize its design,” said Yun Wang, a senior research scientist at Caltech/IPAC in Pasadena, California, and the lead author of the study. As the Roman Science Support Center, IPAC will be responsible for the mission’s spectroscopic science data processing, while the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore will be responsible for imaging science data processing, generating catalogs, and support for cosmology data processing pipelines. “While this survey is designed to explore cosmic acceleration, it will also offer clues about many other tantalizing mysteries. It will help us understand the first generation of galaxies, allow us to map dark matter, and even reveal information about structures that are much closer to home, right in our local group of galaxies.”

    The Roman Space Telescope, planned for launch by May 2027, will provide such an enormous view of the universe that it will help scientists study cosmic mysteries in an unprecedented way. Each image will contain precise measurements of so many celestial objects that it will enable statistical studies that aren’t practical using telescopes with narrower views.


    This video dissolves between six cubes to show the simulated distribution of galaxies at redshifts 9, 7, 5, 3, 2, and 1, with the corresponding cosmic ages shown. As the universe expands, the density of galaxies within each cube decreases, from more than half a million in the first cube to about 80 in the last. Each cube is about 100 million light-years across. Galaxies assembled along vast strands of gas separated by large voids, a foam-like structure echoed in the present-day universe on large cosmic scales. Credit: F. Reddy and Z. Zhai, Y. Wang (IPAC)/NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and A. Benson/ (Carnegie Observatories).

    In current plans, Roman’s spectroscopy survey will cover nearly 2,000 square degrees, or about 5% of the sky, in just over seven months. The team’s results showed that the survey should reveal precise distances for 10 million galaxies from when the universe was between about 3-6 billion years old, since light that reaches the telescope began its journey when the universe was much younger. These measurements will allow astronomers to map the web-like large-scale structure of the cosmos. The survey will also unveil the distances for 2 million galaxies from even earlier in the universe’s history, when it was only between 2-3 billion years old—unexplored territory in large-scale cosmic structure.

    Reading the rainbow

    Nearly all the information we receive from space comes from light. Roman will use light to capture images, but it will also study light by breaking it down into individual colors. The detailed wavelength patterns, called spectra, reveal information about the object that emitted the light, including how fast it’s moving away from us. Astronomers call this phenomenon “redshift” because when an object recedes, all of the light waves we receive from it are stretched out and shifted toward redder wavelengths.

    In the 1920s, astronomers Fr. Georges Lemaître and Edwin Hubble used redshifts to make the startling discovery that with very few exceptions, galaxies are racing away from us and each other at different speeds depending on their distance.

    By determining how quickly galaxies are receding from us, carried by the relentless expansion of space, astronomers can find out how far away they are—the more a galaxy’s spectrum is redshifted, the farther away it is.

    Saul Perlmutter (center) [The Supernova Cosmology Project] shared the 2006 Shaw Prize in Astronomy, the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, and the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics with Brian P. Schmidt (right) and Adam Riess (left) [The High-z Supernova Search Team] for providing evidence that the expansion of the universe is accelerating.

    Roman’s spectroscopy survey will create a 3D map of the universe by measuring accurate distances and positions of millions of galaxies. Learning how galaxy distribution varies with distance, and therefore time, will give us a window into how quickly the universe expanded in different cosmic eras.

    This study will also connect galaxy distances with the echoes of sound waves from just after the Big Bang. These sound waves, called baryon acoustic oscillations (BAO), have grown with time due to the expansion of space and left their imprint on the cosmos by influencing galaxy distribution. For any modern galaxy, we are more likely to find another galaxy about 500 million light-years away than we are to find one slightly nearer or farther.

    Looking farther out into the universe, to earlier cosmic times, means that this preferred physical distance between galaxies—the vestige of BAO ripples—decreases. This provides a measurement of the universe’s expansion history. Galaxy redshifts also encode information about their motion due to the gravity of their neighbors, called redshift space distortions, which helps astronomers trace the growth history of large-scale structure. Learning about the way the cosmos has expanded and how structure has grown within it over time will allow scientists to explore the nature of cosmic acceleration and test Einstein’s theory of gravity over the age of the universe.


    These six cubes show the simulated distribution of galaxies at redshifts 9, 8, 5, 3, 2, and 1, with the corresponding cosmic ages shown. As the universe expands, the density of galaxies within each cube decreases, from more than half a million at top left to about 80 at lower right. Each cube is about 100 million light-years across. Galaxies assembled along vast strands of gas separated by large voids, a foam-like structure echoed in the present-day universe on large cosmic scales. Credit:F. Reddy and Z. Zhai, Y. Wang (IPAC)/NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center; and A. Benson/Carnegie Observatories.

    Dark energy versus modified gravity

    As the universe expands, the gravity of the matter within it should slow that expansion down. Astronomers were surprised to learn that the expansion of the universe is speeding up because it means that something about our picture of the cosmos is either wrong or incomplete. The mystery could be explained by adding a new energy component to the universe, which scientists have dubbed dark energy, or it could indicate that Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity—needs a modification.

    Changing the equations that describe something as fundamental as gravity may seem extreme, but it’s been done before. Isaac Newton’s law of gravity couldn’t explain some of the things astronomers observed, such as a small but mysterious motion in Mercury’s orbit.

    Astronomers ultimately realized that Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity perfectly accounted for problems that had surfaced, like Mercury’s orbital shift. Switching from Newton’s description of gravity to Einstein’s involved transforming modern Physics by changing the way we view space and time—interconnected, instead of separate and constant.

    3
    This graphic illustrates how cosmological redshift works and how it offers information about the universe’s evolution. The universe is expanding, and that expansion stretches light traveling through space. The more it has stretched, the greater the redshift and the greater the distance the light has traveled. As a result, we need telescopes with infrared detectors to see light from the first, most distant galaxies.
    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU), Leah Hustak /STScI.

    Cosmic acceleration could be a sign that Einstein’s theory of gravity still isn’t quite right. General relativity is extremely well tested on physical scales about the size of our solar system, but less so as we move to larger, cosmological scales. The team simulated Roman’s performance and demonstrated that the mission’s enormous, deep 3D images of the universe will provide one of the best opportunities yet to discern between the leading theories that attempt to explain cosmic acceleration.

    “We can look forward to new physics in either case—whether we learn that cosmic acceleration is caused by dark energy or we find that we have to modify Einstein’s theory of gravity,” Wang said. “Roman will test both theories at the same time.”

    The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope is managed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, with participation by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech/IPAC in Southern California, the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, and a science team comprising scientists from various research institutions. The primary industrial partners are Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation in Boulder, Colorado; L3Harris Technologies in Melbourne, Florida; and Teledyne Scientific & Imaging in Thousand Oaks, California.

    Science paper:
    The Astrophysical Journal

    See the full article here.


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition


    NASA/Goddard Campus

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

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

    GSFC also operates two spaceflight tracking and data acquisition networks (the NASA Deep Space Network and the Near Earth Network); develops and maintains advanced space and Earth science data information systems, and develops satellite systems for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration .

    GSFC manages operations for many NASA and international missions including the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope; the Explorers Program; the Discovery Program; the Earth Observing System; INTEGRAL; MAVEN; OSIRIS-REx; the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory ; the Solar Dynamics Observatory; Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System ; Fermi; and Swift. Past missions managed by GSFC include the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE), Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, SMM, COBE, IUE, and ROSAT. Typically, unmanned Earth observation missions and observatories in Earth orbit are managed by GSFC, while unmanned planetary missions are managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

    Goddard is one of four centers built by NASA since its founding on July 29, 1958. It is NASA’s first, and oldest, space center. Its original charter was to perform five major functions on behalf of NASA: technology development and fabrication; planning; scientific research; technical operations; and project management. The center is organized into several directorates, each charged with one of these key functions.

    Until May 1, 1959, NASA’s presence in Greenbelt, MD was known as the Beltsville Space Center. It was then renamed the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), after Robert H. Goddard. Its first 157 employees transferred from the United States Navy’s Project Vanguard missile program, but continued their work at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., while the center was under construction.

    Goddard Space Flight Center contributed to Project Mercury, America’s first manned space flight program. The Center assumed a lead role for the project in its early days and managed the first 250 employees involved in the effort, who were stationed at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. However, the size and scope of Project Mercury soon prompted NASA to build a new Manned Spacecraft Center, now the Johnson Space Center, in Houston, Texas. Project Mercury’s personnel and activities were transferred there in 1961.

    The Goddard network tracked many early manned and unmanned spacecraft.

    Goddard Space Flight Center remained involved in the manned space flight program, providing computer support and radar tracking of flights through a worldwide network of ground stations called the Spacecraft Tracking and Data Acquisition Network (STDN). However, the Center focused primarily on designing unmanned satellites and spacecraft for scientific research missions. Goddard pioneered several fields of spacecraft development, including modular spacecraft design, which reduced costs and made it possible to repair satellites in orbit. Goddard’s Solar Max satellite, launched in 1980, was repaired by astronauts on the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1984. The Hubble Space Telescope, launched in 1990, remains in service and continues to grow in capability thanks to its modular design and multiple servicing missions by the Space Shuttle.

    Today, the center remains involved in each of NASA’s key programs. Goddard has developed more instruments for planetary exploration than any other organization, among them scientific instruments sent to every planet in the Solar System. The center’s contribution to the Earth Science Enterprise includes several spacecraft in the Earth Observing System fleet as well as EOSDIS, a science data collection, processing, and distribution system. For the manned space flight program, Goddard develops tools for use by astronauts during extra-vehicular activity, and operates the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a spacecraft designed to study the Moon in preparation for future manned exploration.

    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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