Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
Nov 21, 2017, 03:17 PM
Pages: 1 ... 99 100 [101] 102 103   Go Down
Print
Author Topic: NEWS ON SPACE AND OUR PLANETARY SYSTEM  (Read 138792 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2992


« Reply #1500 on: Oct 17, 2017, 04:14 AM »

Kronos: The planet-devouring star that has eaten the equivalent of 15 Earths

The star is the clearest and most dramatic case observed to date of a sun-like star consuming its own planets.

By Aristos Georgiou
10/17/2017
IBF

Some 350 light years away from Earth, astronomers have spotted an extraordinary sun-like star that has consumed 15 rocky planets in its own system.

"Even if our sun ate the entire inner solar system, it wouldn't come close to the anomaly we see in this star," said David Hogg from the Center for Computational Astrophysics (CCA) at the Flatiron Institute, who is co-author of the study describing the discovery.

The star, nicknamed Kronos after the child-eating Titan of Greek mythology, is the clearest and most dramatic case observed to date of a sun-like star consuming its own planets, said Semyeong Oh of Princeton University. Oh is lead author of the study, published on the website arXiv.org.

Oh says that future investigations into the greedy star's planetary system could provide new insights into how solar systems form and evolve.

Oh and Hogg collaborated with CCA director David Spergel, Adrian Price-Whelan from Princeton University and John Brewer and Justin Myles of Yale University.

The researchers did not set out to find a planet-eating star. In fact, Oh was analysing new data collected by the European Space Agency for pairs of stars with similar speed and trajectories. These binary stars typically formed close together from the same ingredients.

Oh then connected with Brewer, who was conducting analysis of the chemical composition of stars. When they compared their data, they identified two stars of interest: Kronos and Krios, which appeared in both of their datasets.

The data describing the star pair didn't make sense to the researchers at first, according to Oh. Usually, binary stars are near-identical twins. But Kronos and Krios had vastly different chemical makeups, including the largest difference in metal content of any binary star system yet studied.

Several potential explanations were put forward for this discrepancy. It was suggested that one star is older than the other, that the two stars formed from different gas clouds, or perhaps the parent gas cloud was not well mixed. However, based on the properties of the stars, the researchers thought these explanations were unlikely.

"We started discussing what could make two stars that must have been born together have such different chemistry now," Oh said

The idea that Kronos had consumed planets presented itself as the most credible idea based on the data, despite the fact that there was no direct evidence planets orbited the star.

There are significant compositional differences between Kronos and Krios for elements such as iron, silicon, magnesium and lithium – all of which make up the majority of rocky planets like Earth.

These elements were concentrated in Kronos' outer layers, suggesting to the researchers that the star probably consumed many planets' worth of rocky material a billion years or more after its formation. This significantly altered its composition in relation to its sibling Krios. The team's data suggested Kronos has devoured 15 Earth-sized masses.

Previous research has found evidence of planet-eating in other types of stars such as white dwarfs and even the Sun, but not to such an extreme.

The researchers propose that Kronos began eating planets after flying close to another star. The resulting gravitational interactions stretched the orbits of Kronos' outermost planets so that they ended up passing through the inner solar system. In turn, their gravity sent rocky inner planets crashing into the star.

Importantly, the study shines a light on how solar systems change over time. "We assume that once stars are born, their chemistries are fixed," Price-Whelan said. "This is yet more evidence of stars changing."


* krios-kronos.jpg (188.68 KB, 695x392 - viewed 12 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2992


« Reply #1501 on: Oct 18, 2017, 04:35 AM »

Earth could be hit by a huge solar flare in the next 100 years, wiping out technology

In today's technology-reliant society, a powerful solar flare would be incredibly damaging.

By Aristos Georgiou
October 17, 2017 10:47 BST
Independent

Humanity may witness an enormous solar flare within the next 100 years, which has the potential to cause huge economic and technological damage, according to researchers from Harvard University.

While they note that there are many uncertainties in predicting such events, in a new study published in the Astrophysical Journal, they say the risks have not been "sufficiently appreciated". In the event such a flare does occur, it could potentially knock out power systems, satellite communications and even the internet.

"The sun is usually thought of as a friend and the source of life, but it could also be the opposite," Avi Loeb from Harvard University told New Scientist. "It just depends on circumstances."

For the study, Loeb and Manasvi Lingam, examined the ramifications arising from superflares on the evolutionary history of the Earth, other planets in the solar system and exoplanets.

They suggest that the most extreme solar flares – known as superflares – could occur every 20 million years in stars like our sun. These can be 10,000 times as powerful as normal solar flares; so powerful in fact that if one occurred on Earth, it could potentially cause a mass extinction.

However, a less intense but still potentially damaging flare may yet occur within the next century. Previous studies have suggested that such an event will likely take place every 250 to 500 years.

In 1859 a powerful solar flare caused telephone wires to burst into flames while auroras were seen as far south as Cuba and Hawaii. But in today's technology-reliant society, a comparable event would be far more damaging.

"Back then, there was not very much technology so the damage was not very significant, but if it happened in the modern world, the damage could be trillions of dollars," said Loeb. "A flare like that today could shut down all the power grids, all the computers, all the cooling systems on nuclear reactors. A lot of things could go bad."

A solar flare is when the sun ejects clouds of electrons, ions and atoms, as well as electromagnetic waves, into outer space causing a sudden flash and an increase in the star's brightness. It usually takes a day or two for this material to reach the Earth.


* solar-flare.jpg (66.89 KB, 735x735 - viewed 7 times.)
Logged
Rad
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 29799


« Reply #1502 on: Oct 19, 2017, 04:30 AM »

Blue Origin will launch tourists into space by April 2019

Elon Musk's SpaceX and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic are also planning to take humans to space.

By Shubham Sharma
Indpendent
10/19/2017   

Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos' brainchild for affordable space tourism, has given a fresh update on when it is planning to send human beings into space. During the first meeting of the National Space Council on Thursday (5 October), Bob Smith, the CEO of the spacefaring company, said it will launch customers into space in the next 18 months, which would be sometime around April 2019.

Smith clarified that the passengers would be "everyday citizens" and not astronauts, CNN reports.

This timeline is a little different from what the aerospace company had mentioned earlier. Months back, the company said it would start conducting test flights with pilots and engineers in 2017 and will follow up with the launch of first tourists into space sometime in 2018.

When CNN reached out to Blue Origin regarding the shift of launch dates, the company stressed their internal timeline is unchanged. It added: "We will fly humans when we're ready, and not a moment sooner."

A launch in 2019 would place Blue Origin slightly behind Elon Musk's SpaceX and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic. Musk plans to ride two tourists around the moon in the last quarter of 2018, while Virgin Galactic is also targeting the same timeline to take customers paying $250,000 (£191,280) into space for four minutes of weightlessness.

Though there's no word on the price of Blue Origin's ride into space, it is expected to be cheaper, considering the company's long-term goal of conducting frequent and affordable spaceflights.

The revenue generated from the rides will be used to fuel the company's future spacefaring endeavours, which will involve launching satellites into orbit as well as other missions.


* blue-origin-space-tourism.jpg (39.83 KB, 736x490 - viewed 7 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2992


« Reply #1503 on: Oct 20, 2017, 04:34 AM »

Hidden caves on Mars and the Moon are ideal places for human settlements

The tunnels - known as lava tubes - could even help in the search for alien life on Mars.

By Aristos Georgiou
Indpendent
10/20/2017 

Large systems of underground caves on Mars and the Moon could prove to be safe havens for future human settlements, according to research presented at the European Planetary Science Congress in Riga.

The huge interconnected networks of caves – known as lava tubes – are formed as a result of volcanic activity and lava flows. Similar, smaller examples can be found on Earth in places like Lanzarote, Hawaii, Iceland, Sicily and the Galapagos Islands.

"The comparison of terrestrial, lunar and Martian examples shows that, as you might expect, gravity has a big effect on the size of lava tubes", said Riccardo Pozzobon, of the University of Padova.

"On Earth, they can be up to thirty metres across. In the lower gravity environment of Mars, we see evidence for lava tubes that are 250 metres in width. On the Moon, these tunnels could be a kilometre or more across and many hundreds of kilometres in length."

"These results have important implications for habitability and human exploration of the Moon but also for the search for extra-terrestrial life on Mars. Lava tubes are environments shielded from cosmic radiation and protected from micrometeorites, potentially providing safe habitats for future human missions. They are also, potentially, large enough for quite significant human settlements – you could fit most of the historic city centre of Riga into a lunar lava tube."

This new research is already being implemented in the European Space Agency's astronaut training programme. Pozzobon and his team lead a planetary geology training course which teaches astronauts how to carry out geological research in future missions to the Moon or Mars.

In a separate talk, Leonardo Carrer from the University of Trento demonstrated a concept for a radar system specifically designed to detect lava tubes on the moon from orbit. The system would use electromagnetic waves to probe beneath the lunar surface, determining the physical composition, shape and size of the caves, as well as their location.

"A mission carrying this instrument would enable a crucial step towards finding safe habitats on the Moon for human colonisation," Carrer said.


* terrestrial-lava-tubes.jpg (49.76 KB, 736x490 - viewed 10 times.)
Logged
Rad
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 29799


« Reply #1504 on: Oct 21, 2017, 05:44 AM »


Nasa's new Mars mission InSight hopes to uncover the mysteries of the Red Planet's interior

InSight is set for launch in May 2018.

By Aristos Georgiou
Independent
10/21/2017 

Nasa's next mission to Mars, the first to examine the Red Planet's interior, is set to go ahead next May. The spacecraft will depart from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in what will also be the first ever interplanetary space launch from America's West Coast.

The mission, called InSight, was originally planned for March last year; however, it was postponed due to a leaky container which creates near-vacuum conditions for the lander's main sensors. The part has since been redesigned and Nasa can now confirm the project is back on track.

"We have fixed the problem we had two years ago, and we are eagerly preparing for launch," said Tom Hoffman, InSight Project Manager of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Nasa hope that data gathered from the mission will help us to understand more about how all rocky planets, including the Earth formed.

"Because the interior of Mars has churned much less than Earth's in the past three billion years, Mars likely preserves evidence about rocky planets' infancy better than our home planet does," said Bruce Banerdt, InSight Principal Investigator and leader of the international team that proposed the mission.

Currently, the spacecraft is undergoing final assembly and testing conducted by Lockheed Martin Space Systems.

Opportunities to reach Mars only occur roughly every two years and last just a few weeks due to its alignment with the Earth. So, while an exact date for the launch has not been given, the craft is expected to reach Mars sometime in November 2018, if the mission is successful.

The lander, which includes two unfolding solar panels that span 20 feet (6 metres), will touch down permanently near the equator of the Red Planet and will place its instruments on the surface using a robotic arm.

A heat probe will dig up to 10 feet (3 metres) into the Martian surface and will examine the energy coming from the planet's interior. Meanwhile, an incredibly sensitive seismometer, able to detect ground movements half the diameter of a hydrogen atom, will detect any seismic activity or meteor impacts, revealing more information about what's going on below the surface.

Finally, the lander will analyse radio transmissions between itself and Earth to determine exactly how Mars rotates on its axis giving researchers clues about the size of the planet's core.

InSight takes its place alongside a host of other current and planned missions to Mars by various space agencies, which will lay the groundwork for human exploration of the Red Planet, a goal Nasa hopes to achieve sometime in the 2030s.


* mars-chemcam.jpg (248.73 KB, 720x731 - viewed 9 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2992


« Reply #1505 on: Oct 23, 2017, 04:14 AM »

Titan and Enceladus: Saturn's moons are two of the most likely locations for extraterrestrial life

Following Cassini, Nasa needs a new mission to look for life on Saturn's mysterious moons.

By Monica Grady
IBF
10/23/2017
   
NASA's Cassini mission has made its "death plunge" into the swirling clouds of Saturn after 20 years of exploring the planet and its moons. It's been amazingly successful, making headlines with groundbreaking discoveries throughout its journey. But today the headlines are more like obituary notices, looking back at the mission's spectacular achievements.

Cassini discovered new moons around Saturn, found evidence for an ocean below the surface of the moon Enceladus and even managed to land a probe on the satellite Titan (the Huygens probe). It also observed unusual features in the rings of the planet and recorded an enormous, hurricane-like storm whirling around its north pole. Surely, we must now know everything about Saturn and its moons?

Fortunately, scientists are never satisfied, and the answer to one question usually leads to at least three new questions. The discoveries from Cassini and Huygens have resulted in a whole series of issues that require further investigation. Two of the main targets for future exploration are Titan and Enceladus.

Signs of life

Before Huygens parachuted down onto Titan's surface in January 2005, all we knew about the moon was that it was cold (about 100K or -173.15°C) and had a thick atmosphere (mostly of nitrogen, but with traces of methane), which prevented us from seeing the surface. Huygens revealed networks of valleys and rivers cutting through hills to the shoreline of an inland sea. Subsequent observations by instruments on-board Cassini have given us a greatly expanded understanding of Titan's landscape – with an entire gazetteer of named features, from mountains to plains and oceans to ponds.

We must now try to understand what they are, how they formed and how they change with the seasons. We need to learn about tides and ocean icebergs, to define a climate cycle and to determine the composition of the land masses – are they derived from basalt, the most common rock type in the solar system, or are they frozen ice and mud? Does Titan have a rocky core overlain directly by an icy mantle, or does it have an ocean below the surface? If so, is it made up of water?

This all matters because what we have learnt about Titan from Cassini and Huygens has confirmed that it has an active chemistry, based on methane and ammonia. We know that these substances, when irradiated by the sun, result in interesting mixes of chemicals that are precursors to amino acids and other biologically important molecules. The freezing temperature of Titan's surface precludes anything being alive – but how far below the surface do you have to go before the environment becomes sufficiently balmy for a cryophile to be comfortable? Without a dedicated mission to Titan, we will not find out.

Cassini's exploration of Titan was always one of the main goals of the mission, with a few larger moons also scheduled for observation. But early in the mission, it became clear that Enceladus should be a prime target too. Anomalies in data observed as the spacecraft flew past Enceladus were subsequently verified as resulting from a large plume of gas and dust venting from the surface close to the south pole.

This was further investigated by Cassini, flying past Enceladus at different altitudes – the closest of which was at 25km. The data it collected helped scientists resolve the plume into a series of vents through cracks in the surface. It became clear that, like Jupiter's icy moon Europa, Enceladus was home to an ocean below the icy crust.

Scientists also managed to identify grains of dust, water-rich ice and gases including methane, ammonia and carbon dioxide – plus traces of other organic molecules – in the plume. This lead to to much speculation about the possibility of life in the ocean.

Like Titan, Enceladus is now recognised as one of the solar system's most likely locations for extraterrestrial life. A recent report of hydrogen in Enceladus' plume has given that recognition even greater prominence. That's because hydrogen is expected to be released as a byproduct of reactions between water and rock. Scientists believe that ocean water on Enceladus collides with rock, becomes heated, reacts chemically and rises up in the ocean via "hydrothermal vents". That happens in the Earth's oceans, too. And here, the chemically charged water around these vents supports a rich ecology of microbes and other life forms.

A single mission?

Follow-up missions to Saturn, Titan and Enceladus have all been proposed to both the European Space Agency and NASA, but none has yet been accepted and taken forward to the planning stage.

There might be a case for combining a mission to Titan with a mission to Enceladus to investigate the opportunities for life close to Saturn. I am not sure what such a mission would look like. Certainly there should be a spacecraft orbiting Titan and Enceladus, to gather additional information prior to launching vessels to the surface of both moons. Would these vessels be "penetrators" so they could pierce the ice of Enceladus? Or should they be balloons to float down through the atmosphere of Titan? I don't know, but a possible name for the mission could be EnTiRE – Enceladus and Titan Research and Exploration. You heard it here first…

Of course, one should not forget the "Lord of the Rings" itself. There are still many unknown aspects of the giant planet that would be worth going back to investigate, such as the composition and formation of its unusual rings. And what about that huge, hexagonal-shaped hurricane at the north pole? Is there something comparable at the south pole? How do such weather systems form – and, more to the point, given the current catastrophic hurricanes experienced recently on Earth, can we learn anything from Saturn about our own atmospheric disturbances?

Given the timescale for mission planning, alongside the time it takes to get to the Saturnian system, it will realistically be at least another 20 years before Cassini's successor arrives. Until then, we will have to rely on the next generation of Earth-based telescopes to help us explore Saturn and its fascinating satellites.


* titan.jpg (22 KB, 736x313 - viewed 7 times.)

* enceladus-nasa.jpg (36.03 KB, 736x413 - viewed 9 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2992


« Reply #1506 on: Oct 24, 2017, 04:30 AM »


Researchers spot evidence of tiny explosions powering Sun's outer atmosphere

Nasa's sounding rocket instrument detects signs of nanoflares.

By Shubham Sharma
October 24, 2017 13:41 BST
Indpenedent

A group of researchers have detected signs of the Sun's long-sought nanoflares – tiny solar explosions. The evidence of the phenomena, which scientists have been seeking for years, was detected when Shin-nosuke Ishikawa from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and his colleagues analysed data from Focusing Optics X-ray Solar Imager (FOXSI-2), launched on a suborbital sounding rocket in December 2014, reports Space News.

Nanoflares are believed to be the reason behind the extreme temperature difference between the Sun's visible surface, dubbed photosphere, and its outer atmosphere called corona. Despite being far from the Sun's core, the temperature of the corona is a hundred times hotter (up to several million degrees Celsius) than the surface, which heats up at around 5,500 degrees Celsius.

Scientists believe that the temperature of the corona rises with the energy released from the nanoflares that erupt thousands of times every second. But until today, the subtle phenomena wasn't detected, particularly because of the blinding interference from the Sun.

"We think nanoflares range from a billion to a million times smaller than a regular solar flare," Ishikawa told Space News.

FOXSI-2, which scientists say is much more sensitive than previous instruments, rose to the occasion. It detected very energetic X-ray emissions – a type of light which is a sign of solar material superheated approximately at 10 million degrees Celsius – in a region with no solar-flaring activity.

On this basis, the researchers suggested such rise in temperature could only be triggered by nanoflares.

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

Now, scientists are planning to launch another sounding rocket with upgraded instruments to advance their research and get more insights into nanoflares. This could involve answers to some of the biggest questions such as, how many nanoflares are exploding and how much energy they actually release.


* nanoflare-detection.png (415.87 KB, 736x736 - viewed 5 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2992


« Reply #1507 on: Oct 25, 2017, 04:27 AM »

NASA releases new images of Saturn from space

Newsweek
25 Oct 2017 at 16:02 ET   

Here’s a little dose of space porn for Saturn fans: NASA leaked a photo of the planet in all its ringed glory on their website.

As the space organization explains in a blog posted today, the black and white photo depicts the lines of Saturn's notable rings. The planet's moon, Pandora, can be seen orbiting near the F ring, though its small size makes it hard to detect.

Related: Hurricane Damage Photos: See How NASA Sites in Houston and Florida Were Affected

NASA explains this image focuses on one side of Saturn’s rings accentuated and lit by the sun, roughly 19 degrees higher than the ring plane. The photograph was taken in the Cassini spacecraft on August 12, 2017, according to the the blog post.

“Also in this image is the gap between Saturn’s cloud tops and its innermost D ring through which Cassini would pass 22 times before ending its mission in spectacular fashion in Sept. 15, 2017,” NASA details in the post, explaining how this area was frequently photographed. “Scientists scoured images of this region, particularly those taken at the high phase (spacecraft-ring-Sun) angles, looking for material that might pose a hazard to the spacecraft.”

The photographs were taken roughly 581,000 miles from the planet and 691,000 miles from Pandora.

According to the agency, Cassini was one of NASA’s most ambitious launches. The craft had many instruments and cameras that allowed it to take better measurements and more detailed photographs in a variety of lighting conditions.

Cassini ended what NASA dubbed its grand finale on September 15, 2017. The last orbits consisted of the final 22 trips on its 20-year journey. As NASA described Cassini’s epic end on its website, “...the spacecraft traveled in an elliptical path that sent it diving at tens of thousands of miles per hour through the 1,500-mile-wide (2,400-kilometer) space between the rings and the planet where no spacecraft had ventured before.”

The mission was launched in October 1997 and according to NASA, spent 19 years, 11 months, 3 hours, 12 minutes and 46 seconds in space exploring Saturn. The spacecraft met a dramatic ending when it purposely traveled into the depths of Saturn’s atmosphere, collecting and sending data back to NASA until its last living robotic breaths. Space enthusiasts can look back fondly on the project through the archived photos. However, we’re willing to bet that NASA will continue to delight with even more updates from this incredible spacecraft and its final mission.


* Saturn-nasa.gov-1-800x430.jpg (26.68 KB, 800x430 - viewed 7 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2992


« Reply #1508 on: Oct 26, 2017, 04:07 AM »

The universe as we know it should not exist: CERN scientists

Newsweek
27 Oct 2017 at 05:39 ET

The universe as we know it should not exist, scientists working at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, have said.

After performing the most precise experiments on antiprotons that have ever been carried out, researchers have discovered a symmetry in nature that they say just shouldn’t be possible.

One of the big questions about the universe is how the first matter formed after the Big Bang. Because particles and antiparticles annihilate one another when they come into contact, if there were exactly equal measures of both, the universe wouldn’t exist—at least not in the form we see it today. As such, there must be an imbalance between particles and antiparticles, even if it is only by the tiniest fraction.

But this is not the case. All experiments designed to find this asymmetry have come up blank. This is also true of the latest, which were recently carried out at CERN by an international team of researchers. The findings from the BASE (Baryon Antibaryon Symmetry Experiment) are published in the journal Nature.

"All of our observations find a complete symmetry between matter and antimatter, which is why the universe should not actually exist," first author Christian Smorra, from Japan’s RIKEN institute, said in a statement.

In the study, researchers used antiprotons that had been isolated in 2015. The antiprotons were measured using the interaction of two traps that use electrical and magnetic fields to capture them. The team was able to measure the magnetic force of the antiproton to a level that is 350 times more precise than ever before.

If there was an imbalance between protons and antiprotons, this level of precision would be the best bet for finding it. "At its core, the question is whether the antiproton has the same magnetism as a proton," said Stefan Ulmer, spokesperson of the BASE group. "This is the riddle we need to solve."

"The measurement of antiprotons was extremely difficult and we had been working on it for 10 years. The final breakthrough came with the revolutionary idea of performing the measurement with two particles."

After finding no asymmetry between particles and antiparticles, the researchers will now work to develop even higher-precision measurements of protons and antiprotons to improve on the latest findings. "An asymmetry must exist here somewhere but we simply do not understand where the difference is. What is the source of the symmetry break?" Smorra said.


* Milky-Way-Galaxy-shutterstock.com_-800x430.jpg (127.68 KB, 800x430 - viewed 5 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2992


« Reply #1509 on: Oct 27, 2017, 04:16 AM »


Nasa's Venus rover designs inspired by WWI tanks look more like Mad Max than Star Trek

No spacecraft as yet has been able to withstand the extreme conditions of Venus for more than 24 hours.

India Ashok
IBT
10/27/2017
   
Nasa is currently exploring designs to create a rover that can withstand the extreme conditions of Venus. The design concepts for Nasa's Venus rover have been inspired by clockwork computers and World War I-era tanks. Given that Venus' average surface temperature is 864 degrees Fahrenheit (462 degrees Celsius), which according to Nasa is "high enough to melt lead", the space agency is looking to develop a rover that can have appropriate mobility while also withstanding the planet's harsh environment.

However, since Nasa's designs for the rover are inspired more by old fashioned mechanics rather than new-age technologies, they look more like something out of Mad Max than Star Trek. "Venus is too inhospitable for kind of complex control systems you have on a Mars rover," said JPL mechatronics engineer Jonathan Sauder. "But with a fully mechanical rover, you might be able to survive as long as a year."

Sauder was the first to propose Automaton Rover for Extreme Environments (AREE) in 2015, a programme that offers engineers grants to come up with "out-there" early-stage space exploration tech and is funded by Nasa Innovative Advanced Concepts programme. AREE is looking to reduce the space agency's dependence on electronic components when developing future spacecraft to Venus lander missions, possibly by replacing them with throwback gear-based calculation engines. The rover is also expected to be partly powered by wind turbine.

So far, no spacecraft has been able to withstand the extreme conditions of Venus for more than 24 hours, according to Nasa. In 1967, Russia's Venera 4 probe was the first to enter the planet and send back information. Three years later, Venera 7 made a successful soft landing but only lasted 23 hours before it too bit the dust. In 1982, Venera 13, which lasted for around two hours in the hostile environment, sent back 14 colour and eight black-and-white photos of the planet and even analysed a Venusian rock. However, since then, space missions have shifted to exploring other planets on the solar system, including Mars and Saturn.

"When you think of something as extreme as Venus, you want to think really out there," said Evan Hilgemann, a JPL engineer working on high temperature designs for AREE. "It's an environment we don't know much about beyond what we've seen in Soviet-era images."

The Venus rover is now in its second phase of development, with the JPL team selecting parts of the AREE concept that need to be refined. "Team members hope to flesh out a rover concept that will eventually be able to study the geology of Venus and perhaps drill a few samples," Nasa said in a statement.

Automaton Rover for Extreme Environments (AREE): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9fki7dligU


* nasa-venus-rover.jpg (66.19 KB, 736x484 - viewed 8 times.)
Logged
Rad
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 29799


« Reply #1510 on: Oct 28, 2017, 05:22 AM »

A small asteroid or comet has become the first ‘visitor’ from beyond our solar system

International Business Times
28 Oct 2017 at 16:55 ET

It is smaller than a quarter of a mile (400 meters) in diameter, but A/2017 U1 is perhaps the first known object from outside the solar system that has made its way inside. Some more data-crunching and analysis is still needed to confirm the interstellar nature of the object, which could be a comet or an asteroid.

A/2017 U1 made its closest approach to the sun Sept. 9 but was discovered Oct. 19 by Rob Weryk, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy (IfA), using the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope on Haleakala, Hawaii. It had appeared in the images taken the previous night as well, but had not been identified as a near-Earth object by the telescope’s moving object processing software.

The strange orbit of the object made Weryk realize it was very unusual, and after combining data from observations taken at the European Space Agency’s telescope on Tenerife in the Canary Islands, he understood A/2017 U1 for what it was.

"Its motion could not be explained using either a normal solar system asteroid or comet orbit. This object came from outside our solar system," Weryk said in a statement Thursday.

NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) calculated the object’s current orbit and also projected which way it was headed. From the direction of the constellation Lyra, it approached almost perpendicular to the ecliptic — an approximate plane of the solar system in which the planets and most asteroids orbit the sun — thereby avoiding any encounters with the eight planets during its inward journey.

The object crossed the ecliptic between the sun and Mercury on Sept. 2, and under the influence of gravity during its close approach to the sun, changed its direction drastically. Making a hairpin turn under the ecliptic, it passed below Earth at a distance of about 14 million miles (24 million kilometers) Oct. 14 and has now moved back over the ecliptic. It is headed in the direction of the constellation Pegasus.

When A/2017 U1 approached the solar system, it was moving at the speed of 15.8 miles a second, and as if that wasn’t fast enough already, it is now traveling at 27 miles per second, likely a result of the slingshot effect of the sun’s gravity.

"This is the most extreme orbit I have ever seen. It is going extremely fast and on such a trajectory that we can say with confidence that this object is on its way out of the solar system and not coming back," Davide Farnocchia, a scientist at CNEOS, said in the statement.

But the object cannot be branded interstellar until further observations confirm it to be such.

A notice by the Minor Planet Center on Wednesday which provided astrometry data from the observations, said: "Further observations of this object are very much desired.  Unless there are serious problems with much of the astrometry listed below, strongly hyperbolic orbits are the only viable solutions. … If further observations confirm the unusual nature of this orbit, this object may be the first clear case of an interstellar comet."

And while we still don’t know if A/2017 U1 is an asteroid or a comet, it is not entirely surprising that an object from beyond the solar system should have entered it.

"We have long suspected that these objects should exist, because during the process of planet formation a lot of material should be ejected from planetary systems. What’s most surprising is that we’ve never seen interstellar objects pass through before," Karen Meech, an astronomer at the IfA specializing in small bodies and their connection to solar system formation, said in the statement.
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2992


« Reply #1511 on: Oct 30, 2017, 04:12 AM »


Nasa might have found traces of ancient oceans on dwarf planet Ceres

Remnants of 4-billion year-old global ocean could still have liquid water deep below its frozen crust.

By Immanuel Jotham
October 30, 2017 08:05 BST
IBT

Nasa's Dawn mission might have stumbled upon what they are calling remnants of ancient oceans on the surface of Ceres – a dwarf planet that is also the largest object in the asteroid belt.

A report by Nasa noted that the presence of minerals- rich water is well-known, leading to speculation that there might have been large oceans on the dwarf planet. Nasa might have just stumbled upon answers to questions surrounding what became of the "global oceans", and whether or not there is still liquid water on the rock.

Researchers believe that Ceres' ancient oceans have frozen and solidified at the crust, staying that way for over four billion years, but there are signs that there might be liquid water deep below the surface.

The Dawn mission has found that the outer crust of Ceres contains hydrated materials, including ice and salts. This crust is being considered as a representation of an ancient ocean, says the report. Research has found that there is a soft, easily deformable layer just beneath the icy surface and Nasa says that this is a signature of what remains from a watery ocean.

Julie Castillo-Rogez, Dawn project scientist, based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said , "More and more, we are learning that Ceres is a complex, dynamic world that may have hosted a lot of liquid water in the past, and may still have some underground."

Nasa is hesitant to land on Ceres and actually collect physical samples because they fear that it might lead to contamination from Earth. That is also one of the reasons why the agency did not land on Titan and crashed Cassini into Saturn.

Researchers are looking to make use of data from Dawn to estimate the composition of Ceres and its internal structure. Data was collected using NASA's Deep Space Network studying Dawn's interactions with the dwarf planet when orbits around it experience slight changes.

"Ceres has an abundance of gravity anomalies associated with outstanding geologic features," said Anton Ermakov, a postdoctoral researcher at JPL.

Another study lead by Harvard University researcher Roger Fu studied the strength of Ceres' crust and deep interior topography. The report mentions how a solid, rocky surface will remain unchanged over billions of years, but an icy surface would deform significantly over time. Researchers are looking for such changes on the surface.

Fu's team was able to map these crust flows that contain ice, salts, rocks and a compound called clathrate hydrate –"a cage of water molecules surrounding a gas molecule". It is believed to up to 1,000 times stronger than ice even though it has the exact same density. This has led the researchers to come to a conclusion that the long-standing theory surrounding liquid water still present on the rock, in fact, holds water.


* ceres.gif (53.56 KB, 736x414 - viewed 3 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2992


« Reply #1512 on: Oct 31, 2017, 04:20 AM »

NASA releases creepy radio recordings from space

Newsweek
31 Oct 2017 at 09:32 ET 

NASA has released a set of creepy recordings of sounds from space just in time for Halloween.

The set of audio files can be accessed via SoundCloud and you can listen to them below.

A statement from the space agency said: “Soaring to the depths of our universe, gallant spacecraft roam the cosmos, snapping images of celestial wonders. Some spacecraft have instruments capable of capturing radio emissions. When scientists convert these to sound waves, the results are eerie to hear.

“In time for Halloween, we've  put together a compilation of elusive "sounds" of howling planets and whistling helium that is sure to make your skin crawl.”

A selection of the recordings are described below.

The audio files were taken from planets, a comet and plasma waves. The first, Juno Crossing Jupiter’s Bow Shock, is the sound of NASA’s spacecraft moving across the gas giant’s magnetic field. The whistling sound suddenly turns into a deeper boom as Juno passes from an environment dominated by solar wind into Jupiter’s magnetosphere.

Chorus Radio Waves within Earth's Atmosphere is the sound of plasma waves rolling through space. The waves are electric and magnetic fields moving through the ions and electrons that compose the plasma. The interaction causes the rhythmic sound on the recording.

Saturn’s Radio Emissions were recorded with the Cassini spacecraft, which recently plunged into the planet’s atmosphere bringing its long mission to a close. Saturn is a source of intense radio emissions that are related to the planet’s auroras near its poles. The sounds recorded are very similar to the radio emissions from Earth’s auroras.

Lightning on Jupiter was recorded by the Voyager spacecraft. The whistling emission is the sound of lightning moving away from the planet and into the magnetized plasma above. As the waves move into the plasma, higher frequency ones move faster, meaning these get picked up first. The difference between the high and low frequency waves produces the whistling sound.

Stardust: Passing Comet Tempel 1 is a recording of a comet flyby in 2011. NASA’s Stardust spacecraft was bombarded with dust particles from the comet and this is what can be heard in the recording. Over 11 minutes, the spacecraft was hit by around 5,000 bits of rock, ice and dust.


* Universe-Shutterstock-www.shutterstock.com_-800x430.jpg (85.78 KB, 800x430 - viewed 4 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2992


« Reply #1513 on: Nov 01, 2017, 04:17 AM »

Scientist made a breakthrough in understanding the relativistic jets of black holes

International Business Times
11/1/2017 at 06:48 ET   

Black holes remain one of outer space’s greatest mysteries but scientists have recently learned a bit more about them, more specifically, about the jets of plasma that shoot out from them. The jets are not well understood by researchers who can’t seem to figure out where or how the plasma ends up shooting out of the black hole’s center in two opposite directions.

But scientists understand these relativistic jets made of plasma a bit better now thanks to data from NASA’s NuSTAR space telescope and a camera based in Spain called the ULTRACAM. Using these two pieces of equipment, scientists working on the research were able to find the distance that the particles in the jets travel before the “turn on” or become the bright sources of light they’re observed as, according to NASA.

The researchers used a binary system called V404 Cygni to study the bursts of light. That system consists of a star and a black hole closely orbiting one another. The black hole pulls matter off of the star where it forms a disk around the black hole that ends up forming the jets.  As the black hole took in material the flat area surrounding the hole brightened.

This illustration from NASA shows a black hole with a disk and a jet. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Using the space telescope and the camera in Spain the researchers were able to establish that there was a .1 second delay between the appearance of the X-rays and the light, which is the moment when the plasma starts to shine.

The research and the findings were published in Nature Astronomy on Monday. The working theory is that strong magnetic fields end up propelling some of that material to high speeds. Then when it collides the plasma begins to emit the stream that appears to come out of the black hole. Essentially the idea is that the disk around the black hole ends up feeding the jet.

While the discovery of the time difference between the appearance of X-rays and the appearance of light doesn’t answer all of the questions about the relativistic jets, it does debunk other theories. It settles one theory about the origin of the flashes, said the lead scientist on the research, Poshak Gandhi, according to a release from the University of Southampton.

This animation shows the jets as they’re emitted from V404 Cygni. Matter can be seen as it’s pulled from the star and forms a disc around the black hole where the jets are coming from. The researchers worked on understanding how the jets can start shining once they start emitting matter.


* black-hole-via-nasa.jpg (45.95 KB, 800x430 - viewed 4 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2992


« Reply #1514 on: Nov 02, 2017, 04:10 AM »

Nasa finds highly toxic cyanide ice clouds in Titan's atmosphere

The cloud is invisible to the human eye and was detected using Cassini's Composite Infrared Spectrometer.

By Immanuel Jotham
IBT
11/2/2017   

Nasa scientists working on the data collected by Cassini have found highly toxic, but wispy clouds of hydrogen cyanide and benzene in Saturn's largest moon –Titan.

This discovery comes after data from Cassini's Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) was studied, reports Nasa. The clouds are invisible to the human eye, and were detected at an infrared wavelength.

The clouds were found at an altitude of 160 to 210 km and are reported to be above the clouds that cause methane rain on Titan at its troposphere – the lowest region of the atmosphere. Nasa says the clouds cover the area from the 75 to 85 degrees south latitude.

CIRS data had a chemical fingerprint that needed to be matched on Earth through laboratory experiments, reports the space agency.

Scientists reportedly found that the organic hydrogen cyanide was mixed in with benzene. The study revealed that the two chemicals had condensed and merged to form a compound rather than being layered on top of each other, says the report. The crystals thus formed are expected to be bumpy and irregular and not have a well defined crystalline structure.

"This cloud represents a new chemical formula of ice in Titan's atmosphere," said Carrie Anderson of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, a CIRS co-investigator. "What's interesting is that this noxious ice is made of two molecules that condensed together out of a rich mixture of gases at the South Pole."

The report mentions that in the 13 years that Cassini spent in the Saturn system, clouds like this were spotted early on in the mission over Titan's North Pole.

This new cloud formation, named the "high-altitude south polar cloud", has a strong chemical signature, and it reportedly showed in multiple sets of data taken from July to November 2015. As seasons on Titan last as long as seven years, it was late autumn in Titan's South Pole the whole time, says the report.

"One of the advantages of Cassini was that we were able to flyby Titan again and again over the course of the thirteen-year mission to see changes over time," said Anderson. "This is a big part of the value of a long-term mission."

Data sent back by Cassini in its 20-year long mission is still being studied and new revelations about the gas giant, its moons, and rings are being published by Nasa. Only this week, it was reported that Saturn's rings rain down methane on to its atmosphere, and researchers expect the data to give more insights. "There are whole careers to be forged in the analysis of data from Cassini," said Linda Spilker, the mission's project scientist at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "In a sense, the work has only just begun."


* titan.jpg (20.68 KB, 736x723 - viewed 5 times.)
Logged
Pages: 1 ... 99 100 [101] 102 103   Go Up
Print
Jump to: