Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
Jul 20, 2019, 02:33 PM
Pages: 1 ... 135 136 [137]   Go Down
Print
Author Topic: NEWS ON SPACE AND OUR PLANETARY SYSTEM  (Read 578924 times)
0 Members and 5 Guests are viewing this topic.
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6518


« Reply #2040 on: Jul 06, 2019, 04:23 AM »


NASA will use an infrared camera to map the Moon in incredible detail

Mike Wehner
BGR
7/6/2019

As Earth’s only natural satellite — and the only other world that mankind has ever explored in person — the Moon is one of the most well-understood bodies in our solar system. That being said, there’s still plenty about the Moon that scientists don’t fully understand, and learning more about our closest neighbor could teach us a lot about the origins of Earth as well as other planets.

To that end, NASA just gave a big thumbs up to a new project that will use infrared cameras to map the lunar surface in striking detail. The tool, called the Lunar Compact Infrared Imaging System (L-CIRiS), is part of the larger effort to learn as much about the Moon as possible ahead of the eventual return of crewed missions to the lunar surface.

The L-CIRiS camera won’t actually be launched as its own dedicated mission, but will instead be included as a ride-along tool with one of three lunar landers that will venture to the Moon over the next five years or so.

The infrared imager will do the bulk of its work during the descent of the lander it is attached too. The camera will be perched atop one of the landers and, as the lander cruises toward its eventual landing location, the imager will scan a huge area of the surface and relay that information back to Earth.

“Data from L-CIRiS will help plan future lander, rover and astronaut missions by identifying hazardous rocks and determining the density of the lunar soil,” Paul Hayne, who leads the development of the instrument, said in a statement.

Going forward, information from L-CIRiS and other lunar survey projects will help NASA plan its future crewed missions to the Moon and perhaps even offer insights that will help prepare NASA for trips to other planets as well.


* Capture.JPG (100.8 KB, 764x581 - viewed 18 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6518


« Reply #2041 on: Jul 08, 2019, 03:55 AM »


NASA takes a nostalgic look back at its very first Mars rover

Mike Wehner
BGR
7/8/2019

Today, NASA’s Curiosity rover spends its days exploring the Martian landscape and eagerly awaiting the arrival of its newest sibling, the Mars 2020 rover, which is slated to arrive in February of 2021. The machines are designed to last for a long, long time, and they’re a far cry from NASA’s first attempt at a Mars rover.

With July 4th here, NASA is using the opportunity to remember Sojourner, the first rover to explore Mars, which arrived on the Red Planet on July 4th, 1997. It was expected to live for just a week on the dry, dusty surface of Mars, but it set the tone for future Mars missions by lasting far longer than it was designed to.

As NASA explains in a new blog post, the image you see above was taken on just the rover’s second Martian day. It arrived as part of the Pathfinder mission and, upon deployment, was expected to live for seven days before dying.

Instead, Sojourner explored the surface of Mars for nearly three months, tallying 83 days before its handlers back at NASA lost contact with it. The team spent another five months attempting to reestablish connection but ultimately called off their efforts and allowed the rover to rest in peace on the Red Planet.

The stunning photo of the rover was taken as “insurance,” according to NASA, in the event that the camera failed upon being fully deployed. That fear was ultimately unfounded and everything went smoothly, but it’s still a glorious image and one of the best photos of NASA’s first Mars rover.

Sojourner traveled roughly 100 meters during its time on Mars, which might not seem like much today but it was only NASA’s first try. By contrast, the Mars 2020 rover is designed to travel as far as 12 miles before it calls it quits.


* a.JPG (57.16 KB, 845x443 - viewed 20 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6518


« Reply #2042 on: Jul 09, 2019, 04:03 AM »


Astronomers detect radio signal coming from massive galaxy far, far away

Mike Wehner
BGR
7/9/2019

Oftentimes astronomers focus on distant galaxies in an effort to better understand the layout of the universe, and perhaps even tell us something about how our own galaxy has evolved over time. A large galaxy lurking far away in the cosmos recently caught the eye of scientists for an entirely different reason: It sent a signal that we were able to detect here on Earth.

The galaxy, which carries the complex scientific label DES J214425.25-405400.81, is a whopping 4 billion light-years away, but it’s been pegged as the source of a single, non-repeating fast radio burst (FRB) that was heard loud and clear by an array of radar dishes in Australia.

Upon its detection, researchers began investigating the possible source of the FRB, managing to not only find the galaxy that it was beamed from, but narrowing down the source to a rather specific spot within the galaxy itself.

In a new research paper, the scientists who hunted down the source of the radio signal reveal that the signal originated some 13,000 light-years from the center of the galaxy. Other than its location and the fact that it hasn’t repeated like some other FRBs tend to, the researchers know very little about what caused the signal to ring out across the universe, deepening the mystery behind these bizarre transmissions.

Hearing that we’ve detected an intergalactic radio signal might make your mind wander a bit, but before you go dreaming of aliens attempting to hail other civilizations you should know that scientists are taking a much more measured approach to things.

It’s likely, researchers say, that the signals are being produced by one of several possible stellar phenomena. The collapse of stars or even black holes tearing stars apart could possibly explain these radio blasts, but right now there’s no definitive answer. Whatever it is, it’s probably not aliens.


* Capture.JPG (68.18 KB, 795x585 - viewed 18 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6518


« Reply #2043 on: Jul 10, 2019, 03:56 AM »


NASA just strapped a frickin’ laser beam to its Mars 2020 rover

Mike Wehner
BGR
7/10/2019

We’re still about a year away from the launch of the Mars 2020 mission, but NASA’s shiny new rover is rapidly taking shape already. The rover, which is far more advanced than any machine NASA has ever sent to the Red Planet, just received what NASA calls a “Super Instrument” in the form of an all-in-one camera, laser, and spectrometer unit.

The tool, called SuperCam, is the natural evolution of the ChemCam installed on the Curiosity rover which is currently in use on Mars. A new post on NASA’s website explains why the instrument is so vital to the Mars 2020 mission, and how it could teach scientists some very important things about Earth’s neighbor.

The SuperCam consists of both a mast unit and a body unit which work together to provide scientists with as much information about Martian surface samples as possible.

“SuperCam’s rock-zapping laser allows scientists to analyze the chemical composition of its targets,” Soren Madsen, payload development manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a statement. “It lets the Mars 2020 rover conduct its cutting-edge science from a distance.”

The rover will be capable of traveling upwards of ten miles once it arrives on Mars, but the more work it can do from any one location, the better. The SuperCam gives NASA scientists the ability to collect a huge amount of data at every point throughout the rover’s journey, increasing the overall payoff.

The Mars 2020 mission will begin in July of next year when the rover is shot towards the Red Planet. It won’t actually arrive on Mars until February of 2021, but once it’s up and running on the Martian surface it will have the power to reveal many new secrets.


* Capture.JPG (64.83 KB, 807x450 - viewed 11 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6518


« Reply #2044 on: Jul 11, 2019, 04:11 AM »


Falcon has landed: Japan's Hayabusa2 probe touches down on asteroid

Unmanned craft – about the size of a large refrigerator – plans to collect ground samples, some 300 million kilometres from Earth

Guardian staff and Agence France-presse
Guardian
Thu 11 Jul 2019 03.02 BST

A Japanese spacecraft has successfully landed on a distant asteroid where it hopes to collect samples that could shed light on the evolution of the solar system.

Scientists at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa) observing the landing from a control room on the southern island of Tanegashima applauded and made “V” for victory signs after the Hayabusa2 probe landed on the asteroid on Thursday morning local time.

“The touchdown is successful,” Jaxa spokesman Takayuki Tomobe said.

The agency said the probe had been working normally above Ryugu asteroid, some 300m km (185m miles) from Earth.

Its landing is the second time the probe has touched down on the desolate asteroid as part of a complex mission that has also involved sending rovers and robots.

    HAYABUSA2@JAXA (@haya2e_jaxa)

    [PPTD] July 11 at 10:51 JST: Gate 5 check. The state of the spacecraft is normal and the touchdown sequence was performed as scheduled. Project Manager Tsuda has declared that the 2nd touchdown was a success!
    July 11, 2019

The mission hopes to collect pristine materials from beneath the surface of the asteroid that could provide insights into what the solar system was like at its birth 4.6bn years ago. The agency said it would be the first time a probe has taken particles from below the surface of an asteroid.

To get at those crucial materials, in April an “impactor” was fired from Hayabusa2 towards Ryugu in a risky process that created a crater on the asteroid’s surface and stirred up material that had not previously been exposed to the atmosphere.

Jaxa said the samples could contain organic materials and water.

“This is the second touchdown, but doing a touchdown is a challenge whether it’s the first or the second,” Yuichi Tsuda, Hayabusa2 project manager, told reporters ahead of the mission.

“The whole team will do our best so that we’ll be able to complete the operation,” he said.

Hayabusa2’s first touchdown was in February, when it landed briefly on Ryugu and fired 5g pellet at more than 1,050km per hour (650mph) into the asteroid’s surface to puff up dust for collection, before blasting back to its holding position.

Thursday’s second touchdown required special preparations because any problems could have meant the probe lost the precious materials already gathered during its first landing.

The probe began its descent on Wednesday from its usual stationary position 20km above the asteroid, and is believed to have touched down on a targeted area located about 20 metres from the artificial crater’s centre.

During its brief time on the asteroid, Hayabusa2 collected samples from the crater formed in February via a tube that retrieved the unidentified “ejecta” as it floated up.

A photo of the crater taken by Hayabusa2’s camera showed that parts of the asteroid’s surface are covered with materials that are “obviously different” from the rest of the surface, mission manager Makoto Yoshikawa told reporters. “I’m really looking forward to analysing these materials.”

Tsuda said: “It would be safe to say that extremely attractive materials are near the crater.”

The probe will return to Earth next year, when scientists hope to learn more about the history of the solar system and even the origin of life from its samples.

At about the size of a large refrigerator and powered by solar panels, Hayabusa2 is the successor to Jaxa’s first asteroid explorer, Hayabusa – Japanese for falcon.

That probe returned with dust samples from a smaller, potato-shaped asteroid in 2010, despite various setbacks during its epic seven-year odyssey and was hailed as a scientific triumph.

Hayabusa2’s photos of Ryugu, which means “Dragon Palace” in Japanese and refers to a castle at the bottom of the ocean in an ancient Japanese tale, show the asteroid has a rough surface full of boulders.

The Hayabusa2 mission was launched in December 2014 at a cost of around 30bn yen ($270m). It reached its stationary position above Ryugu in June last year after travelling 3.2bn km on an elliptical orbit around the sun for more than three years, according to Kyodo news agency.

If the rest of its historical mission goes to plan, Hayabusa2 will return to its landing site in Woomera, South Australia, at the end of 2020.

In 2005, NASA’s Deep Impact project succeeded in creating an artificial crater on a comet but only for observation purposes.


* Capture.JPG (49.13 KB, 572x373 - viewed 11 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6518


« Reply #2045 on: Jul 12, 2019, 03:40 AM »


Scientists think they’ve found all the ‘missing’ iron in the universe

Mike Wehner
BGR
7/12/2019

These days, scientists think they have a pretty good idea of what the universe is made of. By detecting the telltale signatures of various elements in celestial bodies like stars, asteroids, and other planets, scientists can estimate how abundant or rare each of the known elements is. Iron, however, has proven to be tricky to nail down.

We know iron is abundant on Earth as well as in stars, where the intense heat allows it to exist in the form of gas. That suggests that the element should also exist in relative abundance in the interstellar medium — the space between star systems in galaxies such as the Milky Way — but scientists haven’t detected much of it there. So, where is it? A new study published in the Astrophysical Journal might have the answer.

The “missing” iron isn’t really missing at all, the researchers say. The research team from Arizona State University in partnership with the W.M. Keck Foundation now says that it’s likely that the iron exists in the form of iron pseudocarbynes, which is a combination of iron and carbon molecules.

Carbon is known to be plentiful in interstellar space, and the team says that it would be easy to overlook iron pseudocarbynes when searching for it. These molecular chains of carbon and iron look identical to other carbon molecules from afar, making it impossible to tell how much of the carbon that scientists can see is actually hiding iron as well.

“We calculated what the spectra of these molecules would look like, and we found that they have spectroscopic signatures nearly identical to carbon-chain molecules without any iron,” Pilarasetty Tarakeshwar of ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences said in a statement. “Previous astrophysical observations could have overlooked these carbon-plus-iron molecules.”

If the theory proves to be correct, the iron that scientists have been looking for between star systems is essentially hiding in plain sight, we just can’t see it.


* Capture.JPG (69.74 KB, 792x625 - viewed 10 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6518


« Reply #2046 on: Jul 13, 2019, 04:30 AM »


Astronomers just spotted an asteroid that loves the Sun

Mike Wehner
BGR
7/13/2019

Thanks to astronomers and their constant search for new bodies moving throughout our solar system, we know about a lot of asteroids. Many of them have long, elliptical orbits around our Sun, swinging through our system — sometimes making close passes of Earth along the way — around the Sun and then back out again.

Now, researchers have spotted an asteroid that never really ventures all that far from the Sun, even at its further point. The object, known as 2019 LF6, completes an orbit of our star every 151 days, and comes far closer to the Sun than even Mercury.

LF6 travels in an elliptical orbit that takes it within Mercury’s orbit, around the Sun, and then back out past the orbit of Venus. It never gets close to Earth, and nobody knew it existed until now. The asteroid is estimated to be around a kilometer in width, which makes it even more remarkable that it’s remained hidden for this long.

“Thirty years ago, people started organizing methodical asteroid searches, finding larger objects first, but now that most of them have been found, the bigger ones are rare birds,” Tom Price of Caltech explains. “LF6 is very unusual both in orbit and in size—its unique orbit explains why such a large asteroid eluded several decades of careful searches.”

Asteroids that orbit particularly close to the Sun and never travel out past Earth into the deeper reaches of the solar system are often difficult for astronomers to spot. They have to dedicate their observation resources to very narrow windows of time just before sunrise and after sunset, hoping to spot the objects before the Sun’s light overwhelms the imaging instruments.

LF6 has the shortest “year” of any known asteroid, and while it isn’t of particular interest to scientists as a near-Earth object, it’s a special discovery.


* Capture.JPG (66.74 KB, 628x625 - viewed 5 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6518


« Reply #2047 on: Jul 15, 2019, 04:07 AM »


Japan’s asteroid probe is about to attempt its second daring asteroid touchdown

Mike Wehner
BGR
7/15/2019

Japan is doing some incredible things with its Hayabusa2 asteroid probe. The spacecraft has now spent several months in orbit around the space rock known as Ryugu, and it’s blown not one but two holes into its side. Now, in yet another potentially dangerous maneuver, Japanese space agency JAXA has commanded the probe to perform a brief touchdown on the asteroid’s surface.

The plan is a bold one: The spacecraft is tasked with returning samples of asteroid material back to Earth, but first, it has to uncover some of the material below the outer surface to get a pristine sample. To do that, Hayabusa2 fired two “bullets” into Ryugu’s side. The current sample retrieval is the second such attempt, but there are still many risks.

The spacecraft’s first touchdown on Ryugu came back in February and by all accounts, it was a success. However, in embarking on this second attempt, JAXA potentially risks losing the sample material the spacecraft already gathered. The spacecraft will need to perform a flawless touch-and-go in order to preserve samples for the return to Earth.

However, as risky as the maneuver might be, pulling it off is the last big hurdle standing between Hayabusa2 and a successful mission. There will be no third touchdown and the spacecraft will begin its trip back to Earth sooner rather than later.

Once it arrives, material samples will be studied by scientists searching for clues as to its makeup and history. The hope is that by studying asteroids like Ryugu, we’ll learn more about how our solar system has changed over time, and maybe even learn a thing or two about how life first took root here.


* Capture.JPG (91.42 KB, 835x570 - viewed 2 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6518


« Reply #2048 on: Jul 16, 2019, 04:16 AM »


India's Chandrayaan-2 moon mission called off minutes before launch

Nation’s first attempt at a landing on the moon put on hold due to ‘technical snag’

Rebecca Ratcliffe in Delhi
Guardian
16 Jul 2019 22.58 BST

India’s moon mission, destined for the uncharted south pole, has been put on hold less than an hour before take off, following a technical glitch.

The mission, which was scheduled to launch at 02:51 local time from Sriharikota space centre, north of Chennai, is India’s most ambitious to date.

At 56.24 minutes from launch, the countdown stop was frozen and a media feed from the control room was cut off. Shortly afterwards, the Indian Space Research Organisation confirmed that the launch had been abandoned for the day.

“A technical snag was observed in launch vehicle system at T-56 minute. As a measure of abundant precaution, #Chandrayaan2 launch has been called off for today,” the agency tweeted.

A revised launch date will be announced later, it added.

The mission has another 10-minute back up window in which it could launch on Tuesday.

Chandrayaan-2 is India’s first attempt at a surface landing on the moon - a feat achieved by only Russia, the US and China. If successful, it would also be the first mission to conduct a surface landing on the little-explored lunar south pole region, where scientists hope to collect information about the moon’s mineral and chemical composition, and search for water.

The four-tonne spacecraft is equipped with a lunar orbiter, a lander and a rover that is designed to spend two weeks analysing the moon’s surface.

The mission comes amid a renewed global interest in moon exploration. In January, a Chinese spacecraft became the first to land on the far side of the moon, while in April, the Israeli spacecraft Beresheet, the first privately funded mission to the moon, crashed after an apparent engine failure.

India’s space programmes have been hailed by nationalist prime minister Narendra Modi as a marker of the country’s rising status as a global power. In March, Modi announced the successful test of the country’s first space weapon, an anti-satellite missile. The missile test was criticised by Nasa, who warned it had created dangerous orbital debris.

Monday’s attempted launch follows Chandrayaan-1, India’s first lunar mission in 2008, which helped confirm the presence of water on the moon, but did not land on the lunar surface.

As well as Chandrayaan-2, India is developing a plan to launch a manned space mission by 2022.


* Capture.JPG (58.04 KB, 521x369 - viewed 1 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6518


« Reply #2049 on: Jul 17, 2019, 03:48 AM »

Human outposts on Mars could be sheltered by a thin layer of ‘frozen smoke’

ZME
7/17/2019

There’s a lot of talk about putting boots on Mars but hype aside here’s one important thing that this conversation is often missing: Mars is extremely inhospitable.

The atmosphere is thin and unbreathable and the temperature on Mars can get down to nearly minus 200 degrees Fahrenheit (-128°C). In order to make the planet more bearable, some have even proposed extreme solutions such as terraforming Mars. However, there are more realistic solutions. Recently, a group of scientists has proposed using an insulating material called silica aerogel — often called “frozen smoke” due to its appearance — like a blanket to warm plant life growing beneath it.
Building a tiny Earth underneath a dome

Silica aerogel is the most common and most studied form of aerogel. It’s lighter than air and is transparent enough to let visible light pass through while blocking harmful ultraviolet rays. In a new study, researchers at the Harvard University, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, and the University of Edinburgh investigated whether a thin layer of silica aerogel could be used to mimic Earth’s greenhouse effect.

The research team simulated the Martian environment in a lab. They simulated light hitting the surface in Mars-like conditions and used a layer of silica approximately 3 cm thick as an insulator.

The researchers then measured the temperature and the amount of UV radiation that passed through the aerogel layer, with very promising results. The temperature difference between the top and bottom layer was more than 50 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit). Raising the temperature permanently above the melting point of water and filtering ultraviolet radiation are essential properties required for plant life — and the aerogel can achieve both, all without the need for any internal heat source.

    “This regional approach to making Mars habitable is much more achievable than global atmospheric modification,” said Robin Wordsworth, Assistant Professor at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). “Unlike the previous ideas to make Mars habitable, this is something that can be developed and tested systematically with materials and technology we already have.”

    “Mars is the most habitable planet in our Solar System besides Earth,” said Laura Kerber, Research Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “But it remains a hostile world for many kinds of life. A system for creating small islands of habitability would allow us to transform Mars in a controlled and scalable way.”

The researchers sought inspiration in the Martian polar ice caps. Unlike those on Earth, which are made of frozen water, the Martian polar ice caps are made of frozen water and frozen CO2. The interesting thing about frozen CO2 is that it allows sunlight to pass through while trapping heat, creating a sort of greenhouse effect during the summer, allowing warm pockets to form. Silica aerogel is a lot like frozen CO2 since it allows light to move through the material while trapping infrared radiation in its interconnecting nanolayers of silicon dioxide. Its excellent thermal insulating properties are the reason why aerogels are widely used in many space applications, including NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers.
In the summer, frozen carbon dioxide creates pockets of warming under the ice, seen here as black dots in the ice. Credit: Harvard SEAS.

In the summer, frozen carbon dioxide creates pockets of warming under the ice, seen here as black dots on the ice. Credit: Harvard SEAS.

By combining their experiments’ results with modeling, the researchers concluded in the journal Nature Astronomy that a thin layer of this material could be used to envelop a small area of mid-latitude Mars to achieve Earth-like temperatures.

    “Spread across a large enough area, you wouldn’t need any other technology or physics, you would just need a layer of this stuff on the surface and underneath you would have permanent liquid water,” said Wordsworth.

So, rather than terraforming an entire planet — something which is physically impossible with today’s technology — this approach essentially involves terraforming just a small, manageable patch of Mars. The researchers envision a huge habitation dome built out of silica aerogel, where plants could grow underneath.

Of course, there are still many engineering challenges that need to be addressed. The aerogel dome wouldn’t be able to raise the atmospheric pressure, which right now hovers at around a pitiful six millibars — tiny compared to the one bar at sea level on Earth. According to a study previously reported by Bruce Jakosky at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and Christopher Edwards at Northern Arizona University, we would need something like a million ice cubes of carbon dioxide ice that are a kilometer across in order to do get to one bar. However, there’s only enough carbon dioxide in the Martian polar ice caps, dust and rocks to raise the pressure to 20 millibars at most. Martian storms, such as the one that shut down the Opportunity Rover last year, can also be very intense and strong. It would be not easy to make an aerogel dome that could brave Martian sand storms.

Wordsworth also points out that there are ethical considerations when building habitats on Mars.

    “If you’re going to enable life on the Martian surface, are you sure that there’s not life there already? If there is, how do we navigate that,” asked Wordsworth. “The moment we decide to commit to having humans on Mars, these questions are inevitable.”


* Capture.JPG (49.95 KB, 734x472 - viewed 2 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6518


« Reply #2050 on: Jul 18, 2019, 04:01 AM »


Hubble spots black hole surrounded by material that shouldn’t be there

Mike Wehner
BGR
7/17/2019

The Hubble Space Telescope, which is operated by NASA and the ESA, is fantastic for spotting objects residing in the distant reaches of space. Black holes, which are impossible to actually see, give their position away thanks to the galaxies that often surround them, but a new survey has revealed a black hole with a disc of material that, according to what we think we know about black holes, shouldn’t even be there.

The black hole sits at the heart of galaxy NGC 3147, a spiral galaxy sitting a whopping 130 million light-years from Earth. Because of the status of the galaxy, researchers would have guessed that the black hole was essentially starving, but the presence of a material disc throws that assumption into question.

Don't Miss

Active galaxies that feed supermassive black holes at their centers often produce a ring of debris that encircles the black hole. When material gets too close it’s swallowed up, but in less active galaxies the black holes at their core don’t have the gravitational might to continuously draw material from the surrounding galaxy.

NGC 3147 should be one of those galaxies, and scientists assumed its black hole was starving for matter before they spotted the material disc speeding around the center at over 10 percent the speed of light. That’s the kind of thing scientists would expect to spot circling a black hole that’s feasting on matter at the heart of a much more active galaxy.

“The type of disc we see is a scaled-down quasar that we did not expect to exist,” Stefano Bianchi, first author of a new paper on the black hole published Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, said in a statement. “It’s the same type of disc we see in objects that are 1000 or even 100 000 times more luminous. The predictions of current models for very faint active galaxies clearly failed.”

Going forward, the team plans on setting its sights on similar galaxies to determine whether this observation is representative of a trend or just a bizarre anomaly.
Image Source: ESA/Hubble, M. Kornmesser


* Capture.JPG (42.1 KB, 832x561 - viewed 0 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6518


« Reply #2051 on: Jul 19, 2019, 03:56 AM »

Moons that escape their planets are now called ‘ploonets’

Mike Wehner
BGR
7/19/2019

Late last year, astronomers decided that moons which orbit other moons should get their own special name. The label “moon-moon” was offered — and promptly ridiculed because of how silly it sounds — but the name appears to have stuck, for better or worse. With that problem solved, some have turned their attention to another type of world that doesn’t have a concrete name.

Moons that escape the gravity of their host planet and go solo can be called many things, and their label often depends on how large they are. For particularly massive moons that break free, researchers have a new name: Ploonets.

In a new paper published in Earth and Planetary Astrophysics, researchers propose the name “ploonet” to describe a large moon that goes rogue.

“This paper explores the scenario where large regular exomoons escape after tidal-interchange of angular momentum with its parent planet, becoming small planets by themselves,” the team writes. “We name this hypothetical type of object a ploonet.”

The researchers suggest that this type of world may a result of large “hot Jupiter” exoplanets migrating toward their host star. Exoplanet surveys have detected several such planets, and it’s believed that they likely formed at a greater distance from their respective stars and then slowly crept inward.

When that happens, it’s possible that the change in gravitational forces would prompt large moons to break free from their existing orbits and become standalone worlds of their own. Computer simulations showed that this could indeed happen, and in those cases, the researchers believe we should call them ploonets.

Remarkably, our own Moon might one day become a ploonet itself. The Moon is slowly creeping away from Earth at a very slow rate, and it’s possible that it will eventually enter a much less stable orbit and even go solo. Future generations might see the birth of a ploonet happen before their very eyes.
Image Source: MARTIN DIVISEK/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock


* Capture.JPG (30.18 KB, 674x557 - viewed 0 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6518


« Reply #2052 on: Today at 04:31 AM »


Making Mars habitable might be possible thanks to aerogel

Mike Wehner
BGR
7/20/2019

As far as anyone knows, Mars is currently totally devoid of life. We don’t know if that was always the case, but we know that modern-day Mars is a rather hostile place to be thanks to frigid temperatures and deadly radiation. When humans eventually arrive on the Red Planet, we might be able to change that, and a new study offers a hint as to how that could happen.

In a new paper published in Nature Astronomy, researchers explain how a thin layer of aerogel — a highly porous, virtually weightless material — could make huge regions of Mars more habitable.

Scientists have imagined what it would take to terraform Mars in the past, and the general consensus is that raising the surface temperature to above the freezing point of water needs to be the first major step. Once there’s flowing water on Mars, we could begin to truly modify the environment and perhaps even make it liveable in the future, but it’s easier said than done.

The researchers in the latest study considered how aerogel might play a role. They designed an experiment to simulate how sunlight passing through an aerogel “shield” could change the conditions of the surface below, discovering that using a layer of silica aerogel just 2 to 3 centimeters thick allowed enough light to pass through for plants to use for photosynthesis while also blocking harmful UV radiation.

On Earth, we’re concerned with the greenhouse effect because it pushes the temperature of our planet’s surface to dangerous highs. On Mars, a layer of aerogel could serve the same purpose. Layers of the incredibly lightweight material could raise the temperature over large regions, allowing water to flow and plant life to thrive.

At this point, of course, this is all very much theoretical. Aerogel is real and, it seems, could be used to solve a major problem for future settlers of Mars, but producing it on the Red Planet (or bringing it all the way from Earth) is barely worth dreaming about at this point.


* Capture.JPG (50.99 KB, 815x472 - viewed 0 times.)
Logged
Pages: 1 ... 135 136 [137]   Go Up
Print
Jump to:  

Video