Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
Jan 21, 2019, 08:33 PM
Pages: 1 ... 125 126 [127]   Go Down
Print
Author Topic: NEWS ON SPACE AND OUR PLANETARY SYSTEM  (Read 467578 times)
0 Members and 4 Guests are viewing this topic.
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6120


« Reply #1890 on: Jan 15, 2019, 05:21 AM »


NASA’s asteroid probe just entered orbit around Bennu in a record-breaking maneuver

Mike Wehner
BGR
1/15/2019

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx asteroid probe arrived at its target, a large space rock known as Bennu, in early December. The spacecraft’s mission will take several years to complete, but it hit a major milestone to close out 2018 by entering orbit around Bennu. It might not sound like much, but it’s actually a major accomplishment for NASA, and it’s set a couple of new records in the process.

As AP reports, the probe’s successful maneuver to enter orbit around Bennu makes it the first spacecraft to orbit a celestial object so small. At only around 1,600 feet in diameter, it’s the smallest object ever to be successfully orbited, and OSIRIS-REx’s close orbital distance of just over a mile is also record-breaking.

The OSIRIS-REx mission was originally launched way back in late 2016. It took a couple of years for the probe to even make it to its asteroid target, but now that it’s there it can begin studying Bennu in much greater detail than has ever been possible before.

We got our first clear look at the rock’s surface last month. The images delivered by the probe reveal a messy collection of debris strewn all over the asteroid’s exterior. Ultimately, the mission’s biggest challenge will be to collect some of that material and then return it to Earth, but the touch-and-go sample collection process won’t begin until 2020.

Once the probe snatches some rock from Bennu’s exterior it will begin the long trip back to Earth, eventually arriving sometime in 2023 if all goes according to plan.

The in-orbit surveys of the asteroid and eventual delivery of asteroid material will help researchers understand what makes up some of the larger asteroids in our Solar System. Determining how they formed and other details about their origins could help astronomers tell a more detailed story about the origins of our system and Earth itself, and perhaps help us prepare and forecast asteroid impacts in the future.


* bennuu.png (598.94 KB, 782x604 - viewed 9 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6120


« Reply #1891 on: Jan 16, 2019, 05:11 AM »


Giant leaf for mankind? China germinates first seed on moon

A small cotton shoot is growing onboard Chang’e 4 lunar lander, scientists confirm

Hannah Devlin and agencies
Guardian
16 Jan 2019 09.41 GMT

A small green shoot is growing on the moon after a cotton seed germinated onboard a Chinese lunar lander, scientists said.

The sprout has emerged from a lattice-like structure inside a canister after the Chang’e 4 lander touched down earlier this month, according to a series of photos released by the Advanced Technology Research Institute at Chongqing University.

“This is the first time humans have done biological growth experiments on the lunar surface,” said Xie Gengxin, who led the design of the experiment, on Tuesday.

Plants have been grown previously on the International Space Station, but this is the first time a seed has sprouted on the moon. The ability to grow plants in space is seen as crucial for long-term space missions and establishing human outposts elsewhere in the solar system, such as Mars.

Harvesting food in space, ideally using locally extracted water, would mean astronauts could survive for far longer without returning to Earth for supplies.

The Chang’e 4 probe – named after the Chinese moon goddess – made the world’s first soft landing on the far side of the moon on 3 January, a major step in China’s ambitions to become a space superpower.

Scientists from Chongqing University, who designed the “mini lunar biosphere” experiment, sent an 18cm bucket-like container holding air, water and soil.

Inside are cotton, arabidopsis – a small, flowering plant of the mustard family – and potato seeds, as well as fruit-fly eggs and yeast.

Images sent back by the probe show a cotton plant has grown well, but so far none of the other plants had sprouted, the university said.

Cotton sprout space experiment

Chang’e 4 is also equipped with instruments developed by scientists from Sweden, Germany and China to study the lunar environment, cosmic radiation and the interaction between solar wind and the moon’s surface.

The lander released a rover, nicknamed Yutu 2 (Jade Rabbit), that will perform experiments in the Von Kármán crater.

The agency said four more lunar missions are planned, confirming the launch of Chang’e 5 by the end of the year, which will be the first probe to return samples of the moon to Earth since the 1970s.

“Experts are still discussing and verifying the feasibility of subsequent projects, but it’s confirmed that there will be another three missions after Chang’e 5,” said Wu Yanhua, deputy head of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), at a press conference.

According to Wu, the Chang’e 6 mission will be designed to bring samples back from the south pole of the moon and this will be followed by probes that will conduct comprehensive surveys of the area. The series of missions will also lay the groundwork for the construction of a lunar research base, possibly using 3D printing technology to build facilities.

Wu also revealed that China will send a probe to Mars around 2020.


* A photo of the cotton sprout.jpg (25.97 KB, 620x372 - viewed 6 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6120


« Reply #1892 on: Jan 17, 2019, 05:19 AM »


NASA’s asteroid probe snaps incredible shot of Earth from 71 million miles away

Mike Wehner
BGR
1/17/2019

Snapping images of distant worlds, galaxies, and stars is something that NASA is very good at, but it’s not often that the space agency has an opportunity to view Earth from a new angle. The OSIRIS-REx mission is focused on studying an asteroid in greater detail than ever before, but it’s also provided scientists with a faraway look at our home planet.

The probe arrived at the space rock known as Bennu late last year, eventually entering orbit around the asteroid in a calculated plan to eventually grab a sample of its material. In mid December the spacecraft’s NavCam captured an image as it stared back in Earth’s direction, and it sure is pretty.

Three specific objects stand out in the image you see above. The three brightest object in the frame are Earth in the bottom left of the image and the Moon appearing as a smaller bright dot alongside it.

The much larger sphere in the upper right of the frame isn’t the Sun (though it’s easy to see why that might be your first thought), but actually OSIRIS-REx’s target, Bennu. The asteroid appears blindingly bright as it reflects sunlight, and the monochrome NavCam photo picks it up as a shiny beacon.

“The spacecraft’s range to Bennu is only about 27 miles (43 kilometers), so the asteroid appears highly overexposed in the upper right,” the OSIRIS-REx team explains in a blog post. “The head of the constellation Hydra is also visible in the lower right portion of the image.”

We’re so used to seeing other planets at incredibly distances that it’s kind of neat to see Earth shot from so far away. Ultimately, OSIRIS-REx didn’t make the long trip to Bennu just to give us a neat shot of Earth, and there’s months of serious scientific work ahead for NASA’s team.

The spacecraft will spend the next year or so studying Bennu’s surface before eventually touching down, snagging a sample of the rock, and then cruising back to Earth to deliver it to eager scientists.


* navcam-earth-moon-bennu-dec19.jpg (63.21 KB, 782x595 - viewed 5 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6120


« Reply #1893 on: Jan 18, 2019, 05:01 AM »

Saturn’s moon Titan has rainfall and seasons

Titan has seas, lakes, and rivers — and now, researchers have found, it also has rainfall and seasonal variation.

ZME
1/19/2019

A false-color radar mosaic of Titan’s north polar region. Blue coloring depicts hydrocarbon seas, lakes and tributary networks filled with liquid ethane, methane and dissolved nitrogen. Image credits: NASA / JPL-Caltech / USGS.

If you’d picture a place that has an atmosphere and liquids on its surface, it probably wouldn’t be Titan. This frigid moon is only 50% larger than Earth’s moon and mostly consists of ice and rocky material. It features a young and smooth geological surface, with few volcanic or impact craters, and remarkably, it has not only an atmosphere, but also geological features dunes, rivers, lakes, seas, and even deltas. But there’s a key difference.

Unlike Earth’s seas, which consist of water, Titan’s seas consist of hydrocarbons such as methane and ethane.

Conversely, Titan features a nitrogen atmosphere and has a nitrogen cycle analogous to Earth’s carbon cycle, something which stunned astronomers when it was first discovered. The Cassini mission, which landed a probe on Titan in 2005, first revealed a surface which seemed to be shaped by fluids.

But Titan has far from shared all its secrets. Recently, astronomers have analyzed images suggesting that intense rainfall occurs on Titan, indicating the start of “summer” in the northern hemisphere. It’s something researchers were expecting for a long time, especially as rain had been previously observed in the southern hemisphere.

    “The whole Titan community has been looking forward to seeing clouds and rains on Titan’s north pole, indicating the start of the northern summer, but despite what the climate models had predicted, we weren’t even seeing any clouds,” said Rajani Dhingra, a doctoral student in physics at the University of Idaho in Moscow, and lead author of the new. “People called it the curious case of missing clouds.”

New research provides evidence of rainfall on the north pole of Titan, the largest of Saturn’s moons, shown here. The rainfall would be the first indication of the start of a summer season in the moon’s northern hemisphere, according to the researchers. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona.

The image was taken in 2016, by the near-infrared instrument on the Cassini probe, which offered the bulk of what we know about Titan. The instrument spotted a reflective feature covering approximately 46,332 square miles, which did not seem to appear on any other images of Cassini. The analyses suggest that this reflective feature represents a wet surface.

    “It’s like looking at a sunlit wet sidewalk,” Dhingra said.

So we have a strong confirmation that seasons are happening on Titan, which confirms the predictions astronomers made. However, this poses a new question that researchers will have to answer.

    “We want our model predictions to match our observations.” Dhingra said. “Summer is happening. It was delayed, but it’s happening. We will have to figure out what caused the delay, though.”


* PIA10008_Seas_and_Lakes_on_Titan-1024x829.jpg (286.34 KB, 1024x829 - viewed 5 times.)

* titan.jpg (14.36 KB, 481x360 - viewed 4 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6120


« Reply #1894 on: Jan 19, 2019, 05:35 AM »

Lord of the rings: Saturn’s halo may be relatively recent trait

Reuters
19 Jan 2019 at 07:13 ET                   

Saturn’s rings are one of our solar system’s magnificent sights, but may be a relatively recent addition, according to data obtained from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft before the robotic explorer’s 2017 death plunge into the giant gas planet.

Scientists said on Thursday a calculation of the mass of the rings based on gravitational measurements of the planet collected by Cassini indicated they formed between 100 million and 10 million years ago in roughly the final 2 percent of Saturn’s current age.

On Earth, 100 million years ago was during the dinosaur age.

The findings challenge the notion favored by some astronomers that the rings developed soon after Saturn formed about 4.5 billion years ago along with the other planets including Earth. Others felt the rings were much younger, but lacked crucial data like their mass to estimate their age reliably.

“I like the rings and their fascinating dynamics, whether they are young or old,” said Sapienza University of Rome aerospace engineering professor Luciano Iess, lead author of the study published in the journal Science.

Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun and the solar system’s second-largest, after Jupiter. All of the four gas planets possess rings, though Saturn’s are the biggest and most spectacular, with a diameter of about 175,000 miles (282,000 km). The numerous thin rings are 99 percent ice and 1 percent silicate particles from interplanetary debris.

Their mass turned out to be 45 percent lower than previous estimates based on 1980s data from NASA’s Voyager spacecraft. Lower mass indicates a younger age, the researchers said, adding that the still-bright rings would have been darkened by debris over a longer period.

Scientists suspect the rings formed perhaps when a large icy comet or moon ventured too close to Saturn and was shattered by gravitational forces or moons collided in orbit. Saturn has 62 known moons.

There may not be a more precise answer about the origin and age of Saturn’s rings “until we can get samples of ring material in our labs to examine, and possibly date via radioactive decay,” said Cornell University astronomy professor and study co-author Phil Nicholson.

Data from Cassini’s final orbits, diving between the planet and the rings as fuel ran low, also provided insight into Saturn’s internal structure, including a core estimated at 15 to 18 times Earth’s mass. It also indicated that Saturn’s atmospheric layers start rotating in sync deeper into the planet compared to Jupiter.


* Images-of-Saturn-800x430.jpg (51.7 KB, 800x430 - viewed 4 times.)
Logged
Darja
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6120


« Reply #1895 on: Today at 05:23 AM »


Scientists think they know where the early universe’s dark matter has been hiding

Mike Wehner
BGR
1/21/2019

Most of the mass in the universe is made up of a kind of matter that none of us have ever seen. It’s called “dark matter” and, despite being incredibly abundant, it’s also extremely difficult to study. Decades-old calculations suggested that there is more dark matter around younger galaxies than the ancient ones from the early days of the universe, but then where did the dark matter we see today come from? A new study offers the answer.

Past research suggested that galaxies we see nearby have more dark matter than those that are very distant. The farther away a galaxy is the farther back in time we’re effectively looking, and scientists believed that those ancient galaxies didn’t have all that much dark matter around them. As it turns out, that isn’t the case.

After studying some 1,500 galaxies, researchers led by Alfred Tiley of Durham University have determined that the amount of dark matter surrounding these huge collections of stars and planets is about the same as it ever was.

Detecting dark matter around a galaxy can be tricky but it’s made easier by calculating the gravitation effect that the matter has on its surroundings. We can’t see dark matter in space because it doesn’t reflect light, but it still exerts a gravitational pull, just like “normal” matter. By accounting for the size of a galaxy and the speed at which stars on its edges are moving, scientists can calculate how much dark matter is lurking on the fringes.

This latest round of research, applied that same formula to many hundred galaxies both young and old. The scientists now believe that there’s not much of a difference between the amount of dark matter around ancient galaxies when compared to much younger ones.

However, as Live Science reports, the astronomy community isn’t entirely on board with this new finding. The model that Tiley and his team used has been called into question, especially as it relates to measurements of distant high-mass galaxies which have been studied by others searching for dark matter.

We’ll have to wait and see how this all pans out but the results are certainly interesting and will no doubt further the conversation about where the universe’s dark matter lies.


* space.jpg (439.09 KB, 782x604 - viewed 5 times.)
Logged
Rad
Admin
Most Active Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 28056


« Reply #1896 on: Today at 07:11 AM »

Lunar eclipse 2019: super blood wolf moon – in pictures

The rare celestial event was visible across the northern hemisphere. Super blood wolf moon: lunar eclipse stargazers battle cold and clouds

Guardian
Mon 21 Jan 2019 05.35 GMT

Click to see all: https://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2019/jan/21/lunar-eclipse-2019-super-blood-wolf-moon-in-pictures


* 3517.jpg (48.6 KB, 1010x681 - viewed 6 times.)
Logged
Pages: 1 ... 125 126 [127]   Go Up
Print
Jump to: