The relation between size and temperature at the point where stars end and brown dwarfs begin (based on a figure from the publication) Image credit: P. Marenfeld & NOAO/AURA/NSF.
Ein Zeuge meldete am Freitag, 13.12. gg. 21.15 Uhr ein unbekanntes Flugobjekt über den Dächern der Nachbarschaft. Vor Ort konnte ermittelt werden, dass es sich bei dem UFO vermutlich um einen ferngesteuerten Quadrocopter handelte. Nicht nur durch das laute Motorengeräusch sondern auch durch die Tatsache, dass diese Fluggeräte regelmäßig mit Kameras ausgestattet sind, führte bei dem Zeugen zu Unbehagen. Das Polizeirevier Käfertal hat die Ermittlungen aufgenommen.
UFO-Stimuli Quadrocopter im Schwarmflug
49 Quadrocopter bei der Ars Electronica 2012 im Schwarm
Quadrocopter zeichnen Star Trek Logo über London, Promotion für “Star Trek Into Darkness” Kinostart 17.Mai 2013
A rare meteorite that formed soon after the origin of the solar system has been discovered in a private geological collection – 140 years after it fell to Earth. The stone, which is around 4.6 billion years old, was officially handed over to Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, the Netherlands, earlier this week.
Bright lights and sizzling sounds accompanied the fall of the meteorite on 27 October 1873 in the village of Diepenveen in the Netherlands, according to a contemporary handwritten note. Two witnesses to the fall dug up the small, warm stone and gave it to the local schoolmaster. It remained a school specimen until 2009, when it was given to a collector. Dutch amateur astronomer Henk Nieuwenhuis then "rediscovered" the 5-centimetre-wide space rock when he examined the collection last year.
"It is very unusual for a space rock to remain unnoticed by astronomers and geologists for such a long time," says Leo Kriegsman, a geologist at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center.
The Diepenveen, as the meteorite is now officially called, is only the fifth to have fallen in the Netherlands as far as we know. The find is all the more remarkable because the meteorite turns out to be of a very rare, carbon-rich type known as a CM carbonaceous chondrite – the same type as the one that triggered a meteorite hunt when it fell to Earth in California last year.
"CMs comprise less than 1 per cent of all known meteorites," says geologist Marco Langbroek of the Free University in Amsterdam, where the Diepenveen underwent its first analysis.
CM carbonaceous chondrites contain up to 2 per cent carbon, often in the form of microscopic diamonds. They also contain organic matter like amino acids, which some researchers believe brought the building blocks of life to Earth.
"It is very interesting news," says meteorite researcher Peter Brown of the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada. "CM meteorite falls are indeed rare. If the meteorite has been stored well and not subjected to too much terrestrial contamination it could be quite interesting."
However, fellow meteorite researcher Michael Zolensky of NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, is more cautious. "It will be thoroughly contaminated in any case, so only results for non-terrestrially occurring amino acids may be believable," he says.
Tiny samples of the brittle and porous meteorite are now being studied at laboratories in California, New Mexico and Switzerland. "We hope to publish our analysis results sometime next year," says Langbroek.
The stone has a rare composition of scientific importance.
140 years after its fall to earth, there is official recognition at last: the rock that landed near the Dutch village of Diepenveen back in 1873 is the fifth Dutch meteorite. The “Diepenveen”, as it’s called, has an unusual composition and may contain complex molecules that could perhaps have played a role in the origin of life on earth.
Around 3 o’clock in the afternoon of the 27th October 1873, a piece of rock plummeted to earth narrowly missing people working in the fields of Diepenveen, a village lying to the east of the Netherlands near the town of Deventer. “There was a blinding light and much hissing as this rock fell down”, according to the writing on the little wooden box, made to house the meteorite at a later stage.
Then, on the 11th August 2012, nearly 140 years later, amateur astronomer and former Director of the Eise Eisinga Planetarium in Franeker, Henk Nieuwenhuis, came across the rock as part of a collection belonging to a Mrs L. Kiers. “I really couldn’t believe my eyes,” remembers Mr Nieuwenhuis who straightaway recognised the rock as a carbonaceous meteorite. Mr Nieuwenhuis’ identification of this rock as a meteorite was later confirmed through research carried out by astronomer Niek de Kort of the Royal Netherlands Association for Meteorology and Astronomy (KNVWS) and geoscientists Marco Langbroek and Wim van Westrenen of the Vrije Universiteit (VU) of Amsterdam. Initially sceptical, the scientists became very excited as they realised that the rock was indeed an unrecognised Dutch meteorite.
The Diepenveen discovery turns out to be very important internationally because of its unusual composition. It belongs to the relatively large class of so-called ‘stony meteorites’ but within this class, there is a rare sub-class known as ‘carbonaceous chondrites’, to which only about 1% of all meteorites belong, and the Diepenveen meteorite is one of these. Carbonaceous chondrites can contain complex molecules which may have played a role in the origin of life on earth. Analysis of a small piece of the Diepenveen has shown that it does indeed contain organic molecules but what those are exactly is now the subject of further research. Scientists at the Faculty of GeoSciences at the VU University of Amsterdam and Naturalis Biodiversity Center are writing various scientific publications about the Diepenveen meteorite, together with various international organisations.
The Diepenveen meteorite is extremely old, as old as the solar system which formed roughly 4.6 billion years ago. It weighs 68 grams.
The researchers are also interested to know whether other bits of rock from around that time in 1873 are hidden away somewhere. So during the Christmas holiday, a day has been organised during which the inhabitants of Diepenveen will be asked whether they may have, perhaps somewhere in their attic, some material or documents that could shed some more light on this extraordinary discovery.
In the meantime, on the 12th December 2013 at 11:30 a.m., the meteorite’s former owner, Mrs L. Kiers, presented the ‘Diepenveen’ to the Director of Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Edwin van Huis. As part of Naturalis' scientific collection, the rock will still be accessible for further research and it will also be officially included on the international list of meteorites. In exchange for the Diepenveen, Mrs Kiers will be given a piece from a similar sort of meteorite, ‘the Allende.’
The Diepenveen, together with the four other Dutch meteorites, are on view to the public at Naturalis for just one weekend: the 18th and 19th January 2014. During that weekend, the scientists involved with this discovery will tell their story and hold a workshop called ‘How to recognise a meteorite.’ People can then also bring their own discoveries for examination by the experts. A detailed programme for this weekend will soon be available here (in Dutch).
More extensive background information about the Diepenveen and the other Dutch meteorites can be found here (in Dutch).
Planck satellite's picture of cosmic microwave background needs correction, some researchers argue.
ESA and the Planck Collaboration
A new analysis of data on the infant universe released earlier this year indicates that the initial findings are more in line with the standard cosmological picture than had originally been thought.
There were both celebrations and surprises last March when the science team of the European Space Agency’s Planck mission unveiled a new map of the cosmic microwave background (CMB), the radiation left over from the Big Bang. The precision data formed the highest-resolution all-sky CMB map ever. And it revealed a higher density of matter, a slightly greater variation in the distribution of that matter, and a lower value of the Hubble constant — a measure of the Universe's expansion rate — than a host of previous studies from the ground and space had indicated.
Although the differences were slight, cosmologist David Spergel of Princeton University in New Jersey was intrigued. “Planck is so precise that even small discrepancies become interesting,” he notes. The initial findings, he says, suggested one of three possibilities: Either the standard cosmological model might have to be modified; or a host of different astronomical studies were incorrect; or some systematic error in the Planck data had not been accounted for.
A new analysis of the Planck data by Spergel, Renée Hložek of Princeton and Raphael Flauger of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and New York University indicates that the problem lies with the Planck sky map data recorded at a radio frequency of 217 gigahertz. When they removed the 217-GHz data from the maps and relied on two lower frequencies, 100 and 143 GHz, the results essentially fell in line with previous CMB and other astrophysical studies, including NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP). Spergel had led the analysis for that mission.
Spergel presented the findings on 10 December at the 27th Texas Symposium on Relativistic Astrophysics in Dallas. He and his collaborators also posted the study on the arXiv preprint server.
In one of the Planck team’s many research papers released in March, the scientists noted that the data recorded at 217 GHz failed some calibration tests1. However, the method that the Planck team chose to analyse the data did not account for this issue.
Spergel and his team also compared Planck data recorded during the first half to that taken during the second half of the craft’s observing seasons. That comparison revealed that the 217-GHz data were not independent of data gathered at other frequencies. When Spergel’s team corrected for the correlation they found, the cosmological properties deduced from the Planck sky maps were also more similar to those calculated from earlier studies. Detectors at different frequencies might not be independent because they are all housed in the same cooling system, Spergel suggests.
The Planck researchers acknowledge that a systematic error might have been at play, and they say that they will now re-examine their own data analysis, which is currently under review at a journal, says Francois Bouchet, a Planck researcher from the Institute of Astrophysics of Paris.
However they also stand by their earlier claim. "We believe that differences in cosmological parameters derived by WMAP and Planck are not due to [the spurious 217 GHz] feature, but more simply to the improved performance of the Planck data," says ESA's Jan Tauber, who leads the Planck science team and is based in Noordwijk,The Netherlands.
“There is an issue with one set of detectors on Planck, which we were aware of, but didn't properly understand by the time of the 2013 data release,” adds George Efstathiou, an astrophysicist at the University of Cambridge, UK, and another member of the Planck science team. “It is a small systematic and has very little impact on the cosmology, but it is a systematic that will be removed from the 2014 data,” he says.
“With an experiment as sensitive as Planck, the great challenge is fully understanding all of the systematics,” says Spergel. He adds that just as the analysis of WMAP data continued to improve through its nine years of operations, “I anticipate that the Planck 2014 analysis will be an improvement on the Planck 2013 analysis.”
Cosmologist Michael Turner of the University of Chicago in Illinois quips, “Precision cosmology is hard; accurate cosmology is even harder.”
The proposed Chang’e 3 rover, scheduled for launch in December 2013.
Currently scheduled for launch in December 2013 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province, the Chang’e 3 mission aims to land a Chinese rover on the Moon. If the mission is successful, it will be the first soft landing on the Moon since the Russian Luna 24 mission in 1976. Overseen by the China National Space Administration, the Chang’e program is following a step-wise approach to lunar exploration that could lead to the first taikonaut stepping onto the Moon by 2025.
The previous Chang’e 1 and 2 lunar orbiting missions, launched in 2007 and 2010, represented the first phase of the Chang’e program. Chang’e 3, to be followed by Chang’e 4, represent the second phase of the program, both involving rovers. The third phase, with Chang’e 5, will be a sample-return mission and is currently scheduled for 2017. After that, it is anticipated that a new program will commence, which might culminate in a manned landing.
Chang’e is the name of a Chinese goddess who ascended to the Moon after consuming an immortality pill and there befriended a jade rabbit who was already a lunar resident. The elements of this legend were relayed by NASA to the Apollo 11 crew ahead of the first Moon landing in 1969. Michael Collins famously responded “Okay. We’ll keep a close eye out for the bunny girl.”
The Chang’e 3 lander will set down in Sinus Iridum, which is an extension of Mare Ibrium and roughly opposite the Apollo 15 landing site near Hadley Rille.
After landing, a solar-powered rover will roll off the lander and commence its mission, which is expected to last for at least three months, although presumably that will include a lot of down-time while the two-week-long lunar nights prevail.
The Chang’e 3 lander itself will continue to operate as a stationary science platform. It will be powered by a radioisotope thermoelectric generator and hence will be largely unaffected by the presence or absence of direct sunlight. The lander will operate a number of science instruments, including an optical telescope and a “soil probe” to conduct analyses of lunar regolith.
The Chang’e 3 rover will have a mass of 120 kilograms, including a 20 kg science payload. It is reported that it will explore widely over an area within a 5 kilometer radius of the lander. This sounds a little ambitious considering that the Spirit and Opportunity rovers traveled just 2 to 3 kilometers over their first year of operation, but the Chang’e 3 rover will have more advanced technology and more solar energy to draw upon.
The rover will also have autonomous hazard avoidance and navigation capacity, but with a radio delay of only 1.3 seconds from Earth, it will be mostly under the direct control of an Earth-based driver.
The rover’s science payload will include an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer, which has been standard issue on all the NASA Mars rovers to date, to enable geochemical analyses. The rover will also have a radar device on its underside, to investigate the structure and depth of the lunar regolith as well as the underlying structure of the lunar crust.
Chinese design plays it safe but ends up looking too much like Nasa's Mars vehicle
Chinese lunar rover looks too much like Nasa's Opportunity, say scientists
China´s lunar probe to land on moon next month
Wu Zhijian (C), spokesman with the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, introduces China's lunar probe at a press conference in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 26, 2013. China is scheduled to launch Chang'e-3 lunar probe to the moon in early December, marking the first time for a Chinese spacecraft to soft-land on the surface of an extraterrestrial body, the official said Tuesday.
Quelle: China News
Chinese moon lander on the verge of launch
Shortly after China’s Chang’e-3 spacecraft departs Earth to land on the Moon, ESA’s network of tracking stations will swing into action, providing crucial support for the vessel’s five-day lunar cruise.
China’s Chang’e-3, named after the mythological goddess of the Moon, is scheduled for lift off on 1 December from the Xichang launch base in China’s Sichuan province on a journey to deposit a lander and a six-wheeled rover on the lunar surface.
The landing, in the Sea of Rainbows on 14 December, will be the first since Russia’s Luna-24 in 1976.
Immediately after liftoff, ESA’s station in Kourou, French Guiana, will start receiving signals from the mission and uploading commands on behalf of the Chinese control centre.
The tracking will run daily throughout the voyage to the Moon. Then, during descent and after landing, ESA’s deep-space stations will pinpoint the craft’s path and touchdown.
“We are proud that the expertise of our ground station and flight dynamics teams and the sophisticated technologies of our worldwide Estrack network can assist China to deliver a scientifically important lander and rover to the Moon,” says ESA’s Thomas Reiter, Director for Human Spaceflight and Operations.
“Whether for human or robotic missions, international cooperation like this is necessary for the future exploration of planets, moons and asteroids, benefitting everyone.”
The effort is being run from the Estrack Control Centre in ESA’s European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany.
Chang’e-3 liftoff is set for around 18:00 GMT on 1 December, and the 15 m-diameter dish in Kourou will pick up the first signals around 18:44 GMT.
Working with Chinese tracking stations, Kourou will support the mission through lunar orbit entry on 6 December continuing until just prior to its descent to the surface, expected around mid-day on 14 December.
The landing and rover operations on the Moon will be commanded via two Chinese tracking stations at Kashi, in the far west of China, and at Jiamusi, in the northeast.
“After the lander and rover are on the surface, we will use our 35 m-diameter deep-space antennas at Cebreros, Spain, and New Norcia, Australia, to provide ‘delta-DOR’ location measurement,” says Erik Soerensen, responsible for external mission tracking support at ESOC.
“Using this delta-DOR technique, you can compute locations with extreme accuracy, which will help our Chinese colleagues to determine the precise location of the lander.”
Together with Cebreros, New Norcia will record Chang’e-3’s radio signals during landing, which will help the Chinese space agency to reconstruct the trajectory for future reference.
A team of engineers from China will be on hand in Darmstadt. “While we’re very international at ESOC, hardly anyone speaks Mandarin, so having Chinese colleagues on site will really help in case of any unforeseen problems,” says Erik.
“Both sides are using international technical standards to enable our stations and ESOC to communicate with their mission and ground systems."
China may soon become the world's third country to land an object on the surface of the Moon — and a bunny will be along for the ride. On Tuesday, the country voted to name its new lunar rover Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, out of 190,000 proposed ideas. The choice of name shouldn't be a surprise. On Sunday, December 1st at 17:30 GMT, the superpower will send the rover to the moon on board its Chang'e-3 lunar probe. In Chinese folklore, Chang'e was a goddess who accidentally swallowed an immortality pill and flew to the Moon, with only a rabbit to keep her company.
"Yutu is a symbol of kindness, purity and agility, and is identical to the moon rover in both outlook and connotation. Yutu also reflects China's peaceful use of space," said Li Benzheng, deputy commander-in-chief of China's lunar program, at a press conference announcing the naming choice.
Chang'e-1 and Chang'e-2 were merely lunar orbiters, and the primary goal of Chang'e-3 is to achieve a soft landing on the moon. Should all go well, Chang'e and Yutu should arrive on the Moon around December 14th, landing in a plain known as the Sea of Rainbows. After that, the six-wheeled rover will spend three months exploring for resources.
China's space program is advancing rapidly, with the country intending to put men on the moon and build a space station of its own before long. However, Chinese officials say they don't intend to provoke another space race, according to a translation at The Planetary Society.
In fact, we have no desire to race with any country. China has its own space program. We are realizing our own plans step by step. Our goal is to use space peacefully. It is also the consensus of the world. Human beings need to make use of space resources to support sustainable development.
Amusingly, the crew of Apollo 11 were asked to look for Chang'e and her rabbit companion as they were about to land on the moon way back in 1969. "We'll keep a close eye out for the bunny girl," replied astronaut Michael Collins at the time.
Quelle: The Verge
The launching tower where the Chang'e-3 lunar probe has been ready for being launched is loaded with fuel at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, southwest China's Sichuan Province, Nov. 30, 2013. China will launch the Chang'e-3 lunar probe to the moon at 1:30 a.m. Monday. It will be the first time for China to send a spacecraft to soft land on the surface of an extraterrestrial body, where it will conduct surveys on the moon.
ESA BODENSTATIONEN UNTERSTÜTZEN CHINESISCHE MONDMISSION
Planned orbit trim for Chang'e-3 canceled
BEIJING, China's Chang'e-3 probe entered a circular lunar orbit at 5:53 p.m. Friday Beijing Time, after about 112 hours on a Earth-Moon transfer orbit, the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC) said.
The probe entered the lunar orbit after 361 seconds of precise braking by the variable thrust engine, following orders by engineers with BACC.
The center later verified that Chang'e-3 had entered the 100 km-high lunar circular orbit.
The braking was important otherwise Chang'e-3 would have escapes from the Moon, or crashed into it, said BACC.
The probe was launched at 1:30 a.m. Monday from southwest China's Xichang Satellite Center. It should soft-land on the Moon in the middle of December.
March of Asteroids Across Dying Star
A dying star, called the Helix nebula, is shown surrounded by the tracks of asteroids in an image captured by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE.
In this image, infrared wavelengths of light have been assigned different colors, with longer wavelengths being red, and shorter, blue. The bluish-green and red materials are expelled remnants of what was once a star similar to our sun. As the star aged, it puffed up and its outer layers sloughed off. The burnt-out core of the star, called a white dwarf, is heating the expelled material, inducing it to glow with infrared light. Over time, the brilliant object, known as a planetary nebula, will fade away, leaving just the white dwarf.
Skirting around the edges of the Helix nebula are the footprints of asteroids marching across the field of view. Each set of yellow dots is a series of pictures of an asteroid. As the asteroid moved, WISE snapped several pictures, all of which are represented in this view. Scientists use these data to discover and characterize asteroids, including those that pass relatively close to Earth, called near-Earth asteroids. Infrared data are particularly useful for finding the smaller, darker asteroids that are more difficult to see with visible light, and for measuring the asteroids' sizes.
The other streaks in the picture are Earth-orbiting satellites and cosmic rays.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages and operates the recently activated NEOWISE mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. The WISE mission was selected competitively under NASA's Explorers Program managed by the agency's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The science instrument was built by the Space Dynamics Laboratory in Logan, Utah. The spacecraft was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colo. Science operations and data processing take place at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.
First Rock Dating Experiment Performed on Mars
Argon was forged in the doomed star that became the famous Crab Nebula: image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. (Courtesy: NASA, ESA, J Hester and A Loll (Arizona State University))