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Sonntag, 2. Februar 2014 - 17:13 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Zukünftig Mars Wasser trinken und Mond Luft atmen

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By 2018, Nasa is hoping to put a rover on the lunar surface that will be able to extract hydrogen, water and oxygen from the soil.

The RESOLVE (Regolith and Environment Science and Oxygen & Lunar Volatile Extraction) mission will grab handfuls of lunar dirt and heat them up to a temperature where hydrogen, oxygen and water vapour can escape. The two ingredients can then be combined to make water.

A similar experiment will be mounted on the next Mars rover, due to launch in 2020. However this version will involve extracting carbon dioxide from the Martian atmosphere, filtering out dust, and then processing the CO2 into oxygen.

Both missions are early experiments in the science of terraforming - turning other planets into environments that humans could live in without specialised equipment. Without oxygen and water we're unlikely to survive for too long - but bringing it from home is difficult, so it's far preferable to be able to conjure it up in-situ.

If the experiments are successful, future missions may involve industrialising the process, eventually allowing us to drink Martian water and breathe lunar air.


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Sonntag, 2. Februar 2014 - 11:45 Uhr

Astronomie - Aktive Supermassive Schwarze Löcher bewirken Galaxienzusammenführen

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A team of astronomers has conducted infrared observations of luminous, gas-rich, merging galaxies with the Subaru Telescope to study active, mass-accreting supermassive black holes (SMBHs). They found that at least one SMBH almost always becomes active and luminous by accreting a large amount of material (Figure 1). However, only a small fraction of the observed merging galaxies show multiple, active SMBHs. These results suggest that local physical conditions near SMBHs rather than general properties of galaxies primarily determine the activation of SMBHs.

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Figure 1: Artist's rendition of an active, mass-accreting black hole in a luminous, gas-rich merging galaxy. (Credit: NAOJ)

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In this Universe, dark matter has a much higher mass than luminous matter, and it dominates the formation of galaxies and their large-scale structures. The widely accepted, cold-dark-matter based galaxy formation scenario posits that collisions and mergers of small gas-rich galaxies result in the formation of massive galaxies seen in the current Universe. Recent observations show that SMBHs with more than one-million solar masses ubiquitously exist in the center of galaxies. The merger of gas-rich galaxies with SMBHs in their centers not only causes active star formation but also stimulates mass accretion onto the existing SMBHs. When material accretes onto a supermassive black hole (SMBH), the accretion disk surrounding the black hole becomes very hot from the release of gravitational energy, and it becomes very luminous. This process is referred to as active galactic nucleus (AGN) activity; it is different from the energy generation activity by nuclear fusion reactions within stars. Understanding the difference between these kinds of activities is crucial for clarifying the physical processes of galaxy formation. However, observation of these processes is challenging, because dust and gas shroud both star-formation and AGN activities in merging galaxies. Infrared observations are indispensable for this type of research, because they substantially reduce the effects of dust extinction.

To better understand these activities, a team of astronomers at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), led by Dr. Masatoshi Imanishi, used Subaru Telescope’s Infrared Camera and Spectrograph (IRCS) and its adaptive optics system to observe infrared luminous merging galaxies at the infrared K-band (a wavelength of 2.2 micrometers) and L’-band (a wavelength of 3.8 micrometers). They used imaging data at these wavelengths to establish a method to differentiate the activities of deeply buried, active SMBHs from those of star formation. The radiative energy-generation efficiency from active, mass-accreting SMBHs is much higher than that of the nuclear fusion reactions inside stars. An active SMBH generates a large amount of hot dust (several 100 Kelvins), which produces strong infrared L’-band radiation; the relative strengths of the infrared K- and L’-band emission distinguish the active SMBH from star-forming activity. Since dust extinction effects are small at these infrared wavelengths, the method can detect even deeply buried, active SMBHs, which are elusive in optical wavelengths. Subaru Telescope’s adaptive optics system enabled the team to obtain high spatial resolution images that allowed them to effectively investigate emission that originates in active SMBHs in the nuclear regions of galaxies by minimizing emission contamination from galaxy-wide, star-forming activity.

The team observed 29 infrared luminous gas-rich merging galaxies. Based on the relative strength of the infrared K- and L’-band emission at galaxy nuclei, they confirmed that at least one active SMBH occurs in every galaxy but one (Figure 2). This indicates that in gas-rich, merging galaxies, a large amount of material can accrete onto SMBHs, and many such SMBHs can show AGN activity.

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Figure 2: Examples of infrared K-band images of luminous, gas-rich, merging galaxies. The image size is 10 arc seconds. North is up, and east is to the left. The individual images clearly show aspects of the merging process, such as interacting double galaxy nuclei and extended/bridging faint emission structure. (Credit: NAOJ)

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However, only four merging galaxies display multiple, active SMBHs (Figure 3). If both of the original merged galaxies had SMBHs, then we would expect that multiple SMBHs would occur in many merging galaxies. To observe these SMBHs as luminous AGN activity, the SMBHs must actively accrete material. The team’s results mean that not all SMBHs in gas-rich merging galaxies are actively mass accreting, and that multiple SMBHs may have considerably different mass accretion rates onto SMBHs. Quantitative measurement of the degree of mass accretion rates of SMBHs is usually based on the brightness of AGNs per unit SMBH mass (Figure 4). Comparison of SMBH-mass-normalized AGN luminosity (=AGN luminosity divided by SMBH mass) among multiple nuclei confirms the scenario of different mass accretion rates onto multiple SMBHs in infrared-luminous, gas-rich merging galaxies.

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Figure 3: Infrared K-band and L’-band images of four luminous, gas-rich, merging galaxies that display multiple, active SMBHs. The image size is 10 arc seconds. North is up, and east is to the left. They show emission from multiple galaxy nuclei. The infrared K-band to L’-band emission strength ratios characterize emission of AGN-heated hot dust, not a star-formation-related one. (Credit: NAOJ)

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Figure 4: The vertical axis is the comparison of SMBH-mass-normalized AGN luminosity (= AGN luminosity divided by SMBH mass) between multiple nuclei. The horizontal axis is the apparent separation of galaxy nuclei. 1 kilo-parsec corresponds to 30000 trillion kilometers (19000 trillion miles). The supermassive black-hole (SMBH) masses are derived from stellar emission luminosity at individual galaxy nuclei, because SMBH mass and galaxy stellar emission luminosity are found to correlate in nearby galaxies. If both SMBHs have the same mass accretion rate, when normalized to the SMBH mass, then such objects are distributed around the horizontal solid line, at the value of unity in the vertical axis. Objects above the horizontal solid line are SMBHs with larger mass and show more active mass accretion, while those below have a smaller mass and show less active mass accretion.(Credit: NAOJ)

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The findings demonstrate that local conditions around SMBHs rather than general properties of galaxies dominate the mass accretion process onto SMBHs. Since the size scale of mass accretion onto SMBHs is very small compared to the galaxy scale, such phenomena are difficult to predict based on computer simulations of galaxy mergers. Actual observations are crucially important for best understanding the mass accretion process onto SMBHs that occurs during galaxy mergers.

 

Reference:

Imanishi, M. & Saito, Y. 2014 “Subaru Adaptive-optics High-spatial-resolution Infrared K- and L’-band Imaging Search for Deeply Buried Dual AGNs in Merging Galaxies”, Astrophysical Journal, Volume 780, article id. 106.

Quelle: Subaru Telescope


Tags: Subaru Telescope 

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Samstag, 1. Februar 2014 - 22:42 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Zukünftige 1 Jahr lange ISS Besatzung hat Survival-Training im russischen Wald beendet

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Two Russian cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut have completed survival training in freezing weather in woods outside Moscow

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Two Russian cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut have completed survival training in freezing weather in woods outside Moscow, the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center said Friday in a statement.

Gennadii Padalka, Mikhail Kornienko and Scott Kelly constructed a makeshift hut, built a signal fire, and practiced first aid on each other in -20C or -4F weather as preparation for emergency space landings in remote forests or swamps.

The future crew of the International Space Station is scheduled to launch aboard a Soyuz spacecraft in spring 2015.

Kornienko and Kelly are planned to be the first astronauts to stay aboard the ISS for a full year, which would be the longest spaceflight by a NASA astronaut. Previous missions have been capped at six months.

The all-time duration record is held by Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov, who spent over 14 months aboard the Mir space station in 1994-1995.

The emergency preparations are not without cause.

Alexei Leonov, the first person to walk in space, spent two nights camped in -30C or -22F weather in a Russian forest with crewmate Pavel Belyayev after their Voskhkod spacecraft left them stranded 400km or 250 miles from their expected landing site in 1965.

Russian cosmonaut survival kits include a specially designed heat suit, wool hat, fur boots and a pistol to fend off wolves and bears.

Quelle: RIA Novosti

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NASA, Roscosmos Assign Veteran Crew to Yearlong Space Station Mission

 

WASHINGTON -- NASA, the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), and their international partners have selected two veteran spacefarers for a one-year mission aboard the International Space Station in 2015. This mission will include collecting scientific data important to future human exploration of our solar system. NASA has selected Scott Kelly and Roscosmos has chosen Mikhail Kornienko.


Kelly and Kornienko will launch aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in spring 2015 and will land in Kazakhstan in spring 2016. Kelly and Kornienko already have a connection; Kelly was a backup crew member for the station's Expedition 23/24 crews, where Kornienko served as a flight engineer.

The goal of their yearlong expedition aboard the orbiting laboratory is to understand better how the human body reacts and adapts to the harsh environment of space. Data from the 12-month expedition will help inform current assessments of crew performance and health and will determine better and validate countermeasures to reduce the risks associated with future exploration as NASA plans for missions around the moon, an asteroid and ultimately Mars.

"Congratulations to Scott and Mikhail on their selection for this important mission," said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Their skills and previous experience aboard the space station align with the mission's requirements. The one-year increment will expand the bounds of how we live and work in space and will increase our knowledge regarding the effects of microgravity on humans as we prepare for future missions beyond low-Earth orbit."

"Selection of the candidate for the one year mission was thorough and difficult due to the number of suitable candidates from the Cosmonaut corps," said head of Russian Federal Space Agency, Vladimir Popovkin. "We have chosen the most responsible, skilled and enthusiastic crew members to expand space exploration, and we have full confidence in them."

Kelly, a retired captain in the U.S. Navy, is from West Orange, N.J. He has degrees from the State University of New York Maritime College and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He served as a pilot on space shuttle mission STS-103 in 1999, commander on STS-118 in 2007, flight engineer on the International Space Station Expedition 25 in 2010 and commander of Expedition 26 in 2011. Kelly has logged more than 180 days in space.

Kornienko is from the Syzran, Kuibyshev region of Russia. He is a former paratrooper officer and graduated from the Moscow Aviation Institute as a specialist in airborne systems. He has worked in the space industry since 1986 when he worked at Rocket and Space Corporation-Energia as a spacewalk handbook specialist. He was selected as an Energia test cosmonaut candidate in 1998 and trained as an International Space Station Expedition 8 backup crew member. Kornienko served as a flight engineer on the station's Expedition 23/24 crews in 2010 and has logged more than 176 days in space.

During the 12 years of permanent human presence aboard the International Space Station, scientists and researchers have gained valuable, and often surprising, data on the effects of microgravity on bone density, muscle mass, strength, vision and other aspects of human physiology. This yearlong stay will allow for greater analysis of these effects and trends.

Quelle: NASA

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NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, Expedition 25 flight engineer and Expedition 26 commander, attired in a Russian Sokol launch and entry suit, takes a break from training in Star City, Russia to pose for a portrait. Photo credit: Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center

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Scott J. Kelly (CAPTAIN, USN, RET.)
NASA Astronaut

PERSONAL DATA: Born February 21, 1964 in Orange, New Jersey. He has two children.

EDUCATION: Graduated from Mountain High School, West Orange, New Jersey, in 1982; received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the State University of New York Maritime College in 1987 and a Master of Science degree in Aviation Systems from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 1996.

ORGANIZATIONS: Associate Fellow, Society of Experimental Test Pilots; Member, Association of Space Explorers

SPECIAL HONORS: Two Defense Superior Service Medals, Distinguished Flying Cross, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, two Navy Unit Commendations, National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, NASA Distinguished Service Medal, NASA Exceptional Service Medal, NASA Outstanding Leadership Medaltwo NASA Space Flight Medals, Russian Federation Medal for Merit in Space Exploration. Korolev Diploma from the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, 1999. Honorary Doctorate of Science degree from the State University of New York, 2008.

EXPERIENCE: Kelly received his commission from the State University of New York Maritime College in May 1987 and was designated a naval aviator in July 1989 at Naval Air Station (NAS) in Beeville, Texas. He then reported to Fighter Squadron 101 at NAS Oceana, Virginia Beach, Virginia, for initial F-14 Tomcat training. Upon completion of this training, he was assigned to Fighter Squadron 143 and made overseas deployments to the North Atlantic, Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea and Persian Gulf aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69). Kelly was selected to attend the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in January 1993 and completed training in June 1994. After graduation, he worked as a test pilot at the Strike Aircraft Test Squadron, Naval Air Warfare Center, Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Maryland, flying the F-14 Tomcat and F/A-18 Hornet. Kelly was the first pilot to fly an F-14 with an experimental digital flight control system installed and performed subsequent high angle of attack and departure testing. He has logged over 8,000 hours in more than 40 different aircraft and spacecraft and has over 250 carrier landings. Kelly holds a United States Coast Guard Third Mate’s license. Kelly retired from the U.S. Navy in June of 2012.

NASA EXPERIENCE: Selected by NASA in April 1996, Kelly reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. Following completion of training, he was assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Spacecraft Systems/Operations branch. A veteran of three space flights, Kelly has logged more than 180 days in space. He served as pilot on STS-103 in 1999 and was the Mission Commander on STS-118 in 2007. Following STS-103, Kelly served as NASA’s Director of Operations in Star City, Russia. He served as a backup crewmember for ISS Expedition 5 and as the Astronaut Office Space Station Branch Chief. Kelly also served as a Flight Engineer for ISS Expedition 25 and as the Commander of ISS Expedition 26. He currently serves as the International Space Station Operations Branch Chief within the Astronaut Office.

Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko have been selected to serve a one-year mission aboard the International Space Station in 2015. The goal of the mission is to understand how the human body reacts and adapts to the harsh environment of space. Data from the expedition will be used to reduce risks to the health of crewmembers as NASA prepares to advance space travel beyond low Earth orbit.

SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: STS-103 (December 19 to December 27, 1999) was an 8-day mission, during which the crew successfully installed new instruments and upgraded systems on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Enhancing HST scientific capabilities required three spacewalks (EVAs). The STS-103 mission was accomplished in 120 Earth orbits, traveling 3.2 million miles in 191 hours and 11 minutes.

STS-118 (August 8 to August 21, 2007) was the 119th space shuttle flight, the 22nd flight to the International Space Station (ISS), and the 20th flight for Endeavour. During the mission, Endeavour’s crew successfully added another truss segment, a new gyroscope and an external spare parts platform to the ISS. A new system that enables docked shuttles to draw electrical power from the station to extend visits to the outpost was successfully activated. A total of four EVAs were performed by three crewmembers. Endeavour carried approximately 5,000 pounds of equipment and supplies to the station and returned to Earth with approximately 4,000 pounds of hardware and equipment. Traveling 5.3 million miles in space, the STS-118 mission was completed in 12 days, 17 hours, 55 minutes and 34 seconds.

On October 7, 2010, Kelly launched aboard the Soyuz TMA-M spacecraft to serve a tour of duty on the ISS. He assumed command of Expedition 26 once the Soyuz TMA-19 undocked on November 24, 2010. After a 159 day stay aboard the ISS, Commander Kelly and Russian Flight Engineers Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka safely landed their Soyuz spacecraft on the Kazakhstan Steppe on March 16, 2011.

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Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, Expedition 23 flight engineer. Photo credit: Roscosmos/Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center.

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Kornienko, Mikhail Borisovich
Roscosmos Test-Cosmonaut
514th cosmonaut of the world
104th cosmonaut of the Russian Federation

BIRTHPLACE AND DATE:  Born 15 April, 1960, in Syzran, Kuibyshev region, Russia.

PERSONAL DATA:  Married to Irina Anatolievna Kornienko (Savostina); daughter Natalia.

EDUCATION:  Graduated from a secondary school in Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 1977; served in paratroops in 1978 – 1980; in 1981 to 1987 he studied at the Moscow Aviation Institute and graduated with an engineering degree (aircraft engine mechanical engineer).

EXPERIENCE: In 1980 Kornienko completed his military service and worked for the Moscow law enforcement agencies from 1980 to 1986. In 1986 started working for a mechanical engineering design bureau as a test engineer. In 1991-1995 he worked for commercial companies. In April 1995 Kornienko started working at the Energia Rocket/Space Corporation (RSC) as an engineer. He was responsible for technical documentation and software for testing and crew EVA training.

SPACEFLIGHT TRAINING: In February, 1998 Kornienko was selected as an Energia test cosmonaut candidate, and in 1999, following basic training at the Yu. Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, was qualified as a test cosmonaut.

From August 2001 to February 2003 Kornienko was assigned to the ISS 8 backup crew as an ISS flight engineer and Soyuz TM commander (for a launch on the Shuttle). Due to the Columbia tragedy the crew was reassigned. 
From March 2003 to August 2005 participated in RS ISS advanced training.  From September 2005 to January 2006 participated in ISS advanced training. 
From February 2006 trained as ISS 15 bu engineer and Soyuz TMA bu flight engineer. 
From March 2007 to August 2008 participated in RS ISS advanced training.
From August 2008 to April 2010 trained as an ISS 23/24 flight engineer and Soyuz TMA flight engineer.

SPACEFLIGHT EXPERIENCE:  From April 2, 2010 to September 25, 2010 completed his first spaceflight as a Soyuz TMA-18 and ISS-23 flight engineer with cosmonaut A. Skvortsov and astronaut T. Caldwell-Dyson (NASA).  Performed a spacewalk that lasted for 6 hours and 43 minutes.  Kornienko has logged 176 days 1 hour and 18 minutes in space.

AWARDS: Golden Star of the Hero of the Russian Federation (April 12, 2011), Gagarin medal, Honorary citizen of Syzran (2010). 

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Quelle: NASA


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Samstag, 1. Februar 2014 - 22:32 Uhr

Astronomie - NASA bietet die Chance, neue Planetensysteme zu entdecken

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Space enthusiasts are being given the chance to discover newly-forming solar systems in a fresh challenge backed by NASA. It is the latest in the Zooniverse collection of so-called citizen-science projects and the results will be of real interest to professional astronomers.

The new project is Disk Detective and it calls for the help of volunteers at home to find embryonic planetary systems hidden in the wealth of data that NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission returned in its survey of the skies.

The spacecraft, which has now begun a new role searching for asteroids from Earth orbit, carried out two scans of the entire sky between 2010 and 2011. It gathered detailed observations of more than 745 millon objects at infrared wavelengths, an incredible amount of data whose sheer volume presents something of a headache for astronomers wanting to analyse it all.

We need more examples of planet-forming habitats to better understand how planets grow and mature

Using computers, they have managed to whittle down these objects to about a half-million sources that shine brightly in infrared, indicating that they may be regions where planets are forming in dust-rich disks that are absorbing light from the central star and radiating it out as heat.

Marc Kuchner, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, said: “Planets form and grow within disks of gas, dust and icy grains that surround young stars, but many details about the process still elude us. We need more examples of planet-forming habitats to better understand how planets grow and mature.”

The reason astronomers can’t simply use computers to find the new planetary systems is that galaxies, interstellar dust clouds and asteroids also glow in infrared. The only way to tell for sure for the human eye to inspect each image and make a judgement - a massive task for a small team but ideal for volunters in the Zooniverse.

The Zooniverse, founded by Oxford astronomer and TV’s The Sky at Night presenter Chris Lintott, has been a massive success since it crashed onto the astronomical scene in 2007 with a single project called Galaxy Zoo. Swiss researcher Kevin Schawinski, then at Oxford, had been set the daunting challenge of finding blue elliptical galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. After a week he had examined 50,000 galaxies but got only through five per cent of the data. He thought there had to be a better way.

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Dramatic pictures of disks of dust encircling young stars, imaged by Hubble. Credit: ESA/NASA/STScI

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Lintott stepped in to set up a website where volunteers could click to identify different galaxies. After publicising Galaxy Zoo on radio and TV, demand quickly brought down the server! Then once back up, it became so successful that by the end of day two, the volunteers were already doing in one hour what Schawinski had only managed in a week.

Since then several other projects have been introduced under the Zooniverse umbrella from spotting black holes and gravitational warps to finding planets and identifying features on the Moon or the weather on Mars. It has expanded beyond astronomy to such tasks as identifying how whales communicate, classifying animals in the Serengeti and exploring soldiers’ diaries from World War One.

The latest project, Disk Detective, incorporates images from WISE and other sky surveys in brief animations known as flip books. Volunteers view a flip book and their judgement will allow astronomers to assess which sources should be explored in greater detail.

The project aims to find two types of developing planetary environments. The first, known as a young stellar object disk, is typically less than 5 million years old, contains large quantities of gas, and often is found in or near young star clusters. The second, known as a debris disk, tends to be older than 5 million years, possesses little or no gas, and contains belts of rocky or icy debris that resemble the asteroid and Kuiper belts found in our own solar system.

James Garvin, the chief scientist for NASA Goddard’s Sciences and Exploration Directorate, said: “Through Disk Detective, volunteers will help the astronomical community discover new planetary nurseries that will become future targets for NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope.”

Quelle: SEN


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Samstag, 1. Februar 2014 - 18:45 Uhr

Mars-Curiosity-Chroniken - Überprüfung möglicher einfacherer Routen

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This scene combines images taken by the left-eye camera of the Mast Camera (Mastcam) instrument on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover during the midafternoon, local Mars solar time, of the mission's 526th Martian day, or sol (Jan. 28, 2014).
Image Credit: 
NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
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The team operating NASA's Mars rover Curiosity is considering a path across a small sand dune to reach a favorable route to science destinations.

A favorable route would skirt some terrain with sharp rocks considered more likely to poke holes in the rover's aluminum wheels.

While the team has been assessing ways to reduce wear and tear to the wheels, Curiosity has made progress toward a next site for drilling a rock sample and also toward its long-term destination: geological layers exposed on slopes of Mount Sharp. The rover has driven into a mapping quadrant that includes a candidate site for drilling. Meanwhile, testing on Earth is validating capabilities for drilling into rocks on slopes the rover will likely encounter on Mount Sharp.

Curiosity has driven 865 feet (264.7 meters) since Jan. 1, for a total odometry of 3.04 miles (4.89 kilometers) since its August 2012 landing. 

Accumulation of punctures and rips in the wheels accelerated in the fourth quarter of 2013. Among the responses to that development, the team now drives the rover with added precautions, thoroughly checks the condition of Curiosity's wheels frequently, and is evaluating routes and driving methods that could avoid some wheel damage.

A dune about 3 feet (1 meter) high spans the gap between two scarps that might be a gateway to a southwestward route over relatively smooth ground. Curiosity is approaching the site, "Dingo Gap," from the southeast. The team is using images from the rover to assess whether to cross the dune.

"The decision hasn't been made yet, but it is prudent to go check," said Jim Erickson of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., project manager for Curiosity. "We'll take a peek over the dune into the valley immediately to the west to see whether the terrain looks as good as the analysis of orbital images implies." The orbital images come from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Other routes have also been evaluated for getting Curiosity from the rover's current location to a candidate drilling site called "KMS-9." That site lies about half a mile (800 meters) away by straight line, but considerably farther by any of the driving routes assessed. Characteristics seen in orbital imagery of the site appeal to Curiosity's science team. "At KMS-9, we see three terrain types exposed and a relatively dust-free surface," said science team collaborator Katie Stack of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.

Before Curiosity's landing inside Gale Crater, the mission's science team used images from orbit to map terrain types in a grid of 140 square quadrants, each about 0.9 mile (1.5 kilometers) wide. Curiosity landed in the "Yellowknife" quadrant and subsequently crossed parts of quadrants called "Mawson" and "Coeymans." This month, it entered the "Kimberley" quadrant, home of KMS-9.

Stack said, "This area is appealing because we can see terrain units unlike any that Curiosity has visited so far. One unit has striations all oriented in a similar direction. Another is smooth, without striations. We don't know yet what they are. The big draw is exploration and seeing new things."

Science investigations have continued along with recent drives. One rock examined on Jan. 15, "Harrison," revealed linear crystals with feldspar-rich composition.

To prepare for destinations farther ahead, engineers are using a test rover at JPL to check the rover's ability to tolerate slight slippage on slopes while using its drill. With the drill bit in a rock, tests simulating slips of up to about 2 inches (5 centimeters) have not caused damage.

"These tests are building confidence for operations we are likely to use when Curiosity is on the slopes of Mount Sharp," said JPL's Daniel Limonadi, systems engineering leader for surface sampling with the rover's arm.

Other testing at JPL is evaluating possible driving techniques that might help reduce the rate of wheel punctures, such as driving backwards or using four-wheel drive instead of six-wheel drive. Some of the wheel damage may result from the force of rear wheels pushing middle or front wheels against sharp rocks, rather than simply the weight of the rover driving over the rocks.

"An analogy is when you are rolling your wheeled luggage over a curb, you can feel the difference between trying to push it over the curb or pull it over the curb," said JPL's Richard Rainen, mechanical engineering team leader for Curiosity.

While continuing to evaluate routes and driving techniques, Curiosity's team will add some weekend and evening shifts in February to enable planning more drives than would otherwise be possible.

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NASA Mars Rover's View of Possible Westward Route

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This mosaic of images from the Navigation Camera (Navcam) on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity shows the terrain to the west from the rover's position on the 528th Martian day, or sol, of the mission (Jan. 30, 2014).

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NASA's Curiosity Mars rover reached the edge of a dune on Jan. 30 and photographed the valley on the other side, to aid assessment of whether to cross the dune.

Curiosity is on a southwestward traverse of many months from an area where it found evidence of ancient conditions favorable for microbial life to its long-term science destination on the lower slopes of Mount Sharp. Based on analysis of images taken from orbit by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, a location dubbed "Dingo Gap" was assessed as a possible gateway to a favorable route for the next portion of the traverse.

A dune across Dingo Gap is about 3 feet (1 meter) high, tapered off at both sides of the gap between two low scarps. Curiosity reached the eastern side of the dune on Jan. 30 and returned images that the rover team is using to guide decisions about upcoming drives.

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Project is using Curiosity to assess ancient habitable environments and major changes in Martian environmental conditions. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, built the rover and manages the project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

Quelle: NASA


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Samstag, 1. Februar 2014 - 18:31 Uhr

Mars-Curiosity-Chroniken - Curiosity-News Sol 519-528

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 519 (2014-01-21 09:44:04 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 519 (2014-01-21 09:44:30 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 519 (2014-01-21 10:00:26 UTC).

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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on January 21, 2014, Sol 519 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 09:54:29 UTC.

When this image was obtained, the focus motor count position was 12552. This number indicates the internal position of the MAHLI lens at the time the image was acquired. This count also tells whether the dust cover was open or closed. Values between 0 and 6000 mean the dust cover was closed; values between 12500 and 16000 occur when the cover is open. For close-up images, the motor count can in some cases be used to estimate the distance between the MAHLI lens and target. For example, in-focus images obtained with the dust cover open for which the lens was 2.5 cm from the target have a motor count near 15270. If the lens is 5 cm from the target, the motor count is near 14360; if 7 cm, 13980; 10 cm, 13635; 15 cm, 13325; 20 cm, 13155; 25 cm, 13050; 30 cm, 12970. These correspond to image scales, in micrometers per pixel, of about 16, 25, 32, 42, 60, 77, 95, and 113.

Most images acquired by MAHLI in daylight use the sun as an illumination source. However, in some cases, MAHLI's two groups of white light LEDs and one group of longwave ultraviolet (UV) LEDs might be used to illuminate targets. When Curiosity acquired this image, the group 1 white light LEDs were off, the group 2 white light LEDs were off, and the ultraviolet (UV) LEDS were off.

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 519 (2014-01-21 09:38:13 UTC).

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 519 (2014-01-21 09:39:40 UTC).

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 519 (2014-01-21 09:51:04 UTC).

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This image was taken by Rear Hazcam: Left B (RHAZ_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 519 (2014-01-21 09:08:13 UTC).

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This image was taken by Front Hazcam: Left B (FHAZ_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 519 (2014-01-21 09:36:31 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 520 (2014-01-22 09:41:01 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 520 (2014-01-22 10:21:14 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 520 (2014-01-22 13:37:34 UTC).

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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on January 22, 2014, Sol 520 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 10:35:44 UTC.

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This image was taken by Navcam: Left B (NAV_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 520 (2014-01-22 11:30:45 UTC).

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This image was taken by Rear Hazcam: Right B (RHAZ_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 520 (2014-01-22 11:15:54 UTC).

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This image was taken by Front Hazcam: Right B (FHAZ_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 520 (2014-01-22 11:24:43 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 521 (2014-01-23 11:51:18 UTC).

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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on January 23, 2014, Sol 521 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 11:12:47 UTC.

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 521 (2014-01-23 11:52:57 UTC).

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This image was taken by Navcam: Left B (NAV_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 521 (2014-01-23 11:51:55 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 522 (2014-01-24 10:25:11 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 522 (2014-01-24 10:26:47 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 522 (2014-01-24 11:07:31 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 522 (2014-01-24 11:08:40 UTC).

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 522 (2014-01-24 11:15:21 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 523 (2014-01-25 12:51:32 UTC).

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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on January 25, 2014, Sol 523 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 14:46:48 UTC.

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This image was taken by Front Hazcam: Left B (FHAZ_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 523 (2014-01-25 14:38:02 UTC)

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 524 (2014-01-26 14:44:14 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 524 (2014-01-26 14:44:14 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 524 (2014-01-26 14:44:31 UTC).

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 524 (2014-01-26 14:52:49 UTC).

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 524 (2014-01-26 14:54:55 UTC).

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This image was taken by Rear Hazcam: Left B (RHAZ_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 524 (2014-01-26 14:38:34 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 526 (2014-01-28 14:23:01 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 526 (2014-01-28 15:59:52 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 526 (2014-01-28 16:00:27 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 526 (2014-01-28 16:00:43 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 526 (2014-01-28 16:01:01 UTC).

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 526 (2014-01-28 15:54:20 UTC).

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 526 (2014-01-28 17:09:58 UTC).

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 526 (2014-01-28 17:09:58 UTC).

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This image was taken by Rear Hazcam: Left B (RHAZ_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 526 (2014-01-28 15:52:56 UTC).

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This image was taken by Front Hazcam: Left B (FHAZ_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 526 (2014-01-28 15:52:29 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 527 (2014-01-29 13:37:13 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 527 (2014-01-29 16:13:24 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 527 (2014-01-29 16:13:41 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 527 (2014-01-29 16:13:58 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 527 (2014-01-29 16:14:14 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 527 (2014-01-29 16:15:59 UTC).

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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on January 29, 2014, Sol 527 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 18:05:51 UTC.

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 527 (2014-01-29 16:08:48 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 528 (2014-01-30 16:09:50 UTC)

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 528 (2014-01-30 16:13:16 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 528 (2014-01-30 15:50:12 UTC).

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 528 (2014-01-30 15:53:57 UTC).

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 528 (2014-01-30 16:17:09 UTC).

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 528 (2014-01-30 17:49:50 UTC).

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This image was taken by Navcam: Left B (NAV_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 528 (2014-01-30 16:17:48 UTC).

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This image was taken by Rear Hazcam: Left B (RHAZ_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 528 (2014-01-30 15:37:23 UTC).

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This image was taken by Front Hazcam: Left B (FHAZ_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 528 (2014-01-30 16:07:13 UTC).

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Fotos: NASA


Tags: Mars-Rover Curiosity-News Sol 519-528 

2602 Views

Freitag, 31. Januar 2014 - 22:52 Uhr

Astronomie - Abschlussbericht der NASA zu Asteroid ARM-Konzepte

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This report summarizes the discussions and recommendations that emerged from the Asteroid Initiative Ideas Synthesis Workshop.

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NASA Posts Final Asteroid Workshop Report

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In 2013, NASA kicked off the Asteroid Redirect Mission and the Asteroid Grand Challenge, collectively known as the Asteroid Initiative. On June 18, we issued a Request for Information to seek innovative ideas that could help NASA refine the objectives of the Asteroid Initiative and initial ARM concepts, to explore alternative mission concepts, and to broaden participation in the mission and planetary defense. Those ides were discussed at a fall 2013 workshop. Today, NASA posted the final report summarizing the workshop discussion and recommendations.

An unprecedented response followed the release of the RFI: the agency received 402 responses, 40 percent of which were from individuals and members of the general public. 

All the ideas were evaluated and rated. 96 of the ideas were chosen to explore in greater depth at the Asteroid Initiative Workshop, held in two parts at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas. The first part took place on September 30 before the government shutdown, with 150 people attended in person. The workshop resumed on November 20-22, and approximately 120 people returned. Over 2,000 people were able to participate virtually. 

The purpose of the workshop was to further examine and foster a broad discussion of the most promising ideas gathered via the RFI, and to identify and synthesize ideas that could help refine the concept to find, capture and redirect, and explore an asteroid and generate new ideas for planetary defense. The workshop participants also made recommendations for further studies and next steps. 

We are already acting on the ideas submitted through the RFI process. The NEOWISE spacecraft was reactivated in September 2013 to search for near-Earth asteroids that could be potential targets for the ARM.

Other recommendations from the workshop include holding additional forums to engage citizens in the asteroid initiative, and creating incentive prizes for milestones in both the mission and grand challenge.

NASA’s Asteroid Initiative consists of two separate but related activities: the Asteroid Redirect Mission and the Asteroid Grand Challenge.  NASA is developing concepts for the mission, which would use a robotic spacecraft to capture a small near-Earth asteroid (7 to 10 meters), or remove a boulder (1 to 10 meters) from the surface of a larger asteroid, and redirect it into a stable orbit around the moon. Astronauts launched aboard the Orion crew capsule and Space Launch System rocket would rendezvous with the captured asteroid material in lunar orbit, and collect samples for return to Earth.

The grand challenge is seeking the best ideas to find all asteroid threats to human populations, and to accelerate the work that NASA is already doing for planetary defense. The Asteroid Initiative will leverage and integrate NASA’s activities in human exploration, space technology, and space science to advance the technologies and capabilities needed for future human and robotic exploration, to enable the first human mission to interact with asteroid material, and to accelerate efforts to detect, track, characterize, and mitigate the threat of potentially hazardous asteroids.

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This image of a patch of sky in the constellation Pisces is among the first taken by the revived NEOWISE spacecraft's infrared cameras, and shows the ultimate target: asteroids. Appearing as a string of red dots, an asteroid can be seen in a series of exposures captured by the spacecraft.

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NEOWISE's Next Light

NASA's NEOWISE spacecraft opened its "eyes" after more than two years of slumber to see the starry sky with the same clarity achieved during its prime mission. This image of a patch of sky in the constellation Pisces is among the first taken by the revived spacecraft's infrared cameras, and shows the ultimate target: asteroids. Appearing as a string of red dots, an asteroid can be seen in a series of exposures captured by the spacecraft.

The rocky body belongs to our solar system's main belt, a band of asteroids that orbits between Mars and Jupiter. NEOWISE is on the lookout for both main belt asteroids such as these, and especially for near-Earth objects (NEOs), which include asteroids and comets that pass relatively close to Earth.

The asteroid is called Holda, or 872, and was discovered in 1917.

The faint red streak in the image is an Earth-orbiting satellite passing above the NEOWISE spacecraft.

NEOWISE originated as a mission called WISE, which was put into hibernation in 2011 upon completing its goal of surveying the entire sky in infrared light. WISE cataloged three quarters of a billion objects, including asteroids, stars and galaxies. In August 2013, NASA decided to reinstate the spacecraft on a mission to find and characterize more asteroids.

JPL manages NEOWISE for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at the agency's headquarters in Washington. The Space Dynamics Laboratory in Logan, Utah, built the science instrument. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. of Boulder, Colo., built the spacecraft. Science operations and data processing take place at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

Quelle: NASA


2718 Views

Freitag, 31. Januar 2014 - 12:00 Uhr

Mars-Curiosity-Chroniken - Curiosity-News Sol 503-518

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 503 (2014-01-04 21:46:56 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 503 (2014-01-04 21:47:11 UTC). 
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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on January 4, 2014, Sol 503 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 22:54:26 UTC.
When this image was obtained, the focus motor count position was 14624. This number indicates the internal position of the MAHLI lens at the time the image was acquired. This count also tells whether the dust cover was open or closed. Values between 0 and 6000 mean the dust cover was closed; values between 12500 and 16000 occur when the cover is open. For close-up images, the motor count can in some cases be used to estimate the distance between the MAHLI lens and target. For example, in-focus images obtained with the dust cover open for which the lens was 2.5 cm from the target have a motor count near 15270. If the lens is 5 cm from the target, the motor count is near 14360; if 7 cm, 13980; 10 cm, 13635; 15 cm, 13325; 20 cm, 13155; 25 cm, 13050; 30 cm, 12970. These correspond to image scales, in micrometers per pixel, of about 16, 25, 32, 42, 60, 77, 95, and 113.
Most images acquired by MAHLI in daylight use the sun as an illumination source. However, in some cases, MAHLI's two groups of white light LEDs and one group of longwave ultraviolet (UV) LEDs might be used to illuminate targets. When Curiosity acquired this image, the group 1 white light LEDs were off, the group 2 white light LEDs were off, and the ultraviolet (UV) LEDS were off. 
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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on January 4, 2014, Sol 503 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 23:09:05 UTC.
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This image was taken by ChemCam: Remote Micro-Imager (CHEMCAM_RMI) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 503 (2014-01-04 21:36:00 UTC).
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This image was taken by Navcam: Left B (NAV_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 503 (2014-01-04 21:49:12 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Front Hazcam: Right B (FHAZ_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 503 (2014-01-04 23:19:32 UTC).
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 504 (2014-01-06 00:57:06 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 504 (2014-01-06 00:57:42 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 504 (2014-01-06 01:06:23 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 504 (2014-01-06 03:00:20 UTC). 
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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on January 5, 2014, Sol 504 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 23:37:14 UTC.
When this image was obtained, the focus motor count position was 12582. This number indicates the internal position of the MAHLI lens at the time the image was acquired. This count also tells whether the dust cover was open or closed. Values between 0 and 6000 mean the dust cover was closed; values between 12500 and 16000 occur when the cover is open. For close-up images, the motor count can in some cases be used to estimate the distance between the MAHLI lens and target. For example, in-focus images obtained with the dust cover open for which the lens was 2.5 cm from the target have a motor count near 15270. If the lens is 5 cm from the target, the motor count is near 14360; if 7 cm, 13980; 10 cm, 13635; 15 cm, 13325; 20 cm, 13155; 25 cm, 13050; 30 cm, 12970. These correspond to image scales, in micrometers per pixel, of about 16, 25, 32, 42, 60, 77, 95, and 113.
Most images acquired by MAHLI in daylight use the sun as an illumination source. However, in some cases, MAHLI's two groups of white light LEDs and one group of longwave ultraviolet (UV) LEDs might be used to illuminate targets. When Curiosity acquired this image, the group 1 white light LEDs were off, the group 2 white light LEDs were off, and the ultraviolet (UV) LEDS were off. 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 504 (2014-01-06 01:00:43 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 504 (2014-01-06 02:48:42 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Left B (NAV_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 504 (2014-01-06 00:51:17 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Left B (NAV_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 504 (2014-01-06 02:47:40 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Left B (NAV_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 504 (2014-01-06 02:48:42 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Rear Hazcam: Left B (RHAZ_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 504 (2014-01-06 00:31:42 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Front Hazcam: Left B (FHAZ_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 504 (2014-01-06 00:16:40 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 505 (2014-01-07 01:42:46 UTC). 
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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on January 5, 2014, Sol 504 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 23:34:05 UTC.
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 506 (2014-01-08 01:50:22 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 506 (2014-01-08 03:45:16 UTC). 
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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on January 8, 2014, Sol 506 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 00:13:37 UTC.
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This image was taken by Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 506 (2014-01-08 05:52:08 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 506 (2014-01-08 01:10:55 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Rear Hazcam: Left B (RHAZ_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 506 (2014-01-08 01:43:51 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Front Hazcam: Left B (FHAZ_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 506 (2014-01-08 01:43:31 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 508 (2014-01-10 04:49:32 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 508 (2014-01-10 04:33:32 UTC). 
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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on January 10, 2014, Sol 508 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 02:01:04 UTC.
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 509 (2014-01-11 04:49:44 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 509 (2014-01-11 04:49:04 UTC). 
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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on January 12, 2014, Sol 510 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 03:05:43 UTC.
When this image was obtained, the focus motor count position was 13972. This number indicates the internal position of the MAHLI lens at the time the image was acquired. This count also tells whether the dust cover was open or closed. Values between 0 and 6000 mean the dust cover was closed; values between 12500 and 16000 occur when the cover is open. For close-up images, the motor count can in some cases be used to estimate the distance between the MAHLI lens and target. For example, in-focus images obtained with the dust cover open for which the lens was 2.5 cm from the target have a motor count near 15270. If the lens is 5 cm from the target, the motor count is near 14360; if 7 cm, 13980; 10 cm, 13635; 15 cm, 13325; 20 cm, 13155; 25 cm, 13050; 30 cm, 12970. These correspond to image scales, in micrometers per pixel, of about 16, 25, 32, 42, 60, 77, 95, and 113.
Most images acquired by MAHLI in daylight use the sun as an illumination source. However, in some cases, MAHLI's two groups of white light LEDs and one group of longwave ultraviolet (UV) LEDs might be used to illuminate targets. When Curiosity acquired this image, the group 1 white light LEDs were off, the group 2 white light LEDs were off, and the ultraviolet (UV) LEDS were off. 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 510 (2014-01-12 02:28:44 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Left B (NAV_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 510 (2014-01-12 03:31:44 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Front Hazcam: Left B (FHAZ_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 510 (2014-01-12 02:11:30 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Left B (NAV_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 511 (2014-01-13 04:29:05 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Rear Hazcam: Left B (RHAZ_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 511 (2014-01-13 04:06:29 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Front Hazcam: Left B (FHAZ_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 511 (2014-01-13 03:58:34 UTC). 
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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on January 14, 2014, Sol 512 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 05:19:47 UTC.
When this image was obtained, the focus motor count position was 12996. This number indicates the internal position of the MAHLI lens at the time the image was acquired. This count also tells whether the dust cover was open or closed. Values between 0 and 6000 mean the dust cover was closed; values between 12500 and 16000 occur when the cover is open. For close-up images, the motor count can in some cases be used to estimate the distance between the MAHLI lens and target. For example, in-focus images obtained with the dust cover open for which the lens was 2.5 cm from the target have a motor count near 15270. If the lens is 5 cm from the target, the motor count is near 14360; if 7 cm, 13980; 10 cm, 13635; 15 cm, 13325; 20 cm, 13155; 25 cm, 13050; 30 cm, 12970. These correspond to image scales, in micrometers per pixel, of about 16, 25, 32, 42, 60, 77, 95, and 113.
Most images acquired by MAHLI in daylight use the sun as an illumination source. However, in some cases, MAHLI's two groups of white light LEDs and one group of longwave ultraviolet (UV) LEDs might be used to illuminate targets. When Curiosity acquired this image, the group 1 white light LEDs were off, the group 2 white light LEDs were off, and the ultraviolet (UV) LEDS were off. 
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This image was taken by Rear Hazcam: Right B (RHAZ_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 512 (2014-01-14 04:12:22 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 513 (2014-01-15 07:29:05 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 513 (2014-01-15 07:38:33 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 513 (2014-01-15 07:52:22 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 513 (2014-01-15 06:10:15 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 514 (2014-01-16 06:31:54 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 514 (2014-01-16 06:28:56 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 515 (2014-01-17 07:37:19 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 515 (2014-01-17 07:28:35 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 516 (2014-01-18 09:03:12 UTC). 
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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on January 18, 2014, Sol 516 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 10:46:10 UTC.
When this image was obtained, the focus motor count position was 13556. This number indicates the internal position of the MAHLI lens at the time the image was acquired. This count also tells whether the dust cover was open or closed. Values between 0 and 6000 mean the dust cover was closed; values between 12500 and 16000 occur when the cover is open. For close-up images, the motor count can in some cases be used to estimate the distance between the MAHLI lens and target. For example, in-focus images obtained with the dust cover open for which the lens was 2.5 cm from the target have a motor count near 15270. If the lens is 5 cm from the target, the motor count is near 14360; if 7 cm, 13980; 10 cm, 13635; 15 cm, 13325; 20 cm, 13155; 25 cm, 13050; 30 cm, 12970. These correspond to image scales, in micrometers per pixel, of about 16, 25, 32, 42, 60, 77, 95, and 113.
Most images acquired by MAHLI in daylight use the sun as an illumination source. However, in some cases, MAHLI's two groups of white light LEDs and one group of longwave ultraviolet (UV) LEDs might be used to illuminate targets. When Curiosity acquired this image, the group 1 white light LEDs were off, the group 2 white light LEDs were off, and the ultraviolet (UV) LEDS were off. 
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This image was taken by Front Hazcam: Right B (FHAZ_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 516 (2014-01-18 10:44:39 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 517 (2014-01-19 09:06:52 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 517 (2014-01-19 09:07:06 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 517 (2014-01-19 09:08:01 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 518 (2014-01-20 08:50:22 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Left B (NAV_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 518 (2014-01-20 08:46:35 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Rear Hazcam: Right B (RHAZ_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 518 (2014-01-20 08:08:27 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Front Hazcam: Left B (FHAZ_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 518 (2014-01-20 08:33:17 UTC). 
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Fotos: NASA

Tags: Mars-Rover Curiosity-News Sol 503-518 

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Donnerstag, 30. Januar 2014 - 23:24 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Start-Fenster ist geöffnet auf Poker Flat für NASA-Aurora-Forschungs-Rakete

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FAIRBANKS — Researchers from Texas and California are getting ready to launch a NASA rocket to study the aurora. 
The 48-foot rocket will be launched from Poker Flat Research Range on a night when the aurora is visible. The rocket will fly 200 miles above Venetie, a village 140 miles north of Fairbanks, while cameras stationed there will film the aurora from beneath.
 
The launch window began last Friday and extends through Feb. 6.  
The researchers are waiting for a clear, moonless night to launch the rocket.
Learning about the energy between the sun and Earth that controls the aurora and influences Global Positioning Systems and satellites is the goal of Marilia Samara, the project’s lead scientist from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas.
After the rocket is launched, UAF Geophysical Institute researchers will launch a smaller rocket that they built to test a launch rack they developed and test communication, compass and GPS systems.
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Quelle: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
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Rockets set to launch from Poker Flat Research Range

Jeff Rothman, manager of the Geophysical Institute Electronics Shop, as he works on the carbon-fiber rocket that will launch from Poker Flat Research Range in early 2014. The project is led by associate professor Mark Conde of the GI’s Space Physics Research Group.
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Today marks the opening of the 2014 launch season at Poker Flat Research Range north of Fairbanks.
Scientists are preparing for an experiment that will launch a NASA sounding rocket over the aurora while observing beneath it using cameras based at a village in northern Alaska. The launch window for the experiment opens tonight and extends to Feb. 6, 2014. A second, smaller test launch will follow.
Marilia Samara of the Southwest Research Institute of San Antonio, Texas, is the lead scientist on the aurora experiment. She will use three particle instruments and six electric and magnetic field probes that extend like arms from the rocket while it arcs 200 miles above the village of Venetie. Her goal is to learn more about the sun-Earth energy connection that powers the aurora and affects our satellites and Global Positioning Systems.
Her launch is a collaborative effort between co-investigators Robert Michell and Keiichi Ogasawara of the Southwest Research Institute, and John Bonnell of the University of California Berkeley. Sounding rocket teams from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, and Poker Flat Research Range, which is operated by the University of Alaska Fairbanks, are supporting the launch.
Michell and Don Hampton of the UAF Geophysical Institute have set up a suite of ground-based imagers in Venetie, which is on the Chandalar River north of the Arctic Circle.
While Samara directs the launch of a 48-foot rocket from Poker Flat, Venetie resident Lance Whitwell will help operate the all-sky and narrow-field imagers. The researchers want to view an active aurora from directly beneath the curtain in Venetie at the same moment the rocket is flying over it.
“We’ll be going through precipitating electrons (with the rocket) while looking at the aurora structure (from the ground),” Samara said.
The two-stage rocket will deploy four telescopic and two fold-down arms to measure the heavenly electric field, the magnetic field and plasma density, while the particle detectors bolted on the front of the rocket measure the electrons responsible for the visible light of the aurora. The researchers’ goal is to launch the rocket on a clear, moonless night when the aurora is overhead at Venetie.
Even a less-than-fantastic display will allow instruments on the rocket to radio data back to Poker Flat that will be useful to the scientists and several graduate students. The scientists hope that this research might someday let them infer electrical properties about the aurora by using cameras stationed on the ground.
“If we fly over any aurora, we’ll get good science from it,” Samara said.
Students from the John Fredson School in Venetie will communicate with children from the Sunshine Cottage School for Deaf Children in San Antonio on school projects related to aurora and the launch.
Following Samara’s launch, researchers with the Geophysical Institute will use the facilities at Poker Flat to test a new launch vehicle they developed. Associate professor Mark Conde is the lead scientist on the project, the fruition of several years work by Jeff Rothman of the institute’s electronics shop. Members of the institute’s machine shop also built a custom launching rack for the mission.
Conde and Rothman will launch a 10-foot-long carbon-fiber rocket that will travel just three miles up at the highest point of its arc. Conde, a space physicist, saw a need for the small rocket as a low-cost way for scientists to test intricate parts of rocket experiments.
A ride on a full-scale rocket can cost as much as $1 million. Rothman, who designed and built the smaller rocket, sees it as a $10,000 solution for both established upper-atmospheric scientists and students who build rockets.
“You have to demonstrate to NASA that your technology is mature enough to fly on one of their vehicles,” Rothman said as he was creating the new rocket. “It’s a business opportunity for the GI to sell rides on the rocket.”
On this mission, the researchers will test the operation of GPS, compass and radio communications systems Kristina Lynch of Dartmouth College plans to eject from a full-scale rocket in the future.
Quelle: UAF
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Rockets set to launch from Poker Flat Research Range

The 2014 launch season at Poker Flat Research Range north of Fairbanks opened Friday, January 24.
Scientists are preparing for an experiment that will launch a NASA sounding rocket over the aurora while observing beneath it using cameras based at a village in northern Alaska. The launch window for the experiment opens January 24 and extends to Feb. 6, 2013. A second, smaller test launch will follow.
Marilia Samara of the Southwest Research Institute of San Antonio, Texas, is the lead scientist on the aurora experiment. She will use three particle instruments and six electric and magnetic field probes that extend like arms from the rocket while it arcs 200 miles above the village of Venetie. Her goal is to learn more about the sun-Earth energy connection that powers the aurora and affects our satellites and Global Positioning Systems.
Her launch is a collaborative effort between co-investigators Robert Michell and Keiichi Ogasawara of the Southwest Research Institute, and John Bonnell of the University of California Berkeley. Sounding rocket teams from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, and Poker Flat Research Range, which is operated by the University of Alaska Fairbanks, are supporting the launch.
Michell and Don Hampton of the UAF Geophysical Institute have set up a suite of ground-based imagers in Venetie, which is on the Chandalar River north of the Arctic Circle.
While Samara directs the launch of a 48-foot rocket from Poker Flat, Venetie resident Lance Whitwell will help operate the all-sky and narrow-field imagers. The researchers want to view an active aurora from directly beneath the curtain in Venetie at the same moment the rocket is flying over it.
“We’ll be going through precipitating electrons (with the rocket) while looking at the aurora structure (from the ground),” Samara said.
The two-stage rocket will deploy four telescopic and two fold-down arms to measure the heavenly electric field, the magnetic field and plasma density, while the particle detectors bolted on the front of the rocket measure the electrons responsible for the visible light of the aurora. The researchers’ goal is to launch the rocket on a clear, moonless night when the aurora is overhead at Venetie.
Even a less-than-fantastic display will allow instruments on the rocket to radio data back to Poker Flat that will be useful to the scientists and several graduate students. The scientists hope that this research might someday let them infer electrical properties about the aurora by using cameras stationed on the ground.
“If we fly over any aurora, we’ll get good science from it,” Samara said.
Students from the John Fredson School in Venetie will communicate with children from the Sunshine Cottage School for Deaf Children in San Antonio on school projects related to aurora and the launch.
Following Samara’s launch, researchers with the Geophysical Institute will use the facilities at Poker Flat to test a new launch vehicle they developed. Associate professor Mark Conde is the lead scientist on the project, the fruition of several years work by Jeff Rothman of the institute’s electronics shop. Members of the institute’s machine shop also built a custom launching rack for the mission.
Conde and Rothman will launch a 10-foot-long carbon-fiber rocket that will travel just three miles up at the highest point of its arc. Conde, a space physicist, saw a need for the small rocket as a low-cost way for scientists to test intricate parts of rocket experiments.
A ride on a full-scale rocket can cost as much as $1 million. Rothman, who designed and built the smaller rocket, sees it as a $10,000 solution for both established upper-atmospheric scientists and students who build rockets.
“You have to demonstrate to NASA that your technology is mature enough to fly on one of their vehicles,” Rothman said as he was creating the new rocket. “It’s a business opportunity for the GI to sell rides on the rocket.”
On this mission, the researchers will test the operation of GPS, compass and radio communications systems Kristina Lynch of Dartmouth College plans to eject from a full-scale rocket in the future.
Quelle: UAF
 

2772 Views

Donnerstag, 30. Januar 2014 - 12:00 Uhr

Astronomie - Ein Sternen-Sturm bahnt sich seinen Weg im Trifid Nebel

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Radiation and winds from massive stars have blown a cavity into the surrounding dust and gas, creating the Trifid nebula, as seen here in infrared light by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA
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Storm of Stars in the Trifid Nebula
A storm of stars is brewing in the Trifid nebula, as seen in this view from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. The stellar nursery, where baby stars are bursting into being, is the yellow-and-orange object dominating the picture. Yellow bars in the nebula appear to cut a cavity into three sections, hence the name Trifid nebula.
Colors in this image represent different wavelengths of infrared light detected by WISE. The main green cloud is made up of hydrogen gas. Within this cloud is the Trifid nebula, where radiation and winds from massive stars have blown a cavity into the surrounding dust and gas, and presumably triggered the birth of new generations of stars. Dust glows in infrared light, so the three lines that make up the Trifid, while appearing dark in visible-light views, are bright when seen by WISE.
The blue stars scattered around the picture are older, and they lie between Earth and the Trifid nebula. The baby stars in the Trifid will eventually look similar to those foreground stars. The red cloud at upper right is gas heated by a group of very young stars.
The Trifid nebula is located 5,400 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius.
Blue represents light emitted at 3.4-micron wavelengths, and cyan (blue-green) represents 4.6 microns, both of which come mainly from hot stars. Relatively cooler objects, such as the dust of the nebula, appear green and red. Green represents 12-micron light and red, 22-micron light.
Quelle: NASA

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