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Donnerstag, 31. Dezember 2015 - 13:16 Uhr

Raumfahrt - US Postdienst Ehrungen für NASA Planeten Entdeckungen mit 2016 Briefmarken

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The U.S. Postal Service has previewed the New Year’s series of stamps highlighting NASA’s Planetary Science program, including a do-over of a famous Pluto stamp commemorating the NASA New Horizons’ historic 2015 flyby. 
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Pluto Explored! In 2006, NASA placed a 29-cent 1991 ‘Pluto: Not Yet Explored’ stamp in the New Horizons spacecraft. In 2015 the spacecraft carried the stamp on its history-making mission to Pluto and beyond. With this stamp, the Postal Service recognizes the first reconnaissance of Pluto in 2015 by NASA’s New Horizon mission. The souvenir sheet of four stamps contains two new stamps appearing twice. The first stamp shows an artists’ rendering of the New Horizons spacecraft and the second shows the spacecraft’s enhanced color image of Pluto taken near closest approach.
Credits: USPS/Antonio Alcalá © 2016 USPS
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The Postal Service on Wednesday released a preview of its new 2016 stamps, which include an image of Pluto and the New Horizons spacecraft, eight new colorful Forever stamps of NASA images of solar system planets, a Global Forever stamp dedicated to Earth’s moon as well as another postal treat for space fans: a tribute to 50 years of Star Trek.
“U.S. Postal stamps express the enthusiasm and personality of senders to favorite themes in our society. From Mercury to Neptune, Pluto and Star Trek, it’s exciting to see that planetary science and space exploration are being celebrated in these new 2016 stamps,” said John Grunsfeld, NASA’s associate administrator for science in Washington. “On behalf of NASA scientists across the nation, we’re honored that the U.S. Postal Service has chosen to highlight NASA’s New Horizons and 50 years of planetary exploration with these iconic images.”
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Pluto Explored. (left to right): New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern of Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Boulder, Colorado; New Horizons’ Deputy Project Scientist Leslie Young, SwRI; Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) Director Ralph Semmel; Annette Tombaugh, daughter of Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto in 1930; and New Horizons Co-Investigator Will Grundy, Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, Arizona hold a print of the 1991 Pluto stamp –with their suggested update – on July 14 at APL in Laurel, Maryland.
Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls
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The Pluto stamps are of special significance to NASA and the New Horizons team, which placed a 29-cent 1991 “Pluto: Not Yet Explored” stamp on board the spacecraft. On July 14, New Horizons carried the tiny postage stamp on its history-making journey to Pluto and beyond, as members of the mission team celebrated with a large print, striking the words “not yet.”      
“The New Horizons project is proud to have such an important honor from the U.S. Postal Service,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. “Since the early 1990s the old, ‘Pluto Not Explored’ stamp served as a rallying cry for many who wanted to mount this historic mission of space exploration. Now that NASA’s New Horizons has accomplished that goal, it’s a wonderful feeling to see these new stamps join others commemorating first explorations of the planets.”
The souvenir sheet of four stamps contains two new stamps appearing twice. The first stamp shows an artist’s rendering of NASA’s New Horizons Pluto flyby spacecraft and the second shows the spacecraft’s enhanced color image of Pluto taken by New Horizons near its closest approach to Pluto.
The view — which is color enhanced to highlight surface texture and composition — is a composite of images from New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), combined with color data from the imaging instrument Ralph that clearly reveals the now-famous heart-shaped feature stretched across Pluto’s surface; this feature has been named Tombaugh Regio in honor of Pluto’s discoverer, Clyde Tombaugh. Antonio Alcalá of Alexandria, Virginia was the art director for these stamp designs.
“Our stamps articulate the American experience through miniature works of art,” said Acting Stamp Services Director Mary-Anne Penner. “Our diverse stamp topics for 2016 are sure to appeal to everyone, and with the New Year just around the corner, now is a perfect time to get started in stamp collecting. It’s an educational hobby the entire family can enjoy.”
The “Pluto Explored!” stamps will be dedicated in late May of 2016 at the World Stamp Show in New York.
Other space-themed stamps highlighting NASA images of the solar system planets, Earth’s moon, and popular culture in the 2016 collection include:
Views of Our Planets
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With this pane of 16 Forever stamps, the Postal Service showcases some of the more visually compelling historic, full-disk images of the planets obtained during the last half-century of space exploration. Eight new colorful Forever stamps, each shown twice, feature Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Some show the planets’ “true color” — what one might see if traveling through space. Others use colors to represent and visualize certain features of a planet based in imaging data. Still others use the near-infrared spectrum to show things that cannot be seen by the human eye.
Credits: USPS/Antonio Alcalá © 2016 USPS
The Moon
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Taken as the full moon rises, the image captures the brilliant surface of Earth’s only natural satellite. Issued at the price of $1.20, this Global Forever stamp can be used to mail a one-ounce letter to any country to which First-Class Mail International service is available.
Credits: USPS/Greg Breeding under the art direction of William Gicker © 2016 USPS
Star Trek
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Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the television premiere, the new Star Trek Forever stamps showcase four digital illustrations inspired by the television program: the Starship Enterprise inside the outline of a Starfleet insignia against a gold background, the silhouette of a crewman in a transporter against a red background, the silhouette of the Enterprise from above against a green background, and the Enterprise inside the outline of the Vulcan statue against a blue background. The words “Space…the Final Frontier,” from Captain Kirk’s famous voice-over appear against a background of stars.
Credits: USPS/Heads of State under the art direction of Antonio Alcalá © 2016 USPS
Quelle: NASA

Tags: Raumfahrt 

1948 Views

Donnerstag, 31. Dezember 2015 - 09:54 Uhr

Astronomie - Galaktische Strukturen

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‘Bones’ in Milky Way could help map galactic structure
Gas tendrils trace location of spiral arms, study finds

BARING BONES  One of six bone candidates, seen silhouetted in this Spitzer Space Telescope image, lies about 11,000 light-years away; it is roughly 140 light-years long and 0.52 light-years wide.

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A galactic skeleton of dark interstellar gas tendrils might help map the scaffolding of our galaxy, a new study suggests.
Six of these “bones,” each hundreds of light-years long and a fraction of a light-year wide, appear to lie along nearby spiral arms of gas and stars that wind around the Milky Way. The thinness of the bones potentially provides a precise tool for tracing the larger framework of our galaxy, a task that is fiendishly difficult for astronomers trapped inside the Milky Way.
“Bones will not be useful just by themselves,” says study coauthor Catherine Zucker, a graduate student at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass. But combined with other mapping methods, “they provide a way to pin down the locations of spiral arms.” The research appears in the Dec. 10 Astrophysical Journal.
Much of what astronomers know about the Milky Way’s big picture comes from measuring the speeds of gas clouds and, along with some assumptions about how the galaxy rotates, translating those speeds into distances. The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy, but whether it has two arms or four, whether those arms wrap all the way around the galaxy, and even the extent of the solar system’s arm, are up for debate.
The structure of the Milky Way “is one of the hardest things to measure in astronomy,” says James Jackson, an astronomer at Boston University. In 2010, Jackson reported the discovery of the first known Milky Way bone, a dense, dark ribbon of gas and dust hundreds of light-years long and roughly 1 light-year wide. Nicknamed Nessie, after the mythical creature lurking within the waters of Loch Ness in Scotland, it lies about 10,000 light-years away in the direction of the galactic center and along a neighboring arm known as Scutum-Centaurus.
Astronomer Alyssa Goodman, also of the Center for Astrophysics and coauthor of the 2015 study, proposed that Nessie could be a “spine” of the Scutum-Centaurus arm. Because Nessie is so much denser and more compact than the relatively fluffy nebulas and star clusters that surround it, this spine and others like it could be more precise tracers of the larger galactic framework.
“It’s not a crazy idea,” says Jackson. Recent computer simulations suggest that lots of these bones should form along the arms of a spiral galaxy.
The bones might be related to giant molecular clouds — massive star-forming factories that preferentially reside within spiral arms. Intense radiation and winds from stars forming within the bones quickly take their toll, blowing the bones apart after roughly 10 million years. “They get chopped up pretty quickly,” says Jackson.
Zucker’s six bone candidates show that Nessie isn’t alone, and, like Nessie, these bones appear to lie along spiral arms. But she also stresses that her study is a proof of concept. The researchers narrowed their search to known nearby spiral arms just to see if the filaments existed and if they aligned with the arms. “Right now, it’s a lot easier to identify bones along major spiral features,” Zucker says.
She and her colleagues now plan to widen their search. “We think that bones could form anywhere in a spiral galaxy,” says Zucker. That’s why bones by themselves can’t solve all the problems of mapping the galaxy. But combining bones with other tracers of spiral structure might help resolve discrepancies in maps of the galaxy. With a catalog of hundreds of bones, and the help of other cosmic cartography tools, astronomers hope to better understand how our galactic home is built. 
Quelle: SN

Tags: Astronomie 

1590 Views

Donnerstag, 31. Dezember 2015 - 09:38 Uhr

Astronomie - Dieser Weiße Zwerg ist mit 250.000 Grad Celsius heißer als der Rest

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HOT STUFF  Head toward the Large Magellanic Cloud, seen in this 1987 picture from the NASA Kuiper Airborne Observatory, to get to the hottest known white dwarf.

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The heat is on in the outskirts of the Milky Way. A white dwarf sizzling at around 250,000˚ Celsius is now the hottest known member of this class of dead stars, researchers report in the December Astronomy & Astrophysics. This scorcher, designated RX J0439.8-6809, sits about 30,000 light-years away in the constellation Dorado and is about 50,000 degrees hotter than the previous record holder.
J0439, discovered more than 20 years ago in data from the ROSAT satellite, first showed up as a smudge of X-rays. Researchers thought J0439 lived in the Large Magellanic Cloud, the largest satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, and might be a white dwarf fusing hydrogen on its surface or possibly a neutron star (the core of a dead massive star) sucking down superheated gas. Astrophysicists Klaus Werner and Thomas Rauch, both of the Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen, Germany, sussed out J0439’s true location, temperature and composition with more recent data from the Hubble Space Telescope.
Quelle: SN

Tags: Astronomie 

1290 Views

Mittwoch, 30. Dezember 2015 - 22:30 Uhr

Luftfahrt-History - 1923: Helikopter Flug

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Aus dem CENAP-Archiv:

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Quelle: CENAP-Archiv


Tags: Luftfahrt 

1322 Views

Mittwoch, 30. Dezember 2015 - 20:30 Uhr

Raumfahrt - ULA America´s Ride to Space

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Quelle: ULA


Tags: Raumfahrt 

1631 Views

Mittwoch, 30. Dezember 2015 - 19:30 Uhr

Planet Erde - Die aktuelle starken El-Niño-Ausläufer im Pazifischen Ozean zeigen keine Anzeichen der Abnahme

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The current strong El Niño brewing in the Pacific Ocean shows no signs of waning, as seen in the latest satellite image from the U.S./European Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM)/Jason-2 mission.
El Niño 2015 has already created weather chaos around the world. Over the next few months, forecasters expect the United States to feel its impacts as well.
The latest Jason-2 image bears a striking resemblance to one from December 1997, by Jason-2's predecessor, the NASA/Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) Topex/Poseidon mission, during the last large El Niño event. Both reflect the classic pattern of a fully developed El Niño. The images can be viewed at:
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El Niño: 1997 vs. 2015
A Still-Growing El Niño Set to Bear Down on US:
The latest satellite image of Pacific sea surface heights from Jason-2 (right) differs slightly from one 18 years ago from TOPEX/Poseidon (left). In Dec. 1997, sea surface height was more intense and peaked in November. This year the area of high sea levels is less intense but considerably broader. Read the full story.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Will 2015 be a repeat of 1997?
Interest in the present developing 2015 El Niño is high. Here we provide side by side comparisons of Pacific Ocean sea surface height (SSH) anomalies of what is presently happening in 2015 with the Pacific Ocean signal during the famous 1997 El Niño. These 1997 and 2015 El Niño animations were made from data collected by the TOPEX/Poseidon (1997) and the OSTM/Jason-2 (2015) satellites. Jason-2 continues to provide an uninterrupted time-series that originated in 1992 with TOPEX/Poseidon. TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1 and Jason-2 is use space-based radar altimetry to collect sea surface height data of all the world's oceans. Here, these images are processed to highlight the interannual signal of SSH. The mean signal, seasonal signal, and the trend have been removed.
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The images show nearly identical, unusually high sea surface heights along the equator in the central and eastern Pacific: the signature of a big and powerful El Niño. Higher-than-normal sea surface heights are an indication that a thick layer of warm water is present.
El Niños are triggered when the steady, westward-blowing trade winds in the Pacific weaken or even reverse direction, triggering a dramatic warming of the upper ocean in the central and eastern tropical Pacific. Clouds and storms follow the warm water, pumping heat and moisture high into the overlying atmosphere. These changes alter jet stream paths and affect storm tracks all over the world.
This year’s El Niño has caused the warm water layer that is normally piled up around Australia and Indonesia to thin dramatically, while in the eastern tropical Pacific, the normally cool surface waters are blanketed with a thick layer of warm water. This massive redistribution of heat causes ocean temperatures to rise from the central Pacific to the Americas. It has sapped Southeast Asia’s rain in the process, reducing rainfall over Indonesia and contributing to the growth of massive wildfires that have blanketed the region in choking smoke.
El Niño is also implicated in Indian heat waves caused by delayed monsoon rains, as well as Pacific island sea level drops, widespread coral bleaching that is damaging coral reefs, droughts in South Africa, flooding in South America and a record-breaking hurricane season in the eastern tropical Pacific. Around the world, production of rice, wheat, coffee and other crops has been hit hard by droughts and floods, leading to higher prices.
In the United States, many of El Niño’s biggest impacts are expected in early 2016. Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration favor an El Niño-induced shift in weather patterns to begin in the near future, ushering in several months of relatively cool and wet conditions across the southern United States, and relatively warm and dry conditions over the northern United States. 
While scientists still do not know precisely how the current El Niño will affect the United States, the last large El Niño in 1997-98 was a wild ride for most of the nation. The “Great Ice Storm” of January 1998 crippled northern New England and southeastern Canada, but overall, the northern tier of the United States experienced long periods of mild weather and meager snowfall. Meanwhile, across the southern United States, a steady convoy of storms slammed most of California, moved east into the Southwest, drenched Texas and -- pumped up by the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico -- wreaked havoc along the Gulf Coast, particularly in Florida.
"In 2014, the current El Niño teased us -- wavering off and on," said Josh Willis, project scientist for the Jason missions at JPL. "But in early 2015, atmospheric conditions changed, and El Niño steadily expanded in the central and eastern Pacific.  Although the sea surface height signal in 1997 was more intense and peaked in November of that year, in 2015, the area of high sea levels is larger. This could mean we have not yet seen the peak of this El Niño."
During normal, non-El Niño conditions, the amount of warm water in the western equatorial Pacific is so large that sea levels are about 20 inches (50 centimeters) higher in the western Pacific than in the eastern Pacific. "You can see it in the latest Jason-2 image of the Pacific," said Willis. "The 8-inch [20-centimeter] drop in the west, coupled with the 10-inch [25-centimeter] rise in the east, has completely wiped out the tilt in sea level we usually have along the equator."
The new Jason-2 image shows that the amount of extra-warm surface water from the current El Niño (depicted in red and white shades) has continuously increased, especially in the eastern Pacific within 10 degrees latitude north and south of the equator. In the western Pacific, the area of low sea level (blue and purple) has decreased somewhat from late October. The white and red areas indicate unusual patterns of heat storage. In the white areas, the sea surface is between 6 and 10 inches (15 to 25 centimeters) above normal, while in the red areas, it is about 4 inches (10 centimeters) above normal. The green areas indicate normal conditions. The height of the ocean water relates, in part, to its temperature, and is an indicator of the amount of heat stored in the ocean below.
Within this area, surface temperatures are greater than 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius) in the central equatorial Pacific and near 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) off the coast of the Americas. This El Niño signal encompasses a surface area of 6 million square miles (16 million square kilometers) -- more than twice as big as the continental United States.
While no one can predict the exact timing or intensity of U.S. El Niño impacts, for drought-stricken California and the U.S. West, it’s expected to bring some relief.
"The water story for much of the American West over most of the past decade has been dominated by punishing drought," said JPL climatologist Bill Patzert. "Reservoir levels have fallen to record or near-record lows, while groundwater tables have dropped dangerously in many areas. Now we’re preparing to see the flip side of nature’s water cycle -- the arrival of steady, heavy rains and snowfall."
In 1982-83 and 1997-98, large El Niños delivered about twice the average amount of rainfall to Southern California, along with mudslides, floods, high winds, lightning strikes and high surf. But Patzert cautioned that El Niño events are not drought busters. "Over the long haul, big El Niños are infrequent and supply only seven percent of California’s water," he said.
"Looking ahead to summer, we might not be celebrating the demise of this El Niño," cautioned Patzert. "It could be followed by a La Niña, which could bring roughly opposite effects to the world’s weather."
La Niñas are essentially the opposite of El Niño conditions. During a La Niña episode, trade winds are stronger than normal, and the cold water that normally exists along the coast of South America extends to the central equatorial Pacific. La Niña episodes change global weather patterns and are associated with less moisture in the air over cooler ocean waters. This results in less rain along the coasts of North and South America and along the central and eastern equatorial Pacific, and more rain in the far Western Pacific.
El Niño events are part of the long-term, evolving state of global climate, for which measurements of sea surface height are a key indicator.
Quelle: NASA

Tags: Planet Erde 

1400 Views

Mittwoch, 30. Dezember 2015 - 19:15 Uhr

Raumfahrt - ALLtag auf ISS: ESA-Principia-Mission mit Astronaut Tim Peake Update

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19.12.2015

Tim Peake: life on space station 'spectacular' says astronaut
The biggest challenge Tim Peake faced during a press conference full of non-controversial questions was doing a back-flip in orbit
His first day in space was way beyond all his expectations. No, he hadn’t seen the new Star Wars film yet but all of them up there were looking forward to seeing it. He was looking forward to training – on a treadmill, harnessed to the spot – for the London Marathon.
He was absolutely blown away to get a tweet from Her Majesty the Queen. And he was looking forward to calling home on Christmas Day from this “wonderfully unique place to call friends and family from.”
Major Tim Peake, Britain’s first European Space Agency astronaut, was ready with a set of non-controversial answers to a procession of non-challenging questions during his first ever press conference from orbit. Seemingly upright in the Columbus science module of the International Space Station - until asked to do a back flip while crossing the surface of the globe at 27,000 kilometers an hour - Peake faced the challenge of the media.
There was always a pause between question and the launch of an answer and at the close of each answer, he carefully let go of his microphone – it bobbed more or less exactly where he released it – and clasped it again for each answer. He looked forward a lot. He used telltale delaying phrases like “That’s a great question …” and telltale pause-words such as “absolutely” while he prepared his responses, but the smile barely faltered.
“It’s way better than I imagined. It is really hard to describe,” he said, and then listed those things way beyond his expectations, including the view from the space station cupola. “The first 24 hours is pretty rough,” he admitted. Yes, he found some aspects of life in space a little difficult: the vestibular system that controlled his balance and his visual system hadn’t quite caught up with each other, so every time he went round a corner or moved his head he felt disoriented and dizzy.
Yes, he had a good night’s sleep; on his second morning he woke up fresh and had had no problems since. He hadn’t needed to tether his sleeping bag and enjoyed floating gently around the dormitory. And yes, he had experienced one retinal flash as a cosmic ray passed through his eyes, but otherwise, no problems.
Oh, and the thing that most surprised him was how black space really was. And how small the world seemed. “It’s the blackest black and you realize just how small the Earth is in that blackness, and that was a real surprise to me.”
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He had launched into a very busy programme and was delighted and thrilled at the phenomenal support for him everywhere in his role as a European astronaut.
He may or may not have felt relieved when the ground station and the television signal parted company and the press conference closed and he was allowed to get on and learn more about his new home and workplace. Nobody asked him that one.
In answer to some other questions not asked: Major Peake’s first mouthful in his new home was a hot bacon sandwich, from the hands of his resident station commander Scott Kelly; and his first task in space was to unpack cargo from a Cygnus-4 spacecraft that had arrived one week ahead of him.
Major Peake, born in Chichester, Sussex, and married with two sons, got ahead of 8,000 other applicants to be selected for training within the European Space Agency’s astronaut corps. He left planet Earth by Soyuz rocket on Tuesday, and – after a nerve-wracking nine-minute delay as the automatic system aborted and the capsule’s Russian commander took manual control – he began his new career in orbit at 5.33pm GMT that evening.
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He went aloft with another Tim from the US space agency Nasa’s astronaut corps, Tim Kopra, and with the Russian veteran cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko at the controls of the Soyuz capsule. The trio of new recruits were welcomed aboard by Nasa’s Scott Kelly and two Russian crew members, Sergey Volkov and Mikhail Korniyenko.
Both his travelling companions aboard Soyuz had been in orbit before, but this is Peake’s first chance to circle the globe in 90 minutes, every 90 minutes. His first scientific experimental work is to involve a study of the effects of radiation on bone marrow and his first formal questionnaire will be one about headaches (which, like nausea, are familiar afflictions in microgravity). His work timetable even includes a day’s housekeeping: Saturday is the day that astronauts vacuum and wipe down the space station’s surfaces.
Meanwhile, although he will be missing friends and family on Christmas Day he was, he said, “in a very privileged position.” And the feeling of zero gravity, he said was a bit like putting on a pair of skis for the first time: “It does take a while to become proficient.” In about another week, he thought, “I will be extremely comfortable working in this environment.”
Quelle: theguardian
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Update: 20.12.2015
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Imagine floating near a huge window, looking down on our beautiful planet 400 km below, speeding by at 27 500 km/h. Could that experience get any better? “Yes it can, especially if you’re plugged into your favourite playlist,” says ESA astronaut Tim Peake.
Tim will spend six months on board the International Space Station, launching on 15 December 2015. He has selected 75 of his favourite tracks to keep him happy and motivated when working out, taking photos, watching Earth, reading or relaxing in his spare time (if he has any!).
But he will also be doing something a little different with his music: he is going to run one of the most exciting competitions to be held in space – with the help of some very special guest ‘crew members’ along the way…
Tim says, "I'm taking with me 75 of possibly the coolest patches ever flown in space, and one of them could be yours." A few times each week, Tim will tweet lines from the lyrics of his favourite songs. The first person to reply to each tweet with the correct song title and artist goes down in history as the proud owner of an exclusive ESA #spacerocks patch that has flown in space. Simple as that, but do not forget to include the hashtag #spacerocks in your reply.
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One of 75 #spacerocks patches that ESA astronaut Tim Peake will take to the International Space Station on his Principia mission from December 2015 to May 2016.
On his five-month flight, Tim will be taking a selection of his favourite music for off-duty relaxation, but he’ll be doing something a little different with it. Listening to music while exercising, reading or just looking down at Earth from Cupola, Tim will tweet lyrics from songs on his personal playlist. If you can identify the song and artist, you can win a prize: a limited edition ‘flown in space’ patch, specially created for this competition.The exclusive #spacerocks patch was specially produced for ESA by Lucreation, Netherlands. It shows an electric guitar, bearing a Union flag, with its lead originating from the International Space Station. The ten stars are grouped in a four and a six, representing Tim's membership of Expedtion 46. It bears the ESA logo and the hashtag #spacerocks with Tim's Twitter name.
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Music-in-space facts
Tim gets 14 GB of 'space' on his music player.
He gets special 'custom fitted' earphones to wear - background noise on the International Space Station can get up to 70db when on the treadmill.
Astronauts can choose some tracks to be played in the Soyuz whilst waiting for launch – what would you pick to get you in the mood while sitting on top of 300 tonnes of explosive fuel?
Music is important for astronauts' wellbeing – it can provide an important connection with home, improve performance, help them relax and be better crewmembers (of course, as long as it's not ALL disco, eh, Mark Watney?).
If Tim exhausts his playlist, he can get digital music files sent up via radio link to the Space Station.
It's amazing how much space has influenced music over the years and how many singers and musicians are space fans. Tim has already received several messages of support from some of his favourite artists, and there are plenty more to come.
Take a look to see what they had to say here:
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Just to give you a flavour of Tim's diverse (and, in his own words, 'frankly sometimes weird') taste in music, check out a selection of his Principia mission playlist on ESA’s Spotify channel (and you're not cheating by listening, since most of these tracks are not included in #spacerocks.)
Of course, most of Tim's time on board the Space Station will not be spent listening to music. Check out the exciting things he'll be doing up there.
How to enter
Step 1. Follow @astro_timpeake.
Step 2. Watch out for Tim’s tweets during his flight, reply with the song title, artist and hash tag #spacerocks.
Step 3. ESA will be in touch with winners via Twitter direct message for address details, so make sure to follow @esaoperations who will inform you directly if you have won.
The patches will be sent out when they are returned from space at the end of the Principia mission. To be fair to all, we can give only one prize per winner. We trust you will enter into the spirit of the competition and not use a search engine to find the songs.
Good luck, Tim will be hearing from you in space!
Terms and conditions
1. The competition is organised by the European Space Agency and is open to everyone (with no restriction on nationality or residence), apart from ESA employees and contractors, and their immediate families. 
2. Children under the age of 18 must have their parents’ permission to enter.
 3. Participants agree to abide by the terms and conditions of Twitter. Entries must be submitted on Twitter in reply to @astro_timpeake and include the #spacerocks hashtag. 
4. Only correctly spelled full song titles and artist names will be considered (as given in the UK Official Charts Company's www.officialcharts.com up to October 2015) 
5. Winners will be contacted by @esaoperations for their postal address in order to mail the prize (details will be kept confidential and only used for that purpose). Prizes will be mailed out after they have returned from space, which is approximately May 2016, but this is subject to change. 
6. Only one patch per winning postal address can be won across the competition period. ESA's decision is final and no correspondence shall be entered to discuss the winners. 
7. ESA shall have the right to amend these terms and conditions at any time.
Quelle: ESA GB
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Tim Peake to help with space walk, Nasa says

UK astronaut Tim Peake is to be involved in assisting two astronauts carry out a space walk outside the International Space Station (ISS) next week.
Fellow crew members Tim Kopra and Scott Kelly will go outside the ISS to fix a broken component, possibly as early as Monday, Nasa said.
"It will be a very busy and interesting day for Tim," said Libby Jackson from the UK Space Agency.
Mr Peak arrived at the ISS on Tuesday.
He is the first UK astronaut to be employed as a professional astronaut by the European Space Agency.
Mission control
The space walk is taking place so the astronauts can try to fix a component called the "mobile transporter" - a rail that runs along much of the length of the space station, which a robotic arm can move along.
Mr Peake, who is spending six months in space, will be following the space walk from the inside, the BBC's science correspondent Pallab Ghosh said.
His duties will involve getting the crew suited and out of the airlock while talking to mission control, he added.
The mobile transporter became stuck on Wednesday.
"The cause of the stall is being evaluated, but experts believe it may be related to a stuck brake handle," said the mission's operations manager, Kenny Todd.
The space walk will be the third in Mr Kelly's career and the second for Mr Kopra.
Meanwhile, Mr Peake, who is spending his first weekend in space, has thanked the thousands of people around the world who sent him good luck messages.
Giving blood
His blog also contains a selection of some of the best messages from social media sites Twitter and Instagram.
As he does not have the time to reply to each message individually, he wrote: "The support for our launch was outstanding, and I want to thank each of you for the #GoodLuckTim messages.
"From the schoolchildren who watched the launch in class, people watching on the underground, and viewers outside of UK, your messages have shown how much interest there is in space and they mean a great deal to me.
"We are very busy up here but I promise to start sharing more of our life in space soon."
The former Army aviator and helicopter test pilot has posted three pictures to his Twitter feed since Friday - one of the view towards Earth, one of him giving a thumbs-up to all his supporters and another of him giving blood for experiments being conducted in space.
On Friday, during a live link-up from the space platform, he said his first few days in space had been "absolutely spectacular".
Answering questions from reporters gathered at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, he said the first two hours had been "pretty rough" and he had been feeling "disorientated and dizzy".
But he was able to show them a backwards somersault and said he was surprised how quickly his body had adapted to weightlessness.
Quelle: BBC
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Update: 21.12.2015
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Tim bei Interview:
Quelle: NASA
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Update: 30.12.2015
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Tim sieht die Alpen im Winter
European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut and Expedition 46 Flight Engineer Tim Peake (@astro_timpeake) photographed the Alps from his vantage point aboard the International Space Station on Dec. 27, 2015 and later shared the image with his social media followers, writing, "There may not be much snow in the Alps this winter but they still look stunning from here! #Principia"
Quelle: NASA

Tags: Raumfahrt 

1767 Views

Mittwoch, 30. Dezember 2015 - 17:15 Uhr

Astronomie - Ältestes Teleskop soll saniert werden; Verbessertes UH Observatorium könnte mit Hubble konkurrieren

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Courtesy of UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII This is an aerial photograph of the University of Hawaii 2.2-meter telescope atop Mauna Kea.

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Following a year of a setbacks, from protests to lawsuits, the astronomy community in Hawaii might have something to look forward to in 2016 as the oldest observatory on Mauna Kea gets a major makeover.
Guenther Hasinger, director of the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy, said UH plans to begin a $6 million renovation of its 2.2-meter telescope that will allow the nearly 46-year-old facility to operate largely on its own.
He said the result will be a “modern robotic telescope” able to open and close its dome automatically, depending on weather conditions, and make pre-programmed scans of the night sky, hopefully by the end of 2016.
With the help of adaptive optics, which adjusts for the distortion in the atmosphere, Hasinger said it could rival the Hubble Space Telescope, which has a slightly larger 2.4-meter aperture.
“It’s a huge improvement,” he said.
The funding includes $2.5 million from the state Legislature and $500,000 in private contributions, Hasinger said.
The money from the Legislature also included $450,000 for UH-Hilo to replace its broken Hoku Kea teaching telescope.
That telescope was one of three identified for early decommissioning as a result of Gov. David Ige’s request for a quarter of the telescopes on the summit to be removed by the time the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope is built.
The new Hoku Kea teaching telescope and dome will be placed initially at the UH-Hilo campus, possibly also in 2016. While it now can’t be placed on Mauna Kea, Hasinger said a more permanent location with clearer skies than Hilo is still being pursued.
In addition to Hoku Kea, the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory, which stopped operations last year, and the UKIRT telescope also are planned to be removed.
Ige has said reducing the existing footprint on the mountain is part of his pledge to improve management of the summit, considered sacred ground by some Native Hawaiians.
“They (the university) promised to take out obsolete telescopes, so they should do it, and we’re going to make sure that they do,” the Honolulu Star-Advertiser quoted the governor as saying earlier this month.
Hasinger, while thanking Ige for his supportive comments regarding TMT, said he disagrees with his characterization of the telescopes as being obsolete. The only one that might fit that description is CSO, which already was planned to be removed, he said.
Hasinger referred to the UKIRT, formerly known as the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope, as the second most scientifically productive telescope in the world, behind the Keck telescopes.
“That one is hurting us the most,” Hasinger said, regarding its removal.
UH officials said they selected UKIRT for early decommissioning because it owns the telescope and the site was not expected to be reused after the university’s master lease expires in 2033.
Hasinger estimates UKIRT could operate for another seven to eight years prior to TMT’s completion, assuming the $1.4 billion observatory is able to regain its land use permit, which the state Supreme Court overturned nearly a month ago, and survive any other legal challenges.
The high court found the state Board of Land and Natural Resources erred by approving the permit before a contested case hearing was held. The matter was remanded back to the 3rd Circuit Court, which will send it back to the board to restart that process, assuming the TMT International Observatory decides to move forward.
The nonprofit organization planned to finish grading the site and paving an access road from March through September, but that work was halted by protesters who blocked the Mauna Kea Access Road three times.
TMT estimated in court documents that it was losing $220,000 a month while its equipment sat idle on the mountain.
If TMT isn’t built, Hasinger said he hopes to be able to keep UKIRT operating until the end of the master lease.
The Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope also is planning a major upgrade, though telescope Director Doug Simons said its fate will be more tied to what happens with TMT and whether or not the master lease is renewed.
The Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer project, estimated at $300 million, would turn the 3.6-meter CFHT into a 10-meter telescope that will specialize in observing as many as 3,400 objects simultaneously, he said.
Simons said the telescope would keep its existing footprint and would serve as a “feeder” to bigger telescopes such as the TMT that would look at the objects in more detail.
But concerns in the international astronomy community about local opposition to building on the mountain could make fundraising a much more difficult task, he said.
“We have a huge amount of concern, as you can imagine, with the uncertainty with Hawaii astronomy,” Simons said. “International investors are wondering what’s going on with Hawaii these days.”
He said those concerns could be resolved with the renewal of the master lease. But Simons said any such extension needs to balance Hawaiian culture, science and the environment.
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TMT spends nearly $2M while equipment sat atop mountain
The TMT International Observatory might have racked up a tab of nearly $2 million as its construction equipment sat idle on Mauna Kea for much of the year.
Scott Ishikawa, a spokesman for the Thirty Meter Telescope, confirmed the nonprofit organization spent about $220,000 a month while work was delayed as protesters blocked workers from reaching the construction site.
That figure was cited in court documents filed in November prior to the state Supreme Court overturning the $1.4 billion project’s land use permit. The high court found the state Board of Land and Natural Resources erred by approving the permit prior to having a contested case hearing.
The equipment sat idle from March 24 until it was removed Dec. 16.
TMT spent another $107.5 million in 2015 on other work related to the project, including manufacturing underway in its five partner countries, according to court records.
Ishikawa said no decision has been made regarding whether TMT would again pursue the permit.
Quelle: Hawaii Tribune Herald

Tags: Astronomie 

1513 Views

Mittwoch, 30. Dezember 2015 - 09:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Spekulationen über Elon Musk Plan für SpaceX Mars Colonial Transporter

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An animation shows a lander separating from the rest of the Mars Colonial Transporter. Later concepts suggest that the entire MCT would land as a unit. (Credit: Michel Lamontagne / ESA via YouTube)
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In the wake of SpaceX’s successful rocket landing, some of the company’s most ardent fans are guessing at the shape of the biggest thing to come: the Mars Colonial Transporter.
The MCT is a crucial piece in SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s grand plan to send tens of thousands of colonists to the Red Planet, potentially starting in the next decade or two. Such a venture would mark a giant leap toward establishing a second cosmic home for humanity. Musk believes that’s a must if we’re to guard against extinction due to pandemics, asteroid strikes or other planet-wide catastrophes.
Early this year, Musk promised to unveil his architecture for Mars colonization by the end of 2015 – but in a recent GQ interview, he said the big reveal was more likely to come in early 2016. “Before we announce it, I want to make sure that we’re not gonna make really big changes to it,” he said.
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A pencil sketch shows how the top section of the Mars Colonial Transporter might be configured. (Credit: John Gardi)
Despite Musk’s reticence, space geeks have been chewing over the elements of a potential plan for years, based on the hints that have been dropped to date. There would be two main elements: a booster capable of sending 100 tons of payload to Mars; and a habitat/lander to carry that payload, including up to 100 passengers.
The booster has been nicknamed the BFR (“big freakin’ rocket, in printable terms). It would make use of a new type of methane-powered engine known as the Raptor. The MCT habitat/lander is sometimes called the BFS (the S stands for “spaceship”). It would make the transit to Mars, land on the surface, and then head back to Earth after filling up from a Martian fuel depot.
Over the weekend, engineer and self-described tinkerer John Gardi laid out his own sketch for the Mars Colonial Transporter – and today he discussed it further in Reddit’s SpaceX online forum. “This is just the MCT, Raptor booster stage is not shown,” Gardi said in a tweet. “The Raptor itself would be as tall as a Saturn V, so combined is over 500ft total!”
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Commenters on the Reddit forum pointed out that Gardi’s design was just a rough sketch. “I’m a systems guy, what can I say?” Gardi replied. “In terms of safety, this is a good design to flesh out.”
This isn’t the first time Gardi has tried to anticipate what Musk is planning: Back in July 2013, he came up with a rough concept for the Hyperloop, a high-speed, tube-based transit system that Musk was working on. Musk said Gardi’s design was “the closest I’ve seen anyone guess so far.” A month later, Musk’s own concept came in along similar lines.
Will Musk’s Mars Colonial Transporter parallel Gardi’s latest guess? Stay tuned. SpaceX’s robotic Dragon capsules could get into the Mars exploration game well before the MCT is ready to go, perhaps in the 2018-2022 time frame.
Quelle: Geekwire

Tags: Raumfahrt 

1634 Views

Dienstag, 29. Dezember 2015 - 19:30 Uhr

Luftfahrt-History - 1913: Informationen gesucht!

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Nachfolgende Fotos stammen aus unserem CENAP-Archiv und wir suchen zusätzliche INFORMATIONEN zu Flugzeug-Typ sowie Aufnahme-Ort, da auf Foto-Originalen nur die Jahreszahl 1913 vermerkt ist. Wer einen Tip oder Informationen zu den Fotos geben kann, Bitte per Email melden!

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Quelle: CENAP-Archiv


Tags: Luftfahrt 

1253 Views


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